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NEW from FCS

by tward on October 1, 2015

FCS have updated their shaper series with a new all round template that excels in pretty much everything! The FCS II Matt Biolos fins come in small, medium and large to cater for all surfers! Check the clip to find out more! If you like what you see you can order these fins right now!

Jack Freestone – Brisk

by tward on September 29, 2015

Opening with one of the most stylish oops we’ve ever seen this clip will leave you hanging on the edge of your seat for more, which is exactly what you get! SIC’s new edit is made up of a rediculous aerial assult with a few tubes for good measure filmed over the 2015 Winter. Jack is riding his signature JF DX1 model throughout this whole clip.

The Secret to Surfing Better

by Boardcave on September 23, 2015

How Riding Different Equipment Can Make You A Better Surfer

I come from the mind set of “surf everything”. This has always been my way, owning a quiver of boards that are completely different from each other. At first it was just a way to get me out in the water on days that hardly had a wave and my shorty wouldn’t cut it…having a longboard opened my mind and my ability to surf most of the time, regardless of the conditions.

That evolved into getting a fish, then a single fin egg shaped board, than a midlegnth with flex fin, then pulling out older 80’s style shortboards, onto hybrids, mini Simmons, etc etc. I found that the more alternative my quiver was, the more fun I was having on any given day, and the more I was surfing in general. I would call up buddies who were stuck in the 6’0 x 18 7/8 x 2 1/4 squash tail rut, only motivated to get wet when the waves were good quality and decent size, which does not happen all that often. And than to top it off, they would normally surf the same spot and bust the same maneuvers wave after wave.

canvas quiver
A beautiful quiver there. And the boards by Canvas Surfboards aren’t bad either.

Surf Everything

Owning such a diverse quiver not only gets you out in the water more, it teaches you to look at waves in a different way, which can in turn translate into how you surf different boards…including your shorty.

A prime example is surfing a 20 something pound log. The weight combined with the long rail line and general size of the board makes it that you have to surf with the wave a little more than surfing the wave. You have to look farther down the line to anticipate sections so you have the time to react and move the behemoth. Get a good feel for this, and you can take that approach to your shortboard. Sure you can still attack the wave, but you might even slow you surfing down a notch and get a better feeling for the sweet spot on a wave where you can easily generate your speed without having to pump the board so much. You eye also becomes trained to look a little farther down the line, not to spend that time setting up your move, but more so that you can link your maneuvers better…hit that section, but have a good idea already of what the next section is going to be like.

album bonzer
This bonzer Sub by Album seems to be working.

Test out Hybrids and Concepts

Or get yourself a single fin or bonzer style shortboard, either hybrid shape or performance. You get a hole new sensation of trim and rail work as opposed to your standard thruster. You may not be able to whip turns around as much as they won;t have the same release, but you would be surprised by their performance. These boards will almost produce their own speed when you find the sweet spot on both the board and the wave. Unlike the trusty thruster where you have to pump to engage the fins and make them drive. Your turns will be more drawn out and you will learn how to use your rail more. This will translate back to your ability to surf and perform on other boards, having that feeling of trim and knowing how to engage your rails instead of relying on your fins.

What’s Better than a Fish?

One style of board that everyone should have in their quiver whether you are a logger by nature or shortboarder, is a fish. Now, the term fish has been taken over by many just to simply mean their slightly shorter, wider board for smaller conditions.

I am actually talking about a good twin keel, deep swallow tail fish. Wider and thicker, but shorter than your normal board. And don’t be shy to surf these boards when it is pumping either. A board like this will teach you to take new lines and approach surfing in a whole new light. They work in anything from knee high and mushy, to overhead and barreling. They really show you down the line speed, but force you to control it.

The deep swallow tail acts like two separate pin tails (depending on rail is in the water at the time), and can fit in the pocket of a wave wonderfully, and gouge carving turns displacing a ton of water out the back of the wave. The wide tail and twin keels keep it loose when it needs to be, but loves to be surfed off the rail and fast down the line. They translate over well to your shortboard as a fish, like a shortboard, wants to be pumped to generate speed, but teach you how to harness and control that speed.

options from nation surfboards
Nation Surfboards has it figured out for you.

Move those Feet!

The cool thing is that a lot of boards want you to move around on the deck depending on the part of the wave you are on. That is an obvious case with classic longboards where you are literally walking up and down the board either perched up at the tip when nose riding, surfing from the middle finding that “trim” or dropping back to the tail for a cutback. This can carry over to mid lengths and shorter boards, including performance shortboards.

Brining your back foot up towards the middle helping to shift the weight forward a touch or consolidating your center of gravity with your feet close together. You see it a lot on alternative surfboards, but you can even notice it with experienced surfers on high performance shortboards. When they are driving through a barreling section, you will often notice their back foot is forward of the tail pad, helping to bring that weight forward a touch, only to drop it back all the way to the end of the tail pad to crack a nice big turn.

