Site Login

Forgot Password?

The Maddest Cat – CLAY MARZO

by tward on February 9, 2016

Which surfer comes to mind when you think of these 3 things, WEST AUS, TUBES and 1 FOOTED FINS FREE TURNS? If Clay Marzo isn’t one of them this clip is sure to change that! Clay is riding the SUPERbrand Mad Cat model throughout this entire clip, great for tight turns and spending time in the green room!

Surfboards, How Short Can You Go?

by Boardcave on January 28, 2016

Surfboards Are Getting Smaller

Big wave skim hellman Brad Domke gave Tom Curren his skimboard. Curren transformed it into a surfboard…a tiny tiny surfboard.

The last few years have seen a lot of transformations in surfboard design. One thing that seems to be sticking however is that more and more people are realizing that you can go a lot shorter than what used to be deemed reasonable.

There have always been a few pro surfers riding unbelievably short boards, more free surfers though, not the guys on the CT. So the super short boards have been around for a while. But the mainstream surfing population really started paying more attention to it when (not surprisingly) Kelly Slater came out with his Wizard Sleeve way back in 2009 or 2010. He was blowing minds, surfing waves like Pipe on a board that was likely around the 5’10 mark in length whereas everyone else would have been riding 6’8’s or boards above 7 foot.

Since then, the popularity of the shorter, wider, thicker boards has caught on. Many people refer to these boards as “hybrid” shapes. A blend of fish designs and HPSB designs. Usually featuring flatter rockers, wide points pushed forward a touch, slightly rounder outlines, but with more performance orientated tail shapes as well as tail rocker.

Boards like this have proven themselves in everything from knee high slop to well overhead. Just look at what Craig Anderson has been able to put himself into on his Hypo Krypto by Haydenshapes.

We have all seen what Ando can do on his Hypto Krypto. Knee high or triple overhead, this board can handle.

What is it that is so appealing about being able to go super short on your performance boards?

Personally, they are a blast to surf and in a wide range of waves and conditions! Since they are so short, you don’t need much rocker. They fit right in a tight pocket quiet nicely and with the lower rocker, they are super fast down the line. Also, due to their shortness, they have less swing weight, so whipping turns around in a tight radius is a breeze. Their wider outline, wide point forward a touch, combined with the flatter rocker also makes them very easy to paddle. Even into bigger waves.

So, you can see the appeal of these boards as they are very functional. There seems to be endless reasons why these boards work so well. And let’s not forget other styles of boards too. We don’t have to limit shorter boards to these hybrids only. A super short fish like the Quantum Quad Fish by Stamps Surfboards, or a mini-simmons style like the El Stumpo from Carrozza Surfboards are extremely fun.

Is there a limit to how short you can go?

Not really (within reason, go short enough and you simply have a hand plane). As long as you can harness the surface area and volume you need, the only real thing holding a surfer back from going as short as possible are the waves they intend to ride and their own ability to paddle them.

This is being proven by the Beater Boards from Catch Surf at just 58 inches long, surfers like Jamie O’Brien and Julian Wilson have started really pushing them to the limit.

A Catch Surf Beater Board getting deep on a huge wave.

Simply put, you can go as short as you want as long as you can still paddle in and catch the wave in the first place.

Going super short however, for most of us, is best in fun playful waves. That ability to whip a board around so quick, fly through sections and sit nicely in a tight hollow pocket, makes your surfboard feel more like a skateboard. Most shapers today have their version of a shorter board of one style or another to choose from, and many of them play around with different bottom contours, fin set ups, rails and outline to give you the best squirt for what you are riding.

After-all, take something like the Pocket Knife from DHD. If Darren designed this board with a wide squash tail, it would more than likely work best in smaller manageable surf. But he wanted the board to be way more versatile. Having a rounded pin opens up the range of waves you can surf it in. It still has the width and surface area needed to plane through flat sections and fly down the line, but the tail allows you to still hold your line in bigger hollow surf.

The Pocket Knife by DHD is short but able to handle a wide range of waves.

The point is, there are so many variations of shorter boards, some more inline with a particular type of wave, others more versatile. Most of them can be shaped to suit a wide variety of surfers too. Also, your perception of what is considered short (for you) will vary. If you normally ride a 6’8, going down to 6’0 may seem short enough for you and you could still even go much smaller than that and likely have fun.

Going super short is going to be up to you and the shaper you pick to make your board. Everyone should at least have one board in their quiver that is much shorter than their average board. Or at least have the chance to try one whether it be a fish, mini-simmons, or hybrid, etc. They are a blast to ride and will open you eyes to new lines and new sensations.

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

The Surfboard Materials Race

by Boardcave on January 21, 2016

It seems that almost every month there is a new “advanced construction” going down. Every major brand is trying (and most of them successfully to some degree) to come up with new constructions to help improve flex, recoil, weight, strength…over all performance of a surfboard. This is without even considering different shapes, just the materials involved in the build to help set these brands apart.

Some developing their own that they plan to use exclusively on their boards, others designed and made available for any other brand to make use of.

The vast majority of these “new” or unique construction methods focus on flex properties of a board in one way or another. Some directing their attention to the amount of flex and recoil, other focusing more on torsional flex, the twisting of a board.

