Repairing a surfboard isn’t as complicated as it seems. If you are a surfboard owner, one of the things that you need to learn is how to repair your board, which can be especially advantageous if you find yourself at a location without skilled repairmen who can do it for you. With this in mind, it is imperative to invest a little bit of time and money to gain the resources and tools you need to successfully pull off a surfboard repair on your own.
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All Surfboards are Created Equal - They Get Damaged at Some Point
No matter the frequency of use and quality of construction, your surfboard will eventually get a ding. No surfboard is indestructible which means you have the option of replacing it or obtaining repair either by a professional or using your own two hands. Remember that the longer you own a surfboard, the more likely it will incur more dings and dents.
This is not to say that your board will suffer from damage every time you set out to sea. With frequent use, however, your surfboard is more likely to suffer from buckles, chips, compressions, sun damage, dings, and dents.
Why should I do the surfboard repair myself?
From a financial perspective, it makes perfect sense to learn how to fix your surfboard. If you find the need to replace a damaged board with a new one every single time, you’ll end up making quite a big dent in your bank account. You worked hard to get that sleek surfboard, and in the case of small dings and dents, it’s definitely worth saving.
Paying a professional to repair a board is efficient, but wouldn’t it be incredibly rewarding if you can save money and take care of your surfboard conveniently in the comfort of your own home? The benefits of learning how to repair dents and dings on your board go beyond its financial benefits. If you become an expert at doing minor repairs on surfboards, the added skill, knowledge, and a comprehensive ding repair kit may even allow you to provide repair services to fellow surfers, thus providing you an extra income on the side.
Establish Your Own Workspace
The first thing you need to consider is a repair area at home. You will need to allot a space where you can efficiently work on your surfboard- a space that is big enough to accommodate your board as well as the tools and materials to facilitate the repair.
Apart from ample space, you need to obtain implements to make big and small ding repair possible and convenient, including an upside-down ironing board and two bar stools or anything that will support the surfboard as you fix the dinged area and dents.
Surfboard Repair Kit- An Overview
Apart from a workspace, you need to build your own ding repair kit. It’s a smart investment as it will allow you to enjoy savings in the long haul. Instead of going to a surfboard repair shop, you benefit the most by buying your own ding repair kit – one that you can take anywhere and everywhere you go.
What do you need to repair a surfboard?
Here is a comprehensive list of products, tools, and other materials that are usually found in basic ding repair kits:
- Epoxy Resin
- Fibreglass Cloth
- Masking Tape
- Sandpaper (80,120, 180, 400 grit)
- Mixing Cup
- Stir Sticks
- Wax Comb
- Sanding Resin and Catalyst
- Razor Blade
- Q-Cell Filler
- Rotary Tool with cutting disc
- Digital Scale
Now on to the steps of repairing minor dings and dents on your board.
How To Repair Minor Dings And Dents On Your Board
Assess the board and closely inspect critical points
Check the overall condition of your surfboard. Before you repair a surfboard, gently wipe it clean and get rid of the old paraffin as well as other foreign items on your board. Closely examine the critical points for the presence of a dent or ding, as well as seriously damaged part which can be easily accomplished through a breath test.
Simply rest your lips on the critical point to be examined and make an attempt to pull up the air. If you feel air coming, this is a positive sign that your board is suffering from a crack or water infiltration issue. Before starting the actual repair, make sure to remove all traces of water in the repair area for best results.
Cutting it out
Getting rid of a damaged part such as a ding or a dent can be accomplished with the use of a razor blade. This is an efficient tool that will remove imperfections in and around dinged areas, such as broken crushed, and rotting parts.
You need a clean and dry surface to work on and rebuild the fibreglass and outer coating. Be sure to air dry recent dings and surrounding areas under direct sunlight before the cutting process.
Thoroughly clean the surface with a fiberglass cloth
For this step, you will need to use a wax cob to remove the remaining wax, plastic wrap, and other substances from the area you wish to repair. Pour a small amount of acetone to break down the wax and other foreign substances speedily.
Remove serious infiltrations
This step should only be done in case of serious damage or if you suspect that a large quantity of saltwater has infiltrated your board. Widen the crack, even more, to get rid of salt from the inside with clean, freshwater. Direct a stream of fresh water to wash away all traces of debris, dirt, and salt.
Give the board enough time to breathe
Leave your board to air dry under the sun or in an area of your home that receives ample sunlight. Once your board is completely dry as evidenced by the absence of foam or bubbles and any sign of humidity, you may then proceed with the repair of the dent or ding. Make sure that board interiors are completely dry before fixing any crack.
