The situation

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Having purchased a CBS Minimal, 7’6” surfboard from eBay and had it couriered down from Edinburgh, it arrived this afternoon not quite as it should have.

It turns out, the surfboard is actually 7’2”, rendering it fairly useless for me as a beginner surfer. It also has several cracks, including a chunk missing out of the nose.

My first port of call was for some professional advice. So I contacted one of Europe’s greatest surfboard shapers, Tim Mellors of Custard Point Surfboards in Newquay*. I have to say, phoning him up out of the blue, he could not have been more helpful to me in my state of panic. A credit to the surfing community, Tim suggested that I make the best of a bad situation, repair the surfboard which wasn’t seriously damaged, and give it a try. If I find it is too small for me and is affecting my learning, I would be able to trade it in at many surf shops in the South West and not be out of pocket.

I immediately contacted the seller, cut through his nonsense and suggested he either refund me the full amount and have it picked up, or send me £50 immediately through Paypal and I would forget the whole thing. This would give me enough money to repair the board, and trade it in for a suitably sized minimal, or sell it on. As I thought, he sent me the £50. At least I am now back in control of the situation.

What follows then, is my first attempt at a surfboard restoration project. Having messed about with classic mini’s for the past 10 years, fibreglassing is not new to me. Let’s see how I get on eh…

Custard Point Surfboards

*Interesting fact: The record for the most number of surfers on a board was broken in 1989 at Fistral Beach, Newquay. 12 surfers rode a 37ft longboard shaped by Tim Mellors.

The damage

I immediately de-waxed the surfboard, and used panelwipe to ensure there was no wax residue left on the surface. This allowed me to properly inspect the surface, and highlight the areas that would need repairing.

Nose chunk

This is the worst area, the fibreglass flexes where it has broken through. Nose damage

Rail scratch

3 scratches that come to the surface, require a repair right around the curve of the rail. Rail damage

Surface crack

Doesn’t seem to reach the surface, however it runs a good 3” so I will reinforce the area anyway. Surface damage

Tail damage

The fibreglass is cracked right along the base of the surfboard, so I will replace the whole section.

Tail damage - top

Tail damage - left

corner Tail damage - right

corner Tail damage - bottom

The solution

I am going to repair it.

Materials for repair

Ding All Epoxy Repair Kit

As I am not certain whether the surfboard is made from polyester or polystyrene, I can only use a polystyrene repair kit, as a polyester kit will melt the polystyrene, but the reverse is not true. I have purchased the Ding All Epoxy Repair Kit, which dries to a clear finish, hopefully rendering the repairs invisible. All in, only £15. Ding Repair Guide

Repair Procedure

April 21 Wednesday 2010 I began by throughly cleaning the damaged areas, and then sanding them with some rough paper. This allowed me to clearly see what sort of damage there was, but more crucially, would ensure that the fibreglass and resin would adhere to the surfboard properly. I used my professional sanding paper designed for automotive use rather than the pieces that came with the repair kit, as I have many more grades which would allow me to produce a much better finish.

Next I cut the fibreglass cloth into the required shapes and sizes for my dings, as well as cutting some tiny pieces to be used as filler for the nose chunk. Then I mixed the resin as per the instructions, and began. I mixed 5 fl. oz. of resin with 10 fl. oz. of hardener, which provided me with twice as much mixture as I actually needed! So if you are only repairing one small ding, you only need to mix a tiny amount.

It is a very simple process of coating the area with a thin layer of resin, applying the fibreglass cloth, and then coating the whole area again with resin until the cloth becomes saturated and turns clear. With the nose chunk, I simply added more cloth over the chunk to fill it out; it is important to remember that it is the fibreglass that provides the strength to the repair, the resin simply acts as a sealant and a finisher.

The final stage was then to smooth over the repair with the clear plastic provided in the kit. As I had multiple repairs to make at once, I used cling film for the other sections. I then left this to dry in the sun, the temperature was about 13°C which allowed the sections in direct sunlight to dry in about 3 hours, but I left it indoors overnight to finish curing.

Nose repair

Covered with cling film to smooth out the resin mixture. Nose repair

Rail repair

Covered with plastic sheet to smooth out the resin mixture. Rail repair

Tail repair

Covered with cling film to smooth out the resin mixture. Tail repair


Masking off the repaired areas

The next day I removed the covering plastics and checked the repairs. The rail repair was unbelieveably smooth! It was even a better finish than the surfboard itself, all that required was for it to be blended in. Unfortunately, where I had used cling film, the surface was very rough, which required much more sanding. I masked off all of the areas to prevent sanding good areas of the surfboard.

I began with p80 grade paper, then followed this up with p240, p400, then wet and dry grade 1200, finally polishing the area with T-Cut. The finished results are excellent, you cannot spot the repairs without knowing. Unfortunately, you can still see the original damage, but this is now under a perfect layer of strong fibreglass, so the surfboard is fully watertight and ready to go!

Finished Surfboard

Nose finished

You can just see the damage under the new fibreglass, but the surfboard is now fully watertight. Nose repaired

Rail finished

The plastic sheet provided an amazingly smooth finish that only required blending in. Rail repaired Bottom of rail repair

Tail finished

The entire tail section was reinforced for added strength. Tail repaired Bottom of tail repair

Other shots

The surface scratch is now sealed under the fibreglass. Top scratch repaired Bottom of finished surfboard Top of finished surfboard Surfboard in bag

Surfboard accessories

FCS fins, key and noseguard FCS fins, key and noseguard

Surfboard dimensions

7’2” x 21¼” x 2⅝” shaped by D.J. 7_2 x 21¼ x 2⅝ by D.J.

Other Information

All I know about the surfboard is that it was purchased last year (2009) in Bali, Indonesia, from Token Surf Shop, 271 Shute Harbour Road, (07) 4946 6667.

It was made in Australia by a company called “CBS Australian Surfboards” and shaped by somebody called “D.J.”. I will add more information if and when I find it.