So you finally got a new surfboard, and you have been out surfing on it a couple of times. But now, you are starting to notice some unsightly pressure dents and shallow holes on the deck of your board. Well, we’ve all been there!
Whether you’re a beginner or even an advanced surfer who knows how to keep their board in tip-top shape, you’re bound to see a few dings on your board earlier than you expect. Yet, although they may look worrisome, you’re not going to end up with a snapped board or anything.
So tag along as we explain what pressure dings refer to, why surfboards get them, and whether they’ll affect your board’s performance and surfing experience.
Surfboard Dings Explained
To know what a pressure ding is, you must understand what a board is made of first. In general, boards are constructed from a thick foam blank core covered with fibreglass cloth and resin.
A pressure ding is a dent or a circle that appears to have a lower surface than the rest of the board. It’s not a crack, nor is it a deep hole, but rather a pressure point that results when the board compresses due to constant pressure with your feet or knees.
Broken boards are the greatest fear of surfers but coming right after are punctures or cracks that allow water to pass the fibreglass layer and reach the foam. These can make the board waterlogged and lose its buoyancy.
Related Article: Can you fix a waterlogged surfboard?
Fortunately, since dings are generally (but not always) closed holes, they affect the outer layer of the board only, meaning that water won’t be able to pass to the buoyant material and sink the board.
How Do Surfboards Get Pressure Dings?
As their name implies, pressure dents come from the constant and repetitive pressure that your feet, hands, fingers, and knees produce on the board.
Because the inner layer is made from foam, it’s only natural to compress at the parts where you apply pressure constantly while the other parts stay in shape. That’s what results in the dinged form you see after surfing a couple of times.
However, the frequency and the depth of these dents depend on many factors. For example, the type of water you surf in and the size of waves you face will affect the depth of the pressure ding your board gets.
Also, whether your board is made from polyurethane (PU) or expanded polystyrene (EPS) is a factor. EPS foam is up to 20% more buoyant than PU foam due to more air in the foam. As a result, PU foam boards are less susceptible to dings.
Why Do Surfboards Get Pressure Dings?
Let’s get one thing straight first. As long as you surf, your board will always be exposed to damage. It’s a part of the deal. You can crack a rail while learning to jump on the board, snap the board’s head or nose while riding a huge wave, or displace a fin box while trying to make a shallow duck dive. The same goes for dings.
Although the material used plays a huge role in the surfboard’s sturdiness and resistance to damage, a pressure ding is inevitable. The spot where you place your foot or knee every time you step on your board will always have a pressure ding, even if the board itself has a thick fibreglass job.
While this is the most common way to acquire dings on top of a board, the bottom is almost always exposed to damage.
Think of the many times you knock your board’s bottom in the car door or knob when you’re hauling it from and to the water – we all can be clumsy sometimes. Not to mention, the knee strikes it gets when you’re thrown off the board by a wave and try to get on it again.
Can You Still Surf With a Ding?
The general answer is yes. After all, a ding hurts your board aesthetically more than functionally, so it won’t affect the performance as long as it’s a small one. Some surfers even like having tiny dings on their boards, saying they add a personal touch to their boards and mean they’ve actually used them.
However, that only applies to small dings. Bigger ones, especially those at the bottom or on critical parts like the rail or the fin box, may impact the hydrodynamics of the board. In other words, they could affect its balance and how it glides on the water, which isn’t something you’d want from a surfboard.
So how do you know if it’s safe to use your dinged board? As long as the ding is in a safe spot and hasn’t cut through the board’s skin, it’ll maintain its performance and balance. You only have to worry if a ding is paired with cracks; that’s when they become an issue.
How Do You Fix Pressure Dings on a Surfboard?
While dings don’t pose a significant danger on your board, fixing them early can help keep the inner layer watertight and elongate your board’s life. You can perform a quick fix using adhesive tape (ding tape) or an epoxy putty stick. However, for larger pressure dings, you can do the following:
- Place your board on a flat surface.
- Using sandpaper, smoothen the ding and the surrounding area.
- Pour a few drops of resin and catalyst into a paper cup and mix well.
- Pour the mixture over the dent and spread evenly.
- Leave the resin to harden, then sand the ding’s surface again.
As you can see, pressure dings aren’t that dangerous, and you can fix them yourself without the need to carry your surfboard to a repair shop.
Yet, they can’t be prevented as they result from the natural process of surfing. Even the thickest of fibreglass cloth can’t secure against them. So don’t worry when you see one, but remember to ensure they aren’t paired with a crack to prevent further damage.