My Manifesto: Manicure or Ding Repair, Surfer Chicks?

Being a woman who surfs, I’ve noticed that most other surfer chicks just aren’t into the surfing DIY scene. There’s still a bit of an intimidation factor out there to do your own repairs.

Fixing up your own surf gear seems like something a lot of surfer girls just don’t do, and furthermore, don’t want to do for a variety of excuses. It’s a real shame, especially since these same women could probably do a killer manicure and pedicure on themselves. Trust me, THAT’S much more difficult than fixing a surfboard ding, Mr. Dude Brah. 

I’m guilty of being too afraid to fix my own dings and cracks in some of my surfboards, even though I craft stuff constantly. It is a bit intimidating, but I needed to get over it. My first surfboard required some surgery right now, and I didn’t want anyone else to operate but me.

I can’t believe it got this bad

That is gnarly, dude

If you read this blog, you’ve seen my post about this board, my first real surfboard. Its’ tail got cracked all to hell since I’m a kook, with bonus random dirt shoved down into the cracks. The foam had also shown some water intrusion because it was beginning to turn light brown. I had FINALLY talked myself into retiring this board to the wall hanger status it deserves, but I wasn’t going to hang it up with the tail looking that nasty. And it wasn’t coming off with any cleaning. Gross.

I got out my Dremel tool and used a NEW felt polishing wheel bit. Kinda like one of those manicure pens. Perfect. It’s glass, so I wanted a light touch. Remember to wear eye protection and a mask, just like you do when cooking meth, Mr. Wizard.

Buffing it out

The felt polishing wheel worked great, but it’s a process that takes some time and patience. I had to buff down deep into the cracks to remove the dirt, which required me to cut a little into the first layer of glass. I noticed this because the “hairs” of the fiberglass (fabric the board is wrapped in) started to pop up like hairy goosebumps. I stopped when I saw that starting to occur, but I still managed to remove the majority of the damage, which was awesome.

Next, I mixed just a little jewelry resin (I like this stuff because it’s SUPER clear, and it’s self doming, so it will spread into the cracks) and used a tiny sponge brush to “pounce” the resin into the cracks on the tail. I then used the edge to smooth the area over. I used Post-It flags to mark the area I buffed, so I wouldn’t dump extra resin over the good areas.

Make sure you get any bubbles out!

Using a sponge brush


Done! This particular jewelry resin takes up to 3 days to cure, but it seems to work better than standard Ding Repair resin on this type of heavy gloss coat. I did this repair indoors since it’s a 100 degrees here, and I was worried that the resin wouldn’t cure correctly in the heat of the garage. I’ll just finish curing it on the wall.

This was a pretty bad “ding”, so the cleaned up version looks a lot better. I just need to keep it on the wall, and swear to no more surfboard abuse. But, just in case, I need to practice on my ding repair. I’d better check Pinterest….

That actually might be useful

Trying Out Fabric for Surfing 

It’s amazing all the various crap you can put a digital image onto now. And for fairly cheap. It used to be limited to posters, cards, keychains, and mugs at your Office Depot. Now, pretty much anything with a surface can be etched or covered with a digital image, and you don’t need to pay for a run of 5000 units to get a custom one made.

Spoonflower is yet another company in a growing market that specializes in using digital photographs to create customized fabric prints. This isn’t an endorsement, just a review of my own thoughts about the trend and their fabric, so it’s just info for ya. Yep, I paid for the stuff myself. Boo.

Love this, my 6’8″ Neilson Blue Hawaii Elvis

I’m really interested in this type of service, since fabric inlays are done all the time on custom surfboards. In fact, I have some Elvis fabric (purchased at Graceland- the Holy Zone- many years ago) glassed into a 6’8″ Neilson. Wouldn’t it be cool to pretend I’m a real photographer and have MY wicked awesome pic glassed into my next surfboard?? Neato. In fact, had some discussion on this topic a while back about printing on custom fabric for use in surfboard designs and art.

I wanted to try this digital fabric printing company out for myself. When I noticed they had not only a variety of cottons, but Lycra available to be printed on, that’s when I knew what I wanted my next surfy project to be.

I used this photo of some beautiful orchids from the Florida Keys my friends got me as a gift a while back. I wanted the Lycra to have a black background, so I did a dark vignette filter on the pic.

