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Surf Craft: Design and the Culture of Board Riding

by Tommy Barrels on June 30, 2016

The Design and Culture of Board Riding exhibition honors the surfing culture, showcasing the way surfboards have been made throughout the years and how their design has evolved to become a real art form.

After a successful exhibition two years ago in San Diego’s Mingei International Museum, we are bringing this artwork to Northern California for local surf aficionados to experience. You can check out the Design and the Culture of Board Riding exhibition at the Sonoma Valley Museum Of Art

Check out our Instagram page to find out how you can win tickets to the show!

Eye Symmetry Surfboards has always been a brand that prides itself on building quality craft, built to last and put through the paces! In this clip the boys venture down to the S.A. coast and put these bright boards by Max and collab artist – Dimitri Drjuchin to the test in small and fun to pumping conditions.

Long time team rider Hector Santamaria joins for the trip and stars in this clip. Hector rides the Sandman first up, followed by his areal assault on the Cali Quad and dreamy right tubes on the Lucid Eye model to steal the show.

Cinematographers: Max Stewart and James Kates

Music: Prettyboy by Dan Deacon (full song)
Storm by Godspeed You Black Emperor! (excerpt)

“HEAPS ON” staring Harry Bryant

by Tommy Barrels on June 16, 2016

Recap on the epic sessions last weeks swell provided to QLD’s Sunshine Coast. Peep Harry and a handful of others taking full advantage of the world class waves that were served up!

Harry’s riding the Black Angel step-up from Emery Surfboards.

Edit by Josh Simpson

New from SUPERBrand – The SPAM

by Tommy Barrels on May 12, 2016

Hanging out for a new fun fast board? Check out the 2016 SPAM from SUPERBRAND in collaboration with electric free surfer Dion Agius.

Combining a wide outline, with a low rocker and single to double concave with a nice vee out the back, the SPAM ensures you have a tight turning circle with it’s tight winged swallow tail.

Dion has been riding it at 5’6″ x 19 1/4″ x 2 3/16″ on small, one foot beach breaks to Indo waves upwards of 6 feet!

Check out the SUPERBrand Spam today to experience ‘the fastest board I’ve ever ridden’ ~ Dion Agius 2016.

Surfing Fitness

by Boardcave on March 24, 2016

The Surfing Fitness Program has changed over the years

Pre heat warm up of the one and only Kelly Slater.

Being healthy and fit has never been so “in” before. Especially when it comes to the professional surfing.

It wasn’t long ago, that pro surfers traveling the world on someone else’s dime to exotic locations, would party harder than anyone else and often show up hung over and barely on time for their heats. They were living the high life, partying like rock stars and being flown all over the world to not only surf amazing locations, but getting the chance to do it with only a few others out in the line up.

After gradually changing over the years, the pro tour couldn’t be any different. These surfers are going to bed early, waking up early, eating healthy, barely drinking, no drugs…they have become “real athletes”. Many of them even being sponsored or having some ownership in the health food market as opposed to being sponsored by Bud Light…

Even after big wins, they may celebrate with a few beers, but they are likely still in bed by 10pm and up at the crack of dawn the next morning.

DHD’s own Mick Fanning’s game has change with his fitness regime. His alter ego “Eugene” hardly makes appearances any more.

This big change was’t even really that long ago…does anyone remember Eugene??? the alter ego of DHD Surfboards own Mick Fanning? Or how about classic tales of the plan for Occy, Nathan Hedge and Luke Egan to get up super early and get out to Cloudbreak for first light to get a birthday surf in for Nathan before the contest resumes…Under the suggestion from a few beers, Hedge decides to paddle to the Couldbreak judging tower in a kayak, towing his board behind him, with the plan of staying up the rest of the night, partying until light and being the first to nab some waves. Hedge made it and managed to be the first out, but not until after a 10km and hours long paddle and damaged stolen rental kayak.

