DIY Surfboard Leash Cord Mod

The surfboard leash, in my opinion, is a good thing.

Have them pull a sled next time

Talk to some “old school” surfers, and they’ll call it a Kook Cord, meaning that only newer, clumsier surfers require being attached to their surf craft. I say leashes are litigation deterrents- a little insurance in a crowded lineup of surfers and swimmers. If I’m alone and the surf’s small, okay, I’ll skip da leash. Otherwise, better to be safe all around.

My issue has been finding a decent lightweight leash that’s 9′ long to use with my longboards. The Comp weight doesn’t seem to tangle as much as the thicker cord types, but the 9’+ length can be tricky to find. I’m never going to surf Pipeline, so I don’t need the reinforced titanium nitro supa thick variety. Also, for longboarding, I like to use a Knee Leash as opposed to an Ankle Leash to help keep it from being tangled around my feet. Hopefully.

I ended up buying an XM 9′ Comp leash I found and just wrapping the ankle strap around my knee instead.

Freakin’ hurts

Ow. The exposed edges of the Velcro raked the heck out of the back of my knee after a few weeks of use. Since open wounds and ocean water make for a doctor’s visit, I decided to make the strap a bit more comfy.

First, I took off the side of the strap with a seam ripper.

It came apart pretty easily

I saved the pull tab to reattach it later

Using some scrap neoprene taken from the chest panel of an old wetsuit, I made an extender strip as wide as the original leash strap.

I used the chest panel since it’s got a rubber layer over the neoprene

Once I had my new longer neoprene strip ready, I glued it back into place using E6000 industrial glue. I had some nylon thread as a backup, but I didn’t need it! Woo Hoo!

I sandwiched one end with glue on both sides

I used quilting clips to hold everything in place while it dried

Next, I took a bit of the loopy side of some 2″ Industrial Velcro and used glue with the adhesive on the back of the strip, similar to what I did on the Board Bag mod.

I used a lot of glue

Clamped and drying

I gave the leash about 48 hours inside to fully cure, since the weather’s been so hot.

Much better!!!!

After surfing with it

It feels MUCH better on my leg now, with no more burn. Hey- if I’m going to get rug burn from Velcro, I’m going full YOLO….

Aim high kids

Surfboard Fin Fun: Hack Attack

Here’s a little hack attack to save some cash on what I consider to be a VERY handy item for single fins and longboards.

A typical single fin screw requires a flathead screwdriver or Phillips head to get out. What a pain in the ass.

Some time ago, a fin company carried a special “longboard fin screw” that was a thumbscrew, so you didn’t need the screwdriver. Also, you could move the fin in the box on the fly. Nice.

Problem was, they wanted $12 PER SCREW and NUT set. REALLY???? Screw you.

I’ve got a simple cure for that- buy it directly from a hardware store. I order what’s called a 316 Stainless Steel Thumbscrew. Stainless Steel is important for it to hold up in saltwater, yo:

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Get the good stuff for saltwater

Here is a new one in 316 Stainless, next to another one that’s been surfed for about 8 months on the regular:

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Not significant amount of rusting for so much use

I’ve found that the 8/32 thread size fits most single fin box  nuts that usually come with the fin, or also the surfboard itself. I only get the 3/4″ length to fit the depth of most single fin boxes.

 

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Shareable Size

Here’s a link to the place where I got mine:

McMaster-Carr (I don’t get anything for this, it’s just a link to the page)

Remember how I said I wanted to move my fin to the back of the fin box? I used the nut I already had that was in the box, but I can just switch to this type of screw:

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Moving the fin to the back of the box

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No screwdrivers!

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Ready to go and secure

That’s it, Bro-licious. And they’re FIVE screws (no nuts included) for $6.50, plus shipping. Mark ’em up and sell them to your friends, or give them away and score some surf cred. They’re super mega handy, believe me.

And if you’re going to bitch about the thumbscrew affecting the flow of water over the foil of the fin, thus creating vortices of instability, well, “bless your heart.”

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All. Da. Time.

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….

Schweet!!!!

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.

10 Tips on Buying Used Surfboards

Although I’m not a Pro, I have bought and sold A LOT of surfboards for an average surfer. I really don’t want to admit how many, but trust me, it would make Wilbur Kookmeyer jealous. (Check out THIS guy’s collection- I can’t hold a candle to it)

Oh, Wilbur! I know how you feel!

I’ve learned a few things, and had my share of victories and losses buying surfboards. Here’s a bit of insight from my experience, hopefully it helps other surfers have more successes buying and selling surfboards right off the bat. In this post, I’ll start off with tips for buying used boards.


*****


Tips for Buying Used Surfboards

1. BUY a surfboard for NOW, not LATER.

    Don’t let your surfy dreams get in the way of reality. That little used 5’10” Kelly Slater speed thruster may only be $150, but there’s a reason why. The guy selling it couldn’t ride it. You won’t be able to either, bro. Spend a little more on a used funshape, fish, or longboard, and you’ll be surfing a lot more, and getting more for your money. Then, if you want to progress to something shorter like that potato chip, you’ll probably be reselling the longboard, funshape, or fish anyway.