Most of these technologies are also related to Epoxy boards only. With the exception of DHD Surfboards new Epoxicore which actually blends Polyurethane foam with EPS foam. This may be due to the fact that since EPS/Epoxy surfboards have been experimented with, ultimately people are looking to create that optimal flex that our traditional PU boards have given us over the years, but in with a lightweight board. EPS foam is completely different than PU, so its natural flex properties are vastly different on their own.

DHD Surfboards new Epoxicore has been rigorously tested by Steph Gilmore, Mick Fanning and Jack Freestone…all loving the results.

It’s also good to take an in-depth look at surfboard constructions from the point of view of different board performance characteristics like Surfboard Flex.

And let’s set the record straight here too… the majority of these constructions have been developed and evolved over time.

Many new technologies are the result of the combination of ongoing experimentation with materials in different forms and a positive reinforcement from pro-testers. A good shaper/craftsman looks to the past and the future at the same time and gets input from surfers. What has worked in the past and what hasn’t…and if there is a process or method that should work in theory, but has not had success in the past, why is that? Maybe it has to be seen through a new pair of eyes and tweaked a little to really open it’s potential.

Future Flex construction from Haydenshapes is widely available from most brands if you request it.

There was/is nothing new with constructions or materials used like Haydenshapes Future Flex , SUPERbrands SUPERflex or DHD’s Epoxicore except for the way they are used.

All of these brands have looked to the past for how each material or construction had been used, and either put their own spin on it or took the time to experiment with different variations using the worlds best surfers to refine them to optimal performance levels.

The carbon vector net is essential in the SUPERBrand SUPERFlex construction.

Carbon Wrap Technology comes to mind as an existing material used in a unique way. DMS Surfboards toyed with the idea of laying the carbon down in strategic patterns to help control the flex and spring of their boards. Now it has caught the attention of Lost Surfboards Matt Biolos, who seems to be stoked on the results and offers it for all of their models too.

DMS Surfboards Carbon Wrap Technology is turning heads, including Matt Biolos’s from Lost Surfboards.

The Future comes in the form of new materials that are making themselves available. Varial Foam for example, although the material has been used in Aerospace for years, it is relatively new the surf industry. Shaper Jeff “Doc” Lausch of Surf Prescriptions played a huge roll in bringing this material into the lime light. Now almost everyone around the globe is using it or at a least sampling it.

One thing that is clear, it is an exciting time for surfboard development. From all the new materials/constructions, designs, Wave Pools, etc…there is so much happening and we imagine that 2016 is going to bring us a lot more.

It seems that the Surf Industry is starting to put more focus back on boards lately than in recent years which is rad. We can only imagine what boards will be available and what some surfers will be doing with these new technologies in the next year or so to come.

Master shaper Jeff “Doc” Lausch loves to experiment with new materials. Here he is with the founders of Varial Foam Edison Conner and Parker Borneman.

Limits are being pushed daily around the world with regards to both design/construction and performance levels. But we can’t forget out past either…we still love our older tried and true designs and the feel you can get from them. The most progressive high performance shortboard will never feel the same as a Retro Fish or traditional longboard.

What will we be surfing in the next 20 years? Only time will tell…

That’s not to say on style of board or construction is better than another, just that they are all different. That’s the beauty about surfboards, they can all be different. There is no right or wrong…just what gives you the most enjoyment. Many people are not into high performance surfboards just like many people are not into fish’s or logs…to each his/her own.

Why not embrace the old and the new. There is room to appreciate all.

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

Wave Pools and the Future of Surfing

by Boardcave on January 19, 2016

What will quality wave pools mean to the progression of surfing and surfboards?

The wave pool game has now changed forever. Let’s see what happens with surfing and surfboards.

By now we’ve all seen what King Kelly’s Wave Pool Company has produced. This historic event in surfing has really just opened the flood gates for where waves pools can go, the question that instantly pops into our heads here at Boardcave is: What will this do for the progression of surfing, as well as surfboard design?

You may not think that there is much room for progression as it seems groms are simply born doing airs above the lip, but think about the possibilities of where surfing can go when you can practice the same manoeuvre on the same section on the same board over and over again!!!

The Progression

For how fast someone seems to progress their surfing, one thing is holding them back from moving through the paces even quicker…that is simply the lack of consistency that mother nature provides for our waves.

Sure you have locations where the waves break in a similar way over a defined sand bar, reef or some sort of structure, but there are so many other variables involved. The strength and period of the swell, as well as direction (outlined to help you understand more here, Where Do Waves Come From) and then you have the local wind conditions and how that can affect waves at any given time. Tide is a huge factor as well…is it high tide or low tide, is the tide drawing out or pushing in, how high or low of a tide, etc.

New materials are changing the game, what can they do for wave pool progression?

The point is, progressive surfing is held back simply by the fact that as surfers, we are at the whim of the elements. Sure you may go for a 2 or 3 hour surf but the time you actual spend surfing waves is a small fraction of that time you spend out in the water. And for most of us (unless you have a high quality wave at your local) we are getting in maybe two turns and a closeout or end section.

We are now at the dawn of a progression revolution. Wave pools are going to become consistent training tools allowing surfers to practice that same manoeuvre over and over until they have it dialed. Then when you take these skills back to natural waves and that section happens to come your way, you don’t even have to think about setting up and performing the manoeuvre. It’ll be ingrained in your muscle memory and become more of a natural reaction, similar to a kick flip or even a golf swing.

Board Design

You get where we are headed with the progression of surfing…but what about surfboard design???

