A Totally Rad Guide to Caring for Surfboards

The sun is out and it’s time to hit the beaches this December. There is nothing better than spending your day riding the majestic South African surf. If you are new to the sport of surfing then you might feel a bit daunted at the prospect of sourcing surfboards for sale and the care that goes along with it. Have no fear because Junk Mail is about to take you on a journey of Surfboard etiquette. Learn everything there is to know about surfboards and the accessories that go along with them.

different-types-of-surfboards

Different Types of Surfboards

So you have just learned how to surf. You stood up for the first time on a spare board and you felt the immense joy that comes from the rush of the ride and the spray of the ocean. Now that the surfing bug has bit, it’s time to find to choose from the right surfboards for sale. He most import things to consider is body size, and the location where you will be surfing. Generally you want a nice stable board as a beginner but let’s go into this in more detail.
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surfboards-on-the-beach

There are essentially four different shapes of surfboard and these are the thruster, gun, malibu or fish, or Gun shapes. You might have heard of these terms before and they are simply nicknames that have been given to the various surfboard shapes.

The Thruster or Shortboard

the-thruster-or-shortboard

The shortboard is the most common type of surfing instrument and are used by most professional surfers. They are highly manoeuvrable boards and are suitable for fast flowing and steep waves that are about one to eight feet (about 2.5 meters) in height. We should mention that all surfboards are measured in feet, but to make life easier we have included the conversions.

The boards themselves range from five (about 1.5 meters) to seven (about 2.1 meters) feet in length. They have an upturned nose, or nose rocker, which allows you to avoid pushing the tip of the board into the waves, known as pearling, resulting in a face plant and some giggling from the shoreline. These boards have two to four fins which give the rider the ability to perform quick and sharp turns.

The Malibu or Longboard

the-malibu-or-longboard

This kind of surfboard is the oldest of the designs, dating back to Hawaiian nobility. It’s the longest board, 8’ to 10’6 which is 2.4 to 3.2 meters respectively, and can be ridden from the back of the board all the way to the tip of the nose.

There are either one or three fins and the board can be designed to either be ridden progressively (like a short board) or in a traditional surfing way, where you walk up and down the board, to create the turns and enjoy the ride instead of doing tricks as on a short board. Some surfers liken placing their toes on the front edge of the board to walking on water. This is also what is called hanging ten as you have all ten toes hanging off the edge of the surfboard.

This is a good beginner surfboard as it’s very stable and makes paddling out to waves easier than on a smaller board. You can catch waves of all sizes and balance is not as hard as on other board designs.

The Big Wave board or Gun

the-big-wave-board-or-gun

If you have the nerve of Chuck Norris and a wealth of marine knowledge then this is your board. The gun, or elephant gun as its affectional known, is designed for the big surf and is not a very good choice for anything else. This board is between nine to ten feet (2.4 to 2.7 meters) in size and is also narrow to increase the intensity of the ride.

These types of surfboards for sale are made to drop experienced riders into monster waves. The narrow tail and nose help the surfer keep his speed and stability up so they can navigate the massive swells. This would be a very bad idea for a beginner who needs extra stability and a wider nose for support. This board is meant for the hardiest of surfers.

The Fish

the-fish-surfboard

Lastly, we have the fish. As you can probably see, this board gets its name from the fish profile that it has. These are shorter and wider than most surfboards, stubby looking with two to three fins and very agile in the water.

They move very quickly through slower breaking waves and also give the rider a different feel as opposed to a conventionally shaped surfboard. Due to the elongated width, the fish is easy to paddle and catch waves. However, these boards do not do very well in faster moving or hollow waves. This board is mainly used for surfing in areas where the waves are small but you want to get the most enjoyment out of them.

This is a good board to learn on because you can get more speed without much effort but it does limit you when making directional changes. The fish gives a nice variation on your garden variety surf board.

How to Care for Surfboards

By this stage you have selected the right surfboard, so now let’s explain how to look after it. Here are seven tips on caring for surfboards:

  1. Don’t leave your surfboard lying in the sun for extended periods of time as you will run the risk of weakening the outer layer of the board. This can lead to unwanted water entry which separates the outercoat of the surf board from the inner foam. This is also why you see yellowed boards. Keep it out of the sun if you don’t want the board to yellow.
  2. Don’t leave your surfboard lying upright against anything. All that needs to happen is a slip or a gust of wind and your board will come tumbling down. This can result in cracks and damage. Store your surfboards inside with the fins facing upwards and preferably on a rack or board bag. Also make sure you wipe your board down as wetness can cause delamination (warping) over time.
  3. Surfing on a damaged board, without repairing it, can result in water entering the foam core over time. If you damage your boards, repair it as soon as you can to stop the deterioration. If you are in a pinch then you can use duct tape or board wax to make the damage waterproof, these are however temporary fixes.
  4. Never surf near rocky breaks if you don’t have a leash. Your board will hit the rock and you will have a lot of money to spend on repairs or a new board.
  5. Shallow water and fins don’t mix. Don’t ride your board into the soft sand or you will damage your fins. Also you don’t want to do this because of the debris on the beach, why damage your board if all you have to do is stand up before you hit the sand?
  6. Always rinse off your board after a ride with fresh water. Salt water will damage the board over a prolonged period of time.
  7. When transporting your surfboard, make sure that it’s secure. One of the quickest ways to lose, and for someone else to gain a surfboard is for a car to hit it. Also make sure you transport the board in a bag and on a surf rack. Make sure you don’t secure it too tightly though or the strapping might damage the board as well.

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Repairing a Ding on your Surfboard

Even if you did listen and learn from the above tips, you will ding your board at some point. This really can’t be avoided, due to the nature of the sport, and you will have a gnarly wipeout out some stage. You will come up close and personal with the shore or a rock and you will want to get your board back into an operable condition. Let’s run though the ways you can do this.

damaged-surfboards

There are vinyl stickers that you can buy from a surf shop which will seal the dings. This is a temporary fix.

Small dings can be fixed by using a UV solar resin that can be found at any surf shop. Here’s how to do this:

  1. Make sure your board is dry before fixing a ding as you don’t want to force moisture into the foam core just from the fixing process.
  2. Cut off and sand down the damaged area. Make sure the board is out of the sunlight during this process.
  3. Apply resin to the smoothed area and leave to dry in the sun. Sand down the resin to make the fix neat and unnoticeable.

If you have a bad ding then bite the bullet and get it fixed by a professional. This will prolong the lifespan of your board. If something isn’t fixed properly because you are skimping on money then you will most likely have to get a new board much sooner. Rather do it properly.

How to find the right wetsuits for sale

When you start out surfing, the only thing that’s more important than a surfboard is a wetsuit. A lot of people will lend you their board but trying getting someone let lend you a wetsuit, is a much more difficult task. You will want a wetsuit of your own.

As a rule of thumb when looking for wetsuits for sale… do not go for flat-stitched or blind-stitched seams, rather take a glued seamed wetsuit. Glued seams will last much longer. You can check this by flipping over the cuffs of the wetsuit to see if there is stitching on both sides. Anywhere a stitch is used creates a tiny pinhole, this might not sound like much but they get bigger over time. Take an old wetsuit and hold it up to a backlight, you will see all the holes. The taped or ‘welded’ seams are strong but they are also a lot more expensive. You can also find some relatively well priced wetsuits that have glued seams but they are reinforced with taping or at the weak points.

In terms of thickness, this depends on where and when you surf. Winter or early morning surfs will need a warmer suit. A 4/3mm thickness is needed for the cold but in general no more than the 3/2 would be ideal. Wetsuits are generally made using thicker 3 or 4 mm fabric panels at the legs and waist and the thinner material around the arms for flexibility. That being said, the newer suits are being made with improved rubbers so you might get away with a thinner suit if it’s new.

Surfing-Wetsuits

Lastly, you want to decide on a full or spring suit? As I’m sure you have guessed, a full suit is needed for cold water or winter surfing and a half suit is for warmer waters or summer weather. A good rule of thumb is anything warmer than 72 degrees just requires a rash vest (what you wear under the wetsuit to stop the board from giving you rashes from rubbing against the skin). 65 to 75 degrees is when you need to start using a half suit, or spring suit, and then anything below 63 degrees requires a full wetsuit. These are obviously subject to your personal preference but for anyone who is unsure, these figures will give you a rough understanding.

We hope this post has helped clarify some things for you on surfing. If the ocean is now calling your name then it’s time to get into the water. Find some epic surfboards for sale on Junk Mail. There’s a wealth of surfing equipment like surfboards and wetsuits for sale, so snap them up before anyone else does. Selling your rad equipment? Place your free ad on Junk Mail today!

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A Totally Rad Guide to Caring for Surfboards
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A Totally Rad Guide to Caring for Surfboards
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The sun is out and it’s time to hit the beaches. Learn everything there is to know about surfboards and the accessories that go along with them.
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Junk Mail
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Bruce Ungersbock

Bruce is an SEO guy that has his eye on the prize and traffic on his mind. A lover of good music and a connoisseur of all things awesome.

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