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Most people think that the usual place to ding your surfboard is in the water, hitting rocks and other surfboards. Although this does happen quite often, most dings occur while taking your surf board to and from the beach. The best prevention is to always keep your board in a board cover when you're not riding it. There also many surfboard repair books
that will give you step by step instructions
There are two types of surfboard construction on the market. One is the traditional polyester resin and the other is epoxy. This is important as polyester resin and the polystyrene core of an epoxy board do not mix. If you use polyester resin on an epoxy surfboard it will be time to buy a new surf board. As the resin will eat away the polystyrene core.
Epoxy on polystyrene is OK and is sometimes the best solution when you're on the road, as there are many generic products which have an epoxy base, which are suitable for repairing surfboard dings.
The best resin mixes are for
cold climates up to 17 degrees celcius
20 drops of hardener to 30 mls of resin
between 17 - 30 degrees
10 drops of hardener to 30 mls of resin
hot climates such as Thailand
5 drops of hardener to 30 mls of resin
The best way to become accustomed to the mixes of hardener and resin is to sacrifice a few batches and try different ratios. If you make a mix too hot it will crack and turn yellow, in the extreme it will actually catch on fire. Better to waste a few mls of resin than a few surfboards! And it's fun!!
Drying Your Surfboard
If you do get a ding in the water the first thing to remember is that water has seeped into the ding and penetrated the foam inside. Before you can fix the ding you need to let your surfboard dry out. This could take up to a week in humid conditions. Just push on the ding and if water comes out it is still wet. Forum Discussion on Drying your surfboard
If you repair your surf board before it is dry it will certainly lead to at the least yellowing, and the worst de-lamination and/or the ugly sunken look.
Go to Surfboard fibreglass supplies (resin, foam, ding repair kits)
Rail shatters and fractures
The first type of ding is the shatter, which has broken through the protective layer of fiberglass on your surfboard. Sometimes these are difficult to spot, but they let in water and cause the problems, as I discussed earlier.
The best way to fix a shatter, is first to lightly sand around the edges and any exposed edges of cloth, if it goes through the entire thickness of the outer coating to the foam you may need to open the crack with a sharp knife and let it dry out first.
Next tape around the area, approximately 1 cm, with good quality masking tape (cheap tape soaks up the wet resin and can leave a mess). If the ding is near the edge of your board make sure you ramp the tape so the resin will drip off onto your mum's carpet. Oh yeah make sure you put down some newspaper before you start! Sorry about that mum!
Apply the resin with a spatula/ice cream stick, making sure you push the resin into the crack.
When the resin is almost dry pull off the tape, wait a few hours and sand smooth with water and fine wet and dry sandpaper. You should keep an eye on these type of dings as they will most probably open up again and need re-patching.
Bigger dings, fin cuts and gashes
First of all sand around the area the same as for a shatter and then tape it off. Mix up a cold batch of resin and add to this some foam powder, finely cut fiberglass matting or a filler (Q-cell) and mix together, so that it is like a paste or putty and push this into the ding with an ice-cream stick. Make sure the resin is forced into all the cracks and holes. Don't fill past the surface of the surboard.
When it is dry, apply a hot thin coat of finishing resin. Peel off the tape as the resin starts to set, leave to dry and sand flat with water and a fine wet and dry sandpaper.
Quick fix resin
There are many quick air/sun drying resins and patching compounds on the market. These are the next best alternative for repairing your board. Follow the steps as above and use a cover sheet to reduce the amount, if any, sanding.
A cover sheet could be a piece of plastic or wax paper, which you can place over the patch. Near the edge of your surfboard you may need to use tape to hold the sheet in place. Many of the better quick fix kits include a plastic sheet for this purpose.
When the resin is dry just slowly peel of the cover sheet and sand if needed.
Below are 2 popular quick fix resins
PhixDoctor Surfboard Repair Kit Epoxy/Poly Microkit 6 Pack
Repair a broken surfboard
Firstly, send your surfboard to a professional, as this type of repair is not easy and has many stages when things can go wrong. If this is not an option. read on.... but don't expect your first attempt will be perfect. This type of repair should be done by people who have been through the trial and error stages.
