Surfboard Cosmetic Surgery

If you keep up with this crazy blog (thanks to those of you who do- right ON!!), you’ve seen my badly injured favorite surfboard with the deeply cracked right rail:

I thought I was going to need a new board

I took it to my local surf shop to have it repaired, and they did a great job filling in the deep gash from a 9” Longboard fin- yikes. However, since my Mahi Mahi fade color paint job was on the rail of the board, the repair was a big obvious white splotch:

Solid as a rock, but obvious

Right side of the deck

The bottom of the board

As for the bottom, I picked up a couple more Mahi Mahi stickers to cover the discoloration, no big deal. I broke out my medium tip Montana paint pens from Michael’s, in shades of green, blue, white, and black to work on the rail and pin line.

Make sure the board’s super clean before starting

I actually re-did the black pinline first, it made a world of difference:

It already looks better!

I don’t have airbrush equipment, so I dotted green and blue shades of paint on the rail, blended the paint with a sponge brush, and then wiped the color away, leaving a stain. This was better than trying to color in the green directly, since that would be MORE obvious on top of the glass job. 

I wasn’t going to try to match the color exactly, I was just aiming to reduce the glare of the white, so I repeated this process until I was happy with it.

Comparing shades

Kinda just staining the board back green

As I was blending some bright blue, I decided to paint some bright fun dots concentrating around the repair area, and spreading outwards. My usual crazy doodling.

After allowing the paint to dry, I sealed it with 2 coats of sealant, and allowed it to dry fully for 24 hours before using it. I like to use the matte finish instead of the gloss, unless I’m coating an entire deck.

Stuff’s ok, but works well for this purpose

Woo-Hoo! Back to life again, ready to surf!

The dots help to mask it, and they look cool

A few more stickers on da bottom….


As far as the ding, play along and say you saw me do this out at the Cocoa Beach Pier last week. Yeah, that’s the ticket……

Scariest thing I’ve ever seen. Happy Halloween.

Painting my Surfboard

Montana Paint Pens

So in my last project, I put some traction on the tail that stays on permanently, but doesn’t get in the way. Now, since I can’t leave well enough alone, I wanted to paint this surfboard since I haven’t painted one in a while.
This time, I used fine point Montana paint pens, since they were up at Michaels’, and they have the 40% off one item coupon. Not kidding you, I got a lot of my markers one at a time over a couple of weeks so I could use the coupon. Paint markers are pricey. I’ve “heard” Poscas are the best, but they do not take sealant very well if you need to preserve your item (which you do). I used to use Painters’ Paint Pens- they sell them at craft stores and WalMart- but ever since Elmer’s Glue bought them, they’re pretty awful.
Some people will recommend sandpapering the area of the surfboard you want to paint, for it to “stick better”, but I think that’s a quick way to ruin a good paint pen nib, and gives you no way to undo errors cleanly. I just make sure the board is clean, wax, water, and chemical free!

I had a few aquatic photos of seadragons I wanted to try and paint for inspiration. First, I sketched out the main body and the head in pencil so I could get an idea of the overall proportion I wanted.

Pencil Sketch on the board

Next, I started filling in with color. These are pump-style markers, so you have to press the nib down to get them to feed more paint, so I keep a scrap of paper nearby to start a new feed of paint.

Scrap paper to pump out more paint

These markers are pretty decent, I did need to go back over the main fields about 3 times to get the really bright colors. To shadow and highlight, I found it was fun to bring Pointillism back! Paint pens are perfect for this, and blending colors is neat-o. Just remember to let the paint completely dry before moving on to the next layer, and DON’T lay it on thick- it should go on kind of marker-“like”.

Adding dots for highlights and shadow

My collection of big markers

Technically, when these markers dry, they’re waterproof. And yes, if you kept a light coat of wax on this (if the painting’s on the deck), and kept it from getting scratched, it MAY not chip off for a while. But it will. And that can be a good thing, especially if you’re concerned about resale.
If you want to lock your creation down, and protect it from sun, sand, and wax comb scrapes, I recommend sealing it- no matter what side you painted.
This is where is gets tricky. A lot of people claim that paint pens bleed badly when you put sealant on them. I think this typically happens when the paint is put on too thickly, or the painter didn’t leave enough time between sealant coats to let it dry.
To set up for this, I took the surfboard out to the garage with the door open, fan on, with my FILTER MASK and SAFETY GOGGLES ready to don when getting ready to spray (HINT). I taped off the board with Frogtape (painters’ tape) and butchers’ paper to prevent any other areas from getting sprayed.

Frogtape and Paper to section off area

I used a “2 in 1” Rustoleum “Ultra Cover” spray, but I still used 2 light, even coats. I had no problem with running or bleed with the Montana markers.

