For all us folks in the Northern hemisphere, Winter is officially over with the last of the Winter swells. Well that seemed like it was the weekend before last 🙁 Bummer! So what do you do?
Well for us, that means there is a heck of a lot more time to start writing things like this on weekends! For you (and us too actually), start by cracking out your quiver and giving your boards their annual check-up.
Step 1: Remove leash, stringy, fins, etc.
Strip everything off as you need your board totally naked in order to ensure you can check every nook and cranny for glass cracking, dings, etc. When you do this, check your stringy for any fraying or excess stretching. Replace if you got any substantial wear and tear. I had an old one snap on me this season and board continued into rocks after my amazing over-the-falls destruction. The wipe-out was so much fun but the board repair was a pain in the butt! Also check your leash. Any excess stretching or cracking of the rubber could mean you are on your way to board devastation with your next wipe-out…and don’t say you never wipe-out! We all do!
Step 2: Remove Wax
Get your trusty wax comb or a credit card for that matter. If you are like us, your credit card is useless since it is already maxed out 😛 …anyway start scraping off all that gnarly build-up. If you want to make it a little easier, just place your board in the sun for a SHORT period to help soften up the wax. What’s a short period? Well heck it all depends on the weather, your location, etc. Just check on it super often and start removing the wax as soon as it feels easier to do so.
Step 3: Rub Down
Put some mild detergent in a bowl with some warm water. Spend the time to find a biodegradable detergent please. Yeah it might cost a little more, but it is totally worth it. Think how good you will feel knowing you are doing everything you can to keep our planet clean. Please don’t be like all those others who only think about themselves and find the cheapest stuff possible. They’re just idiots. Most likely the cheapest cleaner on the shelf contains the worst stuff you can be putting back into the earth and ocean!
Enough lecturing. Get yourself a rag. An old t-shirt will suffice and is best since it will give it a second life. Give board a good soapy rub down. Then rinse her off with a nice cool shower. Don’t forget to dry your board up before moving on and DON’T put it in the sun to dry or oven bake in your car in the afternoon!
Step 4: Inspection
Now in a well lit area, give your board a thorough visual inspection from head to toe, front to rear, rails, everywhere for dings and circle them with a NON-PERMANENT whiteboard marker. That will help you find all of them later. Don’t forget to look in and around pressure dings for any glass cracking. Also check around leash plugs and fin boxes. But while you are looking at your board, also use your hands and feel for small cracks and such. It is quite possible that you will miss something visually, but you might just still feel it.
Step 5: Get Your Goo On
This is the fun part and the bit that adds so much value to your board! Get yourself some epoxy and again preferably something that minimises harm to mother nature. There are options out there like from Entropy Resins and Solarez claims an eco-friendly no mix required resin that is safe for both EPS and PU core boards. I suggest you always go epoxy and not polyester since epoxy is safe for both while polyester is only safe on PU. Check your local surf shop for the most ideal concoctions. No surf shop? Maybe the hardware store will have something.
Now go outside with board and epoxy to your balcony, roof, or a park or something near your place on a sunny day. Roughen up the ding and area near it with some sandpaper. This will help help lock the epoxy “patch” in place. If you have any, some cellophane will come in handy to mould the resin later. Now go to the shade to mix-up the epoxy and apply just enough to get in any cracks/holes. Try not to breath the fumes. Remember Newton in that you can only do one side at a time (I.e. side facing up) otherwise you could get some nasty runs. Slap some cellophane on where you applied the epoxy to help smooth the application and reduce your later sanding time. Move to the sun. Let it dry and harden, but don’t sand until the next day. I am stickler for ensuring things are as good as possible although some of the stuff says it is dry in a few minutes. It’s up to you. The longer dry time, the harder the set. Repeat for all the dings you found.
NOTE: If there are any major dings that require core and/or cloth work, that’s a whole new article that we’ll get to later.
Step 6: Sand
For this you need a dust mask since you don’t want to breath in those fine epoxy particles. You also need various grits of sandpaper. I simplify it to something rough and something smooth. For example, 60 grit and 300 grit. I use the 60 grit if I applied too much epoxy to an area and need to sand through a thick glob. Once I am getting close I switch over to the fine grit to smooth and blend it into the rest of the board. Use circular movements. The end result will be a smooth Matt finish.
Step 7: Admire the Beauty
Now stand your board up with a hand on either side and admire your awesome workmanship. Try to remember how you got those dings! If you can’t, well make-up a gnarly story in case anyone asks! And if it doesn’t look good, don’t worry. You’ll get better at it the more you do it.
Step 8: Wax Up
Wax up your board so it is ready to rock as you might have very short notice when that first typhoon swell pops up this summer! Get a decent base coat on first. Of course we would prefer you use our super awesome non-toxic Godly Base Coat which will be available extremely soon. We’re just getting the eco-friendly packaging sorted for it. Then get a top coat on like our Godly Surf Gunk. It’s Good for your body and Great for your board! …kind of reminds me of “Slow on land…Fast on water!”…sorry inside joke 😛
Take care of your boards. The more you fix them, the longer you make them last, the more personal and valuable they become. Each ding is like a battle scar and has its own unique story attached. They bring back memories. As one of the core values of Makara is “…sharing your experiences with good friends”, it all makes the whole lifestyle so much more enriched doesn’t it? Don’t throw them away. It just isn’t worth it.