There is already (and always has been) a lot of experimentation with design principles. We cover many of these principles in article like Let’s Talk About Flex, Surfboard Outlines and Tails, Rails and Noses, etc. Many boards, or styles of boards are designed with certain type of waves in mind. Others are designed to be more or less a one board quiver, the Hypto Krypto for example, allowing you to surf in a wide variety of waves and conditions.

If you are not experimenting, you are not pushing progression. DHD Surfboards doing their part and pushing the limits.

It would be safe to say however that there are going to be people designing and developing models to fit “wave pool surfing” specifically. In reaction to Kelly’s new wave pool, Greg Webber points out that what it is lacking is a trough in front of the wave. What he means is a natural wave actually draws water up the face at the same time that it is moving forward. It is almost impossible to notice while surfing an average sized wave, but what that does is create a slightly lower than sea level bulge right in front of the wave.

If you look at big reef breaks like Teahupoo you can see this effect with the naked eye. As the wave starts approaching, the water over the reef starts sucking out and actually going lower than sea level. This happens with every natural wave although you may not notice it. So in theory, when you are coming off a bottom turn, the trough more or less helps to propel you back up the face of the wave again.

A great illustration of the mechanics of heavy waves…notice the sea level and how the wave sucks water out below that level, creating a trough in front of the waves. Image Courtesy of Surfline.com

If this cannot be recreated in a wave pool environment, maybe the standard surfboard is not the most ideal equipment that could be used. What would be the ideal equipment? We arn’t sure yet as there hasn’t been the opportunity to truly test this, but it would be safe to say that many shapers (if they are interested in designing boards specific for pools) are going to take this into consideration. Most of the design concepts and tech is already there, it’s just figuring out what works best. This research and development will also be made easier as you can now flick a switch to test a design concept or new construction. This could be something like tweaking the flex characteristics like Carbon Wrap Technology from DMS Surfboards out of Australia and offered by Lost Surfboards as well, for example to help the projection back up the face.

Again, we are only at the dawn of a new era in performance for both surfing and surfboard design.

The Second Coming of Rick Kane

Look out, there is about to be a new breed of frothing groms ripping who live nowhere near the coast.

Side Note: if you are not sure who Rick Kane is, go find a copy of the movie North Shore, sit back and enjoy.

Something else for us to consider is the fact that the chance to surf quality waves will open up to the rest of the world who are more or less landlocked.

That kid from Alice Springs in the Northern Territory will be boosting air reverses and scoring longer barrels in as little as a year or so surfing, where it has taken you or me many many years of surfing our dumpy local beach breaks to score the barrel of our lives…which more than likely happened on a surf trip away from home.

Surfing at your local wave pool could mean you can start on a larger or beginner board and progress onto something with more performance like the DHD Skeleton Key, the SUPERbrand Fling or the Album Swing quicker resulting in better surfers ready for natural beach, point and reef breaks and boosting surf tourism around the world.

This will have a huge impact on everything surf related. Surfboard manufacturing is going to sky rocket. Up until now, it is really only SUP’s and Windsurf boards that can really make any promising sales inland. There are plenty of lakes and rivers all around the world you can SUP on, but not many that produce a surf-able wave, apart from standing waves on a flowing river.

Surf Industry appeal and fashion have already made it out there, now surfboards themselves will find happy homes with frothing groms everywhere.

Nation Surfboards will be frothing out groms with pro inland surfer models like the Ric Kane Pro.


We are still way off from seeing this change happen on a commercial level, but this is where it all starts. Consistency of waves, energy costs and a range of business challenges need to be solved before wave pool’s become commercially viable and open up in your neighbourhood. The point is the dream of that quality man made wave has now been successfully created. It can be and will be recreated all over the world in years to come. Now instead of waiting for the wind to shift, the tide to come up, the swell to arrive…surfers going to the wave pools will just have to wait for the gate keepers of stoke to flick the switch, allowing you to get barrelled every Wednesday before work.

I hope those dude’s who went searching for Slater’s wave didn’t bother to bring boards with them. Unless they had the key or knew who was in charge, they would simply be looking at an oversized swimming pool.

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


by tward on January 12, 2016

Since Cluster Craig Anderson has kept a low profile until now! With the release of his new Haydenshapes model “white noize” just around the corner, Craig has got us all hyping with his new film “Welcome Elsewhere”.

Craig is riding the ando, psychedelic germ and hypto krypto models throughout this clip!

Film by Kai Neville


High Performance Surfboards, The Pros and Cons

by Boardcave on January 8, 2016

Is the High Performance Shortboard Right For You?

Some lucky son-of-a-gun is about to get a highly shreddable stick from Stamps Surfboards.

For the majority of you, when you hear the word “surfboard” we imagine a high performance shortboard. Unless of course your style of surfing is more directed towards long boarding, retro fish’s, etc… but the vast majority of surfers on the planet surf primarily shortboards. It is also known that the majority of surfboards produced globally are shortboards. When you first start out surfing, going shorter and more performance focused seems cool and in-line with what the good surfers are doing. No one wants to be walking around with a 9ft foam top when the surf is firing. The iconic images of pro surfers pulling into stand up barrels on tiny 6’2″ shortboards is the image that resonates with surfers globally.

With a number of Boardcave articles written about surfing alternative surf craft, like How to Keep Your Surfing Fun and a few on design principles such as looking at Surfboard Outlines. Now it is time for us to focus more on the iconic shortboard.