The general idea of getting up early to beat the scene is no different, it the the execution of the idea that differs today compared to in the hard partying days of past.

These same pro’s today are the epitome of health and fitness. Eating ultra healthy, workout routines that would scare most athletes in any sport, barely drinking (come on, you gotta celebrate), up early and in bed early.

And they should be. It is no coincidence that this is happening. With Live webcasts of the events around the world, the infrastructure set in place today compared to years ago, and the worldwide popularity growing yearly, the top level professional surfers make a really good living and I am sure want to continue to do so. How do you get closer to ensuring that? Remain at the top of your game at all times.

Surf Fitness has even turned into an industry of it’s own. There are dedicated fitness instructors, sports therapists, and even fitness centers focused solely on the act of surfing. The Hurley Surfing Australia High Performance Center in NSW Australia is one of the main notable facilitates. Offering everything from surf coaching, personal trainers, fitness and nutrition programs aiming to make you surf at the top of your game. They cater to regular bro’s. groms, and top level athletes alike.

Legendary Gerry Lopez takes care of his mind body and soul and can still surf better than 90% of us.

A far dry from the days of old when the majority of your coaching was done by your shapers…unless you shaped your own boards. Hell, early days of competitive surfing, it wasn’t out of the norm for the competitors to be surfing under the influence of a number of drugs…anything from simple Marajuana and Booze to harder chemicals and even LSD. But again, relate that to the exposure surfing had, the prize money involved or just the general living someone could make as a “professional surfer” back in the day. Most of the time the contest winning just barely covered the cost of getting to the competition in the first place and a good majority of clothing and accessory brands only offered free gear, not an added paycheck.

It is much more serious business nowadays for everyone involved…pro surfers can make over a million dollars a year, and the industry behind them is even bigger. Surfing is even being considered for the olympics…I bet no one saw that coming in the early days of the industry or contest scene.

Dave Rastovich is another yoga enthustast who pay close attention to what he puts into his body, this allows him to bury serious rail.

This goes beyond just the contest side of the industry though. Many free surfers live much healthier lives today although maybe not as intense in some areas. Eating healthy benefits everyone, I don’t care who you are…and the older you get the more you become aware of this as your body starts shutting down from all the junk you feed it. Some free surfers may not hold the same exercise regime as their counterpart contest surfers, but they are also not really dealing with the same pressures. They do however still have to remain on top of their own game at all times though to keep their recognition with he public that allows them to make a living doing what they love.

Pyzel Surfboards John John Florence is no doubt a freak of nature when it comes to surfing waves. I imagine he is a relatively healthy individual, but he is also young enough still to bounce back from injuries and no doubt has the metabolism in place to eat whatever he wants without the body taking a serious toll. As time goes on though, he will (just like everyone who ages) need to take nutrition and fitness more seriously to stay at the top of his game. Don’t get me wrong here, I do not know what his eating and fitness habits are like, maybe he is sitting down with a nice glass of kanmbucha right now…I am just saying that the younger you are, the more forgiving your body is.

Pyzel’s John John Florence has the young mans workout dialed in. Who said your workout can’t be fun!

The times have changed. Whether we like it or not, surfing is main stream and will continue to grow. In our opinion, it is great the surfers today have the need to live healthy lives in order to wow us everyday with the surfing that is happening around the world. It is also promoting healthy lives for you and I and our future generations. Leading by example and therefore the stigma of the surfy bum is no longer.

Surfers are seen as healthy individuals with high social responsibilities, leading constructive lives. Not the burnt out unmotivated wastes we were once though of.

Make sure you check out the Board Engine to find a range of boards all made by professional shapers at the top of their crafts. Email service@boardcave.com with your details for a detailed report of board recommendations for you.

Looking for more articles? Check out some of our recent articles below:

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The Surfing Drop In

by Boardcave on March 18, 2016

When Is It Ok To Drop In?

Plenty waves, plenty crowd, plenty drop in’s.