Experiment With Your Equipment

The point is, that it doesn’t really matter what variety of boards you are surfing, just try to mix it up now and then to freshen up your game. Some boards love riding high and tight on the wave, some like to generate speed by coming off the bottom and springing into action. Even a simple fin change can help to transform your surfing.

surf prescriptions snow surf
Surf Prescriptions likes to experiment…Rob Machado likes the look of this “fish out of water” surf/snowboard.

If you really are adamant on surfing HPSB (high performance shortboards) grab yourself a quad every now and then. Or better yet, make sure your next order has a five fin set up so you can surf one board as a thruster or a quad. You will notice how the board changes from down the line speed and carving turns as a quad, to having to pump more for your speed, but having more control and tighter arch’s with your turns on a thruster. Surfing the board as a quad will teach you to use your rail more and draw out your turns, bring that knowledge back to you thruster set up and you don’t always have to slash your turns…it’ll help smooth out your overall surfing.

Swap Out Your Fins

Or let’s say you only have one board with removable fins, but only set up as a thruster. Simply change out the fins that you have. If you normally have fins with a swept back arch to them, allowing for carving turns, put a fin set that is more upright that requires you to change your approach to turning and the wave in general. Put in fins with a wider base, giving you more drive down the line and learn to harness that power and leverage your weight when you need to turn. Bring that back to your smaller fins and really start laying into gouging turns with your rail and use the catch and release with your fins to your advantage.

superbrand research and development
R&D with the SUPERbrand team.

In Summary

Whatever it is you do, try not to stick with one board or one set up all the time. Having a wide variety of different surfboards increase the number of surf able days you have, as well as make you a better surfer. Some people may claim that it’ll hurt your surfing as you will have to re-adapt back to your go to board, but we say rubbish…it’ll teach you how to adapt to any style of board and bring new approaches to old equipment.

Yes, finding the right board to suit your experience and ability is crucial for progression, but being able to adapt to how a board wants to be surfed is just as crucial if not more. Build your quiver, open your mind and go have some fun!

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.

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

Futures Fins Generation Series

by Tommy Barrels on September 16, 2015

Futures Fins have been working on a new series which is about to drop very very soon! The Generation series features a stiffer base and has a unique carbon placement to give you that added control while the flexy tip gives you release when you need it!

Check out the clip for more!

Surfing Etiquette

by Boardcave on September 15, 2015

How to Handle Yourself out in the Lineup

We know that this might seem like an arbitrary article for some of you, but after just having Labor Day Weekend with pumping surf and tropical water temps here in Southern California, it seems that many people, including experienced surfers, seem to forget etiquette while out in the lineup.

Now, there are two ways we are looking at this. There are the beginners who simply do not know better and are in a totally new environment, and there are experienced surfers who just blatantly disregard etiquette because they feel they have more of a ‘right’ to be there over others.

Not saying that we are perfect here at Boardcave, we are guilty of ignoring etiquette ourselves from time to time, and we were all (including you the reader) beginners at one point who had no clue.

The trick here though, is that there is no written rule book or laws that apply. These are all un-written rules and for the most part, try to keep things organized and safe.

Spacial Awareness

One of the most important things to consider for a beginner, is that you have to be aware you are entering a new environment. It is easy to loose your focus and awareness right from the start when paddling out. A lot of beginners will get tunnel vision, focusing on what is directly in front of them. You need to be aware of this and only paddle out to the appropriate lineup for your ability. Being comfortable in the line up goes a long way for you safety, they safety of others, and how much fun you are going to have. If you can’t mange youself just paddling out, you are going to be in the way. Apart from the waves themselves doing you damage, your own board can become an uncontrollable blunt object ready to knock you and others out.

king kelly dealing with crowds
King Kelly has to battle for waves too, here he is being aware of his surroundings and taking a look before he commits to the wave.

Only paddle out on days or places you are comfortable with, and make sure you have the right Beginner board for your ability. Soft Tops are a great option for this as they are safer for everyone if you do happen to get caught up in some carnage.

That spacial awareness really comes into play when your surfing progresses enough to be sitting in the line up. At this point, you have to be aware of where to paddle out, how to stay out of the way, and who has the right of way when everyone is paddling for a wave.

Paddling Out

When paddling out, your goal is to make it to the line up without getting in anyone’s way and with the least amount of effort as possible. But the effort goes to the wayside when it comes to being in the way.

On the way out, don’t assume someone surfing the wave can see you, and try not to ruin their wave even if they do. If you see someone coming down the line, but your best spot to duck dive under the wave is right in their path, paddle into the wave and deal with he white water…let the surfer continue on their way without having to dodge you. People will remember who is constantly in the way, and your chances for getting waves in the first place will dwindle if you are that person.

sufer running over surf
Try not to ruin someones wave and have your feet cut off. For your own safety, paddle into the breaking wave, not in the path of a surfer coming down the line.

Also, if possible, look for a channel to paddle out through. Many waves will break over a defined sandbar or reef of some sort. There is no sense in paddling directly out where the wave breaks when you can easily paddle around it. This way, you not only stay out of the way of other surfers, you will save yourself time and effort. The actual distance to the line up may be more, but if you are stuck in the impact zone, you will be paddling for ever and not make any headway.

