How to Repair a Surfboard in 8 Easy Steps: 2021 Update

Flo Farmer
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How to Properly Repair a Surfboard

Learning how to repair your own surfboard can be an invaluable skill, and can save a lot of money over the long-term. It's certainly not for a beginner, but if you think you can handle it, the learning process is an exciting one.

For more information on how to properly repair a surfboard we recommend that you read – The ABC's of Surfboard Repair.

#1. Cut and clean the damaged part.

Step One:

When repairing the damage, the first thing you have to do is cut the damaged part off. Drill a pilot hole in the foam beneath the damaged area, and then use a saw to go back and forth over the top of that spot until you cut all the way through.

Step Two:

Cut out the core of the foam beneath the area you just cut to create a clean, flat surface. This will require you to cut parallel to the stringer. Do this by clamps the fin to the board and then lay a straightedge or steel rule over the fin. Mark along the straightedge with a sharpie, then use a hack saw to cut out the fin core.

Step Three:

Measure the width of the cut-off fin, then use a marker to draw a line across the affected area of the board. Apply a generous amount of glue along the stringer, then place the fin core on the line and press down to make sure that it adheres to the board.

Step Four:

Press the fin into the core to make sure that it’s sitting flush. Use a straightedge as a guide to keep the fin level with the rest of the board. Add a few clamps to keep the fin in place and set the whole thing aside to dry overnight.

Step Five:

#2. Start sanding down your board.

You want to start with a rough grit that is going to quickly remove rough texturing and dings but won’t cut too deep. Start with a 150 grit sandpaper, to remove paint scratches and small dings. Pick up a sheet at the hardware store and you’ll be set.

#3. Start filling the gaps.

Make sure you have enough resin on hand to add resin into the gaps. The more you add, the stronger the bond and the less the risk of breaking the board.

Continue filling until the resin is visible on the surface.

#4. Sand it down.

Sanding the bottom of your surfboard will allow the resin to work its way into the fibres of your surfboard.

A lot of people recommend using a standard sandpaper, or even a high speed bit, to do the job. However, I prefer the sandpaper that comes in a block.

The reason for this is that it gives you a lot more control over where you’re abrasive is going.

I don’t even use high-pressure water, like some retailers recommend. I just dip the sandpaper in a bucket of water and start rubbing.

Be sure to lather the bottom of your surfboard with resin beforehand. You can apply as much as you can, because you can always sand it off again.

At the same time, make sure you apply the resin in thin layers rather than one thick, sticky layer. The coat should be thin enough that it’s almost transparent.

The trick is to start off with the most coarse grit, which is 220, then move onto the next finer grit, which is 320.

Finally, pass the sandpaper over the bottom of the surfboard with the grain.

This will give you a really smooth finish, which will help you advance in your longboard skills.

#5. Start glassing the repaired area.

#6. Sand the area again.

Now that we have cleaned it we need to sand the broken area with your 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper to allow the glass to fill it properly.

NOTE: This is the only step you need to repeat more than once and if you are using a resin with a longer work time. Depending on the size of the break, this could take several hours.

#7. Add finishing coat.

Apply a coat of unthickened epoxy. This will take about 4 hours to cure to a level suitable for surfing. You do not have to sand between coats of unthickened epoxy.

Once the final coat is applied, sand the board very lightly while it is wet. This is to remove sanding marks from previous sanding and to slightly scuff the surface to create a smoothening effect and to increase the bond between the polyester and the epoxy.

Then, apply another light coat of epoxy thickened with sikaflex. This will take about 8 hours to cure to a level suitable for surfing. Sand this coat lightly, being careful to avoid sanding through the epoxycoat.

#8. Wait for 48 hours before using the board.

Once you’ve completed surfboard repair, it’s best to let it rest for at least 48 hours to make sure that the resin is solid.

During this time, don’t jump on it or take it out on a surf trip. There’s a chance you’ll tear the board again. It needs a good rest between its initial damage and its first real test.

Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: How do I know if my board is still worth saving or not?

In fact, the process of finding a professional or quality repair shop can be as hard as finding the right board in the first place. Repair shops can be so saturated in the area that it can be hard for you to find the one you need.

Again, our job is to make things easier for you, so below you will find the key qualities to look for in a surfboard repair shop:

Reputable:

This should be your first factor when looking for a repair shop. The reputation of the shop is one of the best indications of the quality of service provided by a repair shop. Ask around, check online reviews, and read the articles by local surfers about their experience with the repair shops they patronized. You will be able to easily identify the good ones, the bad ones, and the ugly ones. Once you have sourced a reputable surf repair shop, start by looking for the next factors.

Appropriate Skill Level:

On top of the reputation, make sure you also look for a repair shop that can provide the right service for your needs. Look for repair shops that are certified, skilled, and experienced in performing the services you need for your board. Once you have identified the proper local repair shop, the next step is to confirm its operating hours.

Operating Hours:

Q: Is it necessary to use epoxy resin in fixing my surfboard?

A: Yes, it is necessary to use epoxy resin in fixing your surfboard. Also, it is also recommended for you to use epoxy resin if you want your surfboard to last long.

Epoxy resin is one of the best adhesives that you can use for fixing or or repairing your surfboard. You can use it on your surfboard's bottom, top, rails and fins.

Even though some surfers are confident enough to use polyester resin to fix a minor crack on their surfboard. They often disregard using epoxy resin because of the complexity of the procedure.

The procedure is indeed a little more complex that just gluing a piece of wood to another. But as long as you use the right epoxy resin for the surfboard and you follow the eight easy steps I gave you in fixing your surfboard, you can be assured of a perfect fix.

Let me give you a rundown of the steps:

Determine the location of the crack.

Once the location is determined, you have to make a mark in the area of the crack.

Remove the pressure on the crack.

Q: How long does it take to repair a surfboard?

A: The amount of time it takes to repair a surfboard varies dramatically depending on the extent of damage and the type of repair.