2. BUY a CLEAN used board.

    If a used board you’re looking at is covered in nasty wax and/or stickers, that should be a big red flag. If you can’t inspect for any dings, or repairs to past dings, just walk away. Open, unrepaired, or improperly repaired dings can create more damage later since water can seep into the surfboard foam.


3. BUY a used board WITH FINS.

    I hate it when a seller tries to short me at least a basic set of fins on a board, usually because they want to keep them. It’s a hassle to go hunting for fins to fit a “new” acquisition, and you better believe I will offer a lower price if a seller does this. The exception to this rule is if it is a vintage or antique collectible surfboard.


4. DON’T BUY a surfboard with more than 10% UNREPAIRED damage.

    Yes, you’re going to have to guesstimate this one, but I think you catch my drift. Repairs cost not only money, but time. When you buy a new-to-you board, the last thing you want to do is wait on getting your board fixed until you can ride it.


5. DON’T BUY a surfboard with more than 20% REPAIRED damage.

     Once again, this is an estimate, and the gauge I personally use. Like a car, I figure most of the value of the surfboard goes down once it leaves the surf shop. Because of this, I expect to get a good deal on a used board still in good shape overall, and that includes damage even if it’s been repaired. Repairs are still potentially weak spots in my opinion. I’ll pass on heavily repaired boards.


6. For new surfers, find a trusted local Surf Shop that sells used boards.

    In coastal areas with surfers, a lot of times, local surf shops will carry a selection of used boards on consignment. Yes, the surf shop gets a commission, but they can help steer you in a good direction to make a choice that won’t waste your money in the end.


7. For experienced surfers, use Craigslist (if you live in a safe area).

    Once you are familiar with what you are looking for in a surfboard, Craigslist is awesome. Generally, I find most surfboards listed under the category “Sporting Goods.” Here in Florida, I never limit my searches to coastal areas! In fact, some of the best deals I’ve gotten have been from inland areas like Orlando, or flat surf areas like Tampa. Sites likes eBay are better for Vintage and High End Collectible surfboards.


8. Consider trades.

    If you have a good sized surf community, consider trading a used surfboard you already have for another surfer’s used board. Sometimes, you can agree on an even trade, or a trade plus cash. Our Surf community has a few local Internet forums, which aid in trades with people you already know and surf with regularly.


9. ALWAYS pay in cash.

      If you don’t have the cash on hand, forget it. It’s impossible to negotiate with a credit card, even today. Checks are a hassle for a seller too, which will result in a halt to ANY potential reduction in price of the board for you.


10. Research what you’re looking for.

       Unless you’re completely new to surfing (seek out your local surf shop for help!), you should be able to do your own research before buying a used board. Find out what a similar NEW surfboard costs, and realize that most boards seem to lose 20% of their value (on average) as they walk out the door, even brand spankin’ new. Find out what standard board repairs cost. Compare prices on Craigslist, local Surf Forums, and at your local surf shops. That way, you can make fair offers that won’t cost you too much, but won’t totally offend the seller either. That’s good, since you may see them in the lineup in the future. Yikes.

Next post….Selling a Used Surfboard…

Yup.

      

      

    

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:

Sweetness

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

Yikes

DIY Leash Loops

Leash loops are the forgotten little part of the surf equipment ensemble that can screw your day royally.

They are the most likely to break, get lost, almost be worn through, and then they are never available when you need them. And that is when you’re getting ready to go paddle out. Right. Now.

I’ve actually hand-braided cord on a disk in the past to make mine, but, here’s a cheaper, faster way of making a crazy amount of them in no time. Keep a few for yourself in the car, put some in with wax and a wax comb as surfer’s stocking stuffers, or give them out in the lineup after you burn fellow surfers on waves. Always a nice gesture, Kelly Slater would say “it’s a good thing”. 

Anyway, I picked up some 550 Paracord at the craft store. Michaels, Hobby Lobby, even Wal-Mart has this stuff since doing the paracord survival bracelets are so popular. I picked up 25 feet of green for $2.99 with a 40% coupon (almost EVERY craft store has one of these, USE it!), so, with tax, it was a little under two bucks.

25 feet of fun!


For each leash loop, I measured out around 18 inches, give or take.

Getting ready to cut 18″ long lengths.


I wanted to ensure I would have enough to fold the 18″ length in half, then make a DOUBLE overhand knot on each one, leaving about a 1″ tail of the two bitter ends. Bitter end is a nautical term. Seriously, look it up, nautical stuff’s pretty cool! 

A double overhand knot for this loop is much more secure- it can’t wiggle and back out like a simple overhand knot could.

Folding the length in half to 9″.

Double overhand knot Part I.

Double overhand knot tightened up, Part II.


It’s better to have the leash loop too long than too short, for those who might complain about  it smacking the rail- it can be tied lower AND….

It needs to be singed (burnt) on the ends with a lighter or the ends will fray. Some leash loops will singe the ends together and squish the melted nylon into the knot to secure it. This is fine if you know the length you want. Otherwise, singe the ends separately (OUTSIDE or in a well-ventilated area, preferably with a mask!) to finish the loop.

I made 16 loops, so much Aloha to share for only two bucks. That translates to 16 waves I get to snake….hmmm…

That’s a lot of leash loops. In green.