And make sure, again, that you have the right equipment for what you can handle and the waves. Looking for information in articles like What Board Should I Surf, where you can make more informed decisions about picking right board for your abilities and the waves. Don’t try paddling a longboard out at a super hollow wave where you not only have difficulty getting past the breaking waves, but the board doesn’t fit the shape of the wave very well. This can turn into carnage really fast as a big heavy board just becomes a floating projectile when not in the right hands.

Right Of Way

Many waves peak over a certain sandbar, reef, or off a structure of some sort, around the same area over and over again. When there is a bit of a crowd, the unwritten “right of way” rules apply in an attempt to ensure that everyone gets their wave and gets it all to themselves. Keep in mind though, that as more and more people get into surfing, many times there are not enough waves for everyone on a general day, so drop in’s do happen and locals will know the line up better being able to be in the right spot time after time, and may just blatantly drop in on you. We are are guilty of this and you should just expect it when you go to a wave you do not know or surf very often.

crowded lineup
We’ve all been in that lineup where drop-ins are frequent and it seems the locals happen to get all the good waves.

Generally, in a pack of people, you have to work your way up to being in the right spot. The surfer furthest out and closest to the peak of the wave usually has the right of way, and anyone else going for the wave should pull back and let them go.

This is a loose rule though, if you are closest to the peak but it takes you forever to get to your feet and the wave passes you by, a surfer outside the peak but up to their feet surfing first will have the wave. On the other hand, longboards and SUP’s can sit way out back and get into waves much earlier than short boarders on the inside. Yes, they should have the right of way as they will be into the wave surfing first, but if there are not that many waves and they are making it back out to the line up and taking every single wave, they need to be aware that there are others surfing too…before long they will just get dropped in on by other surfers who are getting frustrated by their actions.

Treat Others How You Want to be Treated

In the end, the number one rule really should simply be “treat others how you want to be treated”. Our parents have drilled this into us since we were able to walk, so it shouldn’t go out the window when we enter the water. Good Karma goes a long way when surfing with others.

mick fanning negotiates crowd
Mick Fanning knows his local spot better than 95% of the people that surf there. He knows it is crowded, but he uses his local knowledge to snag the better waves and test out his boards from DHD Surfboards.

Let’s face it, for 99% of us surfing is an enjoyable past time, not a career breaker or life threatening problem that if you don’t surf you will die (although most of us feel that way). We are all out there to have a good time. If you are just dropping in, getting grumpy, putting out bad vibes, you are not having fun and more than likely pissing off others around you which will lead to you getting no respect and no waves.

When you are paddling out to a new line up, respect the locals who surf there everyday. You will be surprised at the number of waves you will get at a new spot if you show your respect. If you just go out and act like you own the line up, they will be quick to keep you from getting any decent wave.

On the other hand, if you are a local at your spot, realize that there are very few places left on this earth where the locals are the only ones out. Use your knowledge of the wave and your surfing experience to help determine what waves you get. You don’t have to just drop-in all the time, there will be other waves.

Have fun, share waves, put out good vibes and your surf session will be that much better.

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.

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

Octopus is Real!

by Tommy Barrels on September 11, 2015

Feast your eyes on Dion Agius getting wild on his signature model the Siamese Palm Viper by SUPERbrand. Dion, Nate Tyler and Chippa Wilson get amongst some Newport wedges and fun beachies in SoCal. No fancy slow mo or experimental angles going on here, just some quality ripping by the guys in a raw, in your face edit!

Get into it!

Let’s Talk About Surfboard Flex

by Boardcave on September 4, 2015

Flex an often over looked aspect when talking about surfboards, plays a huge roll in your surfboards performance. When people do talk about “flex”, they are usually talking about fins and fin design. We have even mentioned the importance of flex before, but it was also relating to fins in our, The Definitive Surfboard Fin Guide article. Here, however, we will discuss the flex in your surfboard.

What is Flex?

Flex in a surfboard is very much the same principles as the flex in fins…Flex = projection, which means your speed when coming off the bottom, or helping to lay into a nice speed turn off the top. This projection comes from your board bending, or flexing, into the shape of the wave with the force you put down on it, and how it snaps back into shape. It stores up all of that energy and releases it, projecting you forward.

tom curren bottom turn
Tom Curren’s classic bottom turn, making the most out of the flex and projection.

Look at it this way…when you drop into the wave and come to your bottom turn, your board will bend somewhat to the shape of the wave when you power down onto it. This causes a build up energy in the board as it is bending out of it’s natural shape. Now, when you start to drive up the face and your weight begins to lift, your board recoils back to it’s original shape, releasing all that pent up energy and projects you through your turn. The better you become at surfing, the more you can feel this flex and use it to link your maneuvers while constantly generating speed down the line.

The trick, for shapers, is knowing how to manipulate this to get the ideal flex properties they are looking for.

How do we control Flex?

