Ding Repair: How to Fix Your Buckled Surfboard | SURFER Magazine

2022-05-21 03:37:33 By : Ms. Cassie Zhang

Just because your surfboard buckled from stomping that massive punt (or, you know, getting flogged during that last swell) doesn’t mean it’s trash. With only slightest bit of DIY gumption and some ding repair techniques, you can resurrect your blade to a rideable state so you can surf the remainder of your trip, and/or have the board back in your quiver for the next swell.

Joe Roper’s Surfboard Repair is a San Diego surfing institution and Roper himself is a local icon. Aside from charging La Jolla’s outer reefs his whole life, Roper has been fixing, restoring, salvaging and reshaping surfboards back to sea-worthiness for over 40 years. He’s masterfully fixed every type of damage ever inflicted upon the sacred craft, and has the Instagram to prove it. When it comes to foam and fiberglass, the man works miracles.

If you’re traveling, most of the materials needed to at least repair your buckled board to a rideable condition can be found in compact ding repair kits like this one.

Hopefully there’s some type of boating industry nearby if you didn’t pack a ding repair kit. These types of businesses will have fiberglass and resin supplies on hand for you to buy, barter or beg to use. They might even have power and angle grinders that they’ll be willing to loan you if you’re lucky.

Surfboard glassing factories or industrial surfboard supply stores are great places to get supplies if you’re at home or at a location with a surfboard industry. They’ll have the supplies you’ll need for a reasonable price and maybe they’ll even toss you some scrap cloth to use for your patch job for a few bucks or a six pack.

Q-cell filler (cabosil or arosil)

Prep the buckle by sanding a triangle shape on each side of the stringer. The area should be about six inches wide starting at the rail and narrow towards the stringer, with the crease running through the center. The triangles on each side of the stringer will break up weak points in the board once the fiberglass patch is glassed on.

If the buckle has split into the foam, then sand an inch-wide line through the glass to expose it. This will allow the buckle to dry if there’s water inside and provide an area for the filler to strongly bond the crack.

Mix the filler by adding Cabosil or Arosil powder (these powders are the exact same thing but have different names due to their manufacturers) into some resin in a disposable cup with a little bit of catalyst until the compound is at a paste consistency.

Then work the paste into the foam for a good bond. Roper uses a tongue depressor to press the filler into the inch-wide sanded groove in the board. It’s important to leave a dip in the filler. This will be a space for the layers of fiberglass that seal the repair to be sanded flush with the board.

Clean any excess filler that’s on the board outside of the crevice with acetone and a rag.

Use masking tape to keep resin from getting outside the area being repaired. In addition to helping keep the board clean, the masking tape will also provide an easy way to cut the fiberglass lap after it’s been glassed.

The first layer of 4 oz. fiberglass cloth that you cut will be the smallest. This piece should be slightly larger than the width of the filler area. Lay it over top of the filler.

Cut the next 4 oz. fiberglass layer wider than the one first layer and so it spans the whole repair area that’s been sanded in Step 1, basically rail to rail. Make sure to cut each layer of cloth at an angle that’s offset from the layer underneath it, this will make the repair stronger. Several layers of cloth with parallel cuts will create new weak spots in the board.

The next patch will be even wider to cover the two layers of cloth laid down so far. Roper suggests using 6 oz. fiberglass cloth for this step because its thickness fills in the dip from the ding nicely and it also adds strength.

Using 4 oz. cloth, cut the final layer large enough so that it covers all previous patches laid down. This layer should be widest near the rails on each side and taper towards the stringer, Roper calls this a “butterfly patch.”

Now you’re ready to laminate. Mix the resin and catalyst, for a quick tutorial on how to do so, click here. Roper says a 2” brush is easiest to work with when applying the resin. Use the brush to tack the resin onto the fiberglass cloth.

Once the resin is on the cloth, use the squeegee to pull the resin back and forth. Make sure the cloth is saturated and that there are no bubbles in the resin.

Mix a new batch of resin with some surfacing agent in order to create some sanding resin. This will be the ding’s hot coat and will provide a sand-able surface for the repair’s final step. Brush this resin on lightly over the surface of the repair.

When the resin is in a gel-like state, use a new razorblade to clean up the repair. Lift up the masking tape that’s near the rails and cut the gel-like fiberglass as you lift the tape. Most importantly, timing this step right can save time when sanding the ding later.

Once the resin hardens, and if you happen the be in a remote spot with no power tools, the board is now at least water tight, strong and rideable for the rest of your trip. If not, the board is now ready for sanding.

An angle grinder is basically a magic wand for this step. Apply some 180 grit sandpaper to the angle grinder. Lightly sand the repair area so that it’s smooth with the bottom of the board. The goal of this step is to sand as little as possible so you don’t sand through the layers of fiberglass that are providing strength to the repair.

Fine-tune the repair by hand-sanding because this will help you get the repair push with the board more accurately. Even out the area on the rails that the patch has lapped over, so you don’t have any sharp edges in the patch. Be careful to not sand over the stringer to avoid any sand throughs. Once everything’s nice and smooth, finally it’s ready to ride.

Stay tuned for more ding repair tutorials from Roper.

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