In this post we will talk about what a surfboard is made of, depending on whether it is designed for professional surfers or for beginners. In fact, it is important both the experience and the waves you will catch (whether large, medium or small) to determine which materials are appropriate. Keep reading!
What are surfboards made of? 7 materials
For the production of surfboards, the most common materials used are: foam, epoxy or polyester resin, fiberglass, glass microspheres, fin caps and the leash cap. We will explain each of them separately. Here we are!
Foam is the base of the board. In order to get a good quality foam, it needs to be pressure resistant (so the board doesn’t bruise), light and white (the whiter is, the better it will be).
Although there are several foam manufacturers, the most widely used is polyurethane (PU) foam. To make it happen, liquid polyurethane is injected into a mold (the mold will be completely filled when the polyurethane swells). Then, the foam is cut into two parts and a wooden sheet (spar) is inserted so that the foam does not bend.
Another type is Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam. This material is mainly used for industrially manufactured surfboards. EPS foam is used only with epoxy resin, as it is not compatible with polyester resins. Also, you should know that surfboards made with EPS foam have more than 90% of their volume occupied by oxygen. This makes the board much lighter, facilitating mobility in the water.
The epoxy resin gives the board greater rigidity, durability and strength. Epoxy resin boards are lighter, have more buoyancy and are perfect for catching small waves. It has much higher mechanical properties than polyester resins, but is more expensive and therefore less used.
As we said before, in the world of surfing, epoxy is mainly used in industrially produced boards. Be careful if you see epoxy boards with the same price as polyester boards. This means that the epoxy board will have poor quality resin and foam. Don’t be fooled!
It can be said that 80% of today’s surfboards are made with polyester resin, as it is more practical and cheaper than epoxy resin. At the time of production, the polyester is mixed with a catalyst (liquid or ultraviolet) so that the resin hardens. The polyester resin allows you to maneuver better on the board, as well as having a faster response in the water. However, it has less buoyancy. This material is recommended for medium or large waves.
There are different types of polyester, but in the surf industry the most used with high quality are Silmar and Hegardt H61-UV resin.
On the other hand, when you wonder what a surfboard is made of, you might want to buy one. If you don’t know, for example, which type of resin is best for your board, the type of foam or something else, you can read this post on how to choose a surfboard. Surely it can help you solve your doubts.
Fiberglass is used to make high quality surfboards. By mixing the fiberglass with the resin, the board becomes stronger and more rigid. Big brands in the surf industry produce boards with this material for demanding surfers. They are very customized boards and, therefore, more expensive. The best known producers of this material are Hexcel, Aerialite and Shapers.
For surfboards, a 4oz layer of fiberglass is used as a standard on the bottom of the board and two 4oz layers on the deck (top). For long boards or retro fish, the most common is to use a 4 oz fiberglass layer on the bottom and a 6 oz fiberglass layer on the deck (for added strength and board inertia).
The most used fiberglass is E-Glass, as it has an excellent value for money. There is also S-Glass fiberglass (better quality than E-Glass, but twice as expensive). In this case, manufacturers use fewer fibers to achieve the same strength that would be achieved with an E-Glass fiberglass panel. Fiberglass S is used by the most demanding manufacturers and surfers.
The glass microspheres are mixed with the resin. This mixture is used to repair the boards, fix the leash cap (the safety line that is tied to a foot so as not to lose the board in case of a fall) or the fins. It is a very harmful product.
These caps, inserted in the back of the bottom of the board, allow you to change the fins and remove them, for example, for a trip by plane.
This cap is put on the tail (at the end of the board) to be able to tie a safety lanyard called a leash.
After telling you what a surfboard is made of, we hope you want to surf! Come and visit us at our surf school in Fuerteventura, Corralejo, Surfintrip and learn to surf with the best team on the island!
Choose the course or surf camp that interests you the most. And, above all, remember that you have the possibility of free cancellation for all the causes connected with Covid-19. What more could you ask for? Book your place now!