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Repairing Inflatable Boats

Repairing an Inflatable Boat is Possible!

I often compare repairing an inflatable kayak to patching a bicycle tire tube. Why?  Well, for me it’s really that simple and it speaks to something many of us have done at some time during our youth.

The principles are the same, the materials and methods may be different.  Understanding the difference betweenDSC04389 the materials and how they arerepaired can take the anxiety out of the repair and lend some confidence that you can in fact possibly do the repair yourself.

Repairing an inflatable boat is something that almost everyone can do, and with a little patience and some education, it can be done well.

What Materials are Used?

Unlike bicycle tire tubes, the inflatable boat market builds boats with only a couple of types of material for the air chambers, PVC or Hypalon (CSM). Floors are another matter altogether and can be made with marine grade plywood, aluminum, polyethylene (PE) or even a PVC inflatable floor such as any of the DropStitch floors found on many Sea Eagle models.


Developed by DuPont Performance Elastomers (a subsidiary of DuPont), Hypalon is a trademarked chlorosulfonated polyethylene (CSPE) product.  Basically, Hypalon is a just a name like Kleenex, not actually the name of the material, such as tissue paper.  Names aside, Hypalon is a chemical, temperature and ultraviolet resistant coating on nylon or polyester, giving the fabric a composition that coincides with long life and high abuse tolerance.

This strength and resistance come at a cost. Hypalon boats are typically handmade or assembled by glueing and taping seams together, making it a labour intensive material which increases the production costs of inflatable boats. Sadly, DuPont no longer makes Hypalon, though there are many new and existing products of similar quality and composition eager to take its place.


PVC is another nylon and polyester coating used in boat production among other things.  Polyvinyl Chloride is the material of choice for DSC04394many boat manufacturers due to its thermobonding and glueing capabilities.  Simply put, it’s easier to use in production, keeping costs of production lower and the speed of inflatable boat building higher. PVC can be used to produce boats cheaper and quicker. What’s the trade off?

When compared side by side with Hypalon, the differences are apparent, but are’t necessarily detrimental.  PVC’s resistance to chemicals, temperature and UV are not as strong as Hypalon.  PVC also is slightly heavier than Hypalon.  The chemical and UV resistance are simple to remedy, using easy to find PVC protectants such as 303 Aerospace Protectant. If you have plans to store your boat inflated and out in in the sun, a simple application of a protectant will act as a sunscreen for you fabric, resisting fading.  As for temperature, care and proper handling can can prolong the life of a PVC inflatable boat.  Extreme cold temperatures can render the fabric brittle, allowing it to crease and scar if mishandled.

Why Does the Material Matter?

The type of material determines what should be done to repair the inflatable boat. Differing materials require different chemical combinations for the patch to adhere properly.  Knowing what kind of material your inflatable boat is made with will determine the types of repairs you can do both in the field and at home.  Some manufacturers warn that improper use of their patches can result in the patch material letting go in unpredictable ways.

Most manufacturers don’t hide the type of material they make their hulls out of. In fact most have them materials used specified somewhere on their website or sales brochure.  If you still are confident, another way to determine what you have would be to inspect the hole closer.  If the colour of the material is the same through and through, it’s PVC.  If the colour is different on the inside, then it’s most likely Hypalon. Sometimes neoprene can be found in use inside the layers of fabric for reinforcement by some manufacturers or as an abrasion layer by others. Due to its weight, neoprene is not used very often in compact inflatable boats.

Alternatives to Patching

Clamseal KitThe market has many innovative ways to do the same job. Many manufacturers are simply reinventing the same thing, however some are making unique methods of repairing inflatable boats.  One such product is the ClamSeal by Barton.  It is used as a high quality temporary repair to get you back on the water indefinitely, allowing you to make necessary repairs at a later time!  In my opinion a weekend getaway lifesaver for you inflatable boat.  Simple to use and extremely effective.  It’s not the only thing out there but it sure stands out.

The Step by Step Video

At the top is a step by step video detailing one of the most common ways to repair an inflatable boat. Specifically is it a Sea Eagle SE330 Sport Kayak made with PVC that was snacked on by some rats while in storage during the winter. Step by step instructions are coming soon.

Got a question? Feel free to fill out this form and we’ll get back to you!