Sanding the surfboard
Take sandpaper between 30 and 60 grit to sand down the area that you cut to create a smoother surface. Avoid using sandpaper with a higher grit level as this can result in a surface that easily bonds the repair to your board.
Taping the dented surface
Take your masking tape to tape a circle around the area you cut. Make sure to leave an inch between the outer rim of the damaged area and the starting point of the tape. By using this technique, you provide continuity for the repair to stick to, while also limiting the repair area.
Mixing sanding resin and epoxy resin
This is the step where you need to be accurate with your measurements. Take 1 ounce of the sanding resin and combine it with the Q-cell mixture or resin filler. Stir the epoxy mixture gradually until it develops into a thick white paste consistency. Apply 10 drops of catalyst and gently stir again. This will be the final product to apply on dents and dings.
Apply a thin layer of the resin mixture into the damaged area of your board. Use a stirring stick to apply the resin coat to the board, making sure it covers all the edges and grooves of the dent or ding. Apply the compound to prevent the introduction of air bubbles on the board. Lastly, pour an adequate amount of the mixture so that it sits above the board’s surface. Having a bit of allowance will help in creating an even and flush surface during wet sanding.
Use light sandpaper on the repair area, then proceed with grouting. Grouting entails the use of resin mixed with a small amount of silicon powder. Combine the resin with silicon powder until you reach a consistency that is similar to grout. Fill the cracks smoothly with the mixture. Use a small piece of spatula and let it dry completely.
Once dry, use thin sandpaper to make the fibreglass or foam surface smooth and even. Grouting should be performed outdoors as resin hardens more efficiently at higher temperatures.
Sanding down the mixture
Once the compound completely dries, you may now proceed to sand. Depending on factors such as humidity, temperature, and the amount of mixture used on the board, the drying time will vary. It is important to note that in order to effectively deal with cracks and repair dings and dents, you need to be 100% sure that the resin has dried completely, both inside and out.
How to repair a surfboard tip #1: If this is your first time sanding a board for repair, make sure to do it by hand. Sanding the epoxy resin is crucial to ensure that the mixture applied remains flush with the rest of your surfboard. Over time and with experience, you may proceed to sand it down a little further to avoid fibreglass patches from standing resulting in a smoother and even finish.
Cut and mix
Cut the fibreglass sheets into two different circles, with one being a bit larger than the other. Combine 1 ounce of your sanding resin and 10 more drops of the catalyst. Gently stir the materials and wait a few minutes for the mix to harden until it reaches a thick, viscous consistency.
Apply the mix to fibreglass
Apply the catalyst and epoxy resin mix to the Q-cell sanded area using a paintbrush. Make sure to fill in as thinly and evenly as possible. Place the larger piece of fibreglass patch on top where you applied the catalyst and epoxy resin mix.
Pour some resin directly on top of the fibreglass layer. Spread the compound evenly for a smooth and even surface. Finally, apply the smaller fibreglass patch in the same manner. Once again, pour some resin directly on top while ensuring an even and smooth surface.
When repairing, make sure that both fibreglass layers are firmly pressed against the board, making sure no foam or bubbles are present before you sand the board.
It’s time to sand again! Once the resin and fibreglass layers have completely hardened, you may now sand your board.
How to repair a surfboard tip #2 – Do not sand the board so hard as you may sand too much of the fibreglass layers. Going hard during this step will result in useless repair.
Resin coating application
The next step is to apply the final epoxy coating, but make sure to add at least 15 more drops of catalyst to the mix. Stir in the catalyst and then apply it evenly and thinly to your board. The extra drops will facilitate fast curing when repairing surfboard and ensure a superior fibreglass seal. Wait for the final layer of resin coating to dry before you proceed with the finishing touches.
The final step of how to repair a surfboard entails wet sanding. Introduce a small amount of water to the board’s surface and then use high grit sandpaper. Use slow circular motions so as not to disturb recently repaired areas. Take note that a paste will naturally develop on the sandpaper and residual resin will wash off your repaired board.
As the careful surfer that you are, take your time during this process until you achieve an almost, brand-new, glossy coat on your board.
How to repair your surfboard tip #3- To ensure the applications are completely cured, it’s wise to wait a day or two so you don’t end up redoing the entire process a second time. Once completely dry and cured, you may then go ahead and start conquering the waves with your newly-repaired and awesome surfboard.
What to do with major board damage?
In the unfortunate event that your board suffers from severe damage, major break, big cracks, or large gashes in the fibreglass or foam, the ideal solution is to bring your surfboard to a surf shop and get a second opinion on whether it can be remedied by DIY fix or a professional-grade fix.