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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.

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

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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.

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Crafting your perfect surfboard

by Boardcave on August 6, 2015

A look at Hand Shaping vs using a CNC machine

The Purity of the Craft

I am sure the debate over the purity of surfboard shaping has been going on continuously probably since the electric hand planer was introduced. There must have been guys sitting in their garage bickering about how the “soul” of a surfboard gets lost when people started using electric tools to do the work where elbow grease, sweat and a few block planes were your shaping tool quiver.

Dale Velzy's tools of the trade
Tools of the trade of legendary Dale Velzy.

The electric hand planer (like the coveted Skill 100, Clark modified Hitachi, the Accurate Planer) was not invented for surfboard shaping. Originally, they were designed as a tool to take the place of block planes, mostly used for truing up and hanging doors, or other flat areas like floors, table tops and decks.

As production demands began to grow for shapers, they had to look for more efficient tools to help get the job done faster and more accurate. In any industry, people have to adapt and explore new tools and ideas that can make their job easier and more efficient.

In today’s world, the CNC shaping machine is that fast and efficient tool, made use by the majority of shapers worldwide. An old phrase that comes to mind – “work smarter, not harder” – holds weight no matter what your job entails.

Here’s the thing with the CNC and CAD programs though, you still have to be a skilled shaper by hand to know how to design a good board on a computer and finish one that was cut on a machine.

fresh off the machine but far from finished
Fresh off the machine, but still a long way from finished. Surf Prescriptions Jeff “Doc” Lausch starting to work his magic.

Go Ahead, Make Your Own

One of the biggest fears about the machine, is that anyone can go and “pop-out” boards on a whim. And that this in turn could hurt the industry as we know it, taking jobs away from the craftsmen that have dedicated years into their practice.

Sure, anyone CAN do it, just like anyone CAN get a blank and some tools and hack their own board out. But in reality, you still have to have an understanding of how and why boards and design principles work. You have to know these principles and theories, and you have to be able to hand shape at a high level to get even a decent design out of a CAD file and a machine cut.

plenty of hands on work at chemistry surfboards
Plenty of “hands on” skill required by the boys at Chemistry Surfboards.

If you have never played around with a CAD file, go download a free program like Shape3D, design a board and see how it really turns out when it comes out of the machine. It is a lot harder than you think. But you’re not done there, you still have to finish shape it to perfection where the majority of skill comes into play and glass it (which is a whole other level in itself).

Machine Assisted, Hand Shaped

Now, most of the detailed shaping comes after a board has been ‘roughed out’. This is the stage that a machine cut will get you too, as opposed to taking an electric planer and doing it by hand.

It saves shapers a little bit of time, and helps to ensure that they can get better results when duplicating certain models.

You will be surprised by the number of shapers you think are “hand only” shapers. Most of them (not all, but most of them) who are coveted as master hand shapers, may still use the machine for their production schedule.

creativity of matt parker
Matt Parker of Album Surfboards knows how to get creative with his hands and CAD designs.

They may spend their time hand shaping and creating a new model until it is dialed in to where they want it. So the creative aspect of shaping the new model is still done by hand for many shapers. After this they can have the board scanned, or the can manually enter all the dimensions needed into a CAD file.

Other shapers (still with a deep knowledge and experience with shaping by hand) learn how to design boards using the CAD program, have it cut and finish it by hand. Either way, the creative process and “soul” of the board is still there, and they can now duplicate models for the team riders and customers.

This comes as a benefit for both the shapers and the customers riding their boards.

Never Lose that Magic Stick

If you happen to break that magic whip you’ve had for years, you may want the exact same board again. With your shaper utilizing the CNC machine, you CAN have that magic board again, and for the rest of your surfing life.

If your shaper only shapes by hand, chances are they are good enough to get it really close but it may not be exactly like that magic board. With the CNC, they can be sure they are duplicating that board for you as well as saving them time.

But please note, most shapers that have been doing it for a while are good enough to duplicate a board only by hand… and on the flip side, a machine cut board can also end up slightly different time to time due to the majority of the work being in the hand finishing the fine detail like rails, bottom contours, etc.

Added Reference Points

Another benefit of CNC machines is the increased use of volumes as surfboard parameter.

mick fanning and darren handley work out magic sticks
Mick Fanning and Darren Handley of DHD Surfboards constantly refining Mick’s favorite boards.

