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.

Gnar Bandages (DIY surfboard ding repair patches)

Y’all know I like to stay on top of those surf trends out there, good and bad. There’s another company out there, ViniPatch, that has a surfy gimmick where they sell surfboard ding repair

Nice gift, but too nice for me

patches in neato designs. They look nice, and they say they are waterproof for a while. But, honestly, these would be a nice gift, but never something I’d BUY for myself since it’s a little pricey for my average surfer status.

Of course, brah!! I’ve got a hack for you!

Duct tape is really awesome, and now comes in every freakin color, print, etc. It’s great to use as a temporary patch for small dings on your surfboard. If you follow my Instagram, you’ll see what motivated me to revisit this project….

Nobody got hurt, but the board’s in the Surf hospital

Although that ding was a little too big to patch-even temporarily- I still thought having some fun duct tape cut outs to use as ding patches might be wise.

These days, Duck Tape brand sells sheets of duct tape, which makes this project really easy, and you can even draw shapes on the back to cut out. I highly recommend non-stick Titanium coated scissors– they will not stick to the tape, and make it soooo much easier to cut shapes. I found mine in the clearance bin at the craft store for two bucks (kid’s version), but I’ve used them so much, I would’ve paid full price now. The bright prints and colors also will remind me to FIX the ding (or have it repaired).

My supplies

Use the wax paper as a peel off backing for the patches, thicker paper is better

I made some big, some little…

With all the different sizes, I can even layer the patches for more coverage. Be sure to throw a few rubbing alcohol pads in with your surf ding patches to clean the area before applying the patch. I wouldn’t leave these on long term, since any ding on your surfboard needs proper repair long term.

Clean off the dinged up area with an alcohol pad first

So much cute

I don’t have a fancy tin or box for these, just a ziplock tellin’ it like it is:


As long as the dings are on my board, and not on other surfers, I’m all good.


How to Remove GoPro Mounts (without having to reglass your board!)

I’ve had a board I’ve liked and surfed on for a while, but I was ready for something a little different this year. I would like to sell it, and it’s still in great shape, but I have Go Pro mounts on the nose of it that I put on about a YEAR ago! Yikes….

Now, I realize some people would like having the mounts, but there are others who may see the mounts as a Kook beacon (and I should care why?). Well, for selling it, better err on the side of macho. So this requires a bit of work and time. Don’t start this process if you’re in a hot rush to surf, America’s Got Talent’s coming on, or your turn’s coming up in Beer Pong.
For this, I used a small, wide, rounded butter knife. We had a few in the drawer for those dinner parties we have…..never. If you don’t have one, take a visit to your local thrift store, since nobody else is hosting dinner parties either. I also got a spray bottle off Goo Gone (hardware stores have this) and a few paper towels.
Next, over the paper towel, I gave the blade of the rounded knife a good dousing of Goo Gone.
After coating both sides of the blade, I began to slip the rounded part of the blade in between the adhesive around the edges of board, getting the Goo Gone into the edges.

I did NOT try to lift up or pry up the mount a this point-
#1) I didn’t want to break my little tool,
#2) The adhesive removal hasn’t had time to do it’s thing.
That’s right, after you’ve gone around the edges with the knife with some Goo Gone, let it sit for a few. Approximately the time it takes to slam half a PBR. Don’t drink the other half just yet, or you may confuse the Goo Gone with it. Ewwww.
I repeated the process of coating the knife with the adhesive removal, then going under the disc a bit deeper, only slightly prying up from the area that had been loosened on the previous pass. In addition, I also sprayed a bit of Goo Gone into the crack forming to let it seep into the rest of the adhesive as I went around.
I then let the Goo Gone work it’s magic for a few minutes again.
I SLOWLY lifted the disc from the board. Now you can see how easily the disc pries up from the surface, leaving no scratches on the board:
I repeated this with the tether mount. I cannot stress that you must lift slowly, or you’ll get gobs of adhesive that will break off that you have to scrape off the board.