If you have been surfing for a while, it has happened to you and you have been guilty of it your self. For those of you who are just getting into surfing, you can be sure that it will happen to you as well, and you will no doubt do it to others without even noticing it at first.

Apart for not being able to get any waves on your brand new custom surfboard on a crowded day, being dropped in on is probably the cause of 90% of the arguments, disagreements, fights, or simply bad attitudes out in the line up today.

So, since we have all had it happen to us, and we have all done it ourselves, the questions is…when is it ok to drop in on someone?

This is sure to bring some debate around the topic. In an ideal world, the drop in should never have to happen. Everyone should be able to have the fair share of waves. Paddling into the line up, waiting their their turn in line for the next wave and when they get their wave, they paddle back to the line up, waiting their turn again.

SUPERbrand’s Clay Marzo knows how to get his own waves…either wait your turn or go surf an empty wave and play around all by yourself.

Unfortunately, this is impossible to regulate for a number of reasons. Unless you are at a very structured break, the “peak” of the line up can vary…some surfers will sit higher up the point, or deeper than another surfer, this can be due to the skill level or type of board they are surfing. Some people just have a spot they like to sit best, regardless of when some waves peak at a different section.

Some surf spots are still very highly regulated by the locals…take the Pipeline n Oahu’s North Shore for example…You can be the best surfer in the world (Kelly Slater) and still not get the pick of waves you want due to the hierarchy in that particular line up.

Whatever you do, if you are visiting a new area, you have to respect the locals and do not just take any wave you want no matter how good you are. In a past article, Surfing Etiquette we go over the fundamentals of how surf Etiquette is supposed to be in the line up. But, as stated in that article, there is no written handbook to this, just practices that have been put in place over the years that span all continents.

One instance that recently got some attention was about pro surfer Mick Fanning dropping in on another local on his Ducks Nuts DNA on one of the most crowded breaks in the world…Snapper Rocks.

The aforementioned drop in by DHD Surfboards team rider and Snapper Rocker local Mick Fanning. If he wasn’t in the spotlight this wouldn’t have been an issue at a place where dropping in is more common than not.

Leading up to the start of the WSL 2016 campaign which fires off at Snapper Rocks, there was a great swell that attracted regular joe’s like you and I as well as the most elite surfers in the world who came early to take advantage of the pumping surf to train for the upcoming event.

Now, you have to keep in mind that this was a case between two locals, one just happens to be one of the best surfers in the world and a contestant in the up coming event. Does that give him the right to drop in on this other fellow? No, absolutely not. Did Mick do it on purpose? Only Mick can answer that. Does that mean that Mick always drops in on anyone he likes? Probably not, but it is Snapper Rocks…when was the last time you watched footage of that wave where someone wasn’t getting dropped in on (apart from contests)?

I am sure that other local has dropped in on numerous people too, probably in that same session, including pro surfers like Mick Fanning as well. But why was Mick put under fire in the local media and not the thousands of others who dropped in on someone that same session…simply because he is a known figure?

Yes, professional surfers who are in the lime light should be aware of their actions as everything will be seen and recorded by the public eye, but at a place as busy as Snapper on a day like that (or any other day for that matter), if he were to simply sit there and wait for his own wave, chances are he wouldn’t have surfed at all that session. I guarantee you that all the other pro’s and bro’s out in the line up that day dropped in on someone at least once…even the beginners whether they were aware of it or not.

So that brings us back to the question, when is it ok to drop in?

Well, the answer is never, but mistakes do happen. I guess you could qualify dropping in to two categories…unintentional drop in’s and deliberate drop in’s. Unintentional drop ins can come from novice surfers simply not being aware of their surroundings. We made mention of such a thing in the Etiquette article, how beginners are in a new environment and can often get tunnel vision. They didn’t mean to drop in, they just didn’t know any better or were not even aware of their actions.

Kelly Slater eyeing down the line incase the two other fellows in position bail…then he still has to deal with the rest of the crew on the shoulder.