If you pay attention to what volumes seem to work for you for certain boards, you can refine each new board a little more to suit your needs. You may want two boards of the same model, but tweak the volume and foam distribution to handle different waves if needed.

Like we mentioned in our “Are you surfing the wrong board” article, pro surfers can feel the difference within up to a half liter change in volume. This comes in especially handy for them when they surf around the world in a variety of waves. Knowing a surfer’s ideal volume helps to make those small adjustments in a board to maximize the potential for each individual wave they are going to surf.

Your shaper can live a long fruitful life

The machine has to been seen as just another tool for a shaper, it is not replacing the shaper or shaping skills by any means. It actually can help make a shaper become more well-rounded in their approach as well. They have to learn how to design or tweak a good board in a CAD program, only adding to their skill set.

customization going down at canvas surfboards
Custom concave’s and artwork going down at Canvas Surfboards.

To add to that, using a CNC machine actually helps with the longevity of a shapers career. As they get older, lugging the electric planer over blank after blank can take a serious toll on a shaper’s shoulders, elbows and backs.

Always appreciate however, that the majority of shapers who use the machine have put in years and thousands of boards shaped by hand before they adapted to using a machine.

Machines with Morals

Another controversy over the machine has been the possibility and ease of one shaper copying another’s design. It was feared that someone could easily get a hold of your master file and start pumping out the exact same board that you have spent so much time developing.

In reality, there is nothing stopping a hand shaper from doing the same thing, and the CNC machine doesn’t have a mind of its own, so it still comes down to the integrity of the shapers themselves.

machines don't shape channels
Timmy Patterson knows that the machine can’t do channels.

Hand Crafted

Using a CAD program and CNC machine does not mean your boards are in the category of the cheap “pop-out” boards you find at some big box chain retailers. The term “Hand Crafted” still applies with boards still requiring the majority of work to be extremely hands-on. So, there is still plenty of fine craftsmanship that goes into each and every board.

Yes, it does allow a shaper to ramp up their production levels, but the skills required to finish shape, refine and glass the board is still where the majority of the work lies. The machine is not the enemy to the surf industry, it is just another tool shapers can use that is a little too big to fit in their tool box.

precision cutting at nation surfboards
Ryan Engle of Nation Surfboards owns his own machine ensuring he is “hands on” in every board he produces.

What do you think about hand shaping and the use of new technologies? 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 manufactured in the USA 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 our popular articles below:

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

What Board Should I Surf?

by Boardcave on August 6, 2015

So, maybe by now you’ve had time to build your quiver up to an impressive assortment of boards. All you have to do is know when you can pull each one out and maximize it’s potential and expand your surfing horizon. First of all, let’s take a quick look at that quiver you’ve built. (fairy tale quiver):

Hot Doggin LogginNation Surfboards
Bliss FishCanvas Surfboards
Quantum Quad FishStamps Surfboards
The DoinkerPanda Surfboards
DiscAlbum Surfboards
Lil BuddyCarrozza Surfboards
SUPER Head ShifterSUPERbrand
MF Sweet Spot 2.0DHD Surfboards
Step UpT.Patterson Surfboards
Tube ShooterCanvas Surfboards

boards ready to go in the back of a van
Variety is the spice of life, try as many boards as you can.

Keep in mind, many of these can be surfed in a large variety of conditions. It is really up to you, your style or what “feel” you like when surfing on any given day to decide. However, we can break down each board to what conditions they thrive in and show you how your well-rounded quiver gives you more options than you think. So what board should you surf?

hot doggin loggin by nation surfboards
The Hot Doggin Loggin, or other Logs similar to this board, are going to love a softer, rolling wave. “Logs” as they are often referred to, have a low rocker and a long rail line that allow you to get softer, rolling waves earlier. The momentum generated from the length and weight of a board like this carries you through flat sections with ease. However, It doesn’t always have to be small and glassy for you to pull this board out of the racks though…under experienced feet, these boards can handle waves up-to head high or slightly bigger. Even waves with a little more vertical face to them can be a blast on a board like this.

