One of the more common abuses inflicted on surfboards is that minor little nose ding. Chances are, at one point or another, you’ve probably noticed a sigh-causing small chip in the glass where rail meets rail on your board while waiting for a set. Well, like a hole in a sweater, if not fixed, it will continue to get worse by sucking in water, eventually causing bigger issues for your board down the road. Luckily, in the video above, Jojo Roper walks you through step-by-step how to repair that dinged up nose to a water-tight state.
When not chasing XXL swells around the world, Jojo Roper is repairing boards at the San Diego surfing institution founded by his father- Joe Roper's Ding Repair. Joe Roper has been fixing, restoring, salvaging and reshaping surfboards back to sea-worthiness for over 40 years. He's masterfully fixed every type of damage ever inflicted upon the sacred craft, and has the Instagram to prove it. When it comes to foam and fiberglass, the man works miracles and he’s imparted his ding repair wisdom to his son.
Sandpaper (40 grit, 150 grit and 320 grit)
4 oz. fiberglass cloth
6 oz. fiberglass cloth
Q-cell filler (cabosil or arosil)
Surfacing agent (sanding resin)
Step 1 – Preparation
Using 40 grit sandpaper, sand the area of the board surrounding the nose, especially where the little pieces of broken glass are. This creates a scuffed surface for the resin and patch to bond to the board.
Sand the rails on each side of the ding too, be careful not to sand all the way through to the foam. It’s recommended to do this by hand because the 90 degree angle of an angle grinder makes it difficult to sand the curvature of rails.
Step 2 – Lamination
With masking tape, tape off the sanded area of the nose.
Mix some filler by adding Cabosil or Arosil powder (these powders are the exact same thing but have different names due to their manufacturers) into some resin in a disposable cup with a little bit of catalyst until the compound is at a paste consistency.
Then work the paste into the nose cavity. Jojo uses a tongue depressor to reshape the portion of the nose that’s been sanded away. Clean up any excess paste in the repair area with some acetone.
Cut a piece of 6 oz. cloth to a size slightly smaller than the sanded area but large enough so that it hangs a little bit off the nose. Then cut a piece of 4 oz. cloth slightly larger than the sanding area and so that it covers the 6 oz. patch. With scissors, trim both patches so that their edges run parallel to the rails but still hang over.
With some sanding resin and a brush, saturate the cloth completely so that there are no bubbles. Laminate the patch to the board, Jojo uses his finger, squeegees work well too.
Once the resin is in a gel-like state, trim the patch along the dings using a razor blade. Leave a little excess of glassed cloth when trimming, this will hold a bead of resin that you’ll eventually reshape into the board’s nose.
Flip the board over. Cut a patch for the bottom of the repair out of the 6 oz cloth so that it follows the seam of the rail. Then cut a larger patch out of 4 oz. cloth that goes all the way to the sanding line and lay it on top of the 6 oz. patch. Lift the nose of the board up so that the rocker is level to prevent the resin from draining out of the repair area.
With a brush, saturate the patch with sanding resin. You’ll want a little pool of resin on the nose so that when it hardens, you’ll be able to reshape it.
Step 3 – Sanding
With 180 grit sandpaper, start breaking down the hardened resin on the repair. Sand in light strokes. It’s important to make sure you don’t sand the whole repair off and that you don’t sand all the way through the glass.
After the nose resembles the original shape of the board it’s ready to surf. If you want it to look cosmetically appealing, then use some 320 grit sandpaper to smooth out to your heart’s desire.
For a "How to" on fixing a buckled board, click here.
For a “How to” on fixing a fin box, click here.