If you surf regularly, sooner or later your board is going to get a ding, so knowing hot to fix surfboards is an important skill for every surfer. Large jobs like broken boards, buckles, delaminated decks, gaping holes, and ripped-out fin plugs require professional attention or significant ding-repair experience. This article will focus on how to fix surfboards with superficial dings. For very small repairs, a quick-fix gel like suncure will sufficiently fix surfboards, but this article will focus on slightly larger jobs with significant glass damage.
- Sandpaper (hi and low grit)
- Resin and catalyst
- Fiberglass cloth
- Rubber gloves
- Popsicle stick
- Small cup
- Identify the problem: Any damage to a surfboard is considered a ding. When a ding takes on water it is more serious and must be repaired. When damage to the glass is significant, or foam is exposed, the ding must be repaired immediately.
- Dry the ding: Before attempting to fix surfboards, it is important to make sure the damaged area is completely dry. Let the board drip dry in a cool place, or leave the board in the sun, with the wound facing up, to try to evaporate the water out. Cutting away pieces of damaged glass with a blade expedites the process. Sealing water in a board can cause big problems down the line.
- Sand the area: After cutting away the damaged glass, sand the area for repair. Sanding the glass will help the new resin form a bond.
- Tape off the area: Use thin painter’s tape to tape off a square area around the ding.
- Cut the fiberglass: Cut a piece of fiberglass cloth slightly larger than the taped area.
- Mix the resin: Put on your gloves. This is the most important part of the process. To properly fix surfboards you must properly mix the resin. Important: Do not use polyurethane resin on an EPS epoxy board. The foam will melt. Epoxy resin goes both ways, but poly resin may only be used on poly boards. Mix the resin and the catalyst in a small cup with a Popsicle stick. The resin jar will explain the appropriate mixing quantities.
- Paint: Use the brush to paint a bit of resin on the ding. Then place the fiberglass over the resin. Now paint over the cloth, soaking it thoroughly and sticking it to the existing glass. Paint the resin the taped edges, but do not go beyond the tape.
- Cure: Place the board in the sun to let the resin cure. This could take minutes or hours depending on the strength of the sun and the type of resin.
- Cut: When the resin is a bit beyond tacky, but not quite cured, cut the fiberglass along the tape’s inside edge. If the glass moves with the box-cutter, it’s not sufficiently dry. Once you cut the glass, pull up the tape and remove the excess cloth. Place back in the sun to continue the curing process.
- Sand: After the resin has completely cured (usually overnight) it is time to sand. Sanding is an important process whenever you fix surfboards. Use low grit sand paper at first, then switch to high.
Paint again (optional): Some people like to add a bit more resin for aesthetics. This is a judgment call. As long as the board is sealed and sanded the ding has been sufficiently fixed.