bliss fish by canvas surfboards
The Bliss Fish, a fun little twin keel fish is prefect for summer days when warm water and wind swell waves are a plenty. This style of board paddles extremely well for their size and are super fast and surprising nimble. Perfect for those small to medium size days and in either mushy or steep faced waves. Don’t count them out though when it is head high+ and barreling, they are fast and the fish tail (twin pin tails) and short size will hold you in a tight pocket in the waves face nicely. A fish is a board that everyone should have in the quiver. It’ll open up new lines in your surfing which translate well to when you hop back on your shorty.

quantum quad fish by stamps surfboards
The Quantum Quad Fish, is a board you want to take out if you feel fishy, but want a little more performance and maneuverability. With a quad style fish like this, your rails are usually a little thinner and the bottom contours are more high performance orientated. The quad fin set-up gives you that speed and drive you love, but with more control and maneuverability than the twin keel set up. Anything from knee high to over head is fair game with a board like this. This is a board that can dangerously become your go-to.

the doinker by panda surfboards
The Doinker, and similar boards fit somewhere between a fish and a mini smmons style of board. You can find these boards coming as either a twin keel or quad fin setup. The wide, blunt nose and extra wide tail gives this board plenty of surface area under foot, adding to it’s ability to paddle in early and carry speed through slower sections. But due to the low rocker and a blunt nose, they are not the best in hollow waves as they can tend to pearl (nose dive) when coming out of turns if you are not careful. On a nice wall though, with a good slope to it these boards are insane. Anything from two foot to overhead on a wave like that and this board is unstoppable, allowing you to clear sections you would normally get outrun by, and carve hard and fast across the face. The quad setup gives you a little extra control when you want to push your turns a little harder.

the disc by album surfboards
The Disc, another board great for those medium sized days. A board like this has that nice full nose and round tail, giving you the ability to paddle into waves like a longboard, but with a little more maneuverability. Usually set up as a single fin, or commonly found as a 2+1, these boards demand more glide and flow to your surfing. You surf more with he wave instead of on the wave. Again, you can’t count this board out for smaller or larger days. Depending on the size of the board, they can fit into the mid-length category, or shorter stubby style category. Use either in waves anywhere from one foot or up to overhead for the right surfer. Super fun, more traditional feel to surfing where you become more one with the wave.

the lil buddy by carrozza surfboards
The Lil Buddy, and similar hybrid boards are designed for those smaller days when you still want to rip around on a shortboard. Usually incorporating elements of a fish and a shortboard, giving you that wider nose and tail area, with more volume through the center, but with higher performance rails and bottom contours. This allows you to get into smaller waves earlier, yet still be able to shred like you would on your normal shortboard. Built for knee high to head high waves, these boards are versatile in the size and conditions you may encounter, but once again, don’t be afraid to take one out when it is a little bigger. They handle size surprising well once you get use to the low rocker and wider nose when coming out of turns.

the head shifter by superbrand surfboards
The SUPER Head Shifter, and similar boards are starting to move into the realm of your standard shortboard. A more refined outline, pulled in versatile tail, high performance bottom contours and usually a medium low rail. These boards are the standard for a reason, they really do work in just about everything with the exception of really small or really big. You can surf these boards anywhere in the world and in waves ranging form knee high to a couple of feet over head, clean or junky conditions. A board that is a must in everyones quiver as they are so reliable and can be taken anywhere with you.

the mf sweet spot 2.0 by dhd surfboards
MF Sweet Spot 2.0, although similar to your standard shortboard, make for a great option if you are going to travel or surf new spots a lot. Most of the same attribute as your standard shortboard, but usually in a rounded or rounded-pin tail. This alone widens the versatility of the waves you can surf, while only slightly hindering the high performance snappy turns that a squash gives you. Beyond that small feature, you’ll love this style of shortboard as it’ll work in just about everything. They handles bigger size better while still floating you through smaller or flatter sections. They gives your more of a carving feel in your turns instead of snappy, and they love the barrel.

the step up by timmy patterson surfboards
The Step Up, suitably named for the style of board it is, which is a step-up. A must have in the quiver of surfers getting into advanced levels and higher, they are used for those days where your standard shortboard is not enough to handle the size. A little longer, a touch thicker, wide point kept n the center and usually more volume equally displaced all around for paddling. They generally have medium to full rails for stability, and will feature a single to double concave for speed and control. Whether your local turns on or you are going on a trip to Indo, make sure to leave room for your step up.

the tube shooter by canvas surfboards
The Tube Shooter, is a step-up style of board for those who love that old school single fin feel. In a board like this you will generally find the wide point forward a bit to help with paddling, and it’ll keep a nice pulled in pin tail to hold you tight in the face when in the barrel. More of a board designed to get you in to a wave and get you barrel, they are not the most maneuverable craft. They allow you to hold a nice line in steep waves and are an absolute blast on waves that don’t give you a chance for many turns anyways. Take this board out in hollow waves anywhere from head high+.

