Vent plug planning mishap HWS


I am building my first wooden hollow surfboard: this awesome 7’2" minimal and it’s going really well. The laminating is almost done, next up is installing the fin boxes and vent/leash plug. I glued pieces reinforcement wood on places where I’m going to router out the finboxes and vent/leash plug. So far so good.

The only thing I did not think about before closing the board is the air flow within. I bought a gore-tex ventilating leash plug, with the idea I would have one hole less in my board. When making the stringer and ribs, I cut out large parts of the inside to decrease weight, but I did not think of the idea that this also enhances air flow. So, when cutting the smallest ribs (the ones in the tail and nose), I didn’t cut holes in the middle, because I thought since these ribs themselves are pretty small already, I didn’t think it would make that much difference. So, this means I can put in the ventilated leash plug, but the last chamber is not connected to the next, same goes for the second chamber.

This puts me in the awkward position of having to somehow get some ventilation in my board. In my eyes I have two options:

  1. Use the ventilated leash plug anyway, and try to pry holes in the ribs from the one hole I’m going to make for the plug. This looks kind of impossible since the ribs are 15cm/6’ apart and I would have to reach the second rib from the hole in the deck, with a drill, without damaging the deck.

  2. Get a regular leash plug, no problem here, and get a regular vent plug. Now, I would have no problem finding a spot somewhere else on the deck for the plug, for optimal air flow. The problem now is that I didn’t put any reinforcements inside to use this strategy. This seems like the most doable option of the two, but I don’t really know how to make it work.

How would you guys fix this? 

It might all sound a bit confusing when reading this, I can always try to find more pictures or try to answer your questions. Thanks!


I use thumbscrew vents as far up the nose as I can to facilitate max drainage for when the inevitable occurs, and for equalizing pressure once surfing, but I always add plug before laying deck panels.


Perhaps flange your vent collar so it cannot fall too deep while epoxy cures, keep a vaccuum next to drill bit when drilling the hole 

I have a few questions, but I can give you my opinion. Since I don’t know you’re woodworking skill level and tool situation I’ll try to keep it as easy as I can. I actually ran into almost the same situation on my last build. First of all install the vented leash plug as is. It will keep the space vented even if its a small space. More important it will answer the question of if you can drill into the next frame or not. If you can drill then drill it out and be done with it.

If you can’t drill out the next frame it can get a little squirrely, but do able. I would pick a spot for a second vent. Use either a goretex vent or screw and insert, whichever you prefer. Find/make a wooden dowel slightly bigger than your vent 1/4" or 5-6mm, a little thicker than your board, and of complementary colored wood. In this case, probably the same wood as your darker strip which looks like sapele. Very carefully drill a hole through the top deck only the exact size of the dowel. Test fit the dowel as needed to ensure snug and shape the bottom of the dowel to match the bottom deck as best as can. Mark the dowel where it is flush with the top deck. Drill vent paths through the dowel below the previous marked line. Drill both axially and radially vent paths. Carefully glue the dowel into the hole with your choice of glue. Don’t get glue into the vent paths you drilled and ideally glue it to the inside of the bottom deck. Cut whatever is left of the dowel slightly about the deck and then sand flush. Depending on the type of vent you are using drill and install the vent. Tape it off and glass any exposed wood. The thing I like about this approach is you get the feature you want, a vent, and it doesn’t look like an after thought because you accentuate it with a complementary colored wood. It looks intentional, not accidental. Also having it glue to both decks adds some strength and stability. 

I’m attaching pictures of a similar fix I did for my leash plug that I forgot to add before closing up the decks. My dowel was a piece of cherry that I turned on a lathe, but anything bigger than your vent will work. I also accidentally drilled through both of my decks so that was a pain to fix. I found an after glassing picture of the fix so you can see how it turned out. I also added some MS Paint to the picture of my dowel where I would drill. Just imagine that the leash plug is your vent.

If you have any questions or need a better explaination just ask.