Repairing Surfboards

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Surfboard Repairs

Surfboard Repairs

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

Mixing resin

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 a polyester resin surfboard 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

Cold climates up to 17 degrees Celsius
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 over 30 degrees
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.

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 Fiberglass 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 surfboard.

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

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 hole-saw 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

Q&A

Question

I need to know of any specific way or ways to dry a surfboard before repairingthanks Ramon

Answer Hi Ramon

I know that drying a surfboard fast will get you back in the water sooner, but if you rush it and patch the ding without letting it dry thoroughly you will end up with the yellow look.When I was young we used to first suck the water out, as soon as we got out of the water. Tastes really bad and although it did take out some water, I think placing your board so the ding is at the lowest point is best and let the water drain out.Some people I know use a vacuum cleaner, and the funny little knife shaped attachment that is used for cleaning sofas (made of rubber) and suck water out this way.This works, but you still need to let gravity do its job after you remove the bulk of the water.Usually takes a couple of days in a non-humid climate.

Other Things: Air conditioning can speed up the process. Don't put your surfboard out in the sun, it's the perfect way to get a delamination.

Question

Hi My surfboard is going brown on the bottom it started at the tail end of the surfboard and has now gone half way up the board.Thanks for any advice

Answer

Hi Yes it does matter if your surfboard is going brown.If you look at your surfboard where it started going brown you will find a small ding (hole or break in the fibreglass coating) The brown is caused by water going in through this ding and turning the foam core brown.The long-term.... the brown foam will turn into powder and you will get delamination and bubbles under the fibreglass. The surfboard will also get heavy. We have a surfboard like this and we found the best use for it, is a sign out the front of the shopIf you see a slight yellowing on your surfboard, guaranteed there is a ding, you should find the ding and repair as soon as possible (make sure you let the board dry out first)Check out surfboard repairs for more details on fixing your surfboardHope this helps

Question

Thank you very much for the instructions on your website.I was surfing log cabbins and managed to ding the nose of my board, but kept on surfing for another 2 hours until the fiberglass on the bottom of my ripped off.Now since I'm unemployed I cant send it to the shop to repair. The rip is about 17" from nose to tail,and 9" wide. I also cut off the loose fiberglass so now I wanna try to fix it myself. any tips or instructions you might give would be much appreciated.Thanks for the instruction on how to spray paint since this is what I will do after I fix the tear. Mahalo's

Answer

Hi This is probably the most difficult repair to do on a surfboard. If you don't get it right you will change the bottom shape of your board. Seeing it is near the nose it may not have a big effect on the boards performance. Really I always recommend that this type of ding you send to someone to repair.

But anyway, here goes..... First let the board dry out for a few days as its for sure taken in a lot of water.

Trim the loose bits of cloth that are sticking up from all the edges. (already done)

Tape off the exposed area about 5mm around the entire edge of the patch.

sand this 5mm area to create a key for the resin to stick to.

Sand the top of the delaminated piece the same as above.

Do not touch the foam side of the patch or the foam in the surfboard..... this is really important.

This is the critical part........Next use a mix of filler resin and put enough resin to really wet the delaminated cloth when you put it in the hole. Use an ice cream stick to push the cloth into the resin, there should be enough resin so that it oozes out onto the 5mm edge (but not too much). Smooth this out with your stick. Keep making sure the piece is flat on the foam and that there are no air bubbles under. Once the resin is nearly dry trim off any cloth sticking up, if you haven't already pushed these down previously.

Next put a thin coat of sanding resin over the entire area, when it is going off, remove the tape.

Sand the entire area so it is smooth, tape it off again and apply a thin coat of finishing resin.

I really hope this turns out ok. Would love to see a photo of the spray job when you are finished 🙂Keep surfing

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.

Go to How to Spray Paint a Surfboard Page

Our recommended range of spray paints and spray painting books and DVDs

 
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