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Stand Up Paddleboard – How to choose the right SUP

With as many options as there are stars, the Stand Up Paddle board market is left with many choices and not so many answers. Hard board or inflatable? Touring or all-purpose? Large rocker or none?  Pink or blue? Well, at least the last one should be easy. If you’re in the market for a compact, portable, inflatable SUP, then the Sea Eagle line up of paddleboards are for you.PaddleBoard1

So what terms are important to know and what do they mean in English?  After some quick searching on YouTube and trolling many sites who sell SUP’s, I have discovered some consistency to help everyone with their decision making.  Larry Froley from Grey Whale Paddle assembled a series of videos that help consumers through the process of purchasing and using an inflatable SUP. Below is the first video in the series titled “How to Choose a Stand Up Paddle Board”.  It has some basic terminology and helps to distinguish between the two most common styles of paddle boards on the market.


Some common terms that are used refer mostly to the main components of the board and how it’s used. Below are a few to review:

  • Deck – The top of the board; some beginner boards have a recessed top and most have a non-slip surface, also known as a deck pad.
  • Bottom – Self Explanatory; the main concern here is what the bottom looks like. Smooth, convex, with or without rocker.
  • Nose – The front or Bow of the paddle board; the profile of the board nose help determines what category of paddle board as well as the type of application it serves.  Sea Eagle offers two styles which can be found here: Sea Eagle Paddleboards
    • LongBoard LB11 –  Features a comfortable rocker and rounded nose for surfing and leisure paddling. Known as a Surf or All-Purpose profile
    • NeedleNose – Features a distinct needle nose for wave piercing and faster paddling.  Also known as a Touring or Racing profile
  • Tail – The back of the board; a rounded profile lends to smooth turns while a more abrupt corner allows for more aggressive turning.
  • Rocker – The upwards curvature of the Nose or Bow of the board.  All-purpose and Surf boards should feature some sort of rocker.
  • Fins or Stabilizers – Sometimes removable like the directional stabilizers on most of Sea Eagle’s Kayaks, the fins provide direction and contribute to the overall stability of the board.  Some performance Surf paddle boards feature an inward camber to help prevent the board from sliding out when on a wave.  This of course works against someone who is looking for distance or speed.


Stand Up Paddle Boards are made from many varying materials and methods.  The inflatable paddle boards from Sea Eagle are all DropStitchIllustrationmade with either 1100 Decitex PVC or 1000 Denier PVC.  At the core, the paddle boards are constructed using the drop stitch method, ensuring the correct shape of the paddle board and giving each board it’s rigidity.  The seams are all quadruple overlapped to ensure a leak free seal allowing the unit to be inflated to it’s maximum pressure without failure over and over again.


Sea Eagle has broken their offering of Stand Up Paddleboards into two different profiles with a few package options to meet most LB11 top largeconsumer needs.  The first to hit the market was the LongBoard LB11 SUP which pioneered the way for Sea Eagle into the inflatable SUP market.  The Sea Eagle LB11 LongBoard is an all-purpose SUP (or Surf SUP) with the beginner and leisure paddler in mind. Though it isn’t as efficient for distant paddles or racing, the LB11 makes up for it in stability, building confidence while still having fun.


The NeedleNose series from Sea Eagle was the second design release to consumers for their consideration.  Appealing to the moreNN114 top view seasoned users, or those bold enough to try, the NeedleNose Paddle Board featured a touring/racing profile.  It’s pointed nose pierces the waves and helps maintain a steady course, even with deep strokes and the speed to match.  It also has many of the creature comforts found on the LongBoard and the same variety of packages suitable for almost every user.


The obvious advantages of an inflatable product are revealed in the nature of the product.  It’s inflatable, which means it deflates into a small enough package to fit in the backpack they come with.  It stores it a small space, whether it’s your closet, attic, crawlspace or the trunk of your smart car.  Finally, should it come to it, repairing the paddleboard is easy enough.  There are no special tools or major skills needed to fix the flat.

All in all, an inflatable paddleboard from Sea Eagle is a suitable choice for most enthusiasts lacking the storage required for a rigid board, not to mention fitting it on the Bus!

Got a question? Feel free to fill out this form and we’ll get back to you!