How to Make a Surfboard

Making a surfboard requires a lot of patience, precision, and, of course, supplies. This is a tedious, slow process. On the other hand, the reward of your completely individual surfboard created to your specifications is well worth the hard work.


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    Pick a suitable workspace that can handle some permanent damages. You need a space that's both large and well ventilated.
    • Working outside is a plus when it comes to ventilation, but an indoor facility with 3 perfectly placed fluorescent lights will show flaws in your shaping so you can catch them early on.
    • This is a weather dependent project if you work outdoors. Know that you won't be able to do any work in the rain, snow, or even in the wind.
    • It may be a good idea to build a room specifically for board building; for a short board you will need at least a 10 feet x 8 feet (3 meters x 5.4 meters) room and longer than 10 feet if you're building a long board.
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    Write down all the definitive measurements you want of your final product. This will depend on your height and the intention of the surfboard's wave riding ability.
    • It would be wise to create a paper cut out with these exact measurements and place it on the wall in your workspace so you can refer to it often.
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    Create a template. The easiest way to do this is to trace a pre-existing surfboard and, if necessary, adjust according to your specified measurements.
    • Lay your plywood on the ground, placing the surfboard on top of it. Make sure the stringer (the wooden strip that stretches the length of the board through the middle) is perfectly lined up to the plywood's ends.
    • Mark placement points using a marker at the nose and the tail, at the board's midpoints, then all the way around the board making each consecutive point parallel from the last so the surfboard's cut-out it accurate. This template will be the shape of your board, so be extremely careful to not move the board or the plywood. Be completely precise in your markings.
    • Put on your safety goggles, plug in the jigsaw, and very carefully cut along your points to create you surfboard shaped template.
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    Choose a surfboard blank; this is the foundation of the surfboard. You can get countless different shapes, weights, lengths, and densities as well as your choice of foam or wood. You even have the choice of custom ordering.
    • The type of blank you need depends on how you ride the wave. If you love to rip small waves, the lesser density blank is for you (as long as you don't mind replacing it every couple of months). The denser the board, the stronger it is and the longer it will last.
    • EPS foam is often hailed as a good choice of material for the blank, as it is both a strong and lasting material while being lower in density than polyurethane foam.[1]
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    Post the blank bottom-up on the wooden workhorse. Set the template on top of the blank, making sure it lies completely flat along the stringer line. Using a thick pencil, trace the shape of the surfboard template onto the blank from nose to tail. Turn over the blank and trace the shape onto the front.
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    Cut the excess foam (or wood) from the surfboard blank using the jigsaw. Be sure to leave 1 to 1 1/2 inches (2.54 to 3.81 cm) excess from the surfboard template trace; this will give you room to shape without catastrophic error.
    • Saw with extreme caution, especially when cutting around the stringer on the nose.
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    Place the surfboard blank in the holding portion of workhorse. Adjust the electric planer to a .08 inches (2 mm) depth and very delicately (from tail to nose) plane the underside of the board. Turn it over and plane the top of the board. Plane only enough to reach the softer white foam under the hard surface.
    • When you get closer to the nose, it will become difficult to use the electric planer; this is when to use the hand and finger planers for precision.
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    Shape the curve of the rails using the hand or finger planer. Get the form to approximately what you want, and then put the planer away to avoid overdoing.
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    Shape to perfection using the steel mesh with both hands along the rails moving from tail to nose. The back � of the rail should be a sharp edge while the front 3/4 needs to be more rounded.
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    Cover the underside of the surfboard blank with approximately 6 oz. (168 g) of the fiberglass cloth. Using nicely sharpened scissors, trim the cloth around the shape of the blank making sure to leave about 2 inches (5 cm) of extra cloth draping over the board. Cut the cloth into 'V' shapes where your board curves so you can fold over the rails.
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    Mix 24 oz. (800 mL) of resin with catalyst (read ratios for your specific product).
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    Pour surfboard resin mix onto the board, over fiberglass cloth. Beginning in the center of the board, use the squeegee to work the resin in a pseudo figure 8 pattern throughout the middle of the board. When you reach the edges, work the resin out and over the rails to lock in the fiberglass. Resin should take around 5 to 6 minutes to cool, so timing is important. Be sure the entire cloth is evenly wet and secure on the blank. Leave any excess cloth (it will eventually be covered), but make sure to squeegee away any excess drips.
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    Allow resin to cure approximately 1 day then repeat on the other side. Add an extra 4 oz. (133 mL) layer of fiberglass on the deck for added strength.
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    Mark your fin placement based on your measurement diagram. Cut 6 5-inch x 2-inch (12 cm x 5 cm) pieces of fiberglass cloth and tape them to the board using masking tape.