The question though, is the shortboard the right kind of board for you?

We want to take a look at the pro’s and cons of surfing high performance shortboards for the everyday surfer and see if that is the best option for you.

The Pro’s:

The pros are lucky enough to travel in search of good waves and catch enough of them to be able to surf most boards in most conditions. That is why for a majority of professional surfers around the world, the shortboard is their weapon of choice. This holds true for competition surfers and free surfers alike. Sure there are a lot of professional free surfers who surf alternative equipment like longboards, fishes, mini simmons, etc…and most of those surfers are not really prone to surfing one style of board.

The DHD 99 Stab In The Dark getting tested by Julian Wilson

But there are a lot more professional free surfers who surf high performance shortboards almost exclusively. And rightly so. These guys are pushing the boundaries of performance both on the wave and above the lip. Air’s are getting crazier, turns are getting more radical and the waves these guys are surfing are getting bigger, hollower and more critical. You can rip on a fish, but not in the same way or to the same level as you can on a high performance shortboard.

So, should the high performance shortboard be reserved for surfers who surf at a higher level? Absolutely not. How do you think these guys got to the level they are at?

The High Performance Shortboard (HPSB) has had refinements over the years to allow them to perform better. More critical detail in rails, bottom contours, rockers, etc. allow these board to be ultra sensitive under foot, allowing you to lay it on rail harder, drive off the bottom faster, boost higher and just react a lot better in general.

A simple quiver of 3 boards can sort you out for the majority of waves you will surf with only slight refinements such as adjusting the width, rocker, thickness and wide point…all while keeping the board on the high performance side of designs as opposed to a hybrid style shape.

Because of the refined nature of these boards, you can pull off maneuvers or handle situations a little better than you could on other equipment. Late drops on steep waves and hard tight turns in the pocket become easier and more manageable, allowing you to push your surfing ability to the next level.

John John Florence gets critical on his high performance Pyzel Surfboard.

These boards like to be surfed hard, you have to push them more than wider alternate shapes like your modern fish or hybrid shapes. Pumping down the line to generate speed instead of sitting in the sweet spot for example.

They are not for everyone though. We are actually big proponents of surfing lots of different styles of boards. Sure your progression can really take off given the properly sized HPSB, but there is a lot to say about surfing other boards that help you read waves a little differently or help you to draw new lines you would otherwise not think of.

So if you are only surfing HPSB’s, what are the cons?

The number one thing that pop’s into mind when thinking of the cons of only riding a HPSB is that you are limiting the amount of waves and fun you can have surfing. We are not saying the HPSB is not fun…it definitely is, but that’ll depend on the mood you feel when going for a surf, your abilities and even the type of waves you have access to or surf most often.

cruising on a longboard
Trimming and riding the nose of a log is a feeling you can’t get from your shortboard.

Some of us (especially as we get older) still want to rip, but don’t or can’t put in as much effort to “working” the board. You may need a little more natural glide or trim speed instead of having to pump the board to generate speed, but you still want to be able to lay that board over on rail with ease. That’s essentially where hybrid shapes stem from. They pack more volume, handle a wider variety of waves, but can still be surfed at a relatively high level.

Because the shortboard has become so refined, they usually have less volume which may equate to having to paddle a little harder to catch that wave. Sure they can take late drops way better, but that doesn’t help the older, slower surfers who aren’t as quick and nimble as they used to be.

They may also end up limiting the waves you are motivated to go out and surf, unless you build your quiver appropriately. A high performance shortboard is a lot more fun in good quality waves. You can surf them in the slop, but they definitely shine when the waves are good.

We guarantee you that if your quiver was more varied with a selection of HPSB’s, hybrid’s, fish’s or even a log or a mal, that less than ideal morning surf check is going to be way more appealing as you simply have more options to handle whatever the day brings.

They could become stagnant too. A lot of average surfers you see who only surf HPSB’s end up trying the same maneuvers over and over again. It is hard to “learn tricks” surfing since no wave is ever the same. You have to learn how to surf in a reactive way to what the wave offers. Unless you are an exceptional surfer, chances are when a section comes at you, you are going to try the same maneuver you usually do given a similar section. Surfing alternative equipment is great to break that habit and get you in the mind set of reading waves differently, even when you go to hop back on your shortboard.

variety of surfboards is key Hayden Cox browsing his range of surf craft in the Haydenshapes Collection


At the end of the day, it is all about what you are looking for out of surfing. You can build a quiver of HPSB’s suited to handle all conditions, you can also build a varied quiver of different boards. It comes down to what you are into personally. There is no right or wrong way to surf, but there is having the wrong equipment. So if you are dead set on only having high performance shortboards, make sure they are sized appropriately for yourself and your abilities. You will enjoy surfing a lot more and progress a lot faster.

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 Curing

by Boardcave on December 31, 2015

surfboard graveyard
Artwork: Chris Anderson.

Do you really need to wait and let your board “cure” right after glassing before you surf it?

This is going to be a touchy subject for some as the opinions vary depending on who you talk to. Also, we will note that we probably won’t be able to come to our own conclusion or the “truth” by the end of this article, but at least it is food for thought and may give you something to consider before you head straight to the beach from the glass shop with your new board.