So there you have it, one of the many dream quivers any of us can own. Please note though, this is not a “set in stone” description of these boards or the waves they are suited for. Your surfing style, creativity, and ability all come into play when surfing any type of board and in any type of condition. We’ve seen longboards in the barrel and standard shortboards in small sloppy waves. It’s surfing after-all, there are no rules. Try it all but remember to stay within your limits.

Make sure you check out the Board Engine and play around with your preferred wave type and board type to find some more surfboard recommendations for your next trip. Or email service@boardcave.com with your details for customized board recommendations.

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

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View From a Blue Moon

by Tommy Barrels on August 3, 2015

View From a Blue Moon – A film by Vincent Kueny and Brain Farm, starring Pyzel’s John John Florence.

No words necessary

Board talk with Ryan Engle

by Boardcave on July 30, 2015

nation surfboards shaper ryan engle

We wanted to get to know head shaper of Nation Surfboards, Ryan Engle a little more so we asked him a few questions about how he got his start, .

When and what got you into shaping?

I always had a close relationship with those who shaped for me as a kid. I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time in the bay, and it grew from there.

What inspires you to shape?

Friends, Family, team-riders and customers STOKE

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Freedom and creativity.

los dos model put through its paces the cool story by nation surfboards with pink tail dip
The Los Dos being putting through it’s paces and a nice pink tail dip on the Cool Story model.

You have a pretty diverse range of boards, everything from performance shortboard, traditional logs… do you have a favorite type of board to shape?

My early days as a production shaper started with a wide range of models. I have always taken pride in being very versatile in my shapes and designs. I can’t say I like one over another… I would rather shape a handful of all uniquely different shapes every day. I’m all about keeping the creative juices flowing.

So you don’t have a favorite type of board to shape, but do you have a favorite type of board to surf?

I would lean towards the modern fish realm, but in the same way (as with my shaping), I love switching it up.

2015 nation board range
The 2015 Nation MFG Surfboards range left to right: The Chub, Stumpy, Los Dos, Sex Machine, Pink Champagne on Ice, Rick Kane Pro, Bro Deal, Cool Story, Steinrider and the Hot Doggin’ Loggin’.

What is your best selling model in the Nation line up and why?

Right now it is the Pink Champagne on Ice. It’s a modern inspired throwback that can go over-sized or stubby; single, tri, or quad. It’s a very versatile board and so it covers a lot of bases. Also, it looks sexy. Sex sells.

nation surfboards with some color courtesy of dave naylor
A few Nation boards with a little color courtesy of laminating wizard Dave Naylor.

You own your own machine, how has that impacted your job, and is it still vital to be a good “hand-shaper”?

I was really lucky to have worked as a production hand shaper before venturing into the world of CAD. I think everyone needs a solid base in knowing how to properly hand shape a board. That said, using the machine and software, I have gained compete control of my designs from the inside out.

nation surfboards using cad files shaper ryan engle
Ryan Engles working on the CAD files to easily refine and progress his board models.

You do really clean work, both shaping glassing and color, what is your quality control process like?

I am very hands on from start to finish. All of my boards are made under one roof and so I get to be there bugging the whole crew daily!

What is the link between Nation Surf and Nation Golf? How did that come about?

My grandpa ran a golf tournament for 30 years. We revamped it in his honor, and are now planning our 9th annual tournament. The golf division of Nation Mfg was born through the growing success and influence of our tournament. The Nation Scramble Classic.

glassing a nation model

What does the future hold for you and your brand?

I can’t wait to find out! I am very fortunate to have such solid people in my corner, and I am excited to keep enjoying the ride.

