Monday, January 25, 2010



Fixing boards can be a bitch. Here's some easy step by step tips on how to seal up your stick

Lurking behind every wave lies a terror capable of sending chills through every surfer’s bones. For years it has wreaked havoc on surfers across the globe. No one is safe from its horrible grasp, and it can quickly turn a fun day at the beach into a session ending nightmare.
I’m talking about dings.
Surfers take pride in their boards like they were ancient Japanese warriors maintaining the deadly edge of their Samurai swords. Each board is different, and much like the sweet embrace of a newfound lover, their allure can be intoxicating, almost to the point of infatuation. I can remember bringing my new board to sleep with me as a grom, just to be able to wake up with it next to me, reminding me of it’s glorious freshness.
The problem with a new board, or any board for that matter, is that eventually it will get dinged. Whether it’s a run in with a fellow surfer, or a careless blunder of your own doing, like slamming the garage door on it on your way out to surf, that first heartbreaking ding is inevitable. From there on out, the board you once so proudly cleaned and cared for ends up yet another bruised and battered stick in your quiver.
Unlike guys like Kelly Slater, who rides dozens of brand new boards in a year, mere mortals like you and me cannot afford to buy a new board every time we get a ding. Dings come in all shapes and sizes, types and varieties. You’ve got your standard rails cracks, pressure dings, gouges, tail cancer, buckles and breaks, just to name a few.The important thing to note is the longer you let your dings stay open and fester, the more water damage and overall board degradation you should expect. Even the tiniest dings, if left untreated, can waterlog your once cherry Al Merrick Flyer, into a Yellow Submarine.
Some dings --complete breaks, buckles and broken fin boxes-- are extremely difficult to fix on your own, so sometimes it’s best to bite the bullet and leave the tough stuff to the professionals. However, smaller dents, cracks, and punctures can, with the right methods, be quickly fixed by yourself. I recently met up with Ian Hall from B.E Sanding and Ding Repair, a local ding repair master to give you, some step by step instructions on how to apply basic first aid to your injured stick.
Step 1- Assess the damage- The first thing Hall suggest is to check the board to get a picture of how extensive the damage is and what kind of tools and materials you’ll need to get the job done. For example, a rail crack may only require a simple resin glaze, while a puncture or hole may call for a bigger investment in materials.
Step 2- Supplies- Once you have a good idea of what you need, you might have to do a bit of shopping if you don’t already have your supplies. Many supplies such as acetone, tape, gloves, and sandpaper can be purchased at hardware stores such as Home Depot. You’re definitly going to need specific ingredients such as fiberglass, resin, and Q-Cell filler, all of which can be found at Freeline Design and Arrow Surf Shop, both located on 41st ave, in Capitola.
Step 3- Preparation- “Next you’ll want to prep the ding,” says Hall. “You’ll want to make sure the ding is dry and the surface area around the ding is clean and scuffed up with 120 grit sandpaper to create a better bonding surface when applying your fiberglass”. Cut away any damaged glass or foam with a razor blade to make sure that there’s no delamination or soft spots. If left unattended these will remain under your finished product and cause you more trouble down the line.
Step 4- Filler- “Getting your board back to its original shape will be your next goal,” explains Hall. “You start by mixing the Q-Cell filler with resin in a Dixie cup to create a putty to fill the voids”. Remember-the less resin you use, the easier it will be to sand once it dries, which is important when fixing boards at home without high powered electric sanding equipment. Before you start pouring the mixture into the ding, it’s a good idea to use tape to create a reservoir around the ding to avoid making a mess or using to much. Cleanliness is key when planning on hand sanding as it will save you time and energy, and of course clean up time afterwards.
Step 5- Sanding- Once you’ve filled the ding and let it dry, you’ll want to sand until the original shape of the board is obtained. “This takes patience and a careful eye,” says Hall. “Leave the filler slightly below the original surface of the board to leave room for cloth and resin”.
Step 6- Glassing- Now it’s time to apply your fiberglass cloth (4 0z is recommended for most small to medium sized dings). Cut out the desired shape of cloth, usually 2-3 layers will do, and set them aside while you wet the surface of the ding with resin. Now place the layers of cloth over the ding and, using a squeegee, get enough resin on the cloth until it’s completely saturated. Hall suggests using the squeegee to get rid of any excess resin, as again the less resin on the ding, the easier it will be to sand.
Step 7- Hot coat and Finish Sand- After the cloth has dried completely, lightly sand the ding down. Here is where you’ll need to be extra careful because if you sand through the cloth, your repair job won’t be water tight.Now you’re ready to hot coat the ding, which simply means coating it with a final seal cof resin to create a smooth surface. Once this dries your last task is to lightly sand the ding until the desired smoothness is obtained.
Step 8- Your Done! - Admire you’re handiwork and get back on your board and go have some fun.Final note- As I mentioned earlier, some dings are daunting, and if you feel like you’re in over your head, call in professionals like Hall to fix your board for you. For expert ding repair and sanding contact Brian Ebert, owner of B.E Sanding and Ding Repair. 831-325-5487 or

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