Let’s face it, many of our surfboards are more valuable to us than the money we spent on them, so it is a good idea to take proper care of your boards.
Surfboards are pretty fragile considering the amount of abuse they go through–a simple foam core, usually supported somewhat by a stringer of some type and wrapped in a paper thin “skin” made out of fiberglass and resin.
If you are anything like me, you want that magic stick to last. Hell, even a board that doesn’t work that well for you may be perfect for someone else, so it is a good idea to take care of it to retain its resale value. Some people like to change their quiver often, so the better you care for your boards, the more you can get for them and put towards a new custom surfboard.
Fortunately, there are some really easy things you can do to prolong the life and look of your boards. We spend hard earned dollars on our quivers, and these three easy steps will help ensure that you get the most out of your purchase.
1. Bag It
This is the most important and easiest thing you can do for your surfboard. The surfboard bag is way more than just a handy tool to help you carry your board around from point A to point B. Dings don’t just happen in the water, and a bag is a safeguard against nearly everything when you’re not surfing.
Although surfboards can handle a lot of stress and punishment when being put through the ringer, they are fragile out of the water. It doesn’t take much to crack or ding that board, and can happen in the most unlikely ways… a water bottle rolling around in your car, your dog playing tug of war with your leash, etc. A decent surfboard bag is a protective layer from dings, knocks, scratches, sunlight–absolutely everything when it’s out of the water.
Keep your board in its bag at all times. That way, you can easily toss it in the back of your truck or car without worrying, you can chill on the beach for a few hours after a session without worrying about the sun (on your board, that is), and you can safely keep it in your house or garage knowing that if something falls on it or it falls over, it’ll be safe. It also helps to keeps it cool in hot places. Too much heat can lead to delamination or bubbles, where you find the “skin” peeling from the foam in certain areas. Plus, you can toss wetsuits, board shorts, fins, etc. inside, making the bag do all the work for you.
2. Keep it Safe
How many times have you seen someone new to surfing, or just someone clueless, lean their board on the car or against a wall standing upright? It doesn’t take much to cause that board to tip over: a light gust of wind, a heavy truck driving by rattling the ground, or someone tripping over the leash… these are all things likely to put a big ding in your board.
The same thing should apply when in your house or garage. Don’t lean your board against a single wall, as it is bound to tip over sooner or later. If you’re going to stand it up, put it in a corner. Better yet, get some wall mounted surf racks so you can store your boards off the ground. This will also help to keep you from stacking boards on top of one another and giving the bottoms a good ol’ wax job that is a pain in the butt to deal with.
And speaking of surf racks, a good set for your car or even your bike is well worth the money. We have all hopped on our bikes, steering with one hand and holding the board with the other. Racks on your bike keep your board parallel to the bike, helping to prevent it from swinging out and hitting a light pole, tree, or some unlucky pedestrian. A good set on your car will allow you to stack multiple boards (board bags and/or towels come in handy here) on the roof when on a road trip. They also allow you to keep the boards out of your car and wax off the upholstery, as well make room to cram in all your buddies for that road trip (as long as they pitch in for gas).
3. General Care and Maintenance
General care and maintenance of your board is crucial. If you get a ding, give it a rinse when you get out of the water. Salt water is very corrosive, and even though fiberglass is pretty resilient to it, it will do damage over time. Even boaters rinse off the decks and hulls of their boats after a sail.
Fix your dings ASAP. Dings will let in the highly corrosive saltwater and will eventually eat away at the foam inside the board if the are not attended to. EPS/epoxy boards are especially bad, since they suck up water like a sponge. The foam is not as dense as polyurethane (PU), so you should immediately get out of the water if it you get a ding.
In both cases, try rinse your board with fresh water, even over the dinged area. Let it dry out thoroughly before you patch it up, because you don’t want to trap that corrosive salt water in there.
Most surf shops carry ding repair kits, and there are a lot of resources available to fix your own dings through places like Fiberglass Hawaii where you can get the materials you need to repair any surfboard. When in doubt, get yourself an epoxy repair kit, as the resin is compatible with all types of foam. Polyester resin (common on the majority of PU foam surfboards) will melt the EPS foam found in most epoxy resin boards.
Here’s a hint you probably are not aware of: If you have a board with epoxy resin that is starting to yellow, you can grab one of those red Scotch Brite pads and give the board a light once over. It takes a very small amount of the surface resin away that has been yellowed by the sun’s UV rays, and your board will brighten up considerably, giving it an almost new look. Don’t worry though, you’d have to do this hundreds of times to do any damage to the board.
And the last couple of points: Don’t ride your board all the way into the beach, running your fins into the sand. Why compromise your fin boxes and risk losing a fin in the process?
Always wear a leash. The last thing you want do it lose your board and have it smash onto the rocks repeatedly before you can get to it. Or even worse, into some innocent kid’s head.
A lot of this info may be common knowledge, but it is still good to have a reminder every now and then. Surfboards should not be as disposable as they are these days. The broken boards in our landfills take hundreds of years to break down, so take care of your boards, fix your dings, and keep them as long as possible. We owe it to Mother Nature. After all, she’s nice enough to allow us to play in her ocean.
This was originally published on Boardcave.com