Michigan Windsurfing

Windsurfing & Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Michigan

OK guys I would really like to hear some input on this one! It's all about the vent plugs on windsurfing boards. I am at an impasse as to weather to remove them when the board is not in use or not.  JP's and some others are set up so that if you are using a twin bolt base you can remove the vent plug and put it in the slot where your universal joint goes and then lock the plug in thereby making it impossible to put the universal on the board and forget to put the plug back in place. While this might be a good idea for Jp's you may not be able to do this with all boards. OK so this brings me to my point, I have been leaving my vent plugs in for fear that the constant removal and replacement will eventually flatten or damage the O-ring around the plug and the board will take on water. (This happened with Annabel's x-cite ride, and I am currently in the process of drying it out via leaving it in the sun while a fish tank aquarium pump hose is shoved into the vent hole and lightly plugged and allowed to run for days in order to aerate the inside of the board somewhat.). The other thing I have seen happen time and time again is the board owner gets to the beach, and in all the excitement of rigging and getting out there, does a few runs and soon afterwards comes back in realizing that he has either missed tightening the plug or forgotten about it all together, yikes!!!  The other point is they say that if the board is left on the beach on a hot day with the vent plug left in it  this, because of the expanding air in the board can lead to delamination, and of course that makes sense, however I have yet to see someone loosen or remove the plug while it is laying about waiting to be sailed perhaps after lunch?

Some O-rings on some manufacturers boards may also be very difficult to locate easily if they have to be replaced. If you are flying with the boards or travelling for a long time with the boards piled on top of your vehicle, and especially if they will be stored there for the duration of your stay, in the sun it may be a smart idea then to remove the plugs especially if your board bags are not aluminized to reflect the suns heat!

I have been opening mine usually twice a year once in the fall and once in the spring, and I was upset to see Annabel's boards vent O-ring had a nick in it and had appeared to have leaked water into the board albeit hopefully a small amount. Would be nice if the manufacturers would use a self venting plug as the do with SUP's.

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Don: I've no experience with them, but see these Gore-Tex plugs that are used on some water boards of various types:


I tend to leave the plugs open during the off season, and then close them in the spring (not too tightly to avoid damaging the o-rings) and hope for the best, but my boards are "well aged," so I don't worry much about them - if they were going to be damaged by expansion/contraction, it probably would've happened by now(?). Right now, I'd be more concerned about hitting ice chunks  :-(  , i.e., if I could even find a good spot of open water.

I'm sure spending $$$ on a new board would result in my using the vent plug more often. I'd probably write a reminder with a permanent marker near the mast track &/or fin screw(s).

Also, I can't imagine a good hardware store wouldn't have something close when in need of a replacement. In an emergency, I'd just cut a piece or rubber (inner tube?) or leather and use that.

- Dave

It is funny you bring up o-rings because I just picked up two today for a mixing valve.  The hardware store had at least 50 different sized o-rings.  There would be no problem replacing them at all. 

We got rid of our ice in Whitehall, now I just need to find time to sail.  Do you still have ice up in Traverse Bay?


Hmm you guys have had good luck Home depot in Windsor  didn't have them or anything even close, may have to take a pit stop next time we go to Metro Beach,,,  soon I hope!!

I went to a Do It center.  A small hardware store.  They were in the plumbing section.  Hope that helps.


Hey, Randy. Ya, we still have ice. Sunday evening, the south wind blew it out of West Bay and it looked fine, but by the next morning the north wind had blown it all back in, at least 3/4 ice covered.

Here's some area webcams:

My boards live in a sometimes hot van and so I always loosen the vent screw after sailing. So far I've remembered to tighten before sailing, but the trick to put the vent screw in the mast base is a good one, and I use that in the off season.
I have found the Orings cracked and so I replace them every season.

That said, I just bought about ~50 each of three different size Orings from McMaster.com. I measured a couple old ones, but due to age and compression, and the English/metric thing, I wasn't 100% sure which size to buy. I have:
9.1 mm ID, 1.6 mm thick
0.362" ID, 0.568" OD
0.364" ID, 0.504" OD

I have Orings to spare. I'll be in Hatteras next week but will try to remember to bring them to the swap. If you need one and won't be at the swap, then send me a note and I'll see if the Easter Bunny can get one to you now that he's furloughed.

Annabel and I will be a the swap for sure wouldn't miss it, hopefully get some sailing in there possibly? been a long time! I will bring the original o-ring with me!

ps don't let them "metrify" your country,,, huge mistake here!!!!

vent plugs, my  Flikka had the option of screw or goretex, goretex for me, its new bit has been fine in heat and elevation changes from DENVER, across the Atlantic to the east coast.

I remove my standard plugs when i travel, temps likely to be hi and winter storage. When in OBX for a month I leave in, better safe than a costly repair cause it wasnt removed.

Goretex????? Need an explanation on that!

Thanks,, Hmmmm very interesting,,, have much troubler installing it? Very interesting indeed!



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