Here it is completed:

Gee, I hope I like the board. It’s all mine now, like a tattoo on the butt.

Invisible Surfboard Traction DIY

As much as I’ve loved my Starr super wide tail shortboard, I’ve decided to return back to a true funshape style, still a Starr 6’10” (hey, at my age, that counts as a shortboard). So, I traded it in at my favorite surf shop-TOTAL PLUG ALERT-Core Surf!

Every time I get a shortboard, I put this spray traction on the tail, since I tend to use my toes to pop

Monster Paint

up-a bad habit on a shortboard. But, I don’t want to take the chance that my toes slip and I get hurt. By just putting it on the end tail, it won’t rub me raw sitting on it. I just don’t like traction pads in general anymore, since I like to pop up on the absolute end of the board, and the raised traction kind of throws me off. Many people also use this on their longboards on the nose area so they don’t have to wax that part every time, which is also very smart. The stuff I used is called “Monster Paint”. I was given a can of it about 3 years ago, and there’s still a lot left, and I’ve sprayed a lot of boards. I haven’t had to reapply it, since I typically wax over these areas anyway for extra insurance. Monster Paint is about the only brand of spray on surfboard traction I found out there, it’s pretty hard to find except on Amazon (or if you get one as a gift! Yay!).

For this project, PLEASE use safety glasses and a filter mask. Tarps and painters’ tape are also needed.
I set up where I wanted the traction to go, making sure I taped off the rails and even the leash plug, to avoid getting those areas roughed.

My safety equipment on my new board
The area is taped off, with tarps laid down underneath,
as well as over the deck of the board I did not want sprayed.

You don’t need much of this stuff at all- make sure you do some test sprays on your tarp (mask and goggles on in a well ventilated area!!!) to clear out any gumminess. Shake the can WELL! I do a VERY light ghost pass to cover the area, then wait 15 minutes. I repeat the feather light pass again, and that’s it. It will be plenty covered, trust me!

The Spirit of OutKast compels me to shake it
like a Polaroid picture
You can really see the sheen from the spray
Area with the tread/area without tread

This brand requires a full 24 hours to handle traffic, but states that it still continues to cure for a few days. You can see how if you had an expensive wood or fabric inlay board, this stuff could come in quite handy, as it doesn’t cover the artwork.
I have another project for this board on deck….at the other end!

I made a brand new leash string for my
rough and ready buddy!

DIY Longboard Noseriding Stripe

Just in time for the leprechaun wave season, I got a great 9’0″ plank for catching little rollers and practicing my ever futile attempts at noseriding, or at least walking up close to the general vicinity.
The board I got is a great shape, a hint of pigginess, but it’s as plain as the barnyard hog.

Fat bottomed surfboards make the world go round….
I added a tiny blue turtle sticker as a marker to at least distinguish it somewhat, but it’s not enough.
To give it a bit of personality- but also make a useful mark- I decided to make a “competition” or “noseriding” stripe. These can be found on many hand shaped and manufactured surfboards today. Officially, the stripe demarcating the nose area of a surfboard starts at the last 25% of the surfboards’ length. This standard is credited to Tom Morey in 1965, and is still in use today.
To make my “comp” stripe, I gathered a pencil, a tape measure, DUCT TAPE (is there anything it CAN’T do?), and scissors. Goody for me, they have Pink Glitter Duct Tape now. Don’t judge- it’s my freakin’ sweet board.
Glitter! Supposedly, the glitter is NOT supposed to flake off. Good.
I also used a narrower version of duct tape in green to use as an accent.
Don’t like Pink? Yeah, they actually make Duck Dynasty duct tape:
It’s the end of the world as we know it.
For my 9′ Starr, this means the stripe will begin at 27 inches back from the nose. I measured this from the center stringer tip of the nose back to 27 inches to make my marks.
Unfortunately, I would be taping over the Starr logo, and removing the happy little turtle. Boo.
I used a straight edge to draw a straight line across the nose, checking for symmetrical distances from the nose on either side of the stringer.
I was ready to place my first tape- the green accent line- even with the top of the tape along the pencil line. I used a wax comb (the smooth edge) to get rid of any bubbles. I cut the tape at the edge of the rails.
Its straight, I swear! The logo’s angled up!
Next, I abutted the fabulous glitter stripe right under the green stripe, then the other accent green under that. I found I needed 2 layers of the glitter tape to cover the logo since its slightly transparent. I will remedy the lack of a logo in a sec.
I felt bad for covering up the Starr logo, so I put the Core Surf shop logo on, choosing a green color from a few I had picked up. Wish he had glitter….
Ok, I bet the shop owner will be THRILLED to have this kook representin’.
Here it is after a wax job- it’s hard to tell it not painted until you see the rails where it ends. If you’re really trying to fool people, wrap it all the way around.
So there you have it, a simple, cheap way to mark off your longboard’s nose and add a touch of style. Even if the board gets a suntan, the stripe mark is still generally useful to a future owner if I sell it. I have a feeling this one’s going to be around a while, though.
I do need to watch myself though with my duct tape obsession in surfing projects, or you can call me Boomhauer Fanning.
Yep, I’d go with the Speedos too.

