Fixing a ding in your surfboard is not as scary as it sounds.
I remember when I dinged up my first board, I thought I would have to take it to a shop and pay a lot of money to get it fixed.
Luckily that’s not the case! All it takes is a few minutes and $5 or $10.
Stairways and doorways are some of the most common places to ding your surfboard. If you’re not super careful, one miscalculation of your board’s length could leave a crack in the tail. Take your time going up and down stairways, and through doorways.
(This is why you should be using a board sock when driving to and from the beach)
Then of course there is the ocean itself. Your surfboard can get dinged from the reef, your body (especially knees), or another surfboard.
As long as the ding is fairly small, you can repair it yourself. If you buckle your board or have a larger crack, you will want to take it to a surf shop for professional repair.
The Duct Tape Method
Duct Tape (or even better, Gorilla Tape), is a lifesaver.
Slap a patch of tape over your ding for instant waterproofing. It’s great to keep a roll of it in your car, in case you ding your board on the way to or from the beach, and you still want to surf without worrying about waterlogging the board.
I’ve actually used Gorilla Tape as a long-term solution. Just keep checking that it is stuck tightly to your board, so it doesn’t let any water in.
It’s not pretty, but it’s cheap, fast, and it works!
Using Solarez (the “right” way)
Using resin like Solarez is the “correct” and long-lasting way to fix surfboard dings.
Solarez is a UV-curing resin. Resin is the stuff that your surfboard is coated with to make it hard and smooth.
You can buy a tube of Solarez (or similar product) for $5-$10 at your surf shop or online.
- Sand the ding and the area around it. Roughing up the smooth surface helps the new resin adhere to the surfboard.
- Wipe away any dust or residue with a paper towel and rubbing alcohol or water.
- Apply the Solarez resin. Use as much as you need to completly fill the ding, and create a level surface.
Make sure you are out of direct sunglight!
Solarez cures (hardens) with UV light, so you will have time to work with it if you are not in direct sunlight.
- If you want a smoother finish, you can lay a piece of plastic wrap over the uncured resin. After the resin cures, just pull the plastic wrap off.
- When you have applied enough resin, place your surfboard in direct sunlight. This will cause the resin to completely harden in just a few minutes. I like to leave mine in the sun for at least 30 minutes, just to be safe.
(Do not try this on a cloudy day, because the resin will not cure, and you will be left with a gooey mess)
- After the Solarez cures, you can sand it if you want. I usually don’t bother sanding mine unless the cured resin is poky or sharp.But I know a lot of you want everything to be perfect, so go ahead and sand it so it’s perfectly flush with the rest of your surfboard.
All of this can literally be done in 10 minutes, for less than $10. A surf shop would probably charge you $30+ and take at least a week to finish.
Don’t be scared to try it yourself, and let me know if you have any questions!
Major Ding/Crack Repair
I don’t know if you would call this a “ding”, but I’m going to include it here anyways.
I’ve had my Lunchtray surfboard for a few years, but there’s been Gorilla tape on the nose almost that entire time.
Only a couple weeks after I got my board, I cracked the nose in some shorebreak.
I threw on some Gorilla tape as a temporary fix, and that turned into a semi-permanent fix.
By this point, the tape wasn’t even close to being watertight anymore, so I needed to properly fix my surfboard.
I set the board out for a few weeks, so any water could dry out of the foam.
Then I pulled all the old tape off, and trimmed any loose fiberglass/resin.
I sanded the nose to remove any tape residue, and roughen the surface so the new resin would have a proper bond. Cleaned with acetone.
I cut a small piece of fiberglass cloth (with relief cuts) to go over the exposed foam. I probably could have done this along the entire nose, but I didn’t want to do more work than was necessary.
There was some left over epoxy resin and black pigment from when I glassed my fish surfboard, so I used that for this repair.
But this time I only mixed a tiny amount of pigment with the resin… on my last project I used way too much pigment, and it didn’t let the resin fully cure.
I “painted” the resin on the surfboard nose with a paintbrush, making sure to fully soak the fiberglass cloth, and get into all the nooks of the cracked nose.
After letting the resin cure for about 5 hours, it was sanding time again.
This is where I have problems.
I just don’t have the patience I guess. But you want to sand it as smooth as possible, so you don’t see any bumps where the new resin starts.
I wasn’t so concerned with how it looked though, I just wanted it to be watertight.
So I gave the nose a decent sanding, made sure everything was smooth to the touch, and called it good.
Cleaned with acetone, and hit it with a final coat of resin (no pigment in this one).
Again, I made sure to get the resin on every part of the nose.
A lot of people recommend letting the resin fully cure for several days, before surfing, so I did that just to be safe.
And I didn’t even bother sanding the final coat of resin. It was actually nice and glossy smooth, and I just left it like that.
So yes you can clearly see I repaired the nose, but it looks way better than gorilla tape!
AND it’s watertight!
Pretty stoked on how it turned out, even though it took me so long to get around to repairing it properly. Hopefully I can get a few more years out of my Lunchtray surfboard 🙂