Can I Use Epoxy Resin On Fiberglass Surfboard?
Colorful surfboards.

There is a wide range of surfboard materials, shapes, and lengths available on the market today. Choosing the right type of surfboard can be quite a daunting task for a newbie surfer. In addition, there is a question of which resin to use if you need to patch your board’s bruises. If you’ve asked yourself this question: Can I use epoxy resin on a fiberglass surfboard, we’ve got some answers ready for you.

You can use epoxy resin on both fiberglass or polyester surfboards and epoxy surfboards. However, keep in mind that you shouldn’t use polyester resin on epoxy boards, because it will melt away the foam, or the core of the surfboard. Remember, if you have an epoxy surfboard, you can only fix it with epoxy resin.

To have a better understanding of different types of resin, you need to know the types of surfboards first. Stick around and by the end of this article, we will have turned you into a surfboards expert. If you are into water sports, take a look at our blog to discover what is easier to learn, windsurfing or kite surfing.

Are epoxy surfboards better than fiberglass?

Both epoxy and fiberglass surfboards have their own pros and cons, so this is not an easy question to answer. Nevertheless, we will present you with both types of surfboards and let you be the judge of which one is better for you. In all honesty, it is largely a matter of personal preference. In case you are 6’2 and wonder what surfboard you should use, our blog holds the answer.

The pros and cons of fiberglass surfboards

Fiberglass boards are considered to be a more traditional type of surfboard. They also go by the name of polyurethane, polyester, or just PU boards. They are made from polyurethane foam, fiberglass cloth, and polyester resin.

PU boards have been prevalent among surfers for decades. Many surfers still prefer the lively feel and riding experience of standard PU boards. These are some additional advantages of fiberglass surfboards:

  • Fiberglass surfboards are cheaper.
  • PU surfboards are easier to repair.
  • Polyester boards are easier to work with and are primarily hand-shaped.
  • PU boards are often heavier than epoxy since PU foam is dense.

Pro surfers who ride large, powerful waves often prefer PU boards, as they feel PU boards are more responsive and flexible despite having a little extra weight. However, there are a few downsides to poly boards too:

  • Fiberglass surfboards are easier to damage and are particularly susceptible to heel dents in the deck.
  • After a year or so, the polyester starts to degrade, as it is a really brittle material.
  • Polyester has a negative effect on workers’ health, as well as on the environment.
  • PU boards will turn yellow with age, and exposure to the sun will result in faded colors.

The pros and cons of epoxy surfboards

Epoxy surfboards gained popularity in the mid-2000s. They are made from polystyrene (PS) or expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam core, fiberglass cloth, and a coat of epoxy resin. Epoxy surfboards are more expensive, as they are harder to work with. There are many advantages of epoxy surfboards:

  • Epoxy surfboards are stronger simply because the epoxy resin is much stronger than the resin used on a fiberglass surfboard.
  • EPS boards are really light which helps beginner surfers catch waves.
  • Epoxy surfboards are very durable since epoxy resin doesn’t degrade over time the way polyester resin does.
  • EPS boards are more environmentally friendly and they are a more sustainable choice since they last longer.

Despite their many qualities, epoxy surfboards do have some disadvantages:

  • Epoxy surfboards are generally between $100 and $150 more expensive than a standard fiberglass board.
  • EPS boards are often mass-produced so customization is not always possible.
  • Epoxy surfboards are more difficult to turn because they are stiffer and more rigid.
  • Epoxy resin yellows out even quicker than polyester resin.

Can I use polyester resin on epoxy surfboard?

Under no circumstances should you mix the polyester resin with an epoxy board. If you do that, the polyester resin will eat away your epoxy board’s EPS or PS foam core. Check out our blog to also learn how to get the water out of an epoxy surfboard.

Can I use epoxy resin on fiberglass surfboard?

Yes, you can use epoxy resin on both types of surfboards. If you have one board that’s epoxy and one that is fiberglass, you can safely use epoxy resin on both boards. However, the simplest way to remember which resin is safe for which board is to use the resin that the board is made of.

What is stronger epoxy or polyester resin?

When it comes to bonding strength, epoxy resin is king. It is also more resistant to wear and tear, cracking, and peeling. Due to its’s lower cost, polyester resin is more popular. However, epoxy resin is the best value for money. With a higher price, you get strength and durability.

