Surfers Textbook

Section 14- REPAIRING AND RESTORATION TECHNIQUES

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No matter how careful you are with your new board, there will come a time when it requires some form of repair. It may be caused through surfing that favourite spot when the tide was a little too low, or perhaps an unwelcome drop–in or uncontrolled board in the white water. Then again, you may have been the culprit; irrespective, the surfcraft will need reconstructing. The old saying, ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ holds true when referring to surfcraft maintenance. The polyurethane foam, when exposed to the water through the breaking of the glass fibre and resin skin, discolours and deteriorates very quickly. The absorbed water creates additional weight and hence affects the performance of the board proportionally. In most cases the damaged area is potentially dangerous when surfing and, besides being unsightly, the resale value and longevity of the board are decreased. Waterproof tape can be used as a temporary measure for sealing minor fractures, so that the board can be ‘dry docked’ at a time that is convenient and not when there are good surfing conditions.

If you have worked through this book in making a surfcraft, it will require little effort on your behalf to carry out even major repairs. This is basically because what has been outlined in the previous sections can be directly applied to replacing fins, dislodged leg plugs, fixing fin cuts, indentations and the like. There are however some basic rules to follow and techniques you will find helpful.

In recent years there has been a growing interest in the history of surfboard riding and the culture associated with it, from which there has been a trend to collect memorabilia.

The owners of older surfboards are becoming more aware of their value as a collectors item, a distant cry from my teenage years in the early seventies when particularly older malibus were cut down, stripped of their glass fibre skin to be reshaped to a more ‘contemporary’ shape; such was the fate of many a board. Today we are ‘much wiser’ and are aware of the importance of keeping surfcraft as original as possible, and hence the inclusion of a brief explanation on straight forward restoration techniques, however, as with any item of historical significance, it may well be worth seeking out a professional opinion before attempting the revival process.