Surfing is one of the healthiest lifestyles and sports. It is often associated to an ideal way of living and breathing. I would advocate for that knowing what dedication it takes, and the rewards it bears. Surfing is amazing, but part of the dedication, just like any sport, is the care of equipment. In Jbay you can tell the locals apart from the foreigners/outsiders just based on their board maintenance. Surfboards can be very expensive, so taking care of them is one way to expand their life. This is my 5 rules to keep myself from being broke, before my surfboard is ;) – JBay Surfboard maintenance and Repairs.
It is a common site to see surfers push some wax into the ding they got to save cash and catch another wave. While this innocently does a quick fix, it inevitably makes the problem worse. I can’t count how many times my shaper, has shouted at me for doing this. It stops maybe 90% of the water getting in, so damage will still occur. On top of that, the hole/ding where the repair has to be repaired, will now need to be bigger to get all the wax out etc. It all adds up and can eventually do harm to the integrity of the board, leading toward board creases or board snaps.Another no-no, is leaving the small cracks. These may look small but they still suck in water and eat away the foam in the board, especially if its epoxy. It may sound dramatic, but the finer details keep your board feeling new. Jbay surfboard maintenance and repairs / ding repair options.
Sun & Heat
Back in the day it was a real problem if you left your board in the sun, as it would go yellowish. While the new materials don’t do that today, it still can be harmful for the board to be left laying in the sun (maybe you also own a golden oldie). For one, the wax will melt and lose its grip, so also don’t leave the board wax-side up (even if its for 30 seconds). The other thing is it could cause delaminating. This means the deck will lift from the foam and create a bubble under the fibre glass. So it also not good for it to go through big difference in temperatures.
Protect your board
It is an extra 2 minutes of your life to go put the board in a board bag. The board bag should protect it when in storage or whilst traveling. It takes maybe another minute or 2 to take out the fins and a lifetime to get the leash off (this avoids the leashing from over tangling) . Separating all the parts and pieces will save space and prevent them from being knocked in the wrong place. Maybe the fins gets too much pressure added on the side that it snaps. Its all rare cases, but I know the Pro’s do it, so there must be a method to the madness. I would even recommend getting a board sock if you have more than 1 board in the board bag. Which leads me to my next point.
Keep it clean
I hope you have experienced this at some point in your life. But a wax free, clean board brings back the brand new feeling. I have seen some people who keep their wax on their boards for months, maybe years. It might be a mission to clean it all off but this is the 1 time you ignore rule 2, and let that sun melt the wax, and scrape off all that useless/dirty wax. It makes the board light again, shows its original colour but mostly allows the board to be hydro-dynamic (especially cleaning under the board) and this helps with optimal performance. Another practise is to rinse off all the salt and sand after a surf. This just allows the board to avoid collecting residue.
Respect and repeat
Now that your board is constantly staying well looked after. The board will maybe have its pressure dings or one or two fatal dings. However looking after your board will teach you something that is embedded in surf culture, “RESPECT”. This is more than just looking after a board to save money. This is about reducing waste. While eco-boards are available, the a re normally pricy and not commonly used. By looking after the board you are looking after the planet. This is what we want all people to really learn. If you can learn to respect your board, then you will start to respect the ocean, and then the earth, and then mankind. It’s a classic Mr. Miyagi teaching technique “wax-on, wax-off”. Apply it to the small things and it should ripple and repeat into the more important things :)