Any remaining adhesive residue left on the board I sprayed with the Goo Gone, left on there for 15 minutes, then wiped off thoroughly, then I cleaned the area with soap and water.
Whoomp! There it is….

Wish me luck in selling Mr. Funshape- he just went from “GoPro” to Amateur status now……

Screw It!

This is the first time I’ve dealt with a problem like this on a surfboard. One of my friends bought an SUP from one of my other friends, and the board was in good condition. However, my friend who bought it wanted to use a different fin in this board. There was the problem. The Philips head screw bolt that held the fin in was just corroded and stripped to the point there was no purchase for a screwdriver to turn it to release in from the nut holding it in the track in the fin box, and the fin was just stuck.

When I tried to use a screwdriver to firmly but carefully take out the screw, the top metal just flaked right off like baklava. Mmmm….

Anywho, I could have gotten a REALLY tiny EZ out bit to drill into the bolt and hope against hope that I didn’t hit the bottom of the fin box and go into the foam of the surfboard! Instead, since the screw head is domed, I made the attempt to cut a groove into the top of it while the screw was still stuck in the fin box.
For this, I used my trusty Dremel tool.

Of course, any rotary tool like that will work. I used a grinding wheel of fiberglass for this job. You can also use a diamond grinding wheel since they have such a thin edge and are good for detailed work (on left!)

Don’t use those wheels they give you in packs of 20 (on right above)- they snap like the cheap wafers they are. Yuck.
To prevent harming the edge of the fin, I made the cut at an angle away from the edge of the fin, and while not moving the the wheel from the groove, I motioned the wheel front and back to open the groove a bit for a flathead screwdriver to fit into.

I stopped from time to time to check the depth of my cut to make sure I wasn’t cutting too far and reaching too close to the top of the fiberglass of the fin.
Once the groove was completed, fresh metal was clearly visible, and it was ready to be used as a groove for my flathead screwdriver. With steady downward pressure, the screw came out easily!

You can see the groove made by the grinder, and the corrosion as well.

Before installing the new fin, I took an extra precaution by applying two coats of a heavy duty wear clear nail polish on the head of the new screw.

There are really clever inventions out there like the Wonderbolt (I don’t get any thing from them, just thought it was neat), that are smart replacements for future situations like this. Might be worth it for the SUP’s, since around here, we take them in the river and ocean, so they might see some different types of corrosion.

On a different note, here’s a recipe I found for an “Ultimate Screwdriver” in case something doesn’t work out above:

Ultimate Screwdriver
3 ounces of Florida Orange Juice
1.5 ounces of Orange flavored Vodka

Surfboard Doctor’s Bag

With the generally accepted happiest time of year before us (surfers actually call that hurricane season instead), I always like to think up a gift craft that can be a useful to another surfer, or yourself.
For this year, I was inspired by a recent friend’s unfortunate drop-n-ding. She only has the one board, and can’t wait for the ding repair guy to “get around to it”. The swell has been fun for days, and she doesn’t want to miss out in case there’s more.
So here’s a little fix-it kit for those patch repairs on the fly.

First in the kit:

Oh so pretty. The non acetone pads are for surface prep and cleanup before doing any sort of repair. You want to get rid of any residue, and the pre-soaked single use pads are handy to have, and the non-acetone is safe for most glass jobs on boards. The emery boards are to also sand and prep the surface to do any epoxy work. I find these to be more useful than sandpaper, since they are more precise and only sand the areas necessary. Also, 80% of dings seem to gravitate towards the rail, so it’s easy to sand a section that’s on a curved rail, without slipping up and sanding a bigger swath by accident.

Secondly in the kit:

These items are for the really quick and dirty repairs. These days, they sell duct tape in sheets with backing, like a large sticker sheet (this sheet is cut in half). You can find these at the craft store, and now even at the hardware store. Duct tape is a great in-a-pinch repair, sealing out water fairly well temporarily. To go with it, an Exacto knife allows you to cut a custom sized repair patch. Heck, you can even make it stylish. Beats wrestling with a large strip of tape sticking against itself while you’re trying to stick it on your board, only to find sweet wrinkles all over the place.