Original photo I took

Did the vignette filter on my iPhone, nothing fancy pants

The design upload and selection was pretty easy, and I sized the pic to be tiled onto 1 yard of fabric. One yard with shipping came out to around $35, so it wasn’t THAT cheap. But, relatively speaking, it’s not so outrageous compared with the cost of printed Lycra swimwear these days. I just hoped I wouldn’t mess up sewing, or this would get VERY expensive.

The yard came with a nice wide border around it

The fabric arrived in just a few days. I was happy with the heavy weight of the Sport Lycra. I did wash it twice in the laundry- on its’ own- to ensure no problem with color bleeding. I didn’t notice any fade after these initial washes.

Closeup of the tiled image

In my next post, check out what I made with my yard and if it held up to my style of surfing!

Bieber!!!! Shreddin’ gnar

Surfboard Art without the Art Degree and Loan Payments

When it comes to surfboards, I’ll get a crush for a pretty paint job like a middle aged mom for a guy with some rope, handcuffs, and a penthouse condo.

If the dude wasn’t rich, Fifty Shades would have been a Law and Order SVU episode

Problem is,

  1. Fancy paint jobs can be SO expensive. Get ready for a nice paint job to add 10%-20% to the cost of your board. Even more depending on pinlines, fabric inlays, custom art, etc. 
  2. Ding it once, and your repair guy is going to tell you how it can never EVER be matched the same again, and the ding will be evident. Always. 
  3. Your taste may not be the next guy’s taste if you ever want to sell your board. If you like to try new surfboard shapes (I’m guilty!), consider this.

On my new 7’0″ funshape, I wanted a Mahi Mahi color scheme, so I just had the rails of the board colored only instead of the whole board, which could get pricey. Yes, I know the rails are the most likely candidates for boo-boos, but the airbrushed style wouldn’t be a total chore to fix, and I swear I’ll be careful, Mom!!

Core Surf did an awesome job with the three color blend on the rails. They’re not a polarizing look, or a “girly” color scheme. But they are totally sexy Mahi. Grrrr.

My new 7’0″!mini longboard

I LOVE this shape!

I didn’t feel like painting on this one this time since I was just too anxious to ride it (and it’s hella fun, btw), but I did want a little more color. So, I had planned to “sticker” it up instead. It’s reversible art, changeable, and I can let someone else do the artwork. Score.

But, let’s get a little more creative than pretending we’re climbing the next WCT pro surfer ladder with ugly sponsor logo stickers. I mean, the only sponsor I really have a shot at is Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and their stickers just aren’t phresh, yo.

A local surf clothing shop around here (Island Surf and Skate/Drift House….PLUG ALERT!), sells these huge Mahi Mahi stickers by FloMotion, a company that I like to support since they’re local. 

You could probably get something like this done on a site like Café Press as well if you can’t stop down here in Fantabulous Florida.

They’re made up of lots of tiny Floridas

Just make sure that when you order, they are vinyl stickers, which are similar to bumper sticker material. Since these will be exposed to salt water being on the surfboard, vinyl won’t break down as quickly. 

You could also upload artwork to a printing service and have it printed fairly cheaply. These Mahi stickers I bought were around $8 a piece, but custom stickers on Café Press this large can run around $15, so this isn’t too bad in comparison. 

I bought 3 fish stickers for this project. Mahi Mahi are schooling fish, after all. The stickers are already cut nicely around the image for me, and with tax, I’m in about $25, which is still less than the cost of paint pens and the time to paint!

Since I typically carry my board under my left arm, I wanted to have the fish swimming upright when I am holding it. So, I placed them in this orientation.

Just a touch of color on the bottom


They’re comin right for me

I even saved a Pickle Wax Remover sticker for this Beater board. I dig purple and green together:

This sticker was free with the Pickle

Little Gherkin Board

Insta-art for insta-cred.

Tell ’em how it’s done

Painting My Surfboard


***Originally published on 19th February, 2016.***

Since I can’t ever leave well enough alone, I wanted to paint my new 6’10” funshape surfboard since I haven’t painted one in a while.

The paint pens I used for this project.

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.

My sketch of the head. Yikes- I need that mail-order art class

Next, I started filling in with color (I started on the eye in the photo above). 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 start new paint pens

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.

Shading and highlighting with dots of paint

Showing off the phat marker collection

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.

Covering the areas I didn’t want sprayed

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.

Pretty decent stuff, you can get it at the hardware store.


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