I got into surfboard building, by accident, after I snapped my favorite longboard! Luckily, the snap was near the nose, which left me a good 8′ of foam and fiberglass to play with. I proceeded to cut it up, strip the old glass job and was left with a solid chunk of foam, a free blank, ready to re-shape.
Not sure where to begin, I looked online for ideas. Given, the chunk of foam I had to start with, a logical choice seemed to be a mid-length mini-longboard type design such as the Takayama Scorpion.
After a few false starts trying to print templates, enlarge photos of similar models and print them out, I gave up. It was then, I noticed that the board bag for my 6’6″ shortboard was a similar shape to the Scorpion. Perfect! So, I just turned it upside down and traced it directly onto the blank! Doesn’t get much more amateur than that! I knocked up some shaping stands and got to work.
Looking back, it’s pretty funny, but most importantly, it was a start. I wasn’t expecting to make an amazing board. It was more about having a fun project and creating something. There’s a lot of steps to making a board, and you’ll have lots of questions. My advice is to not get stuck at one step for too long, otherwise your board will just be another unfinished project gathering dust in your shed. If you’re stuck, the internet is your friend.
I worked my way through the project, shaped it, did some artwork (inspired by Lovelace), glassed it with Epoxy Bio Resin, dropped in a big single-fin and finbox and even caught a wave on it. How did she ride? Weird. It felt like no other board I’ve ridden before. I realised i had given it almost no rocker, so i had to wrestle it into a wave, to avoid nose-diving, the fin was way too big for such a small board and felt like it was dragging.
I learned a lot of lessons from that first board build and I’d recommend starting with a busted board for your first build. You are going to make a lot of mistakes on your first one, why stuff up a nice purchased blank. Better to learn all the lessons on an old beater.
Will a new blank be easier? Absolutely, half the work is already done.
You’ll read over and over in the forums, like Swaylock’s, that your first board won’t be your last, and they’re right. There is something addictive about building a board. There is a lot more to it than you think, you can really dive deep into the design, philosophy and history of surfboards. Plus, it’s really satisfying catching a wave on something you’ve built in your backyard.
P.S Wondering what my second board build was? It was a mini-simmons made out of a snapped EPS SUP blank 🙂