The debate has been going on since the dawn of surfboard glassing and using resins, and to be honest the real answer will likely vary depending on the type and or brand of resin used, as well as the quality of the fiberglass and blanks used when your board is built.

Do you really need to let your board properly cure before you surf it? Simple answer is we don’t know!

Let’s break down the various resins though, as well as go over a few thoughts about other factors that could lead to pressure dents, etc like the blank, and cloth used.

superbrand fling model in eps and epoxy
Some Poly and Epoxy boards waiting in line for the next step at the SUPERbrand factory.

To keep things simple with regards to resin, we will focus more on general polyester resins and epoxy resins instead of the brands of the resins themselves (which could have some affect).

Polyester Resin and full Cure Times

Poly has been the staple resin since the use of Balsa wood to build surfboards to help seal the wood and make it water tight. To this day it has more competitors like Epoxy for example, but still remains the industry standard for the majority of surfboards produced around the world.

Most, if not all, polyester resins are thermosetting, which means that they need an added chemical to heat them up so they can set hard. This is know as Catalyst, or MEKP (methyl ethyl ketone peroxide). Glass shops also have to be aware of the ambient temperature in the room they are working in as well. The optimal room temp to get the best cure and results is around 78 degrees. With the optimal amount of catalyst which is usually around 1 to 1.5 percent ratio and the 78 degree room temp, a glass job should be about 98% cured in around an hour and a half.

But to show how critical the environment and your chemical ratios are, a room at 68 degrees can take somewhere between 2 and 7 days for a board to cure. So, assuming your catalyst ratios on on the spot and your ambient temp is optimal at 78 degrees, you should be able surf your board the same day is has finished being glassed.

Some people argue this however and claim that you still need to wait a few days or even weeks before you surf your board, or until it stops smelling :). We are not saying that they are wrong, but maybe they are not taking into consideration other factors involved int he build of your board like the foam and glass…

shaping a panda surfboards model
A PU blank of unjnown density getting shaped up by Blake Peters of
Panda Surfboards.

You can get blanks of various densities depending on what you are looking for. There are the ultra lightweight blanks usually reserved for competition boards where even oz of weight matters, or super heavy high density blanks commonly used in traditional style longboards. Obviously the high density blanks are going to be more resistant to pressure dents, etc.

The ounce, style and finish of a fiberglass cloth can play a factor too. Your super lightweight glass jobs like single 4oz deck and bottom are not going to hold up as well as a board glassed stronger with either a combination of 4oz and 6oz, straight up 6oz or even using 8 and 10oz cloths. And the finish on the cloth can matter. You can have two 4oz weight cloths, but one is finished as an S cloth (structural cloth) which will be a little more resilient than your standard E cloth. Feel free to check out articles like What to Know About Glassing a Surfboard if you would like to read up a little more about surfboard glassing and fabrics.

mf ducks nuts replica with ultra litemf ducks nuts 2.0 with bulletproof glassing
Mick Fanning on a Ducks Nuts Replica with Ultra Lite 4×4 glassing is going to be way more prone to pressure dents, buckling or even breaking compared to Asher Pacey’s Sweetspot 2.0 with bulletproof glassing.

So unless these guys are taking the time to test all the variables involved by making a number of boards with different combos of everything mentioned above, I am more than happy to run straight down tot he beach from the glass shop.

Epoxy Resins

Epoxy resins are a little different, and a lot more critical to get your measurement ratio’s and ambient room temperatures correct. They are not as forgiving as Polyester resins to work with, so people who have had issues with uncured or simply poorly constructed boards may have to look back at when their board was glassed, by who and what the environment was like.

Generally speaking, most epoxy resins take about 5 days or so to fully cure. But you have to keep in mind that by the time you actually get your board from you shaper or the glass shop, way more than 5 days would have passed by since it was laminated. So you should be able to head straight down for a surf.

If it is cooler out though and the room the board was lamed in was cooler too, your board will need some cure time. Many shops that specialize in epoxy boards use temperature controlled rooms and will have a post cure room as well where they crank the temp up, put your freshly finished board in there, and can get a full cure in a matter of hours as opposed to days.

And of course you face the added elements as you would with a Poly glass job…the blank density and type/style of fiberglass used, etc.

Some guys prefer to get a little denting going on though. A few shapers we know have team riders who will take their board out right away, creating the foot dents when they surf, and then go and post cure the board again after. Perfect little foot wells to help assist with airs, etc.

eye symmetry resin aftermath
This is what the floors look like when glass shops do plenty of Poly and Epoxy boards.


When it comes down to it, the reality is that by the time you are handed your board by most shapers or glass shops, your board is more than likely fully cured. There is not conclusive evidence that we have found to tip the scale in favor of one notion or the other. We have seen plenty of people who have waited a long time to surf their fresh board due to there being no waves or an injury, etc, and they still get pressure dents everywhere. On the flip side, we have seen plenty of people surf board the same day they were glassed and have yet to put a pressure dent on any board they own.

And when you add in all the other factors involved when making a surfboard it is hard to pin point what could be the cause of pressure dents, snapped or buckled boards or even crushed rails. Some people are just heavier footed surfers than others, some take pristine care of their equipment and some are happy to just throw their board in the back of a hot car and go get some lunch.

We would love someone to really step up to the plate and do the proper experimentation, but building surfboards is expensive and that is hard for many to justify. Even if it means they could have a consistently superior product.

