If you are into surfing and have always dreamed of a surfboard featuring your design, you are not the only one. The good news is, even a beginner can make a longboard surfboard on their own, and so can you.
Nevertheless, this type of work requires certain tools and materials, which cost money. How much does it cost you to make a longboard surfboard, exactly?
This post will show you what to prepare, what it may cost you, and provide a brief step-by-step guide to help you picture the entire process of making your own longboard surfboard.
How Much Does It Cost To Make A Longboard Surfboard?
In total, to make a longboard surfboard, you may have to spend from $220 to $300, not to mention labor costs.
The process of shaping a longboard surfboard involves a lot of tools, equipment, and material. If you want to make one by yourself, most of your budget will go into buying these things.
The first and most important thing to buy is a foam blank, which can cost from $70 to $140 depending on its size.
And then, here are what you need: Handsaw, planer, sander, face mask, fiberglass cloth, spreaders and squeegees, Epoxy resin and hardener, masking tape, fin system and fin boxes, black pigment, leash plug, latex gloves, measuring buckets, paintbrushes, and stir sticks.
They may cost you about $150, depending on where and how quality they are.
If you want to include labor costs because the time spent on making the surfboard could be spent on other jobs that generate money, you can add another $200 for 8 hours of work.
The total time spent on making a surfboard ranges from six to eight hours, the average earning in the US is $25 per hour, hence the amount mentioned above. Not to mention the actual time you need to complete your own board can exceed this estimate, meaning the opportunity cost can be greater.
Should You Make Your Own Longboard Surfboard?
Benefits Of Making Your Own Longboard Surfboard
Making your longboard surfboard can be an extremely rewarding experience due to the following reasons.
- It is customized for you
If you have an idea for your longboard surfboard but no shops are selling what you’re looking for, shaping your board is the best way. It lets you create a board just for you with all the features you want.
- It makes you appreciate your surfboard more
The more effort you put into your board, the more you will appreciate it.
You don’t want to neglect a board you spent hours making like the one you spent 5 minutes paying for, do you? Making a board by yourself also motivates you to take better care of it and maintain it better.
- It’s fun
For those into surfing, every step of shaping a longboard surfboard will surely be full of joy.
Each stage is more exciting, from shaping it up in your mind to figuring out how to work a planer and screening in your rails.
The best part is riding the board once it’s done when you can fully enjoy all the effort and dedication put into your work.
Challenges Of Shaping A Longboard Surfboard
As tempting as it may be, shaping a surfboard is not for everyone. Before deciding to take on this task, there are a few challenges you should be aware of.
Being an expert surfer doesn’t mean you can easily shape a board yourself.
Hand shaping your own board on a foam blank is a lot of work as it’s tricky to picture its shape, dimensions, and features, which calls for a lot of experience from the shaper.
If you don’t sufficiently understand surfboards, make sure you are dedicated enough and willing to spend extra effort on your board.
- Try and fail
It may take about 20 boards before your first success, especially if you don’t have much experience in board shaping.
Yet, you will learn from your mistake after each failure and do better next time.
While it’s cheap to buy tools for making a surfboard, the fact that you may fail the first time likely results in extra purchases and time spent on the board.
Eventually, the actual amount you spend on your hand-made board may even surpass the price of a quality board, not to mention the labor cost involved.
How To Make A Longboard Surfboard: A Step-By-Step Guide
Step 1: Prepare
As listed in the first section of this post, you need to buy several tools and equipment unless they are already available in your garage.
These include a foam blank, handsaw, planer, sander, face mask, fiberglass cloth, Spreaders and Squeegees, Epoxy Resin and Hardener, masking tape, fin system, and fin boxes, black pigment, leash plug, latex gloves, measuring buckets, paintbrushes, and stir sticks.
Note that the foam blank must be larger than your desired size. Plus, you should get goggles, ear protection, and a respirator to protect your health during the shaping process.
Step 2: Shape The Template
- Place the template paper on the foam blank and cut it using the handsaw.
- Next, use the sander to sand the rail smoothly until you achieve square edges.
- After that, use the caliper to measure and determine how much foam needs to mow.
- Remove the extra foam. To do this, take the planer, pass it perpendicular to the stringer, starting at the tail to the nose and do each side of the blank at a time.
- Lastly, pass the planer over the critical areas slightly to shape the tail and the rocker.
Step 3: Prepare The Fin Setup And Rails
- Decide your fin setup then mark the positions of the front and back fins on both sides with a pencil.
- Use the sander to remove imperfections from the blank.
- Then, cut the rail bevel to achieve rounded edges.
- Remember to apply moderate strength when sanding the vee zone.