Or, on the other hand, an experienced surfer can still unintentionally drop in as well. On a crowded day, most experienced surfers will at least start paddling for a wave who already has at least one person already in the “right of way” or closest to the peak also paddling for the wave. They will do this for the chance that the person who is deeper may pull back or botch the wave, giving the green light for the surfer on the shoulder to go if he/she is ready. Sometimes if that surfers is spinning around last minute, he may get caught in the energy of the wave and the safest course of action is to drop in, but then pull right out the back if possible. It is a much better solution than trying to bail out and having your board shoot out at the surfer who was dropped in on.

Then there is the deliberate drop in. Simply put, the surfer dropping in, knows they are dropping in and they go ahead and do it anyways. This may be out of spite (maybe that other surfer dropped in on them earlier) or maybe that surfer just feels that they are entitled to whatever wave they want. Or maybe is is simply that that surfer had been a nice guy almost the whole session but the place was so crowded that he/she would never get a wave unless they were to drop in on someone.

When you surf with crowds like this, the outcome of your surf is going to be directly related to how you handle situations like being dropped in on.

Deliberate drop in’s are definitely frowned upon, but if you are honest with yourself, we have all done it and will all more than likely do it again at some point. How you handle yourself after the fact can make a difference though…you can just ignore the fact that you did it, or paddle up and apologize. Or if you got dropped in on, same rules, you can ignore it or hold a grudge about it.

I guarantee you one way or another of looking at the matter can make your session more enjoyable or it can totally ruin the whole day for you.

Drop In’s are no fun, but they do happen, so make the most out of your session and try to do the right thing from both angles of the situation.

Make sure you check out the Board Engine to find a range of boards all made by professional shapers at the top of their crafts. Email service@boardcave.com with your details for a detailed report of board recommendations for you.

Looking for more articles? Check out some of our recent articles below:

surf trip article darren and mick choosing boards what board should i surf

WSL Championship Tour is here

by Tommy Barrels on March 10, 2016

Welcome to the WSL Championship Tour

The 2016 WSL Championship Tour has arrived. With the first stop on the Gold Coast at Snapper Rocks, the Quiksilver Pro never disappoints.

With a new world champ in Adriano de Souza and the likes of DHD‘s Mick Fanning, Pyzel‘s John John Florence, King Kelly and Gabriel Medina ready to go in the men’s comp combined with returning champ Carissa Moore, Stamps Surfboard’s Courtney Conlogue and the long awaited return of Steph Gilmore to the world stage in the Roxy Pro, Snapper is set to go off!

Check out the video and get stoked for the Quiky Pro starting this Thursday!

Quiky Pro March 10 – March 21st

Clip by the WSL.

How El Nino Affects Surfing

by Boardcave on March 10, 2016

From Oz to the U.S., El Nino has been producing great surf

Gold on the Gold Coast.

If you are a surfer, or follow surfing in anyway, you would have noticed how good the 2015 year was for surfing and even better, how 2016 is starting out. Is this a fluke? No, it is El Nino!

The world is on fire

Pretty much everywhere from the U.S. to Oz has been on fire. By now we have all seen the recent footage of the Super bank living up to it’s name. And California has literally been all time, producing swell after swell. It’s been so good in Southern California, that if you time it right, you can actually score with minimal people out. It has been so consistent that people are actually getting burnt out from one swell or another.

If you are fortunate enough to work a job where you can split at any given moment for a couple of hours, you are especially lucky. The ability to time a surf, right after the peak of a swell when everyone is on it, and timing that with a Thursday mid morning in California, can make it feel like you are on a trip somewhere with way less people in the line up in general.

Don’t get me wrong, it is still crowded, mostly on the weekends and when a swell is peaking, but there are wonderful moments of solitude. Even better, if you happen to be in the “know” of a secret spot that only lights up on given tides, swell directions, etc chances are that spot has been working.

