Editor’s Note: This article is presented by our partners at Elephant Seal.
The sun is shining, the breeze is blowing gently offshore, and the waves are five to six feet. You’ve just paddled out, and you’re ripping, sending spray so high that water droplets look like they’re cascading down from the heavens (at least that’s what you tell yourself).
The next set comes in, and you’re up. You float through the first couple of sections, and that’s when you notice how shallow it’s gotten, and the approaching pile of rocks up ahead. As you bail out over the lip, you hear an unmistakable thunk. “Maybe it just hit the water funny,” you tell yourself as you reel your board in to inspect for damage. Your eyes scan while your hands explore the rails. You feel it before you see it, then reality sinks in. Session over.
Maybe the above scenario is how you dinged your board, ending an epic day early. It happens. Or maybe you were in a rush in the parking lot and placed your board precariously against the car, only to watch it topple over while you were shimmying into your wetsuit. That happens, too.
Dings are a bummer, and pretty much inevitable. But they don’t need to be session-ending. That’s why in 2005 Adam Kenter developed Elephant Seal Surfboard Repair Film that serves as a quick solution to fix damaged boards, making dings completely watertight so you can get back in the water faster.
“I pride myself on being good with my hands, but for some reason, I could never get resin repairs right,” Kenter told us. Doing a full-blown ding repair is a lengthy and intense process, not to mention permanent. “Doing ding repair properly with resin requires a good amount of time to get it right. If you rush through it, chances are you’re going to wind up with a bigger headache than what you started with. With Elephant Seal, the entire repair might take 5 minutes, and you can be sure the ding is 100 percent watertight.
Elephant Seal Surfboard Repair Film is an adhesive patch that applies just like a sticker. But the difference between Elephant Seal and the classic MacGyver solutions surfers often resort to for a quick ding repair is that ES is a purpose-built product designed specifically for surfboards. As far as “quick-fixes”, packing tape, duct tape or even stickers will eventually fail, if they work at all.
Kenter and his team designed Elephant Seal Surfboard Repair Film with the limitations of common quick-fix methods top of mind. The repair film locks out moisture, filters UV rays, and is flexible, so it can be effectively applied to all areas of a surfboard: top, bottom, rails, tails, and noses alike. The adhesive element of the film is strong and dries instantly, but can also be removed with ease.
You can use Elephant Seal Repair Film as a temporary solution to fix a ding, or you can leave it on for the lifetime of your board. Each kit comes with 12 patches (hopefully that’s more than enough) and everything else you need to fix your board, all in an ergonomic, waterproof pack. While there are other adhesive-based ding repair products on the market, Elephant Seal completes the thought and provides a full-featured kit that’s been proven to work by surfers all over the world. “Everyone who tries it, loves it. Without exception. Even the skeptical old heads who scoff at it are eventually sold once they see it in action,” Adam says.
An Elephant Seal repair is a simple five-step process:
1. Use the included sandpaper to sand the damaged area down, making sure to remove any sharp edges.
2. Wipe the area with one of the included alcohol pads for a deep clean, providing a strong bond between your board and the Elephant Seal.
3. Choose an Elephant Seal patch size that fits the damaged area best. Use the plastic utility blade to help remove the patch from the backing sheet.
4. Place the patch over the damaged area, pressing down in the center and moving outward.
5. If you can see that the Elephant Seal extends past the edges of the ding on all sides, you can be confident that it’s watertight, and you’re ready to go.
Elephant Seal Surfboard Repair Film is a product that just makes sense to have in your bag. The kit is small enough to fit in your back pocket, and keeps you prepared for whatever life throws at you – provided that it’s surfboard-ding related. We won’t go as far to say we’re excited for our next ding, but when it happens, it’s nice to know we’ll be back in the lineup in no time.
Get your own back-pocket peace of mind at ElephantSeal.surf, or ask for Elephant Seal at your local surf shop.