Removing Sharpie Art from a Surfboard

As you can probably guess, I love painting on things, especially on boards. But, like others, tastes change, and it’s time to move on from the Sharpie’d anarchy symbol on your board that clashes with the pimped out, child safe minivan ride you’re rocking these days.
To show a couple of ways of cleaning art or anything off a board that is permanent, I used my beloved 8’6″ Natural Art epoxy board. I had a little “tattoo” of a seahorse I had drawn a while back using a Sharpie black fine line pen, and gold paint pen over it. It looks kind of goofy, and I’d like a do-over on it.

A little seahorse, but off center- D’OH!

To clean my board, I got some non-acetone nail polish remover and a “magic” eraser brick. For the non-acetone nail polish remover, you will have to look at the label closely to make sure it says this. Non-acetone nail polish remover is used for women (or men- I don’t judge) who have artificial nails. Some types of these nails are fiberglass with a gel coat- sound familiar?- and using regular acetone will weaken the gel coat surface.

Cleaning tools.

I put a little of the non-acetone remover on a papertowel (or a microfiber cloth if you want to be extra careful), and simply wiped away the image. If you have sealant over the work, you may need to use extra to “peel” those layers off. If you have a really stubborn Sharpie paint job, get out another Sharpie and paint over the existing work. The new paint over it will reactivate the old paint and make cleaning it off much easier. Hard to believe, but it does work!

Removing the image
Removed! (Still needs a bit more to get some of the leftovers)

Now, the next thing I can use to clean stuff off of a board is a magic eraser. I love this invention. All you do is get the eraser sponge wet, and it will remove just about anything without chemicals. I have actually used them to clean a nasty, outdoor kept, little fiberglass boat we bought that had marks all over it. When I finished (it did take a while), the boat looked like new, and I actually sold it for about 30% more than when it was bought. Totally worth it.
I used a magic eraser on some black marks I had on the rail of my board that just wouldn’t wash off:

After wetting the eraser, it took about a minute of scrubbing to get these marks off, but it removed them cleanly:

Now, after all that, you may want to repaint your board. If you are looking for a way to do that, but that will hold up in the surf, look here. In that project, I did use regular acetone to initially clean the board, but that was to make sure I throughly dissolved any existing wax. Non-acetone nail polish remover would work OK as well to remove wax residue, and really is safer overall for the glass.
So if you repaint your board, have fun and get creative- just don’t paint stick figures of each member of your family on it. Save that for the minivan.

Surf Wax Coloring Inside the Lines

I’m new to the world of color wax. I’ve seen it on a few boards from time to time, but it always seemed like kind of an 80’s retro thing (there’s nothing wrong with that- best decade ever, kids!). I had a board that was in need of a wax strip down and new coat, so I thought this board would be a good board to try this wax out on, since it screamed coloring book:

Dirty Board!

I used my standard plastic scraper to get the wax off, but I wasn’t worried about the remaining wax residue remaining since I was just going to turn around and re-wax.

I never use the combs to scrape wax- it’s easier with the handle
My wax ball to be reused!

I ended up with a nice wax ball that I’m going to do one of my previous projects with. Next, I followed the basic routine for putting a nice wax job on the board first, using basecoat wax, and tropical wax, both Sticky Bumps brand. I did skip the cold water layer on this as a test to see how it will do the rest of this Summer. Here’s the standard wax job:

Wax job completed

Next, I decided that I was going to color the top hibiscus and leaf at the top. I rarely make it up to the front on this 7’6″ funshape, and if I do, it’s by accident, but it’s always good to wax up to the nose, just in case. Since the front doesn’t see as much action, it’s a good spot to pick to prolong the life of the color, and minimize any staining that may result from the pigment. I usually wear a black rashguard and wash my rashguards, boardshorts, and bathing suits in a separate load of laundry anyway, so that helps to keep any wax problems contained.
First, I did try some colored wax made from beeswax, but it horribly smeared on over the base wax job, so the coloration looked uneven. I took off that wax, rewaxed that section to create another base. After that mistake, I sought out some Sticky Bumps Day Glo Colored Wax. I figured using the same formulas together would help build up the color better and create a more even coat. I was right this time.

