Kite pumps are like sunglasses.
It seems like every time I invest in an expensive pair of shades something happens to them. I’ll forget them somewhere, leave them in someone’s car, lose them on the beach or they’ll get scratched, broken or stolen. Meanwhile, the cheap gas station aviators stick around forever.
Pumps are the same story. I’ve gone through about ten decent ones in my days- some I purchased new and some, admittedly, I inherited from friends with the same forgetful tendencies as myself. For one reason or another, it’s always the same crusty old pump that makes it with me to the beach and back. I’ve had it for years, and my friends give me a hard time about constantly, considering I work for a kiteboarding company. Having the worst pump on the beach does have its benefits- nobody asks me to borrow it and nobody seems interested in stealing it.
Every time I use someone’s new, bazooka-like pump (a shameless plug for the Slingshot Kim K Pump), I marvel at how smooth it feels, how much less it hurts my back and how much faster I can inflate my kite. But, like the pair of $200 Ray Bans I’ll bought last summer and lost the next day, I guess I just wasn’t meant to have a big baller pump. Instead, I’ll just have to do a little maintenance and get another season out of old Betsy.
Here’s how to give your old pump new life:
- In a clean, sand-free area unscrew the pump cap and separate the handle and plunger from the pump body. If this is your first time disassembling your pump, it may take a little extra effort.
- Thoroughly clean and wipe all internal parts with a basic all-purpose household cleaner. DO NOT USE WD40, it can break down the rubber seals and gaskets and ruin your pump.
- Inspect all rubber components, gaskets and seals. Most pump parts are non-replaceable, so if something is damaged or malfunctioning, you’ll either have to find fix or get a new pump.
- Clean and Inspect the two small in/out valves at the base of the plunger. Make sure they are securely in place.
- Make sure the plunger is tight on the shaft.
- Clean the inside of the pump body.
- Lubricate interior components and the inside of the pump with silicon spray or lithium grease.
- Reassemble, screw tight and cycle pump a couple times to ensure smooth operation and an even layer of lube.
- Pump hose: Leaks are most common at the base of the hose where it connects to the pump. If that is the case, you can cut the hose just above the leak, cut out the pump attachment and re-glue it to the remaining section of hose.
Important: Don’t use WD40, it can break down the rubber components and ruin your pump