Super Bank is No Joke

Push button to turn on wave pool.

Coming back to the Super bank, specifically Snapper Rocks, has been a machine. Watching endless lines pour in and watching surfers getting 3 or 4 good barrels or more per wave (if you don’t get dropped in on your head). That is clearly the wave the Kelly Slater Wave Pool company is trying to re-create.

It has recently been shown that the latest run of surf for the gold coast has brought an additional $20 Million dollars to the local economy from the amount of surfers flocking to the region. If the crowds and the dollars don’t show what impact El Nino has had on surfing, I don’t know what will!

Let’s hope El Nino is good for the upcoming Quik Pro and DHD team riders like Mick Fanning here can unleash on his home wave..

Coming into he 2016 WSL campaign starting at the Quiky Pro we’re all holding our breath that the wave will produce for the contest. The WSL seems to have had a bit of a rough go with the timing of many of the events during 2015. The contests managed to be timed just after perfect surf so since Snapper has been on fire, hopefully the bad timing run won’t continue into this year. How good will it be to see DHD’s Mick Fanning and crew scoring the same perfect waves at Snapper, but with only a few guys out? Don’t forget this may be Mick’s last run of competitive surfing for a little while. Hopefully pumping Snapper with no one out will give him a little something to entice him back again next year!

All Time California

El Nino and Rincon go together like…well Dane Reynolds and Rincon.

In the U.S., all the regular amazing spots like Trestles, Sand Spit, Rincon have been going off…and that’s not to mention all of the other nooks and crannies that are either unknown or rarely light up.

The west coast is literally seeing a dream run, swell after swell producing the most rippable waves and occasionally bigger conditions.

Eddie did Go and is still Going

Even the big wave chargers are getting a fair dose of epic surf. From the mainland to Hawaii, all the big wave arenas have been on fire. Mavericks has been going off consistently, Jaws has been lighting up and seeing some of the best conditions, waves and surfers over and over again, not just taking off on big waves, but actually getting legitimately barreled.

Lets not forget Waimea. This wave has been so gnarly that the top surfers in the world, including Kelly Slater are getting washed back to shore without even making to the line up. The Eddie was finally held after a long hiatus which hasn’t seen “Eddie Like Conditions” since 2009, and who better to take the trophy than local boy and Pyzel rider John John Florence who is better know for gouging turns and massive airs.. not big wave charging. That boy can do it all!

Pyzel Surfboards team rider and local boy JohnJohn Florence clearly stoked on his Eddie win.

Don’t worry, there are still waves left for you

The best part is that El Nino seems to be around for a while yet. With those purple blobs showing up on weather charts all over the world on a consistent basis for the time being, you can be sure to still have some amazing days ahead.

If you are the unfortunate majority that has to sit at a desk most Monday to Fridays, make sure you make an effort to get your fair share of waves if you haven’t already. Sure it may be crowded, but with so many options available at a time like this, there are still plenty of waves to be found and had even in the commotion of weekend surfing.

If you don’t like crowds on the weekend, just go paddle out with Shane Dorian at some of his favorite spots.

The crowds won’t change (in fact they are likely to get worse), so put your head down, paddle into a better position and get yourself those waves. El Nino is still running around our world giving us the goods…take advantage while you can!

Make sure you check out the Board Engine to find a range of boards all made by professional shapers at the top of their crafts. Email service@boardcave.com with your details for a detailed report of board recommendations for you.

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surf trip article darren and mick choosing boards what board should i surf

Surfboard Finishes, Hot Coat or Gloss?

by Boardcave on March 3, 2016

Jed Noll of Noll Surfboards about to lay a fresh coat of gloss on a classic D fin log.

Sand Only Hot Coat, Gloss, Gloss and Polish…What Should You Get?

We have recently had a few people ask us about the different finishes you can have on your surfboard and what they should get. A matter like this really comes down to personal preference, but it is still fairly important as it can change some of the performance characteristics of your board.