For more information and their full range of surfboards ready to be customized and order online, check out Nation Surfboards. Use the Board Engine to help find your volume.

What’s in your surf trip quiver?

by Boardcave on July 23, 2015

Thinking about a surf trip? First thing you are going to have to think about is what boards you will need to bring.

Clearly the most important item, and once you have that figured out you can throw in some cloths, sunscreen, passports…

One of the main differences between a board and your gear is that most of things can be bought when you’re on your trip. Yes, you can buy or rent boards in some places, but you don’t really want to be feeling out a new board or taking the chance of being offered a pop-out, beat up 3 plastic fin Mal when the waves are overhead and barreling.

There is nothing like having your own equipment when surfing new spots.

With that said, you are going to want the right quiver for the waves and the places you plan on surfing.

dave rastovich with his holiday quiver
Dave Rastavich with his Gary McNeil Concepts board quiver on a surf trip in Indonesia and the Maldives.

How many?

When traveling near or far, our experience has been that 3 boards seems to be the magic number. Minimum two, but three makes sure you have the something for most occasion, as well as giving you and extra option if you break a board.

Which ones?

The type of boards you take will essentially be based off your surfing style and the types of waves you plan on surfing. You can basically break these down to a groveler (or smaller wave board), your standard go to (what ever you surf most at home), and a step up (something that can handle when waves turn on).

Obviously this will vary depending on where you go, for example, if you’re planning on chasing some bigger waves, your groveler might be your standard board.

A good rule to follow is to make sure one of the three boards you bring is your go-to when you are at home. There is a good chance that it’ll be the board you surf most on your trip as well.

Also, be realistic about what kind of waves you can handle and your abilities. There is no sense in bringing something more suited to waves you can’t handle… It will just take up space in your board bag and probably won’t even get wet.

getting air chemistry surfboards style
Checking the coastline from a different aspect, the only way a Chemistry Surfboard knows how.

New boards

If you plan on ordering a couple of new boards for your trip, consider getting them glassed a little heavier.

Let’s be honest, unless you’re among the top surfers in the world, that very little extra glassing weight is not going to hurt your performance very much. Plus, it will give you a little more security knowing that your boards will hold up to anything from heaving barrels to unhappy baggage handlers.

Order these boards with more than enough time before your trip and don’t be afraid to take them for a spin before hand either. You may not get the same type of waves, but it’ll give you a good idea of how the board paddles and performs before you head off.

asher pacey on sweet spot 2.0
Asher Pacey handling a nice wave on his Sweet Spot 2.0.

If you are only able to bring one board for some reason, a good all-rounder is what you are going to need.

Something with a round tail, or conservative round pin will work in a large variety of surf. A nice balanced tail rocker, keeping you loose in smaller surf but will hold in waves with a little more power is also a good idea.

It doesn’t hurt to go a touch longer or slightly wider or thicker either. Just to ensure you get in and under the lip when it does turn on.

A few great all-rounders that you can find on Boardcave are the Polyphonic from Album Surfboards, the Hypto Krypto by Haydenshapes Surfboards, the Pig Dog by SUPERbrand and the Sweet Spot by DHD. Most brands will have their perfect all-round board suited to handle a large variety of waves.

clay marzo on location for superbrand
Clay Marzo on location for Superbrand ripping on his new signature Mad Cat model.

Where are you heading?

You should also take into consideration where you are going on your trip when deciding what boards to bring. What you might use as your groveler, your standard and your step up will depend on where in the world you might be going.

Anywhere you go will have days when it pumps, days when it is flat and all days in-between. Besides tracking the current swell for your trip, take a look at what the average days are like in the season you are traveling.

Australian Waves

Australia literally has an endless coastline where you can find every type of wave possible. Compared to somewhere like California, most swells come from deeper water father away which translates to waves with a little more punch to them. If you venture out to West Oz, this becomes even more prevalent as well as a gnarlier coastline with slabs and reefs aplenty.

So looking at the East Coast of Australia, you may want to bring something like your standard shorty like the Flash Point by Chemistry Surfboards, a step-up like the SUPER Pig Dog and a small wave board like the Quantum Quad Fish by Stamps.

