Surfboard ding repairs are an inevitable part of owning a surfboard. Surfers who want to keep their boards in good condition should know how to repair dings, or at least how to keep them dry. But they should also know what not to do when it comes to surfboard ding repairs!
Our surfboards are made for us to enjoy and we believe that they’re an extension of us in the water.
Sooo… where’s the problem? well, sometimes you find yourself working for the board instead of the board working for you.
Taking your board to the local “doctor” or getting the right materials to repair a ding is a common chore and is part of surfing. The more we enjoy the more it happens - now it's nice to visit your local shaper or surf shop now and then. But when the surf is good, you want to get back in the water and not waste time in traffic parking lots and sh…. Like that and then wait a few days until your surfboard is fixed.
Over the years, along with great surfboard repair kits, some very NOT recommended methods that allegedly fix surfboard dings have become common.
So here is a list of the 5 most common ‘on-the-go’ ways to “seal” a surfboard ding that DO-NOT protect the foam from the destructive power of saltwater:
1. Shoving wax inside the ding.
If this is your go-to method for quickly sealing your ding, STOP! Most likely water is still easily penetrating your surfboard. And once you decide to properly fix the ding, either by yourself or at a surf shop, you must completely dig out the wax to be able to fix it as the resin will not bond to wax residue. You must remove the foam that touches the wax, leaving you with a bigger hole in your surfboard!
2. Aluminum foil tape.
“Sealing” dings with aluminum foil tape is widely used by many surfers and might seem to prevent water from coming in but only if you get it 100% right. Even then, it gets scraped and worn out very quickly. Water will come in and you won’t even know it until you remove the tape and open the ding. Don’t be surprised to find a yellow rotten patch underneath the tape when remover- this is a typical sign that water has penetrated your surfboard core.
3. Duct tape.
Some old-school surfers will tell you to keep a roll of duct tape in your car just in case. So, as many of you probably know already (at least we hope you do), duct tape is NOT waterproof and will let water into your board over time.
Also, if you think about properly fixing the ding at some point, keep in mind that ding repair people HATE dealing with duct tape! It will most likely tear off some good fiberglass and leave a residue that is horrible to get off.
4. Leaving water trapped inside the ding
If you decide to fix a ding yourself, make sure to remove all salt water and completely dry it out. The water will want to get out and will most likely crack the bond at its weakest point so don't worry, they know how to find it.
Water inside polyester/pu boards and e.p.s/epoxy boards behave a little different.
In PU boards the water will stay in and around the area they have entered from (a.k.a the ding).
In EPS cores the water can travel all around the board.
So, how should you get the water out? well, it's not hard, simply let it dry.
For PU boards, placing it in the shade or light sun in a hot climate is good enough - usually about a full day is ok but it varies, please use common sense to work it out.
For EPS boards it’s a bit different and it will require a little more heat. Make sure there is a hole in your board, if there is no hole penetrating into the foam of the board you must make a hole about the size of your fingernail.
Only if you have a way to let hot air escape from the inside of the board (a.k.a the “fingernail hole”) then you can place the board in direct hot sunlight or a very hot room - after a while, the pressure and heat inside the board will push all of the water out. You will see it as bubbles until all of the water has gone out.
If the board is full of water this can take even a few days.
IMPORTANT NOTE! If you leave an EPS board in the sun without a hole it may delaminate and form a big air bubble under the glass layer.
5. Surfboard repair kits
Well, these will work well if you're ready to work and learn about what you're doing… it's not a secret that you can find all the information you need on youtube and around the internet. On that note, keep in mind that the preparation work is the most important work - if you didn't get the area ready before applying any repair material, it won't matter if you have resin made of moon rock- it won't bond well and that's even worse than what you’ve started with. WHY? because it will fall off or crack while surfing and water will keep getting in, slowly yellowing and rotting without you even noticing. So get back to work, get all of the resin out of there and start again. If you chose to use any of the very good ding repair kits on the market, be sure to follow the instructions for the best results. Most kits are very simple and can be applied by anyone.
So, if you don't have a backup board, and you want to keep surfing, don’t let a ding get in your way. Avoid these common mistakes, and get yourself an easy and simple ding repair kit to come in handy when you most need it. Oh, and by the way, DING-AID has a solution that would get you back in the water very fast with no work at all!
Forget about the dings and enjoy the surf.