There are really three main finishes you can get on your boards.

Sand Only Hotcoat, Sanded Gloss and Polished Gloss. We will cover each one here and let you know when you might want one over another.

In all three situations, a hot coat is required.

The Hotcoat is a layer of resin that is applied on top of the laminated fiberglass. When a board is simply laminated, the fiberglass is completely saturated with resin, but then a good majority of the resin is squeezed out. If too much resin is left on at this stage, the fiberglass will be too brittle and can fracture easily. If not enough resin, than the fiberglass can easily de-laminate from the board.

The Hotcoat more or less fills in the gaps left in the weave of the cloth after lamination. This not only gives you a smooth surface, but helps prevent water from seeping into the board over time.

It is a Must Do stage for any surfboard.

No need for a shiny gloss to make this Flying Turtle by Surf Prescriptions stand out. Leaving just a hotcoat keeps this board light and fast.

Option 1. The Sand Only Hot Coat

The sand only hot coat is the most basic of all the finishes. Usually found on shortboards generally being used as more high performance shortboards. This application allows the weave of the fiberglass to be filled in and helps to prevent that water seeping in as stated above. The advantage of having a sand only hotcoat is that the board can be as light as possible as this is the least amount of resin needed on a finished board.

Hotcoat or sanding resin as it is sometimes referred to, has a wax solution added to it allowing it harden up enough to be sanded. Without the wax solution, the resin alone would gum up the sand paper, making it nearly impossible to sand down.

When the hotcoat is applied, the idea is to make sure there is enough resin on the board to ensure the weave left by the lamination is completely filled. The excess resin gets sanded off leaving a board as light as possible while remaining as water tight as possible.

The drawback of a sand only hotcoat is that over time, it can potentially slowly take on water, as well as the board being more fragile in general…more prone to dings breaking right through the fiberglass.

Great for high performance boards, or another style of board where you want as light a finished product as possible, but you can not expect the board to last you as long as you may want if you intend to keep the board for a long period of time.

If you do intend to keep your board for as long as possible, you may want to consider a Gloss Coat added. The gloss coat can come in two forms…Sanded Gloss, and Polished Gloss.

Option 2. The Gloss Coat Options

Stamps Surfboards bringing a nice gloss and polish finish to this Axis Log.

A Gloss Coat is yet another layer of resin applied to the board after a hotcoat is applied and sanded down. It is another form of resin also with a wax solution added to give you and extra layer of protection and well as an aesthetically pleasing look.

Gloss Coats are usually found on longboards, alternative surfboards, or retro style of boards. It does add weight to a board, so that is why the majority (not all) of shortboards do not get a gloss coat.

That added weight can come in handy for longboards and some of the retro style boards…helping to keep momentum going down the line, etc. and the extra resin gives and added layer of protection against any dings your board my be prone to. It does cost a little extra to add a gloss coat, but if you care about the longevity of your board, it is a small price to pay.

Remember, there are two ways you can ask for your gloss coat. Sanded or polished.

Sanded Gloss

A sanded gloss coat is exactly what it sounds like. The Gloss is laid, dries, and gets sanded to a high grit. A polish is the same process but when it comes to sanding, it is usually wet sanded and then polished to give you a nice mirror like glossy finish.

Some people claim that a sanded gloss is a little faster than a polished gloss due to the slight texture of the finish holding on to a very small layer of water forming a barrier around the board. That small layer/barrier stays with the board allowing friction-less water against water glide.

This Wilderness by Album Surfboards brings you the best of both worlds, gloss and polish with a sanded gloss tail dip.

Polished Gloss

A polished gloss (as you can imagine) gives you a nice glossy finish. Great for high end boards with color work, or even wall hangers and collectibles. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t surf them though, they are built to ride as all boards should be.