Step 4: Round The Rails
Place the blank with its deck facing up, use a planer to turn the rails from nose to tail at a 45-degree angle.
Ensure symmetry between the two rails and round them to reduce sharp edges.
Step 5: Smooth The Outline
- Sand the deck until it blends with the rails, then round and smooth both rails to obtain your desired profile.
- Sand the entire surface of the board, from one end to another while maintaining the desired shape.
- Check and confirm that the rail work is of good quality. To do this, pass the rails through your thumb and index finger, from nose to tail.
- Also, measure and note down the dimensions of your new board.
Step 6: Seal The Blank
- First, you need to tape off the stringer on both sides of the board.
- Next, apply and spread the sealer all over the board surface and the deck with the spreader. Try to make it as smooth as possible.
- After sealing the blank, you can do some artwork on the board if you want to. Just remember to use water-based paints instead of oil paints.
Step 7: Glass The Bottom
- First, you need to cut the fiberglass. Lay the fiberglass over the board, cut around so that it’s wide enough to wrap a little on the other side of the board.
- Then, tape the edge of the deck just enough to cover the outermost 2-3 inches of the deck.
- Next, mix the resin with a hardener, install the future fin with this mixture, and cover the fiberglass cloth over the board. Now pour the mixture on the cloth and spread it all over the fiberglass cloth with the spreader.
- Then, use the spreader to press the edge of the cloth so it wraps the rails, starting from the center and working your way out to the front. Leave it for a few hours.
- Flip the board, trim the cut-lap and the fiberglass cloth, leaving only an inch or half an inch on the edge of the board.
Step 8: Glass The Deck
- Repeat the same process but for the deck. However, this time, you need two layers of fiberglass cloth. One of them should be smaller than the deck while the other should wrap the rails and a little on the other side.
- Once you’re done glassing the deck, you will also need to trim the cut lap just like the bottom.
- Then, sand the deck so the fiberglass feels even and blend with the surface.
Step 9: Hot-coat The Bottom
- Before hot-coating the bottom, you need to tape the rails with masking tape to create a wall wrapping the bottom. Now, if the epoxy applied in step 7 has cured, remove the blush and prep the bottom for a new layer of epoxy.
- Then, mix the resin with the hardener and spread the mixture all over the bottom using the brush. As you spread, remember not to overwork it or there will be air bubbles in the coating.
- Spread the epoxy again but in the opposite direction to achieve an even coating. Wait for a few hours to remove the masking tape.
Step 10: Hot-coat The Deck
Repeat the same process as step 9 but on the deck.
Step 11: Install The Fin Box
Cut through the coating and fiberglass and peel off these layers to reveal the template.
Pour a little mixture of resin and hardener into the template then install the fin box.
Step 12: Install The Leash Plug
Measure the leash plug, mark its position on the deck, and drill into the deck to install the leash plug.
Step 13: Gloss Coat The Board
Mix the resin with a hardener. Start with the deck, pour the mixture on the surface, and spread it using the brush until you achieve a nice, even layer of gloss coating.
Do the same with the bottom of the board.
Step 14: Finish
Now that your board is basically complete, you need to do a little more sanding and polishing to give your longboard surfboard a fine finish.
What is the easiest surfboard to make?
Foam surfboards are the easiest to make, which beginners can pick to start with. Foam surfboards are user-friendly, stable, and easy to ride.
Is it hard to shape a surfboard?
No, shaping a surfboard is not as hard as you may think, as long as you get the right tools for the job. However, it does require attention to detail and delicate handling.
In short, making a longboard surfboard may cost you anywhere between $220 and $300.
The exact cost depends on where you buy your supplies, but it should not equal or surpass the amount you spend on a store-bought board.
Plus, to make a complete longboard surfboard, you need to spend at least a day or two, including the waiting time after glassing or coating the board.
Last but not least, we recommend that you do your homework before getting started to avoid unfortunate mistakes.
- How Much Does It Cost To Make A Longboard Surfboard?
- Should You Make Your Own Longboard Surfboard?
- How To Make A Longboard Surfboard: A Step-By-Step Guide
- Step 1: Prepare
- Step 2: Shape The Template
- Step 3: Prepare The Fin Setup And Rails
- Step 4: Round The Rails
- Step 5: Smooth The Outline
- Step 6: Seal The Blank
- Step 7: Glass The Bottom
- Step 8: Glass The Deck
- Step 9: Hot-coat The Bottom
- Step 10: Hot-coat The Deck
- Step 11: Install The Fin Box
- Step 12: Install The Leash Plug
- Step 13: Gloss Coat The Board
- Step 14: Finish
- Final Thoughts