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Epoxy surfboards started to become popular in the 1990's. Prior to that for the last 40 or so years, traditional fiberglass surfboards were what the masses surfed with. As with anything new there have been many discussions over the benefits and downsides of an epoxy surfboard. For those of you considering purchasing a new surfboard here are some points to consider.
Benefits of epoxy surfboards
* Beginner surfers are especially going to enjoy the benefits of epoxy surfboards. These surfboards are easier to handle, lighter, and float better, giving the less experienced surfer a better chance of getting on the wave. The newer surfer should also appreciate that the lesser weight of the surfboard means less impact and injury when colliding with the board.
* Weigh less. A traditional fiberglass surfboard may well weigh 30 pounds. Epoxy surfboards come in a lot lighter than that. This can make for an enormous difference when lugging your surfboard down the beach or over the rocks to get in the water.
* Float better. Epoxy surfboards float better due to their lighter weight and the type of foam in the center. Epoxy boards are constructed from surfboard foam blanks made of EPS foam which is of a lighter weight and provides better buoyancy. Beginner surfers will find it much easier to catch a wave with a really buoyant surfboard.
* Less dingable. Epoxy resin is extremely tough and hard wearing. These surfboards are almost indestructible. Whereas traditional fiberglass surfboards are prone to dings, and cracking and erosion. Beginner surfers will find an epoxy surfboard will be a lot more forgiving than a traditional surfboard should they get swept onto rocks.
* Don't get waterlogged. This is a pretty important consideration. Once a traditional fiberglass board gets dinged or cracked, the water starts to leak into the surfboard. Two things then start to happen. Firstly the surfboard gets heavier and will not float as well.(Think about the weight of a wet towel versus a dry towel.) Secondly, the surfboard starts to discolor, delaminate, and if you let it go on for long enough, rot . Eventually the water logging will force you to get a buy a replacement. Epoxy surfboards are nice and durable so this won't ever be a day to day concern for you like it would be in a traditional glass board.
* Last longer. This ties in with the above two points. Epoxy surfboards last longer meaning you don't have to buy a new surfboard so often.
* Survive airports and traveling. Those surfers who fly around in pursuit of the perfect wave have all had accidents with airports and planes. Every surfer loading a surfboard onto a plane wonders what state the surfboard arrive in on the other side. Not much of a surfing vacation when the board comes off the plane in 2 pieces. The lesser weight of the epoxy surfboard also means the airline company can't slug you so much for the excess poundage.
* Cost a little more. An epoxy board may cost a bit more, depending on where you get it. However, once you factor in the life of the surfboard as opposed to getting a new surfboard every year or so, the extra couple of bucks doesn't seem like such a big deal. When you slap your new epoxy surfboard on a pile of rocks and it just bounces off like nothing happened, you'll be happy you pitched in a little extra.
* Lighter. Some experienced surfers do not like the added buoyancy and lightness of the epoxy surfboards. This is personal taste, and for those newer to the sport the lighter weight is actually a bonus to start with.
* New technology. There are plenty of surfers out there who prefer traditional boards and traditional methods. This again comes down to personal preference.
* Often machine shaped. Epoxy surfboards are generally machine shaped, which means that if you want custom designs or specific requirements it will cost you more. This is usually not a problem for less experienced surfers who are still developing their surfboard preferences.
* Difficult to repair. If you should be unlucky enough to significantly damage an epoxy surfboard you will find that they are tougher to repair. However, any GOOD surf repair shop should be able to repair it without a problem. (you can use epoxy Solarez for minor repairs)
* Less responsible surfing. This can be a big issue for new surfers and selfish individuals. Riding a surfboard when others around is always a responsibility. You have a moral obligation to ensure that your surfboard, no matter what it is made from, does not bang into other people. Epoxy may be indestructible but the other person's head isn't. Just because your surfboard may not be destroyed on the rocks does not mean you can release it like a water missile. You should care for your epoxy surfboard with as much respect as a traditional fiberglass board.