Apart from the extra layer of resin helping to prevent dings, they also help prevent the water absorption that your board could go through over time. A simple hotcoat on a board does eventually take on water as it is somewhat porous. This is why shortboards, or other boards finished with just a hotcoat do seem to change color and degrade faster than a glossed board.

Keep in mind, all boards will discolor if exposed to sunlight or it’s U.V. rays over time gloss or not.

The speed of a sanded gloss and keeping the board rom seeing harmful U.V. rays…really caring for you board.


There is no right or wrong reasons for you to choose one finish over another, but this at least gives you something to consider when ordering your next board.

Make sure you check out the Board Engine to find a range of boards all made by professional shapers at the top of their crafts. Email service@boardcave.com with your details for a detailed report of board recommendations for you.

Looking for more articles? Check out some of our recent articles below:

surf trip article darren and mick choosing boards what board should i surf

Surfboard Glassing the Under Appreciated Craft

by Boardcave on February 26, 2016

Ryan Engle working some epoxy magic on a Nation Surfboards custom.

Where Would We Be Without The Surfboard Glasser?

As the surf industry continues to thrive off apparel and accessories, and the “surfer lifestyle” expands far from the ocean, the surfboard and it’s manufacturers continues to be overlooked.

Where would the Surf Industry be in the first place if it wasn’t for the surfboard?

In one of our early articles, Why Is Your Surfboard So Cheap we had touched on the matter that surfboards prices have barely budged, yet the overheads involved, materials, rent, taxes, etc that board builders have to deal with, constantly rise in price. For the amount of work that goes into a surfboard, the amount of joy they bring and how long they can last if you take simple measures to take care of them, surfboard pricing is lower then what they should be. There are not many other industries you can connect with a company to custom manufacture a product by hand that results in the level of stoke from surfing.

However, more importantly than the cost of these craft, the men and women behind the scenes need more recognition.

In many cases, there is a whole team of people involved in the glassing of your board. Now granted, most shapers can and do handle all aspects of the process but many of them get too busy with having to fulfill your orders that they need to either have their own team of glassers in house, or out-source the glass work to a production glass shop.

Image Courtesy of The Waterman’s Guild

Why is glassing a big deal?

Shaping the board is one thing and difficult enough on its own. Having an eye for design and knowledge of hydrodynamics and the ability to combine or create elements that make a board work is another. The magic happens in the glassing though and takes a totally separate range of skills that can really make the difference in the board of your dream and a dud!

There are so many elements involved in glassing a board that many of these people end up specializing in one or the other to maximize their time and ensure you are getting a perfect board. And they all need to work together.

You don’t want to create unnecessary work for the person who has the next step, so you will normally find that these guys will take an extra step themselves to make sure the job is done right before the next guy has his hands on it.

Fabric Inlays are another challenge for the laminator. Image left shows a 2015 inlay pattern for a SUPERbrand model pre glassing while right shows Australian SUPERbrand shaper Adam Sparrow Fletcher inspecting some of the new 2016 batch.

The way a board is glassed plays as much of a role in how the board will perform as shaping the board.

It will be the shaper, or the customer who dictates what type of cloth and resin, the colors, etc. but it is the application of these materials that is so tricky. Too much resin and the board is heavy and brittle, not enough and the board is weak or can simply take on water without even a ding.

Color Work

And then there is the color work. Brands and customers wanting specific colors means the laminator has to mix and blend colors together to get just what they want. That may sound easy enough, but I assure you it is not.

Getting the right mixture and amount to get the right hue is very challenging, on top of the potential it leaves of contaminating everything else. Resin pigment and tints are so concentrated that the smallest drop will smear and spread out of control everywhere before you know it. Once that color is put down, there is no backing out either, so it better be right the first time!

A fresh hotcoat going down. Photo: Asilda Photography

Hotcoats and Glosses

For the guys handling Hotcoats and Glosses, there is time in the prep work needed…taping off rails, fin boxes, etc. A good number of steps before they can even start getting resin on the board. Then they have to consider all the concave, channels, glass on fins, etc making sure to get enough resin on, but not too much where it can pool up in low spots.

