Surfboard dings are pretty common, especially if you’re just starting out.
But even surfers with years of experience will have to deal with the occasional ding caused by the usual wear and tear.
The only way to guarantee your surfboard remains ding-free is to never take it out on the waves. Which is a waste of a good surfboard.
It’s important to learn how to fix a surfboard ding, so you can deal with this common problem when it crops up.
Quickly and efficiently repairing a small crack protects the core of a surfboard, preventing long-term damage that can ultimately destroy the board, or at least lead to an expensive repair job.
If you’ve ever had a surfboard ding, then you know what it feels like to watch your favorite board get damaged. And with this guide, you’ll know exactly what you need to do to repair it.
Can You Fix A Surfboard Ding At Home?
The short answer is yes. If you’re willing to put in some time and effort, you can fix a surfboard ding yourself, provided it’s not a big break. It may not be as easy as you think, though.
If surfboard repairs were easy, we wouldn’t have to pay so much to get them fixed professionally.
It’s worth learning how to fix a surfboard ding, so you can deal with the problem quickly and for a lower cost. You can also apply your new find skills to fixing up second hand boards, saving money when you need a new surfboard.
What Do You Need To Fix A Surfboard Ding?
Before you get started on a repair, you need to have all the necessary supplies. To fix a surfboard, you need:
- Safety goggles and a safety mask
- 80 or 100 grit sandpaper
- 220 grit sandpaper
- Masking Tape
- Sharp knife or scalpel
- Patches of fiberglass cloth
- Wax comb and acetone
- Epoxy resin
- Clear tape or plastic sheet
Alternatively, you can get a surfboard repair kit. These can be found online, or you might be able to pick one up at your nearest surf shop.
How Do You Fix A Surfboard Ding?
- Let the board dry out. This will help to guarantee that the repair job will last. Leave the board in a patch of sunlight or a warm room to get it dry. Check the inside of the board is dry by squeezing the crack and seeing if any water comes out.
- Clean the board. Remove dirt and grit, and scrape away any wax with a wax comb. If you don’t have a wax comb, try using a credit card. Get rid of any stickers or sticker residue in the area as well. Use the acetone to ensure the area is completely clear. For an older ding, you may need to cut away rot.
- Cut away any broken fiberglass. This provides a clear and straight edge to apply the resin. Make sure the knife is sharp to get a straight cut. Remove any remaining debris, and sand down the area with the sandpaper. Apply masking tape to areas surrounding the ding to keep them protected.
- Fill in the gaps with the epoxy resin. Go carefully, and apply in a cool and shaded area to make sure the epoxy doesn’t set too quickly. Start small, and build up, so that there aren’t any air pockets. Use a wooden stick, or folded over masking tape, to keep the resin in place. Cover all over the ding, and check there’s a tight seal at the edges.
- Press down on the resin with the clear tape or plastic, compressing air bubbles and forming the desired shape.
- Leave to set. Place the surfboard in the sunlight, and leave the resin to harden. On a clear and sunny day, this should take around 5 to 10 minutes. It’s always better to leave it longer than to rush through the drying, or you might struggle to work with soft epoxy resin.
- Sand down the resin. Using the sandpaper, sand the resin down to a flat surface. You can also use the sandpaper to shape the resin, especially if the ding is in an awkward spot. Clear away any dust.
- Add the fiberglass cloth. Cut a piece of fiberglass cloth, slightly larger than the ding. We recommend cutting a rectangle or square that would leave a few centimeters extra all around the ding.
- Apply an even layer of resin to the ding. This is for the fiberglass cloth to stick to. Keep the layer even by using a wooden stick or folded masking tape. Place the fiberglass cloth onto the resin.
- Apply another layer of resin, on top of the fiberglass cloth. This should saturate the cloth. Use the paintbrush to apply an even layer without disturbing the cloth. Press firmly.
- Leave the resin to dry. Again, this should take 5 to 10 minutes in direct sunlight.
- Sand down again. Don’t press too hard, as this might damage the fiberglass cloth. The surface should be smooth and even, with no bulging or lumps. Make sure to smooth the edges as well. Wipe off the dust with a damp cloth.
- Wait two days before hitting the waves. To ensure the resin is completely dry and hard, wait a few days to give it time to cure completely.
When To Consult A Professional?
The problem with dings and cracks is that they allow water in, damaging the precious core of the surfboard. For larger dings, you probably want to consult a professional, so they can do a thorough fix that will last longer than a home repair.
A ding stops being a ding when it starts being a break. Although you might not want to acknowledge it, you can generally tell the difference.
A break is when your board is only just holding its shape together. If you aren’t sure if you can tackle the ding, we recommend taking it to a professional.
There are ways to fix a ding at home, but the most important thing is to get it done right. Follow these steps, and you’ll have a long-lasting solution that won’t let water into your board.