Fieldey at work. Photo: <a href="">Fieldey</a>

Fieldey at work. Photo: Fieldey

The Inertia

Firstly, don’t panic.

Painting surfboards is easy. Writing instructions about it is not as easy, which is why these instructions are a wee bit long. Follow them through and you should have the most amazing board. The video below will show you how it’s done, and there are step by step instructions to follow.

Fieldey says: Preparation is key!

Have a good idea. Draw it out and keep drawing it until you’re happy with the composition and the look. If you can’t get it to look awesome on paper, there’s no hope in hell of doing it on a 6-foot board! I personally think big is better, as you want people to spot you from a mile off on the beach so this board needs to look P-I-M-P(ed)!


Housework time: Preparation is the key to a long-lasting paint job. Since I use second-hand boards that have already been glassed, I have to prepare the surface well so that the paint will stick. If you miss a blob of wax, or do a shoddy sanding job, that will be where the paint will chip and crack off first.

Check out the clip below, which shows my preparation process from start to finish, or read through the instructions underneath.

Step 1: If it’s a second-hand or old board you’ll need to remove the wax. Either stick it out in the sun for 10 minutes until the wax softens, or if it’s an overcast or cold day, give it a run-over with a hairdryer then scrape the wax off with a wax-comb or an old bank card.

Step 2: To make sure that the wax is all gone, wipe both sides of the board down with mineral turpentine, this will soften any remaining wax and it should wipe straight off.


Step 3: Now, because you’re a perfectionist and you want that paint job to last for ages, you’ll grab some acetone and wipe the board down one last time to get rid of any wax or oily residue from the turps.

Step 4: You now need to sand the side of the board you are painting. You want to give the paint a surface to stick to. Thus, you need to get rid of that glossy finish. Grab yourself some 240 grit sandpaper and do a couple of runs over the board with the sander. I do at least two for good measure, changing to a new piece of paper in between. It should look dull and not shiny any more. Don’t forget to sand the rails if you want to wrap your paint job further round the board. As per the picture, I use an old electric sander, but sanding by hand will work just as well.

Step 5: Last prep thing, I promise. You should mask out any areas you don’t want painted, because believe me, they will be the FIRST to get paint blobbed on them. Use a low-tack masking tape and cover the rails or reverse of the board.

"Saint Calamari" 2012. Aerosol and acrylic paint on surfboard. Photo: <a href="">Fieldey</a>

“Saint Calamari” 2012. Aerosol and acrylic paint on surfboard. Photo: Fieldey

Housework is done, prepare to get gnarly.

Step 6: Background time. I like to use spray paint for a quick and instant background. Much ink has been spilt debating the various types of spray paint to use, some like car paint, some like acrylic based, some like enamel based. I’m going to save you some time here, because I’ve experimented with most of that stuff, and the brand I like best is Molotow Premium aerosol paints. It dries fast, stays on like a motherbitch and it works for me.

So spray that background and wait for it to dry and you will be ready for…

1 2


Only the best. We promise.


Join our community of contributors.