Since Polyurethane foam blanks were discovered for surfboards and came into use, wooden strips, call stringers, needed to be used down the center of the board. This helped increase the strength of the board and stiffen it up a bit. This was especially handy on longboards since they tend to flex or bend quite a bit more due to their length. Shapers soon figured out that the strength and flexibility of the board could be controlled by using stringers of various thicknesses. And sometimes multiple stringers would be used for the same effect, with the added bonus of looking aesthetically pleasing.

typical stringer
A typical Stringer found on the majority of boards still to this day.

As shapers and surfers started paying closer attention to the flex and projection of a surfboard, the stringer placement and materials available started becoming more crucial. Still the most common placement for a stringer is down the center of a board. This holds true for every type of board and is more or less the status quo for boards around the world. A board with the center stringer will feel nice and strong under foot which is important. Much of the force put down on your board will be from your feet down the center of the board. This stringer placement however, leaves the rails to be much softer which can result in them flexing, twisting and wobbling differently. This is called torsional flex and can result in slowing your board down a bit.

By placing the stringer out towards the rail, you can stiffen the rail line up and give it more spring along its perimeter where the board is in contact with the water when going through turns. Parabolic stringers are often used in this case, where the stringer follows the curve of the rail instead of in a straight line.

Alternative materials for Flex

While some shapers choose to continue to use wood for both the centerline and parabolic stringers, others have begun using alternative materials like carbon fiber tape down the center or wrapped around the rail to give the same parabolic stringer effect. Carbon fiber has a fantastic strength to weight ratio, so you can essentially get the strength you need with a fraction of the weight added to the board compared to traditional wooden stringers.

future flex technology
Haydenshapes Future Flex Technology utilizing carbon reinforced parabolic rails.

These parabolic carbon stringers, like the Future Flex option found on many Haydenshapes Surfboards, give you all that controlled flex and projection out at the rail, helping to snap your board back into shape and project you down the line in a more efficient manner. The Future Flex technology is said to feel lively and a little springier than a traditional stringer.

Another way carbon is used instead of a parabolic stinger, is wrapping it around the board in strategic ways to help control the flex. DMS and Lost in Australia have been playing around with this technology called “Carbon Wrap” with great success.

Taking Flex to the Core

album surfboards in hydroflex technology
A clean Album Reboot in Hyrdo Flex Technology.

There are also other ways to help control and prevent too much torsional flex from happening. Different types of foam, or lamination processes can help to minimize the amount of torsional flex on traditional stringered boards, or stringerless boards altogether.

hydro flex cross section
Cross section illustration of how Hydro Flex Technology works, anchoring the fiberglass “skin” to the blank.

Hydro Flex technology is a lamination process that actually anchors the fiberglass skin to the foam. This not only gives you a much better bond, helping to prevent delamination, but also helps to stiffen the whole board all the way out to the rails to some degree. These boards also feel lively underfoot, but slightly different than a board with parabolic stringers of whatever material.

surf prescriptions varial foam
Shaper Jeff “Doc” Lausch of Surf Prescriptions was an early user of Varial Foam with great success!

Varial Foam is somewhat of a new technology to the surf industry, but has been used in automotive and aerospace for years. This foam is uniform in density throughout and is around 7 times more rigid than standard polyurethane foam. You don’t need a stringer in one of these boards except in extreme circumstances like a big wave gun or tow board (in which the stringer needed would be extremely thin). Without the need for a stringer, boards made with Varial Foam have a more consistent flex throughout. A foam that is more rigid and has no need for a stringer, resulting in a board with a lot of spring and projection. The added bonus of this foam is that it is about 20% lighter than PU, and can be glassed with any kind of resin.

Another technology coming out of Australia and making landfall in the US is the GEOblank tech. This is essentially combining EPS foam of different density in strategic areas throughout the blank. The individual pieces are in a hexagonal shape and glued together in what ever manner needed. This way the shaper can request that the nose of his blank have a slightly different flex pattern than the center or the tail. Even the rails can be more rigid, whatever needed to get the desired flex.

panda surfboards geoblank
Panda Surfboards making use of the X-Flex pattern in GeoBlank Technology, keeping torsional twist down.


We haven’t even begun to hit the countless amount of other materials, technologies and ideas that are currently being explored. People are looking to other areas of life to get wonderful ideas…the way a fish (not surfboard) is shaped, they way its scales are laid out along its body, etc. One thing for certain is that more and more people are taking serious notes on how surfboard flex comes into the whole equation of what makes a certain board ride the way it is intended to. Controlling flex is the next frontier in surfboard design breakthroughs, and there are more experiments being tested everyday.

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.

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 Outlines

by Boardcave on August 26, 2015

What kind of surfboard shapes are there?

In previous articles, we talked about surfboard design and how different aspects can affect the performance of your board. One article that closely touched on this was the Surfboard Tails, Rails and Noses. What we didn’t go over in the article however was the general outline of the board itself.

The outline (like many other factors) directly impacts how your board is going to perform. By the outline, what we mean, is the overall shape of the board and how the interaction of the different noses, rail and tails, influences the general outline and therefore performance.

mick fanning working with his ducks nuts outline
Mick Fanning loves the outline of his Ducks Nuts.