In West Oz, you definitely want to bring a step up like the Black Angel by Emery, standard shorty like the Cool Story by Nation, and a board for the smaller days, but beefed up a bit and on the performance side of hybrid like the Synthetic Sally by Panda Surfboards.

essence surf batch ready for glassing
A nice little stack of Essence Surfboards ready for paint, fins and glass.

US Waves

Along the California coast and down into Mexico, the waves are going to be a little softer than in Australia for the most part. Again, a wide variety of waves from the bombs of Mavericks and heavier waters of Central and Northern Cal, down to the mellow peelers of Malibu and San Onofre.

The majority of us are not about to go tackle Mavericks, so an appropriate quiver for most of California and Mexico like be something like the Grinder X by Stamps for your shorty when the waves turn on, the Lil Buddy by Carrozza for most average swells, and either a Fish mid-length or Log (or both) depending on your style like the Los Dos by Nation Surfboards, the Disc by Album or the Purchase by Canvas Surfboards.

nation surfboards all colored up
A little bit of color from laminating wizard Dave Naylor on these Nation Surfboards.

Destination Waves

A trip to Indo or other tropical reef pass, far off place might require a different set up.

Since you are generally going to be surf good quality waves, many people think they need a quiver of step up boards. However, you will be surprised at what boards can handle these waves.

Since they are more structured an usually better quality, you definitely want to pack your go to shortboard that you ride at home, it’ll probably be the board you ride most here too. And yes you will need that step up (you are planning on scoring waves right?) but also don’t count out a fish or a hybrid shape like the Hypto Krypto by Haydenshapes or even the Bliss Fish by Canvas.

Not only will these boards handle so size since the waves are such good quality, they will keep you in the water when it is a little smaller.

hypto krypto and black diamond
The Hypto Krypto alongside the DHD Black Diamond.


To sum it up, you need to take the time to think about choosing the right surfboards you want to bring and what boards you will enjoy the most for the waves you plan on surfing. Having the right equipment to suit your style and needs will make or break a trip.

If money is no issue, pack as many boards as possible and think outside the box. You will be surprised at what boards work in different waves or conditions and it may open you mind up when choosing boards for a surf at home too.

But for most of us where money is limited, a 3 board quiver with removable fins is just about ideal. With the right bag, you can squeeze all three into one bag (hoping to pass for one board payment at the airline).

And if you can only bring one board, make sure it is a good all-rounder that can be surfed when it gets smaller and can handle when it gets bigger. And make sure it has a solid glass job… The last thing you want is a broken board with nothing to back it up.

Make sure you check out the Board Engine and play around with your preferred wave type and board type to find some more surfboard recommendations for your next trip. Or email service@boardcave.com with your details for customized board recommendations.

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Low Down on the Sweet Spot 2.0

by Tommy Barrels on July 23, 2015

Here it is folks, doesn’t get much better than the man himself, Darren Handley of DHD Surfboards giving you the low down on the Sweet Spot 2.0. Note how he points out the slightly fuller nose for ease of paddling and getting you into waves earlier, but adds a touch more rocker especially through the tail, combined with the double concave to create a super fast board that is highly responsive.

This model is a slight variation on the original Sweet Spot after spending more time testing it is waves all around the world. These adjustments make for a fantastic all-round one board quiver that can handle the majority of waves and conditions you will face day to day. They even beefed up the glass job slightly and added reinforcements over the fin boxes and around the rail at the tail to ensure your board will hold up to what ever beating you may give it.

Choosing the ideal construction

by Boardcave on July 20, 2015

Since we have had a look at the main differences between the most common constructions in surfboards today, Polyurethane/Polyester (PU/PE) and EPS/Epoxy, we can now take a look at the different construction methods widely available (in no particular order) and what they will do to your boards performance.

darren handley inspecting his shaping work
In the DHD Surfboards factory with shaper Darren Handley.

Patented Methods:

Future Flex

Future Flex, consisting of parabolic carbon reinforced rails, combined with a high density EPS blank and very high quality Epoxy Resin and quad-axial cloth. The blend of these materials translates into a very lively feeling board with lots of projection. The flex and spring back effect of the board gives you a ton of drive and speed.

This type of construction has a unique spring back due to the minimal twisting that can happen in other constructions, helping to store and release energy more efficiently. They have a slightly different feel than boards with a stringer under your feet, but once you get used to it, you learn to feel through the board better. The Haydenshapes Hypto Krypto is often ordered in this construction.