Day Glo Color Wax in neon pink and green

The colored wax comes in Warm/Tropical, as well as other temperatures, so I used Warm/Tropical, which was also my topcoat on my base wax job. The colored wax seemed just a tiny bit softer than the regular wax. Hmmm…that deserves an experiment, but I digress.
I did VERY small, controlled circles with a corner of the wax bar to build up a layer of color, breaking the wax bar to create as many corners and turning over the bar several times to get a finer point to work with. I had to be patient and make several passes of color to get enough effect. The wax as a bar has a very intimidating color, but the intensity of the color is muted on the board so the bright pigment seemed to be the best bet for this wax job.

The hibiscus and leaf colored in

I so much fun with this, I even did another leaf on the bottom of the board! The wax job is subtle, but looks nice in person- a bit washed out in the pictures:

Coloring complete

Next, I needed to wax my longboard, so I tried another method to color the board by making my own stencil. I printed out a simple star shape on printer paper and used a straight edge, Exacto knife, and my cutting board to create a stencil to use. This is a good option if you don’t want to freehand it, and looks good on a clear board.

My stencil cut out

Next, I put a base of wax on my board first, of course. I believe this may also prevent any potential staining of the glass, if that does happen, and put it up towards the nose to encourage me to practice on my cross stepping.

Stencil on the board

I carefully made little circles again on the board, holding the stencil paper down so it wouldn’t crunch up on me and mess up my design. Going slow is a best bet.

A stencil makes it ok to be a bit sloppy.

Here’s the finished product that I used the stencil twice on:

Hard to starboard!

Anyways, now I’ve got to cut out crescent moons, and clover shapes so I’ll have me a Lucky Charms board. And nobody can take me Lucky Charms board.

DIY Surfboard Traction from Scraps

So, I’ve been cutting a HUGE traction pad for my 9’2″ longboard from this SeaDek stuff made locally, normally used for tread on boats and other watercraft. It also works great for surfboard traction, and cuts and sands easy. I like it because I’m lazy about wax some days, especially on my longboards, and that always makes for some “Really, I meant to do that” maneuvers.
So, after cutting out my big traction pad, I had a bag o’ scraps leftover that I just couldn’t bear to throw away, plus some blue scraps leftover from another project. Some were pretty small, but the traction’s not the cheapest, so I seem to find some use for them. On a side note, if you have flat bar roof racks, a long strip across makes a great grippy, cushiony pad.
So with lots of small, odd shaped scraps, I decided to make some more art on my 5’8″ that can’t seem to hold wax to save it’s life. I was warned by the shaper that wax would have trouble sticking to the all over color on the epoxy, but found out that he was REALLY serious. I thought making some traction that was artsy fartsy might be fun and solve the problem.
At first, for this 3 mm traction, I tried using some extra heavy shape punches that you can find in the scrapbook section of most craft stores. Doesn’t work. The Martha Stewart XL punch almost made it through, but didn’t. So, I was forced with hand cutting a lot of pieces, which luckily, isn’t too hard with 3 mm.
After cleaning my my board thoroughly, getting rid of any wax (which wasn’t hard to do) I had my area mapped out- from the kick pad up to about the BAT logo:

The area I was putting the traction on

First, I printed out a couple of fish shapes in two sizes from my clip art on my computer, and cut them out.

Fish shapes

I traced these shapes (simplified a bit) onto some craft foam so my pencil would have some thickness to rest on when I used them as templates to trace the shapes onto the traction:

Cut out craft foam tracing templates
Traced shape ready to cut out from the traction

I cut out quite a few of these fish in the two different sizes, since I was aiming to cover that large area.
Next, I had some light blue scraps I wanted to make into bubbles around the fish. I did use a tool for some of the larger sized “bubbles”. It’s called a Rotary Cutter, and is used a lot by quilters to cut circles for applique, but also works well on this traction, which I was happy about. It’s essentially a compass with a wheel blade on the outside edge to cut the circle. I didn’t cut all the way through to the backing, just enough so I could peel the circles off like stickers.

Rotary cutter and circles cut in the traction

For small circles that were smaller that the rotary cutter could do, I used a plastic circle template (like you may have used in school!) to trace the other circles and hand cut them. I did manage to get my regular small hole punch to punch out really tiny dots too- I couldn’t believe it actually worked!
So here’s the finished traction that I will need to give at least 24 hours to cure before I can use it in the water:

Middle traction on the board completed

If I ever wanted to decorate a bathtub, I think I could do it now. Anyway, to those who say it’s going to give me terrible rash when I surf, I always surf in a rashguard and boardshorts so I don’t get charbroiled. Don’t you???