Surfboard Care: How to Make Your Boards Last Longer
It’s a feeling all surfers know. Whether you just picked up that brand new custom surfboard or found a new home for that $60 craigslist board, that first sign of damage really hurts. Don’t beat yourself up over it. The more you surf, the more likely dings, dents, pressure marks, and sun damage WILL happen. The good news is that surfboard maintenance is easy. Here are some very straightforward steps that you can take to prolong the life of your surfboard.
- Have a Dedicated Storage Area.
- Avoid Heat and Sunlight
- Repair Dings As Soon As Possible.
- Be Careful Not To Over Tighten Tie Down Straps
- Protect Your Surfboards in a Boardbag
Have a Dedicated Storage Area
The hard truth is that for the majority of surfers, boards spend more time on land than in the water. It’s a good idea to have a dedicated place to store your surfboards so that they remain well protected and easy to access.
Some good storage options are:
- Racked on a wall
A board rack is essential if you intend on maintaining a quiver of surfboards. There are some great DIY designs out there, (here’s a good one). You can also buy prefabricated racks here. No matter where you place your rack, make sure you have a SOFT BOTTOM for your boards to rest on. Yoga mats, foam panels and even towels provide ample padding to protect your board from floor-induced damage.
Avoid Heat and Sunlight
Try to limit exposure to heat and sun as much as possible. Ideally, the only time your board is exposed to the elements is while you're surfing. Make sure your storage area doesn’t get too hot. If windows are nearby, avoid placing your boards in the direct line of the sun.
Cars are a big one. The inside of a car on a summer day can easily exceed safe temperatures for your surfboard. High temperatures will warp and deform a surfboard. Don’t store your board inside of a car long term during periods of high heat.
If you’re stopping for lunch after a session, crack the windows to allow some airflow. To limit exposure to sunlight, cover your boards with a towel. Better yet, place your boards in a day bag. Just make sure to leave the bag unzipped to reduce heat.
Learn the Art of Surfboard Repair
Nothing is worse for your board than saltwater creeping into the foam. Salt water is corrosive and will rot your board from the inside out if you’re not paying attention. If your board is damaged while surfing, get out of the water as soon as possible.
If the waves are firing and you're in a pinch, you can stuff a piece of surf wax into the damaged area. It’s not a long term solution, but it will keep your board mostly watertight while you finish your session.
Repair the damaged area as soon as possible. Minor dings can be repaired with a sun curing resin like Solarez. Kits are available that contain everything you need to repair your board. More serious damage will need to be repaired with new fiberglass and a foam replacement, like q cell. You can purchase a heavy duty repair kit below (just make sure you buy the kit that corresponds to your surfboard’s material). If in doubt, take your board to a professional to be repaired. But don’t be afraid to conduct some trial and error. Knowing how to repair a surfboard is a great skill!
Solarez for minor repairs: Amazon.com
DingAll for more serious repairs: Amazon.com
Be Careful Not to Over Tighten Tie Down Straps
An often overlooked threat to the life of your surfboard is rack-induced board damage. Roof racks are far harder than a surfboard and will cause pressure dents or worse if not adequately padded. You can buy pads specifically made for roof racks here. For a low budget option, you can wrap towels around the racks.
Tie down straps can seriously damage the rails of your boards. Over tightening tie downs can crack your boards’ rails. Ratchet straps are easily over-tightened and should be avoided.
When securing your board to the roof of a car, the straps should be tight enough so that your boards don’t move around when driving at speed. A good way to know if your straps are tight enough is if the board does not move up when placing upward pressure. The reason you want to do this test is so you’re not the guy with a surfboard sticking a few feet off the roof of your car when driving on the highway. The straps should feel snug but not tight.
If transporting your surfboards inside of your car, just make sure they're not resting on any hard, jaded surfaces. The idea is to prevent anything sharp or hard from damaging your surfboard if you hit a speedbump or run into a pothole.
Choose the Right Board Bag
For Long Distance Travel:
Don’t trust the airlines to be gentle with your surfboards. Baggage handlers are famously rough with cumbersome cargo like boardbags. There are a few options you have to maximize protection for your surfboard.
Although not the greatest for the environment and difficult to keep track of throughout a surf trip, bubble wrap and pipe insulation offer ample cushioning to help your boards withstand tosses from the baggage handler and the carnage of the cargo hold.
If you plan on flying to surf destinations, a solid surfboard travel bag will become one of the most important pieces of gear you own. There’s a lot of options out there. Make sure you choose a board bag that is the right size for your board and offers ample padding. If you’re willing to spend the money, the DirtBag is the most padded bag on the market. And if you're a belt and suspenders kind of guy, use a padded board bag AND the bubble wrap/ pipe insulation.
For Everday Use:
A day bag can make all the difference. Some of the most common surfboard dings and dents happen when walking around with your surfboard. For everyday use, a solid day bag will prevent most of the dings and dents you’d otherwise get from bumping your boards into walls and other objects.
Reach Out To Us If You Have Any Questions About Surfboard Care
Surfboard care is easy. The most important thing to remember is that surfboards need a little extra love and care to make them last a long time. We hope you find these tips on how to care for your surfboard helpful. If you have any questions about surfboard maintenance, send us an email!