Surfboard Construction

Surfboard Construction

There are plenty of different Surfboard Construction Types available to you when placing a surfboard order.

How the surfboards are made. From hand shaped custom surfboards to molded surfboards, soft surfboards, body boards and injection molded boards. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each construction technique and who is it meant for.

There are a few main methods of constructing surfboards.

  • Custom Surfboards Shaping – PU surfboards
  • Machine shaped PU surfboards
  • Firewire technology
  • Molded Surfboards
  • Soft Surfboards
  • Bodyboards
  • Injection Moulded Boards

Custom Surfboards Shaping

us-blanks

Surfboard blanks in a wearhouse. (source: usblanks.com)

Custom surfboards are shaped from blanks.

What is a blank? Blank is a polyurethane (PU, hard foam) core in the rough shape of a surfboard which is split from nose to tail and a wooden strip, called a stringer, approx. 6mm wide is glued between the 2 halves. The stringer strengthens the board, reducing the risk of the board twisting or snapping.

Shaping a custom surfboard

The blank is then shaped by hand using a variety of tools. First a saw is used to cut the desired outline and then an electric plane is used to take off the hard outer skin of the blank and any large areas of foam that need to be removed. Extra Rocker can also be added using the power plane. A rasping tool (surform) and then sandpaper are used to fine tune the blank and give the custom surfboard its finished shape. Custom surfboard may now be spray-painted using acrylic or other paint prior to laminating.

NOTE: If you will be painting your surfboard make sure your read this how to article.

Laminating a custom surfboard

In the laminating process the surfboard is covered with woven fibreglass cloth. Shortboards usually have 1 layer of 4 oz weight cloth on the bottom and 2 layers on the deck. Longboards often use a stronger 6oz cloth and may have more layers. The cloth is then saturated with polyester or isothalic resin. After this sets and the fins have been attached (if you have glass-on fins) a coat of sanding resin is applied and when this has hardened it is sanded down to give the final shape. A further coating of resin (the gloss coat) may be given which can then be polished to a high gloss finish.

Epoxy and polystyrene foam is more and more used instead of polyester and polyurethane foam. Polystyrene foam makes the boards lighter and epoxy resin makes them stronger so epoxy surfboards are more durable, but they are still not thoroughly accepted because ‘the feel’ when riding them is different.

Hand shaping a surfboard.

• PRO: Custom boards can be shaped to the exact requirements of the surfer, they are light and they give a high performance.

• CON: They are expensive and they ding easily.

• WHO RIDES THEM? Custom shaped surfboards are mostly meant for intermediate and experienced surfers that know what they want.

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