Cosmetic Surfboard Ding Repair using Cosmetics

No surprise, I entertained the visitors to Cocoa Beach with my less than stellar- but wonderfully comical- surfing skills yesterday on my fairly new SUP. What was the surprise, however, was the nice two inch surface chip I had made on the rail of my board.

Ouch!

My board is hand shaped epoxy, with a layer of composite like glass as a protection. It’s not a pop out (computer manufactured board), but does have the same glassy top layer as a pop out. I think of this layer like a candy shell that protects the laid up fiberglass cloth inside- it’s durable, and provides a little insurance against whacks with a paddle, which is inevitable, at least for me, but can chip off.
This chip was just that layer, and luckily didn’t ding the fiberglass underneath. The cloth is visible, though, so I wanted to fix this now before I whacked it again and made a real ding.
Since the chip didn’t let in water, I didn’t have to worry about letting it dry out, but I did give it a chance to dry a bit just in case.. I did, however, clean the area as well as I could, barring some of the scratches that were staying unfortunately. I used a good degreaser for this job.
I picked up a 5 dollar tube of 5 minute epoxy to use as a light patch layer.

Before I got ready to use the epoxy, I lightly sanded the ding(s) a bit with some 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper, trying to keep to the area as much as possible.

A little light sanding.

Next, I got a piece of scrap wood from my bin to use as a palette. I also got a flat toothpick to use as a tiny mixer and spreader for the epoxy.

Tube of epoxy and toothpick spreader

Make sure you follow the directions on the epoxy tube and don a mask! I squeezed out a bit of the mixture onto the scrap wood, and stirred it a bit. Carefully, I spread thin layers of this epoxy into the chip using the toothpick like a tiny paintbrush. I didn’t try to feather in the edges to be perfect, but if you have a steadier hand, go for it.

The light epoxy layers built up to match the outer layer that’s still there…

I let the “5 minute” epoxy cure for a full hour. From there, I grabbed a couple of nail polish colors. The green I picked up at the drugstore for .69 cents, and the whitish I already had.

I poured a bit of each out onto my palette, and mixed it with one of the brushes until I color sort of resembling the rail color. It’s not an exact match, but it will tone down the gray of the wrapped fiberglass cloth- I hope.

Trying to make the best match possible.

Once again, I carefully painted the chipped areas with the nail polish brush. The dark areas are still visible, not quite as blatant as before, but the fiberglass cloth underneath is not visible anymore.

After painting

I went back over the areas with my multi-grit nail file (!) to smooth out my flubs, and the shape of the foam cored nail file easily worked on the rail curve.
Next, I wanted to keep the nail polish from chipping, so I used some truck clear gloss repair to lightly paint over the area to put some gloss back. Craft sealant, glossy, works too. You don’t need to do this part, but it makes the paint last a bit longer since especially on an SUP, the paddle’s going to hit it again. If you do a lot of sand burnin’ with your surfboard (common in the Summer around here) it’s probably a good idea too.
It’s certainly not a flawless repair, but it will get me through another whack on the side. Undoubtedly, if I do it again, it’ll probably be time for the pros, but I’d like to stave that off since this was just on the surface.
Now, the best part of all this is that I get to paint my toenails Algae Green now, and give me something to enjoy looking at while I’m going for my regular wipeout. Schweet.

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