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 What Are Surfboards Made Of?

   June 14th, 2022   Posted In: Articles   Tags:

 What Are Surfboards Made Of?

Have you ever seen someone gliding across the water on a surfboard and wondered what are surfboards made of? If you have, this one is for you! In this article, we discuss the various parts of a surfboard, what materials surfboards are made of, and how this influences their performance.

The Anatomy of a Surfboard

In order to understand what surfboards are made of, you will also need to understand the anatomy of the surfboard. There are a number of components that make up a surfboard, but the three parts that we will focus on are:

  • Foam core—the main interior part of the board that provides buoyancy
  • Fiberglass cloth—the layer around the board that protects the interior
  • Resin seal—the outer layer that prevents water from getting into the foam

Every surfboard is made up of these three main components; however, the materials used for each of these parts can differ.

What Material are Surfboards Made Of?

The material of a surfboard can influence the way it performs. Having a good understanding of the different types of materials surfboards are made of can influence which board you decide to purchase. In order to help, we have compiled a list of the different surfboard materials and how they influence the ride.

Polyurethane (PU)

A polyurethane (PU) is one of the materials used to create the foam core (also known as a blank) of the surfboard. PU boards have gone out of style in recent years because the process of shaping them is chemically hazardous. However, some manufacturers will still use PU as the foam core. A PU board is typically wrapped in fiberglass cloth and then coasted in polyester resin (PE). 

Pros:

  • Dense—easier rides in choppy waters
  • Flexible—better control
  • Inexpensive

Cons: 

  • Easy to damage/break
  • Density can be difficult for new surfers

Epoxy (PS and EPS)

After the main producer of PU boards closed shop, manufacturers turned to epoxy as an alternative. An epoxy board can refer to a Polystyrene (PS) or an Epoxy PolyStyrene (EPS) core wrapped in fiberglass cloth and then coated in epoxy resin. 

PS boards are much more lightweight than PU boards, and EPS boards are even lighter than PS boards; however, they are both a lot harder to shape. PS boards require almost double the amount of time to shape, while EPS boards need to be shaped by machines. Similarly, they are both much more environmentally friendly than PU, but EPS is the most environmentally friendly.

In addition, while PU boards use polyester resin (PE), PS and EPS boards can only use epoxy resin as the outer coat. If PE is used, it will chemically react with the PS or EPS and melt the foam core.

Pros: 

  • Lightweight—easier to catch waves
  • Environmentally Friendly
  • Durable—not as hard to break

Cons: 

  • Not as stable—lots of movement with choppy waves
  • More expensive

Soft-Top Foam 

A soft-top foam board is essentially an EPS board with a different outer layer. Instead of creating a hard outer shell layer of epoxy resin, Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA) is used to attach the fiberglass cloth to the board. This creates a soft top to the board. In addition, a sheet of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) is placed on the bottom of the board to create a smoother ride.

Pros:

  • More stable
  • Lightweight
  • Less Expensive
  • Ideal for Beginners

Cons: 

  • Not as durable—Can break/fall apart quickly

Other Surfboard Materials

In addition to the actual board, surfboards have fins, a leash, a stringer, etc. These components are often made of wood or plastic. 

The Surfboard for You

Choosing the right surfboard for you is more than understanding the material of your board. There is also the board shape to consider, the return on investment, your fitness level, your experience level, and what type of conditions you will be riding in. So, while we hope this has been a helpful step on your surfboard selection journey, this is just the beginning.

Hannah Brown

Hannah Brown

Hannah lives in Virginia Beach with her two cats and her fiance. She loves to read, write, and binge watches YouTube videos. Her favorite hobbies are tending to her overgrown houseplants and traveling. To contact Hannah please email hannahb2713@gmail.com.
Hannah Brown

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