There are 3 main outlines that we will discuss to keep things simple. Of course, there are an unlimited number combinations and variations available, but we want to keep this relatively simple for now. Those 3 outlines are, a predominately parallel outline, a curved outline and a hybrid style outline.

All three can be found in any number of different styles of boards available, from high performance shortboards, to stubbies, mid lengths and longboards.

1. Parallel Outlines

First up, the predominately parallel outline, can be found in any style of board, from longboards to shortboards and everything in-between. This outline features a straighter elongated template running the length of the board.

Not to be taken too literally as a term since there is some curve in most boards, but used more as a reference to a longer, straighter rail. The Surf and Destroy by Vamiprate Surfboards is a good example of an extreme parallel outline. With this board, the nose is almost chopped so the parallel rail line extends almost all the way from the tail to the tip.

surf and destroy parallel outline
You can see how the outline is almost parallel with the stringer for a large portion of the ‘curve’ on this Surf and Destroy model.

Parallel outlines gives your board a little more speed down the line. As a result, your turns will have to be more drawn out as it’ll stiffen up your turning radius. This design works well on nose riding logs, fishes and Simmons style of boards. It offers nice trim and more speed along the face of a wave as there is more surface area under the board and in or on the water.

A performance orientated longboard will have sections of the rail that have strong parallel lines, usually around the center or wide point, then tapper into more of a curve in the nose and tail. This combination will allow the surfer to stand in the middle of the board for speed when trimming down the line, then step back on the tail and wrap a harder turn. As for the nose, the curve will help when re-entering from a turn off the top of the wave or when dropping in late, keeping the nose of the board from diving and will help carry speed through the curve of the wave.

Extreme parallel outlines can hurt a shortboards performance though, as they generally need to be able to turn tighter in the pocket of a wave. The parallel lines on a shortboard will generally be after the mid section of the board, running towards the tail. Combine this with a the curve in the nose and you can find a happy medium between being able to get turns in while still being able to get up an a plane and generate down the line speed when surfing off the back foot.

parallel vs curved surfboard outlines

2. Curved Outlines

A curved outline is just what it sounds like. A continuous curve from tip to tail. They are most common on shortboards, some step-ups and hybrids, etc. where you want the board to have a tighter turning radius. This comes in especially handy for longer performance shortboards like a step up or semi gun, where the length can cause the board to feel a little stiff.

Other boards you commonly find a curved outline on are the shorter, flatter rocker shortboards or hybrids. The flat rocker gives you all the speed you need, so a curved outline can help you make tight turns in a small pocket.

The SUPERquadrophina by SUPERbrand Surfboards is a good example of a board having a curved outline. The wide point is pushed forward a bit and it has lower rocker. This helps you get into waves early and carry speed down the line, where the continuous curve in the outline will help you to wrap those turns in a smaller radius, perfect for surfing in the pocket.

The Polyphonic by Album Surfboards is another example, but is a board that will handle a little more size. Lower rocker to keep your speed up, with a nice curved outline to wrap hard turns either on the face or in the pocket.

quadrofinia curved outline
The Quadrofinia model combines a curved outline with a lower rocker, and wider forward volume to get you into waves earlier.

3. Hybrid Outline

A hybrid outline is essentially when your board features a blend of elements from both a parallel outline and a curved outline throughout the overall template. This outline can be found on any type of board, usually featuring strong parallel lines near the wide point of the board, blending into elongated curves through the nose, tail or both.

A good example of a hybrid outline is something like the Skeleton Key by DHD. It may be hard to notice with the naked eye, but you can see a continuous curve running down from the nose to about the wide point. The rails become a little straighter around the wide point, or parallel, and run down to a slight “hip” just in front of the fins where the tail is able to be pulled in. This gives you a super versatile shortboard that can handle almost anything.

The curve in the nose will help guide you through your turns, the parallel rails from the wide point down help give you speed down the line and the hip, pulling in the tail, will allow you to jam in tight turns right on the spot.

skeleton key hybrid curve outline
The Skeleton Key is known for it’s versatility with a lot of this attributed to it’s interesting outline. Check out the change in the outline between the nose to the hip and through the tail.


We keep saying it in our other articles but we have to say it again…as with everything surfboard related, there is no right or wrong. There is not one way or one design that is the end all and be all.

There are so many elements in play that can affect a boards performance. It is the blending of these elements to get the desired effects you are looking for in a board that is the trick.

Surfboard shapers have to think about how each of these elements work on their own in order to combine them with others to get the results they are looking for. As stated above, a curvier outline combined with flat rocker to get a board that is fast yet turns well. And in that particular case, those are only two of the many other elements that will be in that particular board. Different concave configurations, the overall width of the board, the general nose and tail shape, the thickness, foam distribution and overall volume of your surfboard etc etc, are all major players in how your board will perform.

That’s what makes surfboards and surfboard design so profound. There are endless possibilities and refinements happening everyday.

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.

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

3 Quick Tips for Surfboard Care

by Boardcave on August 20, 2015

How to care for your surfboard

This may be obvious for some of you but I still recommend you give it a read, there may just be a few items in here you haven’t thought of before. Let’s face it, many of our surfboards are more valuable to us than the actual money we spent on them, so it is a good idea to take proper care of your boards to make sure you have a long happy surfing life with them.