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


by tward on December 24, 2015

Sit down with EVAN GEISELMAN as he re caps on that day Pipeline nearly claimed his life…

Surfboard Glassing Tools of the Trade

by Adam Fischer on December 24, 2015

surfboard glassing

Looking at the tools needed to Glass that Magic Stick

So, now that we have covered the basic tools found in shaping bays around the world with our Surfboard Shaping Tools of the Trade article, let’s have a brief look at what you commonly find in the glass shops handling your boards.

Again, these tools can vary and there is no particular right or wrong way of getting the job done. Every laminator (the guy laying down the fiberglass and resin) has different techniques that may require certain tools, but for the most part, everyone uses or should use similar tools to get the job done properly. The tools may also vary depending on if you are getting Poly or Epoxy Board, as they are slightly different to work with.

Another thing to consider is that there are many more steps involved in glassing a board compared to just shaping a board and usually more hands involved as well. To ensure great quality work, you will have the Laminator, a Sander, a Hotcoater, a Fin guy, and a Polisher…sometimes more, and sometimes one guy will do a few of these jobs. But each individual step requires certain tools to get the job done.

Where the magic starts, the lamination room at Emery Surfboards.

Here is a BASIC list of tools needed to get the job done. Please note that some of these tools cross over to various applications.

– Squeegees
– Sand Paper/Abrasives
– Chip Brushes
– Tape
– Scissors
– Buckets
– Sander/Polisher, Sanding Pads/Polish Pads
– Rubber Gloves, Respirator Mask

Now, please keep in mind that this is a very basic run down on the tools required, if you walk into a professional glass shop anywhere in the world, you are likely to find these tools as well as many more…some of which are made specifically by the people doing the job to help them do their job better.


Good clean squeegees are key for a tight lamination. After the Fiberglass is laid down, the board is flooded with resin. The idea is to work all of the resin into the fibers of the cloth and squeeze out all of the excess unnecessary resin. If too much resin is left on the board, you will have a brittle finish that can be prone to cracking. Not enough resin and the fiberglass will not be sufficiently saturated which can lead to a bonding issue or water penetration over time. Having a good squeegee and knowing the right pressure to apply when laminating the board is key to a tight lamination. As polyester resin and epoxy resin have different consistencies, the squeegees used are usually a little different. With polyurethane, you will normally find a softer squeegee that is somewhat flexible. With Epoxy resin, many laminators use a stiffer spreader similar to a bondo spreader. It is the difference in viscosities and curing times that allow the resin to penetrate into the fibers that dictate these two tools.

Prep work and Epoxy laminations at Chemistry Surfboards.


Good sandpaper and other abrasives are also very important. There are many applications you need sandpaper for during the glassing process. After you laminate the top or bottom of the board you are left with what is called a “lap”. That is where there cloth has wrapped around the rail and finished on the other side of the board. Before you move on to laminate the other side, you need to “grind the lap down” to where it is almost flush with the board so you will not have a high ridge under your glass job when you lay your next layer down. Lightly going over this lap to take down it down close to the foam and also knock down any excess resin or hardened fibers from the cut fiberglass cloth is a key step before you move onto laminating the other side of the board. The cleaner you can get this finish, the better your next step will turn out.

Sandpaper is also used to scuff up your lamination before you lay your hotcoat or filler resin down. This is where you flood the board with resin only to fill in the porous textured feel of cured fiberglass lamination and ensure a water tight glass job.

Sanding between hotcoats.

And again, you need the sand paper after the hotcoat, as you need to sand off any excess unnecessary resin left on the board. The same principle as in the lamination…you just want to fill any of the small voids, and take off the rest of the resin. Too much resin means a brittle hotcoat job that can crack or chip away over time. This is a very tricky job as there is a very fine line of sanding too much off and hitting the weave of the cloth and leaving too much on. The Hotcoater also has to follow the exact shape of the board board as well, so having good clean sandpaper is of utmost importance to them.

If there is to be a Gloss Coat (another extra layer of special resin to give you a glossy look), more sandpaper and sanding is required to ensure an extra clean, smooth finish. A gloss coat can bring out a lot of blemishes, so getting the job done right is key to a great looking board.

Chip Brushes

Chip Brushes are essentially paint brushes. These are used in both the Hotcoat application and the Gloss Coat. You will normally find the cheaper “throw-away” chip brushes used during the hotcoat and used with a delicate hand knowing the proper pressure needed to fill the resin in to the porus texture left in the weave of the fiberglass after lamination. After which a lighter pressure to smooth the resin out as much as possible. A good glass shop will take the time to do a double hotcoat which mean letting your resin cure, sending the board to the sander and then applying another hotcoat layer down again with their chip brush.

For the Gloss coat, many glossers will use a high quality brush with softer bristles that are less prone to falling out. The gloss coat needs to be impeccable, so they do not want to waste their time and energy picking out loose bristles that may fall off the cheaper chip brushes.

Laying down an ultra smooth gloss coat on a balsa gun. Photo Courtesy of Fiberglass Hawaii


Tape is another underrated “tool” used in the glassing process. There are many styles of tape that have different uses. Some are a lot more expensive than you would guess, but they are more resistant to the heat generated by the catalyst that makes the resin cure.

