6 tips on taking care of your surfboard
Why shorten the life of your beloved surfboards, when with a little care, they can enjoy a long and fulfilled life. It just takes some extra tlc, common sense and a little extra investment!
1) Avoid direct sunlight and extreme heat
Make no mistake, the sun and the heat are your surfboard's enemies and exposure to high temperatures can lead to several issues that can really impact your board's lifespan. Delamination is a good example of this, where the outer protective skin of the board (the fiberglass and resin layer) pulls away from the foam. This results in unwanted large bubbles blistering on your surfboard. Fixing a delaminated surfboard is expensive and also adds random areas of increased weight (due to the extra resin used) that ultimately effects performance. The fixed areas usually age the board as well which decreases its value.
Try and avoid leaving your surfboard on the roof of your car on a hot and sunny day
Direct sunlight also leads to a yellowing of the board, turning parts of a white surfboard into a yellow-ish tint. The result is an older, more worn looking board which also affects its value.
Exposure to the sun and heat main issues:
- Weakening and cracking of the fiberglass and resin outer layer
- Yellowing of the surfboard
If you're heading to the beach, bring a gazebo, tent or parasol to protect your board
When you’re at the beach
If you’re at the beach, and you don't have any way to shade the board, it's best to use your board bag and some spare towels to keep the board cool. Keep the towels wet and cover the board with them, so the surfboard doesn’t catch the suns rays. Lay the board bag on top of the wet towels so it also protects it from the sun’s rays. Do not put the board inside the bag until you leave the beach. Beneath the board, be sure to dig into the sand so you can access some cooler sand. Make sure the boards deck is faced DOWN. This is very important as the wax will not melt.
Top tips during a hot and sunny day:
- Never leave your surfboard in a car
- Never leave the surfboard on the roof of your car
- If you’re at the beach keep the board well shaded
If you don’t have any of way to shade your surfboard – then the best option is to stick the board into the sand (nose first) and angle the board so the suns rays only catch a little bit of the boards tail. You’ll have to move the surfboard every half an hour or so as the sun will obviously move!
2) Keep your board well stored
Don’t just prop your board up against a wall and hope for the best.
Even if you only have 1 board, it’s always best practice to secure the board and protect it from damage.
If you need to stand the board vertically then be sure to slide it into a rack system & have some kind of foam padding on the ground as well as the wall, otherwise the tail and rail will get dinged. Don’t lean it against a concrete wall and don’t stand it on a concrete floor.
Ideally put the board in a board bag – and hang the surfboard horizontally on a wall. It has much less chance of falling to the ground and getting damaged. Don’t forget to dry it after use and check for any fresh dings. Store the board in a place that doesn’t receive too much sunshine, is well ventilated and remains cool.
- Build or buy a rack system
- When vertically stored, ensure the floor and wall are padded
- Ideally store the board horizontally on a wall, securely in a surfboardboard bag
- Always dry your board after use
- Ensure the room is well ventilated and cool
3) Always check for damage – and fix your dings!
As soon as you’re back from your surf, dry your board and check for the slightest of cracks (dings). Dings are also your boards enemy and need to be fixed up as soon as possible. They can easily go unnoticed, but the resulting damage can massively impact the board's performance, lifespan and its value.
Most dings can be fixed at home, by you – within 15 mins or so. The smallest of cracks can be fixed using an all-in-one fiberglass/resin. If you’re unsure about how to fix your board then check out our fixing your surfboard ding article.
For bigger dings, or for damage you’d prefer not to tackle yourself, don’t surf the board until its fixed and make sure you dry it out before taking it to your local shaper or ding specialist.
Its quite common for surfers to stuff a bit of wax over a small ding to keep it water tight – especially if they notice a small crack just before paddling out to the surf. Although this might sound like a good idea, wax is easily smudged off and won’t guarantee a secure seal. Water will more than likely leak into your ding and cause some damage. It’s much better to carry a small ding repair kit in your car that includes a quick cure resin mix (like Sola Rez) that hardens in seconds. If it’s a bleak day (and no sun) then you might struggle to "harden" the all-in-one resin mix. In this case, we’d suggest some duct tape. But be sure to remove and fix the damage as soon as you’re home and the board is dry.
- Check for dings after each surf
- Fix basic dings yourself
- Carry basic ding kit in your car (including quick cure resin mix)
4) Change your wax once in a while
At least a couple of times a year, make it a habit to strip off old wax from the deck of your board to easily spot cracks and other dings that may be lurking beneath. A small crack in the deck can make plenty of damage. If this isn’t bad enough, endless applications of wax will also increase the weight of your board that can also affect performance.
5) Rinse Off the Salt
As soon as you’re back from your surf, rinse off your surfboard. Those that use a wetsuit will often rinse out their wetsuit, so whenever you do this, just rinse your surfboard too and then wipe it down until it's dry. Of course, be sure to do so with fresh water (not ocean water!). Salt is corrosive and although rinsing the fiberglass isn’t such an urgent matter, rinsing with fresh water will keep it looking newer over time. Be sure to rinse out the fins and fin boxes as these can corrode and degrade.
6) Invest in a surfboard bag
If only picking one of our tips, it should be this. Investing in a surfboard bag will certainly maintain the surfboard's condition and although can seem an expensive investment, it’s truly worth it. Surfboard bags can last for decades if treated with care.
Although roof rack straps have improved over the years, it's always good practice to keep your board in a board bag at all times
In fact it’s not just a good investment for someone who doesn’t plan to surf overseas. A surfboard bag should always be used if you drive to the beach with your board. Without a doubt, most minor surfboard damage occurs when you’re traveling to the beach – and especially in the car park. Knocking it against something when you’re pulling it out of the car or when you’re laying it down on the ground are common. It’s certainly good practice to keep your board in its bag until the last minute, when you’re 100% ready to head out for a surf (just before you give the board a quick wax). And remember not to tie the board on your roof rack too tightly or you might dent the board. This is another reason why it’s good to have a thicker bag. If you prefer to slide the board into your car then always put it in a bag otherwise the wax will rub off on the upholstery which is very hard to get rid of. Salt water drops and sand will also be absorbed and potentially damage the interior if its enclosed in a bag.
Take extra care when attaching your board to the roof of your car!
Avoid buying cheap surfboard "socks" that give little protection and look to purchase a bag that’s 8-10mm in thickness and has a reflective silver material to reflect the heat. Thicker bags give extra padding and protection that is needed for strapping your surfboard to the roof of your car and of course if you’re flying with your favorite board for an overseas surf trip. When traveling overseas, be sure to pack in extra bubble wrap for additional protection and secure some pipe insulation around the rails of your surfboards. Airlines don't always handle surfboards with care and there’s nothing worse than turning up at your dream surf destination with a badly damaged surfboard.
- Buy a good quality 8-10mm surfboard bag
- Always keep your surfboard in its bag
- Keep the surfboard in the bag until you’re ready to surf
- Be careful not to tie the surfboard onto the roof too hard
- When transporting your surfboard inside your car, always use a board bag
- Pack with extra bubble wrap and pipe insulation when flying
There's a lot to be said for a well packed surfboard bag
If you follow our tips then you’ll certainly increase the chances of its life span and resale value. Be sure to take general care of your board out of the water and invest in a thick surfboard bag as they’ll last for years. Start fixing your own dings too and make it a routine to check on your surfboard's condition after each and every surf.
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