How to Shape Surfboards

Do you want to learn how to shape surfboards? There are a few methods to going about creating your own surfboard, and shape often depends on personal preference and specific individual needs.

It is possible to buy a surfboard blank, where the shape is already pretty much complete one simply has to finish it.  If using a foam piece and plan to cut and shape the surfboard from scratch, more steps are involved.

Things Needed to Shape a Surfboard:

  • Large piece of hard foam
  • Additional hard form for practice
  • Template, Stencil, or other to help with shape
  • Hand Saw
  • Sander and sand paper 

How to Shape a Surfboard:

  1. If starting with a large, blank sheet of foam, you will need to design a template. Decide on the size and shape needed for the board and proper measurements for your size and usage. Create the template.
  2. Measure the large sheet of foam and draw a line directly down the center. This will assist you when placing the template, tracing the shape, and cutting. Draw the line on both sides of the foam sheet.
  3. Position the template along the center line, trace. Repeat on the other side of the center line, and then again on the underside of the sheet of foam. Be sure to note the position on both sides of the foam so you do not have two traced templates going in opposite directions.
  4. With a hand saw, carefully saw about 1/2 inch out from the traced template. You want to leave enough room for shaping, and mistakes.
  5. Once the initial board has been cut, begin with sanding the edges. Sand in long, even strokes until you get closer to the traced template shape drawn on the board on both sides.  It is advisable to not sand completely to the lines drawn just yet, but perhaps bring the edges in 1/4 to 1/8 inch from the lines. Be sure to check the underside as you are shaping.  Continue sanding around the board.  Use care and sand only lightly as you approach the ends.
  6. Once the edges have been sanded and you have the general shape, you can begin sanding the top and bottom near the ends, tapering the two surfaces toward the center and creating a curve.  Alternate from top to bottom to ensure even curvature shaping of the surfboard, and use long, even strokes.



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