A surfer holding his surfboard while walking on the beach.

How do you tell if a board is poly or epoxy?

The first thing you should do is look for the manufacturer’s logos aka the ”stickers” under the glasswork. Check out our blog to learn if you can put stickers on a skimboard. Most reputable board manufacturers put the word epoxy on at least one of the logos.

Unfortunately, if your surfboard is not a reputable brand, it can be virtually impossible to differentiate a poly from an epoxy board. This can create further problems when you try to fix a ding on one of these boards. You can easily end up with a foam meltdown because you’ve used a polyester resin on an epoxy board.

Nevertheless, here are a few pieces of advice that can come in handy when you try to tell epoxy from a poly surfboard:

  • Epoxy boards have a certain texture to them – try to look for small veins or beads under the glass.
  • With the Dow foam try to look for breather holes in a symmetrical pattern or epoxy marks in the logos.
  • Try to steer clear of epoxy or EPS boards constructed by amateurs, or the so-called backyard epoxy boards.

Can you fix dents in a surfboard?

The good news is that you can fix minor dents on your surfboard. If you are a newbie surfer, you should learn basic surfboard repair. Learning how to fix minor damages on your surfboard will save you both time and money. You may also want to check why you need to wax a surfboard and learn how to do it.

When you notice dents on your surfboard, try to fix them as soon as possible. Leaving dents and cracks on your surfboard can cause further problems due to water getting into your board and causing it to get waterlogged.

Keep in mind that you can probably fix minor punctures, dents, and scratches on your board. However, if there are major damages and issues that affect the integrity of your board, be sure to seek help from the surfboard repair specialists. Next are a few steps to help you fix minor dents by yourself.

Step #1 Gather the necessary supplies for repair

You can buy a specialized repair kit from a surf shop, or buy the following supplies one by one:

  1. Goggles and safety mask
  2. Sandpaper
  3. Masking tape
  4. Wax comb
  5. Knife
  6. Fiberglass cloth
  7. Q-Cell
  8. Sanding resin and catalyst
  9. Acetone
  10. Paintbrush

Step #2 Prep the surfboard

Prior to any repair work, make sure to rinse your surfboard thoroughly with fresh water and wait until it’s completely dry. You need to remove all salt water and salt crystals. Be patient, as you sometimes need to wait for a couple of days until your board is free from all the moisture.

Remove any rotten or damaged area around the ding. Also, be sure to clean any wax from the area around the ding. This will help the new resin bond to the board. You should also use sandpaper to sand down the area of the ding.

Step #3 Start Repairing

Before you start repairing, protect the surrounding area with masking tape. This will also minimize the need for sanding. If there are large voids or holes to fill, use Q-Cell. Make a mixture of an ounce of sanding resin and Q-Cell.

Once you form a thick paste, add 10 catalyst drops. Apply this paste to the area of the ding. This will replace any missing foam. Pour this mixture slowly to avoid forming air bubbles.

Once the mixture has hardened, you can start with the first round of sanding. Sand down the Q-Cell mixture so that is flat with the board or better yet, a little below the surface.

Next, cover the ding. Use scissors to cut a patch from your fiberglass cloth. Make sure that it is a bit bigger than the repair area. Prepare the resin coating by mixing an ounce of sanding resin and 10 catalyst drops. Mix it well and apply the mixture over the fiberglass cloth with a paintbrush.

You can start with the second round of sanding, once the resin has hardened. Smooth down the edges of your repair work. Don’t sand too forcefully, but be sure to get the surface down flush with the board.

Add a hot coat by mixing a little more resin together with a few extra drops of catalyst. Apply a thin layer of this mixture over your repair with a paintbrush. Once this has hardened, you are ready for the final step, which is wet sanding.

Simply use high grit sandpaper to sand until you match the finish of the rest of the board. As the finishing touch, add a few drops of water or even use a polisher and some diamond-cut compound to achieve a shiny surface.

Final thoughts

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of how resins work and you are confident to do your own ding repair on minor surfboard damage. To learn how to ride the waves safely, check out our blog to find out if it is safe to surf in a thunderstorm.

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