Afraid to Ask: What’s the Deal With Vent Screws?

Why this tiny bolt really matters. And THE trick to never forgetting about it.

Video Transcript

Hi everyone, I’m Eddy and today we’re gonna start things a little different. One of my favorite authors is Kurt Vonnegut and he once wrote that his chief complaint in life is that, when alive, it’s all too easy to make perfectly horrible mistakes.

Behold the vent plug. One of these tiny little parts in windsurfing which is all too easy to forget about. And doing so carries serious consequences.

Today we’re going to talk about what it is, and how to use it, and how using it properly can preserve the life of your board in big ways. We’re also going to show you a trick so you don’t ever forget about it.

First and foremost what is this thing? It is a valve. It’s a plug that can both seal the board and allow it to breathe. When you’re hitting the water, anytime you’re getting in the water, you want to seal it. Although there are some quick little caveats to that.

The first is you want to make sure that this little rubber ring is on your vent plug. You also want to make sure it’s not damaged.

The other thing you want to be careful about is when screwing this in it is not a screw that you torque. You just screw it until snug. And then you’re done.

OK, again when you’re hitting the water you want to keep your vent plug in obviously.

When you’re out of the water – if you talk to most board repair people out there, they will tell you that no matter when you’re out of the water take your vent screw out of your board.

But there’s one important exception and that is if your board is wet and you’re stowing it in a board bag do not remove your vent plug. The reason for that is that while your board is drying in your board bag, the water moisture that’s wicking off the board will actually sneak into the board. Water in the board can cause damage to the foam and the integrity of it.

So we’ve talked about when you want to have this vent plug inserted. Times that you want to have it out is if you’re going up in elevation a lot like traveling in a plane going up over Mt. Hood. Also, if you’re leaving the board out in the sun it’s going to heat up.

Again, this is why most board repair people say just take the vent plug out – provided you’re not stowing it wet in a bag. But taking the vent plug out presents a real problem when you go to hit the water, and that is can you remember to put it back in?

And behold here comes our trick. You’re going to take the vent plug – the fat end – and if you’ve got these Chinook base plates here you’re gonna stick the fat end in the hole. Close

the gate and believe it or not this plug will not fall out of the gate. When you go to attach your sail … well you can’t attach your sail when there’s a vent plug in your hole here. So you’re gonna pull it out, put it in your board and never forget about it again. My name is Eddy thanks for joining me here from Big Winds. Hope to see you on the water very soon!

Eddy PetricelliEddy Patricelli is a co-owner of Big Winds. From 2001-2007 he was the editor of WindSurfing magazine. He has been windsurfing (and teaching windsurfing) for decades. See his best video tip for getting your kids onboard here.

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