Surfers Textbook


( This section contains more pages. Purchase " The Surfers Textbook" now to gain access to the full 416 pages)

To date there has been very little information available on the making of surfboards and the surfing industry. Generally speaking, often what has been written is very brief and presents only a basic outline of the processes involved. To add to this, techniques and materials have steadily changed over the years as new products, materials and methods have been developed.

This book is a very concerned effort to explain preciselyand with as much detail as possible the techniques of surfboard making. The many skills involved can only be fully mastered through years of dedication, practice and learning from more experienced persons and an underlying passion for the sport and associated lifestyle - ask any surfboard manufacturer! With this in mind it is notmy expectation that a novice working from this book for the first time will produce a product as refined as that of an experienced commercial manufacturer, however the result should be more than pleasing and of a high standard for the majority, depending on their own capabilities and commitment. Often due to the lack of detailed techniques, approaches and necessary materials, many ‘back-yard’ board makers tend to retire after their first attempt. Hopefully this book will help fill a very needed area regarding reference material. The 'Glossary' is divided into three sections relating to F.R.P. materials and terms,specific surfboard characteristics and surfing terminology. This information should be used as a reference when these terms are encountered in the text of the book. Additional research can be made from the ‘ResourceList’ to provide background and technical information.

Photographs are frequently used to illustrate the step-by-step format, to enable a person of relatively little experience and knowledge to achieve near professional results. Using the basic procedures, surfboards and other types of watercraft of any design can be constructed. Illustrated above is a rescue board which can be constructed using the same principles described for making a surfboard. Careful consideration is needed regarding the position and fitting of straps, foot holds etc. and as with surfboards, these craft have been progressively improved in their designs over the years. Similarly, sailboards, in particular wave jumping designs, are very closely based on surfboard design and construction.

The accompanying photographs over page illustrate someof the details which are not dealt with as they are not directly a part of surfboard making. Having said this, plastic fittings such as used for the mast step and footanchors are 'glassed' into position using a procedure similar to attaching leg rope and removable fin system plugs and boxes. Textured decks used to reduce the possibility of slipping can be achieved by mixing polyurethane dust or sugar into the finish resin. The sections of the book relating to 'Background Notes on Plastics'and 'The Importance of F.R.P. and their Applications'and ‘Glossary’ have been included to broaden the reader'sunderstanding of materials and processes particularly when designing and problem solving. It will also allow the reader to develop the confidence to safely and successfullycarry out repair and mould work using resins and glass fibre. A very handy skill to have! The 'Overview of the Surfing Industry' chapter has been included to highlight the formation and vast development of a number of industries associated with the sport and to note the importance of these businesses to the overall economy of our country. (The Surfing Industry appendices was courtesy of Surfing Australia and although this survey is a little outdated it serves as a good indication ofcommercial importance in the mid nineties). The opportunity to use Joe Larkin's valued collection of photographs and be privileged enough to document his recollections of his early surfing days could not be overlooked. It proceeds the traditional method of hollow framed construction carried out prior to the arrival of polyurethane foam in the late fifties. The final section of this chapter is devoted to the blowing of a blank. It was only through the generous assistance of Don Burford at their family business I was given the opportunity to photograph and document the process involved in forming a polyurethane blank. Considering the secrecy surrounding much of this technology it was greatly appreciated and will prove very informative for the readers. Due to the difficulty in researching and determining what is historically correct information regarding the use of computerized technology in surfboard design and manufacture,included are transcripts documented from interviews rather than an edited view. There is simply very little published work in this area other than an occasional article written in surf magazines and the odd web site promoting particular software products or computerized machinery.

Surfboard craftsmanship is a very individual process and varies considerably between board makers. This series represents techniques I have developed through many years associated with the industry. Before commencing, read and view as much information as possible (particularly items as detailed in the "Resource List") and talk to experienced persons and others that may be able to offer assistance. Most importantly, many safety aspects are highlighted to warn of the dangers involved in using extremely complicated chemicals. Please adhere to the suggested precautions, they would not have been included if they were thought unimportant. Finally, I welcome any correspondence ( via the website or postal address listed in the Preface) to correct or enhance what has been written so that the deserving people may be recognized for their contribution to thedevelopment of the sport and/or industry