How To Take Care Of A Surfboard
From Proper Storage To Removing Surf Wax
So you just got a new surfboard and want to make sure you can ride it for years to come. We’ll teach you the best ways to keep your surfboard from getting waterlogged, turning yellow, and getting generally wrecked—so you can keep paddling out.
Keep Your Surfboard Safe
The most common things that damage a surfboard are accidents and breaks, sunlight, heat, and water. Improper storage can lead to dings and cracks in the fiberglass or epoxy, while direct sunlight will yellow your board, and heat (like the inside of a hot car) will not only melt your surf wax and make a mess, it can delaminate your board.
In general, an average surfer that rides a few times a week to a few times a month can make the board last for years with proper care and storage. A high-performance surfer might have to get a new board every year simply due to the punishing nature of the elements.
Below we’ll go into exactly how to avoid all of those issues and keep your board in proper shape.
How Heat & Sun Affect Surfboards
Whether you’re storing your board for daily use or putting it up for the season, there are a number of things you can do to prevent damage and wear.
The best way to store your surfboard is inside a climate-controlled location, out of direct sunlight, in a board rack. But we understand this isn’t always an option.
Choose a somewhat cool location, and definitely keep it out of direct sunlight. A garage is fine, and while the outside temperature won’t destroy your board direct sunlight will eventually yellow it.
Too much heat will cause the foam inside your board to expand, which will make the surface bubble and the foam separate from the fiberglass—it’s an all-around mess. If the bottom of the board bubbles, this will impact how it cuts through the water and the performance of the board, which is less than ideal.
The worst place you can store your board is locked inside a hot car, so avoid this at all costs when you’re stopping for post-surf refreshments. Instead of jamming your board into your car, you can get a roof rack and park in the shade. If you’re desperate and have to keep your board the car, at least roll down the windows and park in the shade, or invest in a reflective bag that directs heat away from your board.
Preventing Cracks & Dings
The best way to protect your board is to store it standing up, leaned into a corner, or in a board rack. This prevents anything from falling on it, cars driving over it in the garage, and the rack keeps it from falling and cracking an edge. In general, don’t lay your board on the ground, on rocks, or let anyone try to stand on it on the ground.
For daily use, you can get a board “sock” which is light cover that protects your board from scratches and minor bumps. This is a good option for after your sesh when you’re transporting your board and keeps it protected at home until you take it out to ride the next day. For longer-term storage or more protection, you’ll want something with a bit of padding.
Preventing Waterlogged Surfboards
The outer fiberglass or epoxy on a surfboard protects the inner foam core from water. However, if it cracks, water will seep in. The foam will absorb it and eventually become waterlogged which is impossible to repair and makes the board unusable.
Check your board regularly for dings and cracks, and thoroughly investigate after your board gets roughed up in a fall. Always have a fiberglass or epoxy ding repair kit on hand, and take your board into the shop for bigger cracks.
Additionally, it’s always a good idea to rinse your board in fresh water after a session since salt water is corrosive and can weaken the fiberglass over time. A quick hose down in the yard, or rinse at the beach shower should do the trick.
Removing Surf Wax From Your Board
We won’t go over the specifics of how to wax your surfboard or why in this article, but eventually, you might want to remove the wax on your board and start over.
Removing the wax incorrectly can cause damage to the board, so don’t ever use chemicals or metal tools. Instead, pick up a plastic “wax comb.” Next, set your board in the sun for 5 minutes to soften the wax (but don’t forget about it!) and then gently use the comb to scrape off the wax.
Following these guidelines for surfboard care will make your investment last longer and keep you in the lineup. To wrap up, remember:
- Don’t leave your board in direct sunlight (even for a day)
- Don’t store your board inside a hot car; try to store it in a moderately cool environment (climate-controlled is best)
- Always store your board standing up and safely leaning where it won’t slide off or get knocked over
- Fix your dings and cracks immediately and take the big cracks to your local board shop for repair
- For extra protection store your board in a sock or padded bag
- Try to rinse the saltwater and sand off your board after every session
- Never use chemicals or a metal scraper to remove surf wax
See you in the lineup!