Hydroflex 3D Glassing is a specific method that virtually eliminates the chances of de-lamination of the skin (fiberglass and resin) from the core (foam). They have found a way to literally anchor the skin into the core instead of it just sitting and stick on top of it.

This has more affect than just eliminating delam, is also results in an extremely lively and responsive feel to your board.

Hydroflex boards use a high quality Epoxy resin which is stronger and more flexible and Polyester, and gives you a better spring back while being less prone to cracking or delamination. These boards keep their youthful exuberance much longer than most constructions.

Carbon Wrap Technology

Carbon Wrap Technology, exclusive to DMS and Lost boards in Australia (for now), is again a stringers blank with the strategic placement of carbon bands on and around the board.

By wrapping these carbon strips around certain areas of the board, you get a feeling of surfing a board with a lot of “pop”. Flaring the carbon out towards the rail and wrapping it around, allows the board to use it’s contortional twist and translate it to a superior flex giving you more drive when coming out of turns. That added drive with a unique flex patten out the tail gives you a next level feel to your surfing.

dms surfboards carbon wrap
Getting some air with a DMS Surfboards model in Carbon Wrap technology.

USC Construction

USC Construction, or “Ultra Stringerless Carbon” construction may be similar to other parabolic carbon boards, but really set’s itself apart by the unique blend of materials and placement of the carbon.

With USC, you are using a stringers blank, but a PU blank instead of EPS. The carbon is also laid around the perimeter, but more on the deck instead of wrapping under the rails.

The PU blank gives you that familiar feel we all know and love, while the parabolic carbon layout adds more speed, drive and flex. Combined with a unique “bio” Polyester resin, these boards lower their carbon footprint while giving you a board you can feel comfortable on as soon as you jump in it.


SUPERbrand Surfboards brings you their exclusive SUPERflex technology.

The use of a high quality stinger-less blank with a carbon netting along the bottom of the board and carbon reinforced rails. A unique feel in itself, the technology has a superior flex pattern with a quick release for your high performance surfing.

superflex on superbrand surfboards
The Superbrand, Superflex technology.

Varial Foam

The technology behind Varial Foam may be new to the Surf Industry, but it has been used in aerospace and automotive applications for quite some time now, from rocket ships to race cars.

This unique foam has a tighter cell structure and a consistent density throughout, and can be used with either polyester or epoxy resins. The strength of the foam actually requires no stinger or any other type of reinforcement other than glassing your boards as standard.

Maybe a small carbon strip for big wave guns to stiffen it up a bit. It is very lightweight with a great flex and springback unlike anything you have felt before. Now really starting to make it’s impact into our beloved industry, you can add this to you options between PU and EPS as your core.

album surfboards varial foam and hydroflex
An Album Surfboards model with hydrofelx construction and a varial foam blank making this little Symphony look real nice.

General Materials:

All the constructions above have patents on how they are constructed, not the individual materials themselves. With that said, there is still a lot of room for experimentation using and combining these materials.

Carbon Tape

Carbon tape can be used in many ways. Throw it down the center of a board either top, bottom or both, and help stiffen up a board that might be too flexible for it’s intended purpose, or just to simple add strength for a longer lasting board.

You commonly see strips of it on top of the rails at the tail to help prevent the deck from crushing when doing powerful bottom turns when pushing from your heels or toes. Or, like mentioned numerous times above, around the perimeter or wrapped around the board in specific ways to help control flex. The possibilities are endless.

Vector Net

Vector Net is a woven carbon fiber netting that resembles diamond shaped patters. A great way to help reinforce your board while keeping weight down. You can also use this to alter flex patters, or provide structure and longevity for heavy footed surfers.

eye symmetry magic fibre construction
A few Eye Symmetry board models that make use of Magic Fibre construction. Carbon strips underneath and a net on the deck.


Bamboo acts as a great alternative to carbon fiber. A great replacement when you are trying to create a more sustainable surfboard.

Usually found on Epoxy boards as a thin skin over the blank which can then be glassed over lightly. This also helps to reduce the amount of fiberglass and resin needed, again adding to the sustainability of your board while keeping performance levels up.