Surfboards are pretty fragile and considering the amount of abuse they go through on a daily basis, you are going to want to make sure you do what you can to avoid any unnecessary damage. A simple foam core, sometimes supported somewhat by a stringer of some type and wrapped in a paper thin “skin” made out of fiberglass and resin.

If you are anything like us, you want that magic stick to last. Hell, even a board that doesn’t work that good for you may be perfect for someone else, so it is a good I deal to take care of it to retain it’s resale value when you want to pass it on. Some people like to change their quiver out often, so again, the better you care for you boards, the more you can get for them and put towards a new custom surfboard or quiver.>br>
Fortunately, there are some really easy things you can do to prolong the life and look of your boards. We spend hard earned dollars on our quivers, these 3 easy steps can help ensure you get the most out of your purchase.

how to care for your surfboard

Tip 1. Bag It

This is the most important and easiest thing you can do for your surfboard or whole quiver. The Surfboard Bag is way more than just a handy tool to help you carry your board around from point A to point B. I bet if you ask any ding repair shop, they will tell you that the majority of boards getting repaired are from non-surfing related incidents.

A bag is literally a safeguard against everything when your board is out of the water.

Although surfboards can handle a lot of stress and punishment when being put through the ringer when your boosting airs, taking late drops and getting throttled when paddling out on a heavy day, they are highly fragile out of the water. It doesn’t take much to crack or ding that board, and can happen in the most unlikely ways…a water bottle rolling around in your car, your dog playing tug of war with your leash, etc. A decent surfboard bag is a protective layer from dings, knocks, scratches, sunlight, absolutely everything when it’s out of the water.

Keep your board in it’s bag at all times, that way you can easily toss it in the back of your truck or car with little worry (just tie it down if in your truck), you can chill on the beach for a few hours after a session without worrying about the sun (on your board that is), you can safely keep it in your house or garage knowing that if something falls on it or it falls over, it’ll be safe. And it also keeps it cool when on the roof of your car, or in your car where the air temp can get extremely hot in a short period of time.

Too much heat can lead to delamintation or bubbles, where you find the “skin” peeling from the foam in certain areas. Plus, you can toss wetsuits, board shorts, fins, etc inside, making the bag do all the work for you.

nat young waiting for the bus
Nat Young waits for the bus (yeah right) with his board in his Creatures of Leisure surfboard bag.

Tip 2. Keep it Safe

How many times have you seen someone new to surfing, or just someone clueless, lean their board on the car or against a wall standing upright. It doesn’t take much to cause that board to tip over and tumble around of the concrete. A light gust of wind, a heavy truck driving by rattling he ground, or someone tripping over the leash, pulling the board down…these are all things likely to put a nice ding in your board.

Use a little bit of common sense, like when you are at your car changing out of your wetsuit, either bag it right away and/or put it in you car before you change, or at the very least lay it on the ground, out of the way where no one can step on or drive over it. You don’t have to be that guy who needs to prop their board on their car so everyone can see that he/she just had a surf and they must rip. If you are standing at your car changing, people will get the idea.

Same thing should apply when in your house or garage. Don’t lean your board against a single wall, it is bound to tip to one side for one reason or another sooner or later. At least put it in a corner that it can lean it into, or better yet get some wall mounted surf racks so you can store your boards off the ground and prevent things from falling on it or people tripping over them. This will also help to keep you from stacking boards on one another and giving the bottoms a good ol wax job that is a pain in the butt to deal with.

And speaking about surf racks, you’ll get your moneys worth real quick from a good set for your car or even your bike.

We have all hopped on our bikes, one hand steering, the other holding the board and made it to the beach successfully. Racks on your bike will just keep your board parallel to the bike helping to prevent it from swinging out and hitting a light pole, tree or people, etc. A good set on your car will allow you to stack multiple boards (board bags and/or towels come in handy here) on the roof when on a road trip. They also allow you to keep the boards out of your car and wax off the upholstery, as well as cram in all your buddies for that road trip (as long as they pitch in for gas).

A key element here in the “keep in safe” section though, is to still make use of a board bag…it’ll come in handy in all areas, including being able to keep the boards on the roof of your car so they don’t get damaged by the sun’s strong UV rays that can yellow your board in no time. It is also a nice easy way to keep it out of site from wandering eyes who might be tempted to borrow your board permanently when you get to your favorite watering hole and need to stash it in your car.

clay marzo inspecting his super mad cat
Clay Marzo inspecting his Mad Cat model by SUPERBrand with a few more boards in the background stacked in the racks.

Tip 3. General Care and Maintenance

General care and maintenance of your board is crucial. If you get a ding, try to give it a little rinse when you get out of the water…you are more than likely going to give yourself a rinse at the beach shower if they are available, so just run your board under quickly too. Salt water is very corrosive and even though fiberglass is pretty resilient to it, it will do damage over time. Even boaters rinse off the decks and hulls of their boats after a sail. If a boat stays in the water, a special bottom paint is used, surfboards don’t want or need something like that, they just a quick rinse.