They also have to tape off what is called a “dam” for the parts of the bottom that have an edge in their shape like in the tail area. They have to try to mimic that shaped edge with the resin to some degree.

How the sander fits in

If there is too much resin left on the board the sander has a lot more work to do. Not enough and the sander can easily sand right through the fiberglass before he knows it. As you can probably appreciate, the sanders job alone is a specialty job.

So many different styles and grits of abrasives to use.

Using a machine sander for the bigger flat areas, and hand sanding the critical areas and in-between fins. To top off their work, they really have to pay attention to the intended shape of the board. The resin left on the board from the hot coat needs to be sanded down and the intended shape has to be mimicked exactly. A sander could easily change the whole performance attributes of a board if he doesn’t follow the intended lines to a tee.

A sanders job is to take all the excess resin off the board and ensure the shape stays true to how the shaper shaped the board. One of the more sensitive tasks to handle.

Fins and fin boxes

We haven’t even touched on the guys handling the fins and fin boxes. There are so many fin boxes that can be used, and unfortunately for these shops, each style of fin box requires a totally unique router.

Once you have all the routers needed, your routing job (cutting the hole in the foam for the box) has to be exact. Not deep enough and the fin box sticks up too high, too deep and the structural integrity of the box can be jeopardized. They also have to consider the angles that the boxes have to be set. And in considering those angles, they have to deal with odd bottom contours as well which can make the job a nightmare.

More time consuming tasks

There are so many other tasks involved on any given board. What makes this all more challenging is that every board is unique. Sometimes airbrush paint is needed for artwork, or resin panels added. Hell, taping a board for whatever purpose you need is challenging enough. There is a lot of skill involved when taping, especially if you are spraying color or doing resin panel color work.

You would be surprised at how much tape a glass shop can go through.

They are not just using any old masking tape either. Specialty tapes are needed that can withstand the extreme heat that is produced by canalized resin. Some of these tapes also bend and curve better than others. Tape is probably one of the biggest expenses glass shops have to deal with.

You’d be surprised how much prep work and tape goes into each surfboard.

How tools are used

Tools are coveted in a shop as well. To get the job done right, the tools have to be kept in excellent condition. This includes items like buckets and brushes too. If your bucket or brush is contaminated with anything, the resin you are using is jeopardized. It takes the smallest thing to throw off the whole production of a surfboard.

You can read more about the tools needed with articles like Surfboard Glassing Tools Of The Trade to get a better understanding of what you need if you were to tackle this job yourself.


So by now, you’re probably starting to get the picture. We could go on and on about this matter.

What it boils down to is that the team glassing your board are more than just workers. They are highly skilled craftsman/artists. Watching someone glass a board is almost therapeutic… it requires a sense of ease and flow.

Much like surfing a wave gracefully.

No matter the shape or design, a bad glass job equals a bad board. A good glass job equals a great board! And for how cheap a surfboard really is compared to the work that goes into it, every detail shows.

The smallest flaw sticks out like a soar thumb. No other industry which uses similar materials gets as much scrutiny as surfboards. We have even heard it straight from the companies that supply these materials. Surfboard glassing requires more skill and attention to detail than automotive or even aerospace due to the fact that every little detail is visible.

Nothing like fresh orange juice in the morning. Chemistry Surfboard laminator JimmyJammerJams getting his dose of vitamin C.

Glassers are the unsung hero’s of our industry and are often under appreciated for the amount of skill required by them.

Next time you get the chance, acknowledge the team glassing your board. Say thanks or even bring them a six pack… that will means more to them than the money they barely make! Appreciating the craft that so many devote their lives to, spreading stoke to surfers around the world.

Make sure you check out the Board Engine to find a range of boards all made in America by professional shapers at the top of their crafts. Email service@boardcave.com with your details for a detailed report of board recommendations for you.

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