It’s inevitable that at some point, you will ding your favorite surfboard. Whether you have a quiver or just a single favorite board, there are a few options when this happens. You could get a new board. You could fix it yourself. Or, you could just hire someone to help you out. Though we all wish we could just get a new board every time something happens to our favorite stick, we usually have to settle for option two or three. There’s also surfboard insurance. But that’s another thing entirely. Fixing your own board might sound appealing, but, if you want my opinion, (and you’re here, so…), DIY ding repair isn’t worth it. I’d recommend that you get an expert to do it for you.
Sure, there are good reasons to try and repair your own boards. It’s cheaper. You have control over when your board gets fixed. You get some spiritual connection to your board by having worked on it. Well…whatever reasons you think fixing your own boards is a good idea, I encourage you to reconsider.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve tried a quick fix on a ding with some wax or a glob of Solarez and only ended up making the problem worse. Each time is the same. I cut a session short and vow that this time I’ll fix my board properly. Then some swell or a sunny day will come around and I’ll use whatever I have on hand to make my board “watertight.” Then one of three things happen. The wax still lets water in. The patch falls off. Or the patch stays on, but I can never quite sand it down enough so it leaves a glob of resin sticking out. Each outcome is less than ideal and could easily be avoided by hitting up a local ding repair guy. You know, a specialist who does a great job with this kind of thing.
And that’s only for the easy patches. Things get even more challenging when something really goes wrong with your board’s glass. I’ve watched the videos (which you’ll probably look up) that make fixing whatever is wrong with your board look like a breeze. It’s not. I’ve tried fixing broken noses and tails, busted fin boxes, new leash plugs, and delaminating glass. Ninety percent turned out like absolute garbage. There are tons of steps, like properly sanding or hot coating, that go into a good looking, functional repair. And if we’re being honest with ourselves, we have no tools or patience for all of these. Maybe you want to sand down the glass around a ding so you can get a flush patch? Good luck getting anything done with that tiny little sanding block that comes with a repair kit.
Want to make sure your patch doesn’t fall off or need to be redone? That takes some real practice that most of us just don’t have. Graduating to the level of filling with Q Cell is easy. Figuring out how to make the next part functional and look good is hard.
If you want to save yourself the headache, you know…from all the resin fumes dealing with boards in a constant state of disrepair or mid-repair, talk to your local shop’s ding specialist. Save yourself the frustration of sessions missed due to a busted board or an awful patch and go with the experts. There’s nothing enlightening about struggling with sanding and glassing your board back together. While the dollar cost can be prohibitive in certain cases, you’re not missing anything if you let someone else take care of your board for you. The next time you bust part of your board, know that there’s someone out there who can help you fix it. Thank you, ding repair guys. I, for one, appreciate you.