Fix your dings ASAP

Dings will let in the highly corrosive salt water and will eventually eat away at the foam inside the board if the are not attended too eventually. EPS/Epoxy boards are especially bad since they almost suck up water like a sponge. The foam is not as dense as polyurethane (PU), so you should immediately get out of the water if it happens while surfing. PU is a little more resilient so it is not as urgent, but you should still get out soon if you get a ding.

In both cases, try rinse your board with fresh water, the whole board, even over the dinged area and let it dry out thoroughly before you patch it up. You don’t want to trap that corrosive salt water in there.

Most surf shops carry ding repair kits, and there are a lot of resources available to fix your own dings through places like Fiberglass Hawaii where you can get the materials you need to repair any surfboard. But, make sure you know if you have a standard PU or an epoxy surfboard. When in doubt get yourself an epoxy repair kit as the resin is compatible with all types of foam. Polyester resin (common on the majority of PU foam surfboards) will melt the EPS foam found in most Epoxy resin boards.

And here is a little hint you probably are not aware of: If you have a board with epoxy resin that is starting to yellow, you can grab one of those reddish scotch brite pads and give the board a light one over. It takes a very small amount of the surface resin away that has been yellowed by the sun’s UV rays. Your board will brighten up giving it an almost new look. Don’t worry though, it would take hundreds of times doing this to do any damage to the board, getting through all the resin and into the weave of the cloth. You would only need to do it once in a blue moon to make it feel fresh again. This won’t affect the performance in any way good or bad, it’ll just make the board look a little newer.

And the last couple of points…don’t ride your board all the way into the beach, running your fins into the sand. Why compromise your fin boxes and risk loosing a fin in the process.

Be aware of that tempting shore break closeout section you want to hit to impress the girls getting rays on the beach. Chances are they are more concerned about their tan and wouldn’t even notice you anyways.

And wear a leash. The last thing you want do it loose your board and have it roll up onto the rocks repeatedly waiting for you to get to it. Or even worse into some innocent kids head where not only will you damage your board, you can do some serious damage to that poor kids as well.

nation team rider wear leashes
Flying high on a Nation Surfboard, at least he won’t be swimming after it if he doesn’t stick it!

Sum it Up

A lot of this info may be common knowledge to some of you already, but it is still good to have a reminder every now and then and definitely a good read for someone new to surfing who just may not have thought about it before. We are not trying tell you that you have to follow these procedures, I for one am guilty of breaking all of them (you should see the stack of boards on the ground in my garage), they are just good handy rules of thumb to follow for anyone and every board to help prolong it’s life.

Surfboards should not be as disposable as they are these days. The more broken, discarded and thrown away boards added to our landfills that take hundreds of years to break down, just add to how toxic our sport really is. Take care of your boards, fix your dings and keep them as long as possible. We owe it to mother nature who is nice enough to allow us to play in her ocean.

Now let me go finish building out the surf rack in my garage.

Make sure you check out the Board Engine to find a range of boards all made in the USA by professional shapers at the top of their crafts.

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surf trip article darren and mick choosing boards selecting the perfect board

What to know about glassing a surfboard

by Boardcave on August 14, 2015

We have already gone over a number of construction methods and the materials used on and in surfboards in our PU or Epoxy and also the Ideal Construction articles. But due to a number of enquiries, it seems that people are interested in some more information related the the actual fiberglass or “skins” that surrounds the foam and need a little help to clarify what’s what and what they should be getting on their custom boards.

To keep things simple for now, we will look at the most common styles of fiberglass cloth used by the majority of board builders world wide. We will talk about the different ounces and weave patterns used, how they all affect your surfboard and why some shapers may pick one or a combination of a few for the individual boards they build for each customer.

some glassing going on in the factory
Some glassing going down at Stamps Surfboards. Image: ASILDA Photography.


Most surfboards have some sort of “skin” around the core which is usually made up of some sort of cloth and resin. The Majority of the time this cloth material is made up of a fiberglass based weave of some sort. There are exceptions, like with experimental or alternative fabrics or where someone is trying something new.

Sometimes environmental reasons prompt some board builders to try fabrics such as bamboo. Sometimes it is structural experiments like using full carbon fiber, kevlar, or even experiments with basalt based weave, derived from volcanic rock.

For the most part though, a fiberglass woven cloth has is the go for the majority of board builders around the world to this day and will continue to be so for a long time to come.

A few of the most common styles that are proven and staples in the industry include 4oz E and Warp (don’t worry, we will get into explanations soon). You will also find the E and Warp in 6oz commonly. There is D-sized and S-glass (which is linked with the finish on the cloth); and there is Volan, which is commonly found with heavier cloths like 8oz and 10oz and used on many classic style logs and retro or alternative boards.

hypto kypto gets all the bells and whistles
The Hypto Krypto gets technical with all the bells and whistles including quad axial cloth.


The most common style of cloth used by most board builders around the world is the E Glass in both 4oz and 6oz.

This is the go to for in the majority of surfboards as it is a blend of good strength and performance for most surfboards, and it is also the most cost effective for the manufacturer and in turn, the customer.

