Cracks, to some they’re good. The grand canyon is just one giant crack and people love that thing. But in other situations, cracks are not ideal. Like if your lips crack on a dry winters day, or if your surfboard cracks. Surfboard cracks are not ideal and should be handled with due haste.
Surfboards cracks are caused by accidents such as bumps and drops. Not caring for your board properly can also lead to cracking, this includes sun damage, improper storage and collisions with other surfboards. Some cracks will have no effect on the surfboard whilst others will need to be repaired imminently to prevent further damage.
So if your surfboard is cracking it’s probably your fault one way or another. Fiberglass is fragile and if bumped, cracking can happen. Some cracks are fine to be left alone, other larger ones will need to be dealt with.
Surfboard Crack Repair Guide
There are many reasons your surfboard could be cracking. The main one is just the standard love bumps of everyday life. Taking the board in and out of the car or simply coming in on a rocky beach, small bumps in these situations can cause cracks. Depending on how large and deep the crack or ding is will determine if you need to take action.
To understand fully about cracks in your surfboard it will be good to overview a bit about the general construction of a surfboard.
The majority of surfboards consist of a foam core cover in fiberglass or epoxy. The fiberglass is layered on and covered in resin. There are multiple layers of varying thickness and some boards have thicker glass jobs than others.
If you notice hairline cracks in the outer sanding layer of your board you shouldn’t worry. These cracks are still watertight and not worth the trouble to fix.
A crack only needs to be fixed if it is deep enough to compromise the watertight integrity of the board.
How to fix a crack or ding: You can go to your local ding repair and shell out some cash for him to fix it for you or you can take the cheaper option and fix it yourself.
To fix it yourself you’ll have to start by purchasing a ding repair kit. You can buy them for large or small dings and purchase them at your local surfboard shop or online.
1. Make sure you’ve cleaned the board removing sand, wax and salt;
2. Make sure the crack is completely dry, you can squeeze it to get out any excess water.
3. Apply the proper amount of resin to the crack, very common to use a popsicle stick.
4. Make sure to spread the product over the entirety of the ding, pressing out any bubbles, and filling cracks and crevices;
5. Let it cure in the sunlight. The resin will turn to a gel like consistency then harden within 5 minutes.
6. Once cured and dried use a light sandpaper to smooth down any roughness for a nice polished finish.
For larger dings you’ll need to cut a sheet of fiberglass cloth slightly larger than the wound. The process is the same just with the fiberglass covering the hole or crack.
Can you Surf with a Crack in your Board?
If it is one of the smaller watertight cracks we mentioned above then yes. As long as no water is getting inside your board and being absorbed by the foam core then it is fine. But if its a crack that is larger then it is not recommended.
Technically of course you can. Your board for the most part will function the same for a short time. But eventually, it will become ruined, a heavy waterlogged turd.
This is easily preventable with proper ding repair husbandry. If you don’t have the time to fix a ding, maybe you got one in the parking lot right before a surf and the waves are firing. At least slap some duct tape over it. This is an ok short time fix for maybe one surf but you should properly repair it as soon as you can.
You can also carry JB Water Weld for quick ding fixes as well. It a putty that can seal your dings and cure in minutes. Good for smaller cracks and punctures.
How do you Fix Epoxy Surfboard Cracks?
Epoxy surfboards have become more and more popular over the years. They weigh less, are stronger and more buoyant than their traditional fiberglass counterparts. Epoxy boards have a polystyrene core coated in epoxy resin, compared to fiberglass boards that have polyurethane cores coated in fiberglass cloth.
Epoxy boards are stronger and more durable than fiberglass but can still ding. Fixing the dings or cracks yourself isn’t all too complicated and not much different than ding repair on a fiberglass board. Make sure you buy an epoxy ding repair kit and not a fiberglass one. Solarez UV Cure epoxy ding resin is very popular.
Step 1 – Tools and materials
– Some UV-activated resin, we are using Solarez
– Some clear plastic sheet, preferably one that doesn’t stretch
– Some acetone to clean up the board
– Sandpaper at varying grits (60, 250, 400 and 600 if you are super motivated)
– A small bowl with water
Step 2 – Prepping your ding
If you know there is already water in the board, leave your board out in the sun until you know the water has evaporated
Remove any debris around the ding. Then sand the area around the ding to rough it a bit so the new resin has something to grip to.
Step 3 – Cleaning up your scuffed up area
Clean the are you just sanded with acetone removing any first or dust and ensuring a strong bond for the resin
Step 4 – Applying the Solarez
Make sure you are out of the sunlight when prepping for this step, as the Solarez we use is UV-activated. Fun fact: If you have a UV-lamp, you can use that for an indoor repair too!
Put a nice goop of repair kit on, and use the plastic sheet to form the goo into the desired shape by pulling the plastic sheet around. Doing all this outside of direct sunlight will give you some extra time, and once you are satisfied with the result, you move your board into the sun, with the sheet still sticking to it.
Step 5 – Wet-sand the repaired area down
Take out the finer grit sandpaper and keep the area wet as you sand down the repair material into the original shape. Go from using the coarse grit to the finer ones as you approach the final phase of your repair, and adding the water helps creating an even smoother surface.
Now that your board is repaired go have a fun surf and be more careful this time!!
Can you Fix a Waterlogged Board?
Waterlogged boards are heavy, yellow and not as buoyant as they once were. A waterlogged board is a direct result of not fixing your dings and cracks.
When you get a bad ding that makes your board no longer watertight it is essential you fix it as you can help to prevent waterlogging.
When your board has an open wound that can allow water in, what happens is the foam core of your surfboard begins to soak up ocean water like a sponge. Depending on how long this ding goes undealt with, your board can drink gallons of water like a thirsty camel.
You can feel that a board is waterlogged just by picking it up. It will be much heavier.
You can also normally see the area where the water was soaked in. It will look like a discolored puddle. So boards like this are past the point of no return and not worth the trouble to fix. While others, if the area is small can be saved.
So you’ve decided to put your board under the knife and perform de waterlogging surgery. Put it in a bowl of rice, should be fine (Haha jk). The main name of the game here is opening up the damaged area, exposing the wet foam and letting it dry out again.
Start by cutting off the fiberglass covering the waterlogged section of your board.
This will expose the waterlogged part of foam inside your board. Leave it open for a few days, allowing the water time to evaporate.
Soak up any excess water with paper towels. Once the water has evaporated and the foam seems dry again it’s time to patch your patient up.
Treat this part as you would any larger ding repair. And wallah, you’ve brought your board back from the dead. It’s a hard job but can be worth it for that special board.