Cork is also a unique alternative usually in epoxy constructions. The cork can help to dampen the twitchy feeling you can have on an Epoxy board, and there is almost no need to wax.

Vacuum bagged to the deck of the board that has already been lightly glass, the cork remains exposed, giving you a unique feel under foot and in performance. Added bonus of no more wax on you car seat.

Stringer-less Blanks with No Reinforcement

Going stringer-less all together can result in a super fun board.

Going this route really allows your to feel the wave through the board, giving you more of a feeling of riding with the wave instead of surfing on the wave. Sometimes found with retro inspired Fish designs to help bend, flex and project you around on mushy days.

Using this method on Longboards gives you a totally unique flex pattern when surfing from different parts of the board like from the nose, the middle of the board or off the tail.


This is just a look at some of the materials that can be used in surfboard construction. We are not trying got favor one over the other, they all have such unique features that play out in different ways.

Most of these can be found on certain brands throughout Boardcave, but there are many more patented and patent pending designs floating around in the surf world that we have not even touched on. The idea behind this article is to just open your mind a little on what can be done with surfboard construction, and why some of these common materials can do for a surfboards performance.

Just like everything else surfboard related, there is an endless combination of designs, materials, constructions and methods that can be played with and have yet to be found still.

That’s what we love the most about surfboards, the best is yet to come and the possibilities are endless. Surfboards will always continue to evolve!

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Board talk with Al Emery

by Boardcave on July 16, 2015

emery surfboards shaper al emery

Board Talk with Al Emery

We had a chat with head-shaper Al Emery, of Emery Surfboards about what he likes about surfing, his brand, choosing surfboards and how he sees the industry developing in the next 10 years.

When and where did you get your shaping start?

My dad bought me a blank when I was about 18, I started shaping boards in my backyard around then.

Who were/are the shapers and surfers you looked up to?

I have always liked Al Merrick’s shapes because they are so extreme and I learnt a lot from local shapers in the area over the years.

I always loved Andy Irons surfing, Taj and pretty blown away this year by Felipe.

black angel deck and rocker and stump round deck and rocker
A couple of performers in the Emery range. On top, the deck and rocker of the Black Angel and below, the deck and rocker of the Stump Thumb.

What style of boards do you enjoy surfing?

I love surfing performance boards and fishes with speed and flow.

Have you had a change of direction in your own shaping at any point?

The core of my board designs has always been about high performance and fun and this is still my main focus.

harry bryant barreled
Harry Bryant getting through this nice little barrel.

For custom orders, why should customers choose different constructions eg. PU, EPS, Futureflex ?

PU’s are cheaper for a custom and it the fastest turn around in production time, EPS are lighter and more buoyant and Futureflex is a different flex to your normal stringer with a more even outer parabolic flex.

Do you think the standard PU construction, which has been around the longest, is still the best option?

Yes, it’s very easy to shape, sand and glass for consistency in replicating designs.

al emery checking a board
One final check of the forward outline.

What aspects of a board are most important to you? Is volume helpful in determining the right board for someone?

I think the foil of the board from nose to tail is what I most look at when shaping, making sure it’s flows nicely.

Volume is key and definitely helpful when moving from your normal shortboard to other models, it gets you close to what you want straight away.

emery stringer work
Some stringer attention on a nice looking Emery nose.

We hear your working on some new models, what’s your process for launching a new model? Can you shed some light on these new shapes and what we can look forward to?

We are always working on new projects and models with our team.

I’m constantly tweaking and designing new models with them when they return from comps and trips trying to improve performance on the normal shortboard and also creating super fun crafts.

Our aim is to release something fresh once a year. Yes we have two new models due to be released, ready for summer… stay tuned.

new emery surfboard
A new project in the works, coming soon for Emery Surfboards showing up on their instagram @emerysurfboards.

Where do you see surfing in the next 10 years? Will there be a push for new constructions, shapes, eco-friendly materials, etc?

EPS is fast growing with performance boards, a lot of surfers are riding them in contests and free surfing which see’s this type of construction growing and definitely moving forward with more eco-friendly materials.

At Emery we are always experimenting with new materials and glassing methods and it is one of my favorite things to do, my mind is always moving towards the next thing.

For more information and their full range of surfboards ready to be customized and order online, check out Emery Surfboards. Use the Board Engine to help find your volume.