Next in the kit:

Of course, for those deeper dings, there’s the tried and true SunCure, PhixDoctor, etc. to include. PhixDoctor comes in a tube that doesn’t go bad, and seems to work well in my experience. To help with this, I included a few small plastic stir cups and some wooden craft sticks that you can pick up really cheap for a huge package of eighty!

Finally, the last items:

SAFETY ITEMS! Of course! Throw in a few pairs of nitrile disposable gloves (I’m sure you have a few to spare from your stash!) and a couple of painters’ masks to use when working with the PhixDoctor. I DON’T CARE if you say if it’s overkill- I’d like to keep the remaining brain cells I have, when working close to any chemicals, thanks, tough guy. We will note your hard coreness.
Lastly, I packed this in a tote with a snap on lid with a top handle for easy toting out to the garage or yard, where you’re probably doing your repair.
In addition, download and print out this handy list to include in the kit which is a synopsis of what I’ve explained above:
All in all, this kit comes out to less to 20 bucks to assemble, with the PhixDoctor and the Exacto knife probably being the priciest items. This is certainly something that will please the avid surfer on your list.
Honestly, do you really need to be in any position where you could be vulnerable to staying home during the holidays because you can’t patch up your board?

Fix A Ding

I haven’t done a post on doing basic ding repair on a surfboard. I know some people who read this blog know how to fix a ding already, but maybe some don’t, or haven’t had the opportunity (thank goodness).
I recently picked up some sun curing resin that has cut up bits of fiberglass cloth in it suspended inside. The stuff I bought was made by Phix Doctor (Dura Rez Kit), but I suppose you could make your own by buying some fast cure epoxy or 5 min epoxy and mixing in some 4 oz finely chopped up fiberglass cloth.
I watched the video Phix Doctor recommended with the kit and here’s my two cents:
1. Wear a mask when working with the stuff and not a tank top.
2. Wear nitrile gloves if you’ve got ’em.
3. The magic “Magnifiers” are just Mylar scraps.
4. Of course, Popsicle sticks, bamboo sticks, etc. can be used as the spreader sticks.

Ok, so, given that, here’s a tail on my 7’6″ that was looking really bad with a bad chip out of it:


The yellow wasn’t going to come out, unfortunately (I was too late), but the rest, I think I could save. I used the 100 grit sandpaper that came in the kit to remove the grime and smooth out the damage:


Much better.
I applied the resin using the given sticks in section one (left side) while in the shaded garage:



Following the instructions, I used my finger over the Mylar piece to make sure the resin permeated into the board and the excess went onto the Mylar above and below. I took the board outside into the sun and held in up to the sun for 4 minutes. I know the directions said 3, but I went overboard.. I brought it back inside. The resin still felt a little tacky even then, so I waited a few extra minutes in the garage before moving on to the next section in the middle.
Here’s the final section (right):


And here’s the completed product:

I was happy with the outcome, especially compared to the nastiness that was there before. I was not happy with the instructions given on the website- I found them to be a bit on the hazardous side, in my humble opinion, but that’s just me.
Also, I wonder if there’s some other cheaper option:
Can clear shipping tape folded over onto itself serve as the Mylar bits?
You know, there’s got to be something better to use in the Renaissance Fair Jousting Tournaments, or I’m going to have to do this over and over again.


Small Epoxy Project Tip

I got the flu recently, and as a result, I plowed through about 3 bottles of cough syrup and Robitussin. I recycled the bottles, but the dosing cups I wanted to keep, knowing they’d be good for something.
Turns out, I started a small project that needed some epoxy resin, so I used a dosing cup to mix my epoxy in. It’s a mini measuring cup for the resin, and I didn’t have to use one of my big mixing cups. Just make sure to wash it out really well before use.

I’m sure this secret is well known to surfboard repair guys, but it was a revelation to me that I wanted to share.