Tape can be used during lamination for procedures such as cut laps (where the laminator makes a clean cut along the lap line usually in color laminations where one side of the board will be a different color than the other). It will definitely be used during the hotcoat application as a way to direct the excess resin drips away from the other side of the board so you have less sanding a prep work to do when you flip the board over and hotcoat the other side. The same application will hold true for the gloss coat as well.

Tape is also used for airbrush sprays which normally go directly on the foam before lamination, to help the artist create patterns or spray critical areas without getting paint on other parts of the board. Or on the other end of the spectrum, after lamination and hotcoating, to create pinlines which add aesthetics to a board.

It is even used on the glass racks for both lamination, hotcoating and airbrushing to hold the board in place so it does not slip off the racks while you are working on it.

Believe it or not, tape is one of the biggest expenses a glass shop can go through.

Taping around the rails for a clean hotcoat on this Stamps Surfboards custom.


You may think scissors are pretty standard, but you would be surprised at what a good pair of scissors can cost you, but more importantly, why these guys need a good pair of scissors. Glass shops can pay upwards to $50 or $60 for a pair of scissors, but they will save money in the long run. The scissors are used to cut the fiberglass to the rough shape you need to wrap around the board before lamination. Fiberglass cloth is very hard on scissors as it is literally glass fibers that you are cutting through, not like cotton or other textile materials. You need to have a good hard, sharp pair of scissors to get a clean cut of the fiberglass and to help avoid fraying of the cloth. The more fraying you have, the more work will be involved when prepping the opposite side of the board. With a bad or dull pair, your cloth will fray a lot…when you wrap the resin saturated lap around the board, those strings left by the fraying cloth will harden and cure, leaving a mess that you have to clean up before laminating the other side of the board. A good clean cut almost eliminates the majority of those strings left over, making your prep work much easier. This can save a lot of time for laminators who do many boards a week.


Buckets are a fairly simple item used in the glassing process, but they can easily add up in cost in a production shop and are a must for all glass shops big or small. You need something to hold your resin and mix in your catalyst or hardener before you pour it out on the board to saturate the cloth. These will be used in the lamination, hotcoat and gloss coat applications, and luckily, buckets can be re-used a good number of times before they have to be replaced. This is a must have for everyone glassing a board from the backyard one board guy to the production shops.

Eye Symmetry Surfboards uses a lot of colors…and buckets.

Sander/Polisher, Sanding/Polishing Pads

A good sander/polisher is also essential for the glassing process. Sure these jobs can be done by hand but the hours you would put in doing these jobs solely by hand are not even worth it for the backyard hobby builder. A good machine can be used for both applications with the change out from a sanding pad to a polishing pad. Spending the money on a good reliable machine is well worth it for a production glass shop as these machines get a lot of use. You will often find the carcasses of older machines that have been pulled apart to replace broken or worn our parts of an operating machine. The machine and the pads used (whether sanding pad or polish pad) have to all be well balanced so you can ensure an even, clean job. If it is even slightly unbalanced, you will get scratches and swirls all over the board that look horrible.

Rubber Gloves, Respirator Mask

Just like in our article for Shaping Tools, protective items are the number one tool you need. A good pair of rubber gloves is key as you are working with nasty chemicals that can literally work their way into your blood stream with prolonged or repeated contact over time. Everything from the Catalyst or hardeners to the chemicals used to clean up your tools like Acetone can be very harmful to you health. A good pair of gloves is well worth the expense, even for the part time back yard hobby builder.

Same holds true for a good respirator mask that fits properly and special filters to protect you from harmful VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) that are released into the air from the resins “going off” before they are fully cured. These VOC’s and other chemicals can make a person very sick, even leading to long term affects that you can never get rid of. They should be worn during every part of the glassing procedure including the sanding and polishing phases. And you have to be especially careful when using epoxy resins…just because you can’t smell it does’t mean it is not there.

A good pair of gloves and a good repirator are well worth the investment to protect your health.


So there you have it, those are the basic tools required for glassing a board. Again, there are many other tools that can be used and many more that are created by the person who does the job to make their job easier. But there is not necessarily one right way of doing the job. Everyone who does this for a living has different techniques that work for them to get the job done right.

Now go surf!

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 Shaping Tools of the Trade

by Boardcave on December 18, 2015

dale velzy tools

A look into the tools our master shapers require to sculpt you that magic stick

We have had a few articles in the past talking about what goes into building a surfboard. Design principles like looking at different surfboard outlines, the different glassing options and even the differences between standard Poly and Epoxy Surfboards. But one thing we have not covered is simply the tools that these master shapers use to make your magic whips.

Now just to be clear, there is not one standard tool set that shapers use. For the most part, surfboards are made up of a soft medium, being the foam (whether EPS or Poly), and then a harder medium made usually out of wood, which would be the stringer. So technically, you can shape a complete board out of sand paper alone, but that would be very time consuming. Most of the tools do however come from the woodworking industry.

A sneak peek into the cave of Tim Stamps, mastermind behind Stamps Surfboards.

No matter what tools have been chosen for the job though, shapers, whether they are using self made equipment or buying tools designed specifically for shaping, covet their tools like they are sacred artifacts and will rarely let another soul touch them. In-fact, you should see the amount of tools shapers acquire over time. Many of them have multiple electric planers, surforms, block planes, etc…they just can’t bring themselves to let their magic tools go.

So you might be asking yourself, what are the basic tools that most shapers have in the quiver?

