How to Repair a Surfboard: Dings & Dents

surfboard repair

It’s inevitable. It’s going to happen, even for the most experienced professionals. Sometimes it’s simply from grounding out and scrapping rocks or hitting a reef, maybe from hitting another object while carrying it to the shore.

Dings, scratches, and other damage can and will occur to your board, but fortunately there are ways to repair a surfboard, depending on the severity of the damage your board incurred.

Surfboard Repair Kit Overview

Learning to use a ding repair kit might possibly be as important as learning to stand up for your first time. Not only does it prevent you from having to drop off your surfboard at the shop and wait for them to repair it, but you’re also going to save money on a  price tag that is certainly not going to be easy on your wallet.

An added benefit of learning how to repair dents? Go ahead work on those other boards you have lying around. That dinged up board you have sitting in the garage isn’t going to fix itself, right?

Now, it should be noted that these repair kits can be kind of messy, but as you gain experience with making repairs, you’ll find that you’re able to minimize the mess and the time it takes to fill in the ding or dent on your surfboard.

dusty surfboard

The materials that can usually be found in a ding repair kit include sandpaper, fiberglass, masking tape, mixing cup, sanding resin and catalyst, acetone, safety mask, wax comb, razor blade, paintbrush, safety glasses, and Q-cell filler.

These can be purchased online or in your local surf shop. Here are the steps to repairing dings and dents on your surfboard: 

Step 1: Cut it Out

The first thing that you must do it remove the damaged part of the board by cutting out the ding with the razor blade provided.

This will help to remove any part that has broken, crushed, or rotted. This will give a nice clean surface to rebuild the fiberglass and outer coating. If the ding just occurred, you’ll need to let it dry out before cutting.

Step 2: Clean the Surface

Initially, you will need to use the wax comb to get rid of any wax that is around the area you cut. To make sure that it’s a clean surface around the cut, pour some of the acetone on it to help breakdown any other substances that might still be on the board (check out the article on how to clean your surfboard).

Step 3: Sand Down the Surfboard

Next, take the sandpaper and sand down the area that you cut to make it a smoother surface. Important note here. You do not want to use sandpaper that has too high of a grit level because you do want a surface that can bond the repair to your board. Think about 30 to 60 grit.

sanding and repairing a surfboard

Step 4: Tape the Dented Surface

Using the masking tape, tape a circle around the area you cut, leaving about an inch between the outer rim of the area you are repairing and where the tape starts. This provides some continuity for the repair to adhere to, while also containing the repair.

Step 5: Mixing

Now to get to the chemistry portion… Take 1 ounce of the sanding resin and slowly mix it into the Q-cell filler, stirring it in gradually. What will develop is a thick, white paste. After you have reached that consistency, apply 10 drops of the catalyst and stir again. This will make the final product for you to apply to the dent.

Step 6: Apply the Mixture

Start to pour the new created mixture into the area of the board where the ding occurred. You’ll want to use some sort of stirring stick to apply the compound to the surfboard, ensuring that it’s getting into all the grooves and edges of the ding.

You also want to make sure to be pouring the compound slowly so that you’re not introducing air bubbles in the mixture as it is applied. Lastly, pour enough so that it sits above the surface of the board. That way, when you sand it down later, it will be flush with the rest of the surfboard.

Step 7: Sand Down the Mixture

Once the Q-cell mixture dries, you’re ready to begin sanding. Depending on environmental conditions such as humidity, temperature, in addition to, the amount of mixture applied, drying times will vary.

Make sure it is dry before moving on. Now, how you decide to sand does not matter as much, but if you’re just beginning, it is advised you to do it by hand at first and learn what to look for. You’ll want to sand the mixture so that it is flush with the rest of the board.

In the future, when you gain more experience, you can actually sand it down a little further, so that your fiberglass patches don’t stand out as much after you’re finished.

Step 8: Cut and Mix

Next, cut the fiberglass from the kit into two different circles, with one being a little bit lager than the other. Then, mix 1 ounce of the sanding resin and 10 more drops of the catalyst. Stir and wait a few minutes for the two ingredients harden to a degree. You want a thick, viscous consistency.

Step 9: Apply Mixture to Fiberglass

Apply the resin and catalyst mixture to the Q-cell sanded area on the board with a paint brush, making sure to put a thin, even coat. Once you’ve done that, you’ll place the larger of the fiberglass sheets right on top of where you applied the resin and catalyst mixture.

Pour some of the resin on top of that fiberglass layer and spread out the coating evenly, making a smooth surface. Finally, apply the smaller of the fiberglass sheets in the same manner and once again, pour on resin, ensuring that the coating is smooth.

Before moving on the next step, make sure that both layers are firmly pressed against the surfboard and that there aren’t any air bubbles present.

Step 10: Sanding the Surfboard

Time to sand again! Once the resin and fiberglass layers have hardened, you can begin sanding. One thing to make sure of during this step is that you’re not sanding so hard as to actually sanding down too much of the fiberglass.

If you do that, then the repair is essentially null and void. So, don’t waste your own time and money by making this mistake so late in process.

Step 11: Apply Resin Coating

Apply a final coating of resin, however, this time you need to add a few more drops of the catalyst than you have done previously (approximately 15 drops).

Stir in the catalyst and then apply to the board in a thin, even coat. The extra drops will help cure the surfboard repair and seal the fiberglass. Wait for this to dry before moving on to the next step.

Step 12: Wet Sanding

The last step involves a process known as wet sanding. What you’ll need to do is provide a little bit of water to the surface and then use sand paper, sanding in slow circular motions. A paste will develop on the sandpaper and any remaining resin can be washed off the board.

The end result will be a glossy coat that looks like new. To ensure that the repair has fully cured, make sure to wait for a day or two so that all your hard work is preserved. Once that waiting period is over, you’re ready to get back out there and start shredding again!

Major Damage to Surfboard

In the unfortunate event that you have snapped off your nose or there are serious gashes in the fiberglass and foam, your best option is to take the board to the local surf shop and see what they can do.

surfboard broken in half

Some shops have shapers that make board themselves and can most likely help you; however, that unfortunately is not always the case. It is worth finding out what they can do because every case will be different.

Worst case scenario, the repairs won’t be worth the cost and you’ll need to buy a new surfboard. But hey, you’ll never know until you at least get the damage appraised. Happy surfing!

Check out the top 10 surfboards for beginners right here!

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