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    Dip the entire fiberglass rope so it is completely wet (aside from the portion in your hand) into 15 oz. (500 mL) resin and catalyst mix. Squeeze out about half the surfboard resin using your gloved hand. Immediately place the rope along the fins marks and stretch to 3/4 inch (1 cm) longer than the mark. Cut the rope and repeat on all marks.
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    Place the 6 pieces of fiberglass cloth at the base of each side of the fins immediately after you place the rope in position. Smooth out the surfboard resin against the base of the fins so the cloth keeps it in place. Squeegee extra resin drops away and let the resin cure for 1 day.
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    Mix 30 oz. (1000mL) of hot resin with catalyst. Pour over the surfboard, fin side up, spreading with the wide paintbrush until entire area (including fins) has been covered. Swipe any drips with paintbrush until the dripping subsides, then allow the surfboard resin to cure for 3 hours. Turn it over and repeat on the other side.
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    Drill a hole for the leash plug, using the 1.33 inch (3.4 cm) diameter drill-bit. The hole you drill should be 2 1/4 to 3 1/4 inches (6 to 8 cm) from the tail, near the stringer. Use a small knife to peel away the fiberglass and foam until the leash plug is even with the deck. Mix 3 oz. (100 mL) of hot coat resin with catalyst and pour a small amount into the hole. Place the leash plug into the hole then fill rest with resin to set. Wipe away the excess resin with a paintbrush then allow it to cure until solid.
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    Sand the underside of the surfboard using the electric sander until every blemish (i.e. bumps and lumps) are gone, as well as the gloss. You will have to do some sanding by hand during this process too. Fine grit sandpaper is recommended.
    • Don't over sand; this will cause damage to the board. If this happens, use a small amount of surfboard resin and fiberglass cloth to fix the damage, then re-sand to smooth blemishes.
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    Wet some sandpaper and sand down entire board until it becomes glossy once again.
    • Without this extra sanding step, your board will make your skin irritated and itchy.
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    Allow your board to remain unused for 3 days so surfboard resin can completely set and finish the process.


  • Check the prices of the necessary tools. There is a lot of hardware involved in building a surfboard, so be sure you have the funds to do so.


  • Always wear latex gloves when working with resin.
  • Always wear safety goggles when working with saws and dust of any kind.
  • Always wear a surgeon's mask while sanding.
  • Do not touch hot resin with your skin.

Things You'll Need

  • 3 fluorescent lights (when shaping in a room)
  • Very thin plywood
  • Marker
  • Safety goggles
  • Jigsaw
  • Surfboard blank
  • Wooden workhorse
  • Thick pencil
  • Electric planer
  • Hand planer
  • Finger sized planer
  • Steel mesh 4 inch x 4 inch (10 cm x 10 cm)
  • Fiberglass cloth (minimum 6 oz. or 168 g, but the heavier the cloth the stronger the board will be so 20 feet or about 6 meters is suggested)
  • Scissors
  • Surfboard resin and catalyst
  • 3 plastic squeegees
  • Masking tape
  • Fiberglass rope (39 inches or 100 cm)
  • Surgical latex gloves
  • Hot coat resin and catalyst
  • 3 wide paintbrushes
  • Electric drill with 1.33 inch (3.4 cm) diameter drill-bit
  • Small knife
  • Leash plug
  • Surgical facemasks
  • Electric circular sander
  • Sandpaper that fits the electric circular sander (both coarse and fine)
  • Wet sandpaper
  • Dust brush
  • Fin box and fins

Article Info

Categories: Surfing