OK you didn't take your surfboard to a professional..good for you, for giving it a go...... but you have been warned!...firstly, you need to clean the broken ends of dirt and wax and let them dry out. Then using a disc sander, very carefully sand the jagged edges of fiberglass back and bevel down the edges of the fiberglass approximately 5 inches wide, don't sand through the outer layer of fiberglass cloth. Then tape off the edges.
Next, using a hand drill (not an electric drill) drill two ¼ inch holes into the face of one of the broken ends about 3 inches either side of the stringer and about 3 inches deep. Slide 2 x 6inch long pieces of dowel into the holes with a hotter mix of resin to secure them in place and leave to dry.
When dry, lay the two broken ends together on a flat surface and using wedges line the board up. Make sure that the rails, deck and bottom line up perfectly. Mark on the other end of your surfboard the insertion points of the dowel and drill 2 holes.
Next, attach with masking tape, four splints to the biggest end of the broken board. You will need to use wedges, so that the splints hold the two pieces in line. Prepare a hot mix of resin (not too hot!) and use it to glue the two ends together.
Don't forget to put resin on the dowel joints as well. Just slide the smaller end of your board into the splints and when the ends are in perfect alignment leave to dry. Make sure everything lines up before you apply the resin as a hot mix will give you a short working time.
The next step is to fill the open holes and cracks of the join. Using filler resin fill the cracks even with the surface and apply a cover sheet. When dry, rough sand the joins to give the final application of resin something to stick to.
Cut 2 strips of 6oz fiberglass cloth (1 for the top and 1 for the bottom) wide enough to cover the join and the area you previously sanded and long enough to overlap on the rails. One side at a time, lay the cloth in place and apply laminating resin using a paintbrush or squeegee and make sure all of the cloth is wet and turns clear.
Sand off any edges if needed, and apply a final coat of finishing resin with a paintbrush. Finally, sand with wet and dry sandpaper and water.
FCS plug repairs
FCS (Fin Control System®) fins and plugs are designed to break off at the fin tabs when they hit rocks or you. This minimizes damage to you and your board. If this happens just undo the fixing screws and remove the fin tabs with a small screwdriver.
Replace the fin and you're ready to go surfing.
Sometimes though, the FCS fin plug can be damaged and you will need to replace it.
You will need to drill around the outside of the damaged plug with a 1 1/8" hole saw. Mark the holesaw at ¾ inches so that you don't drill too deep. The hole saw should be cutting around the outside of the plug.
Next pry out the damaged plug, by putting a screwdriver in the fin slot and wiggle it back and forward until the plug cracks out.
The next step is replace with a new fin plug. Fix a fin into the new FCS plug. I like to use epoxy with a little white pigment, instead of resin to fix the plug in place as it is very very strong.
Put enough epoxy into the hole to glue the plug in place, making sure the epoxy doesn't get on the top of the plug. fix the fin into the plug being replaced and then the other undamaged plug and screw down. This will hold everything in alignment while it drys.
If you are replacing both plugs use masking tape to hold the fin in alignment.
When dry, remove the fin, screw the grub screw below the surface and fill any small holes or cracks with finishing resin (remember to not get any resin on the surface of the plug) and sand with wet and dry sandpaper and water.
You could also try browsing our surfboard repair books page
Go to Surfboard Repair Handbooks
Go to Surfboard fibreglass supplies (resin, foam, ding repair kits)
Got any questions?
Post them in the surfboard repair forum and get them answered.
How To Give Your Surfboard
A Custom Paint Job
Due to adding more and more information to this page.
We have moved the spray painting surfboards information.
Go To How to Spray Paint a Surfboard Page
The page includes:
What you need to Spray your surfboard
Planning your design
Spray Paint or Paint Pens?
Preparing Your Surfboard for Spray Painting
Cutting your design
Painting your surfboard
The Clear Coat
We've also put together a resource page on books and DVDs about painting your surfboard that will help you to decide. Drew Brophy's DVD is a must have if you decide to go for paint pens.
Post your questions in the surfboard painting forum
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