As mentioned above, you can get away shaping a surfboard with some basic tools available at your local hardware store. But that would take an unnecessarily long time, so there are some key tools that most shapers have, that you could get your hands on pretty easily if you wanted to have a stab at shaping a board yourself.

A basic breakdown of a decent set of tools most shapers have would look like this:

– Electric Planer
– A Block Plane and a series of other bladed tools including the David Plane, Trim Plane and a Spoke Shave
– Surform and curved rasp
– Various grits of Sand Paper and sanding pads/blocks
– Various grits of sanding screen and finish pads
– Calipers and Shapers Square
– Dust Masks

The Electric Planer

The electric planer, usually the most coveted of these tools plays such an important role in the process of shaping a board. This planer will plow through both the foam and the stingers with ease and accuracy. A master shaper can rough out a board to an almost finished state with this tool alone. It’ll take your board down to the thickness you need, turn the rails to the basic shape you are looking for and can even rough out concave and other bottom contours needed for your board. You can get the job done without it, but it takes hours off the labor needed when using more basic tools like block planes and abrasives. Even for the average or beginner shaper, the electric planer is useful for the daunting task of getting your board to the thickness required before they start to tackle concave, foils, etc.

The highly coveted Skil 100 Planer, a shapers dream tool!

The Block Plane and Other Bladed Tools

Block planes, trim planes and spoke shaves are essential for working the stringer of a board. The stringer is usually made up of a wood of some sort. Being surrounded by a much softer medium, the foam, it is difficult to get a clean finish of the two side by side. The use of a good, sharp block plane is great for refining the stringer down to the same level as the foam, or even slightly lower with the proper technique, without tearing up the foam around the stringer too much. It is surprisingly difficult to achieve and is a good mark of an expert craftsman. The David Plane, trim plane and spoke shave are more or less various sizes/takes on the block plane and are used to working the stinger in complicated areas and curves that the block plane simply cannot fit. Again, a clean finish of foam next to the stringer is a sign of an experienced shaper, very sharp tools and excellent technique.

A beautiful quiver of block planes.

The Surform and Curved Rasp

A surform is kind of a cross between and abrasive (like sandpaper or sanding screen) and a planer. The blade of a surfer resembles that of a cheese grater. This a handy tool as it can be used to take down and level out ridges left over from using your electric planer. It’ll cut through both the foam and the stringer with ease. If you are starting out and can’t afford or get use of an electric planer, be sure to get yourself a surform as it is probably the next best thing to tackle the tedious tasks such as taking down thickness, starting contours, etc. The curved rasp is essentially a curved version of the surform and is extremely useful for swallow tailed boards, etc where you still need to get the stringer down in-between the crack of the swallow tail.

The surform is great for many applications, a must have for any shaper.

Sandpaper and Sanding Blocks/Pads

Now we start getting into abrasives. Using various grits of sand paper and a sanding block or pad allows you to perform similar tasks to the surform, yet working into a finer finish the higher the grit you go. The sanding block/pads can be made up of anything from wood to soft foam. Harder wood blocks that you wrap your sandpaper around will be for truing up the lines and ridges left by other tools, whereas the softer pads are usually used with the high grit papers for a finer finish and to fit the various curves and contours throughout the board.

Jeff “Doc” Lausch making good use of his sanding blocks refining details on the nose of this Surf Prescriptions Custom.

Sanding Screens and Finishing Pads

Sanding Screens are the next tool up from your sandpapers that helps clean up your shape. A good range of grit used here would be an 80 grit, 120 grit and 220 grit screens. You can use these on their own wrapping them around the rails helping to take out and clean up the lines and ridges left by your planers and surforms that got used to rough out the shape of your rails. If you have bigger ridges or steps in the rail, you can go with the lower grit like the 80 and then work your way up to the 220. This requires a delicate touch and a keen eye to ensure that your rails match on each side of the board. These screens are used with a soft foam finishing pad across the deck and bottom, it’s used to get an ultra clean finish.

Nation Surfboards shaper Ryan Engle working his way to a clean rail.

Calipers and Shaper Squares

Calipers and shaper squares are simply measurement tools used to get the exact measurements before a shaper tackles the blank, they also ensure measurements are correct during and after shaping. The calipers measure the thickness in any give area of the board, whereas the shaper square has multiple applications. Not only can it measure the width at any given area, it can also be used to help you plan and mark fin placement, channels, or anything that you need exact measurements from one side of the stinger to the other.

Calipers and Shaper Squares get plenty of use detailing all measurements needed.

The Dust Mask

Last but not least, intact one of the most important tool a shaper needs is a good dust or particle mask. Both Polyurethane and EPS blanks can be very hazardous to your health with prolonged exposure and inhalation. Foam is known to cause forms of cancer and other health issues, so using a good dust mask is vital to a long shaping career let alone a long healthy life. Always be prepared!

A good dust mask is essential for a long and happy shaping career. Just ask Album Surfboards shaper Matt Parker.


There are so many other tools that we haven’t even touched on and to be honest, there are no rules or regulations on what can be used to shape a surfboard. It is an art form after all, and many shapers will create their own tools as they see fit to help them get the job done. The tools that we have outlined here are not intended to tell you what you NEED to shape a board, but they are commonly found in shaping bays all over the world. To top it off, the battle is only beginning… these are just some tools for SHAPING a board, we haven’t even touched on the tools needed for glassing a board…Stay Tuned.

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