Ever wondered what keeps your surfboard floating in the water with your body weight on it? Well, since the 1950's, after surfboard makers moved away from the wood off trees, you'll pretty much always find a foam core at the center of your board. There are a couple of different foam substances available for use in surfboard manufacture.
In this article we're going to take a look at a very common type of foam known as EPS (expanded polystyrene) or beaded foam. The type of foam in your surfboard will determine the resin of your surfboard. This is because the different types of resins that can be used for your surfboard are all capable of dissolving the various kinds of surfboard foams, if matched inappropriately.
If your surfboard is made from EPS foam then it will have an epoxy resin covering the foam. The other resins made of polyester would dissolve the polystyrene foam. So epoxy surfboards are called epoxy because that is what the resin is made from. Epoxy as a resin is chosen for its water impermeability, flex, and strength. The middle is polystyrene. This foam can be shaped by hand or with a machine.
The great benefit of the polystyrene foam is that is extremely lightweight. It is also less toxic for the surfboard shapers and better for the environment. Additionally, polystyrene foam can be recycled. Surfboards made from polystyrene foam and epoxy resins are much less dingable as the epoxy resin is extremely hard. This is fantastic news for the environmentally aware surfer as your surfboard will last longer.
As an added bonus, the more durable epoxy boards can last for years and years beyond the lifespan of a traditional fiberglass board before it's damaged enough to end up in a landfill. Due to their unique manufacturing process, epoxy surfboards are much better for the environment than fiberglass. Epoxy resins can potentially be made from natural ingredients like agrigum, which is a wild plant found in the desert, and sugar--allowing them to decompose a great deal faster than their synthetic counterparts.
Epoxy resins release about 2/3 less VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) when they cure, or harden. They can also be cleaned up with environmentally friendly organic, citrus based, cleaners, as opposed to the nasty substance acetone. Lightweight, buoyant, less toxic, and environmentally friendly - The epoxy surfboard with EPS foam is a great option for any surfer.
Sorry, but acetone is not a nasty substance. It is very low on the toxic scale. It’s actually used in some beauty products and is made naturally in the human body. I don’t know how an eps core epoxy glassed board could be rationalized as eco friendly.
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May 07, 2014
Capt- I appreciate your feedback, however, the comments made are relative compared to what the other options are. For example, EPS foam is a more eco-friendly option compared to a standard PU. As far as acetone goes, sure if you compare it to turpentine it’s not nasty, but because it’s used as a paint thinner, epoxy solvent, resin thinner, etc, I would not recommend using it to remove wax on a surfboard. Especially when you can use a very light remover like mineral spirits. Just my opinion, I am not an end-all expert.