Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Save a buck, fix that ding yourself!

A few weeks ago I officially broke in my new Anderson 9’8” Josh Farberow noserider longboard.

No, “breaking it in” is not riding it for the first time. Not at least in my book of surfology. Breaking a surfboard in for me is exactly that -- breaking it, or more specifically “dinging” it with part of your body.

I can easily point out each ding on my Neilson shortboard and tell you exactly what part of my body and what hurricane swell caused such ding. I’ve been riding the Anderson for more than a month at the time and still not even a scratch from even the most minor closeout collision between the board and my body. I was doing great. I was making all the right decisions. I was NOT hesitating. And then it happened; I decided to go all old school by ditching my leash in an effort to work on style and control.

The idea is freedom. Freedom from the leash. Freedom to walk all around on the board from nose to tail, but with freedom comes more responsibility, better decision making and more “thinking” about control. By surfing without a leash I have to exit the wave in complete control or else I’m swimming for a lost board. This can be tricky at New Smyrna Inlet as 1.) it’s a beach break with very little consistency in the waves between one set to another, and 2.) it’s one of the most crowded spots in Florida so there’s the very real chance of someone being in your way as you wipeout with thousands of pounds of water pushing you in their direction.

It’s funny because this time I don’t remember the exact wave that broke in my new longboard. What I do remember is suddenly realizing a sharp pain in my right shin as a rush of adrenalin wore off. It went something like this:

*Lift leg out of water and rest on board to examine.

*See 1-inch gash of flesh and blood trickling toward foot.

*Tell a nearby friend that “I’m bleeding” and hear him say, “dude, get away from me.” (after all, NSB is the shark bite capital of the world).

*Continue to surf while being puzzled at how this happened.

Later, as I loaded the board into a truck, I notice flesh and hair caught in a dinged section of protruding sharp fiberglass along the rail of the surfboard and the mystery is solved. I simply slammed my shin into the rail while trying to hold on to the board inside a breaking wave. Presto! Board is officially “broken in.”

Now what to do about it?

The economy sucks and I’m low on funds. I work in real estate, which means I have LOTS of time on my hands. Hmmmmm…. Seriously, it can’t be rocket science to fix this myself and not have to dish out $40 to a surf shop?

Here’s what I did thanks to some Internet research and the help of a fellow surfing buddy. Feel free to correct any errors or make suggestions or use yourself as a guide to fixing minor dings in your boards.

First, you'll need to buy some supplies. You can buy the more expensive ding repair kits at a local surf shop OR you can head to the nearest hardware store such as Home Depot or Lowe's and pick up the same stuff separately at only a fraction of the cost.

The "Ding All" brand is from a surf shop.

However, buying "All Purpose Fiberglass Resin" will save you a few bucks and get you more resin.

Ok, so what you'll need as seen above is as follows:

1.) Clear Fiberglass Resin

2.) Liquid hardener for polyester fiberglass resin (if you're board is epoxy make sure you are using epoxy resin and hardener).

3.) Masking tape or some type of tape to hold molding strip (unless you have a ninja to hold it for hours for you).

4.) Popsicle stick (for spreading resin)

5.) Several different grit sandpapers (I used 65, 100, 120, 200 and 400)

6.) Clean thin piece of plastic (for molding the resin).

7.) Viking Helmet to protect your head from aliens.

For more severe damage you'll want to use fiberglass cloth with the resin and perhaps even some sort of filler, but since my ding was relatively minor and did NOT require that I'm not going to get into it in this post. Here's what to do next!

Place your board on a stable surface like the Surfboard Horses shown in the picture below. Take the lowest grit number sandpaper you have and sand the hell out of the ding. If you've got hairy legs like myself make sure to remove the flesh and hair from the ding!

Make sure to rough up the area around the ding. This allows the resin to stick and set to the board. Clean the area you just sanded and use your masking tape (or ninja) to prepare the thin piece of plastic to be taped over the ding. Follow the instructions on the liquid hardener and prepare the resin and apply it to the ding using the popsicle stick. Some resins will harden quickly so be prepared!

Next, mold the resin over the ding using the thin piece of plastic and tape to board. Wipe away any resin that spills out from under the plastic.

Let sit for several hours if not overnight. Once the resin has set, remove the tape and begin sanding. Start with 100 grit and slowly go higher and higher until reaching 400 grit. By this time the surface should be smooth and flush. It should be difficult to feel the difference between the repaired section and the original surface of the board. Congratulations, you've just fixed your own surfboard!

Waala! Go Surf!

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