It can be laid up in a number of combinations, for example, with standard shortboards you will often find two layers of 4oz E on the deck and one layer on the bottom (4+4 x 4). For a heavier footed surfer and on many alternative/retro shapes as well as some longboards, board builders will blend a layer of 6oz and 4oz on the deck, and either do a 4 oz or 6oz bottom.

For a little more strength you can do two layers of 6oz on the deck and one on the bottom (6+6 x 6), also common on longboards where you need the strength but still want to keep the weight down.

standard 4x4x4 glassing team lite glassing strong deck glassing
From left to right, some of DHD Surfboards glassing options, Standard 4x4x4, Ultra Lite 4 x Toe Patch x 4 and Strong Deck 4x6x4.


Warp Glass, also commonly found in 4 and 6 oz, is an “E” glass as well, except there are more fibers running up the length of the weave (the warp) as opposed to the width (the fill).

This will add a little more strength and structure vertically to your boards and can be a good option for those who tend to buckle boards easily or for longer boards to help keep them strong when the flex. It won’t totally solve your buckling nightmares, but it will at least help a little. It tends to lay down flatter than traditional E glass when laminating, so many board builders will use it as the top layer to help ensure a nice clean finish, especially if your board is getting color work and or a gloss coat.

Most of the time, however, board builders will have to blend this with a standard “E” glass. If you have two layers of Warp laid up together, the weave can give you a funny look because there will be too many fiber strands running together vertically up and down the board.


Now, when you really want to start adding strength to a board while still keeping the weight down, you can start looking into D-size cloth.

This is in reference to the finish of the cloth. Most cloths, whether they are E or Warp, will have a “finish” on them. This is what allows the cloth to feel softer, and therefore lay down on the board better for the guys who glass the boards. This finish also adds to the look of the cloth in terms of how clear or white your board is going to look after it is complete.

With D-size cloth however, the fiberglass strands come straight off the loom with no washing or “finish” put on it. This makes the material a little stiffer to handle when glassing, but adds a lot of strength to your board.

If it is of good quality, D-sized cloth can also be the clearest of the bunch, which allows your board to look as “white” as possible. It does add to the cost of the board, but not by very much. This style is also commonly found in 4oz and 6oz, mostly with the standard weave but sometimes in a Warp weave as well.

And then, if you need to, you can step it up to the S glass…


“S” glass is a little more expensive, but it can definitely be worth it to have that added strength to the board. Also found most common in 4 and 6oz, S glass has a special “finish” making it one of the strongest options available. Often used by shapers for their team riders, it allows them to get away with only putting a single layer of 4oz on the deck to make the board that much lighter for competitions, and high performance, critical surfing.

It is not enough strength to warrant a regular surfer to go with one layer, but if you do the standard two layer deck, you have an extremely strong board.

superbrand inlay ready to be laid up
A SUPERBRAND inlay being laid out on The Vapors model – often used with S-Glass.

Now let’s take a step back from the shortboard arena and have a look at material that is very common on classic Logs and some other retro or alternative designs….Volan’s.


Commonly found in 7.5 (often called 8oz) and 10oz, Volan cloth actually came from the boat and tooling industry, and is what was available for surfboard builders in the 50’s and 60’s.

It is a much heavier cloth, and can absorb a lot of resin. This makes for a very strong and heavy board, which is great for traditional style longboards where weight is often an advantage.

It has a greenish hue to it which can give even a brand new board a nice classic look. Two layers on the deck can be too heavy however, so many board builders will combine this with a 6oz E or Warp cloth on top of a single layer of either 7.5 or 10oz Volan.

This helps again with color work and for a cleaner finish, while still being able to see the classic weave of this heavy cloth.

a couple of volan deck patches
A little bit of Volan deck patch work and some combo’s of 4oz and 6oz happening with these Nation beauties.


There are so many other fabrics of different ounces, materials, weaves available on the market. With this article, we just wanted to help clear the air for some of the most common styles used for the majority of boards produced throughout the world.

Just like everything related to surfboard design, concave, tails, noses, rails, rockers etc., there are multiple combinations of the above mentioned styles of fabrics that might be used for one reason or another. An example could be combining a layer or D-sized cloth with a standard E, to give you a little more strength, keeping weight down and managing cost.

As always, it all depends on what you are looking for, how the board is intended to be surfed and the strength to weight to cost ratios. As with anything in this world, you get what you put into it, so if you are willing to spend a little more money, you can have a board that lasts you much longer.

mf ducks nuts replica with ultra litemf ducks nuts 2.0 with bulletproof glassing
Mick Fanning on his Ducks Nuts Replica with Ultra Lite 4×4 glassing and Asher Pacey trying out the Bulletproof 4x4x4x4 glassing on the Sweetspot 2.0 model.

What’s your preference for glassing? Join the conversation and share your thoughts in the comments below.

Make sure you check out the Board Engine to find a range of boards all made in the USA by professional shapers at the top of their crafts.

Looking for more articles? Check out our popular articles below:

surf trip article darren and mick choosing boards selecting the perfect board