Most surfboards are pieces of foam covered with a thin shell of fiberglass and resin. They are also not cheap.
The water, wind, sun and sand all take a toll on the surfboard's surface and structure. Taking care of your surfboard will help you have a smoother ride and help it to last for a longer time. Surfboard care doesn't take a long time to do, but putting the time and work in will be worthwhile the next time you catch a wave.
Before you even get into the water, there are a few things to do. Avoid touching the surfboard if you have sunscreen on your hands. Some of the chemicals in the sunscreen could damage the finish on your board. Put your sunscreen on, and then wash your hands before touching the board.
Wear a leash while surfing. This keeps the surfboard with you. You will have better control over where the board goes, making it less likely to get scraped on rocks or other rough surfaces.
When you ride a wave to the shore, stop the surfboard before you run into the sand. Running the surfboard into the sand could scratch the bottom of the board. Running it into sand can also rub off the finish and make the board wear out faster.
As soon as you are out of the water for the day, rinse the surfboard off with fresh water. Tap water works fine for this. Removing the salt from the ocean water reduces the chance of a rough residue forming on the board's surface.
Avoid leaving the board in extremely hot or cold places, like the trunk of a car or a garage that is not climate-controlled. The sun's UV rays degrade foam, so it's best to keep the surfboard out of direct sunlight when you aren't surfing.
When your surfboard is not in the water, it should be properly protected. A simple way to do this is with a bag, commonly referred to as a surfboard bag, a boardbag and a travel bag. The boardbag makes it easy to carry your surfboard from the car to the beach. It keeps dirt, sand, dust, residue and other materials from getting onto or pushing into the surfboard.
A boardbag is ideal for polyurethane and epoxy surfboards. You can also toss your wetsuit, swim trunks and other soft items into the bag along with the board. If your surfboard is only made of foam, you probably don't need a bag. Once you get home, position the surfboard against two walls. Its tail end should have plenty of padding around it.
When you are ready to use the board again, lift it up carefully. Avoid banging it into anything hard, pointy or roughly textured.
Check for scratches, dings and dents before and after each use of the surfboard. Look at all of the surfaces and the edges. Even a small dent could have a big impact on how smoothly the board moves in the water and can expose the foam to water.
If you do notice any dings, get them fixed as quickly as possible. If the damage reaches the foam core of the board, a new coating may need to be applied to it. After about 50 hours in the water, remove the wax, clean the board and put a new coating of wax on it. Taking the wax off allows you to locate minor dings and fix them.
Caring for your surfboard only takes a few minutes of time before and after each visit to the ocean. Spending the time caring for your surfboard protects your investment. The time you spend caring for the surfboard also benefits your performance. A board that is in great shape will deliver a longer, smoother and faster ride compared to one that has not been well-cared for. Proper surfboard care extends its lifespan and familiarizes you with every inch of your board.