As you are probably aware with Summer upon us and Christmas approaching very rapidly, business for us has been ramping up. I have been spending a lot of time on the water discussing boards with customers of late and the same questions have been arising. The most common question is related to the best board care practice, so I thought it would be a good idea to write a post about this to help clarify the best board care techniques for your beloved SUP.
Question No. 1: Should I rinse my board off with fresh water after use?
Yes, if possible. Salt water can assist in aging some products quite rapidly so if you have access to some fresh water, a rinse is a great idea. Even once every couple of outings is good practice.
The next question is quite interesting and is a bit new to me. I have been doing some research on it recently. If you have anything to add, please leave a comment I would love to hear your experiences.
Question No. 2: Should I dry my board before I put it in my board bag?
The answer is yes, give it a quick towel dry or air dry before bagging. I have been reading about this lately. Apparently if your board is left in a board bag wet it can start a reaction called osmosis which can cause small bubbles to form in the glass on the surface of your board. This appears to be more of a problem in humid climates also on boards that are not used very regularly so are in the bag wet for long periods. It appears some brands have been having quite a few issues with this, I am yet to experience it. All our boards (except for our endurance boards) have a clear finishing coat so this may help to prevent the problem. (I am guilty of not drying my boards as I am so busy doing lessons and board trials etc, I will have to improve my practice).
Question No. 3: I have heard that you should keep your SUP out of extreme heat! What’s the deal with this as it is a product made for the beach in summer!???
Most SUP’s (this includes ours) are constructed from an EPS core (expanded polystyrene) coated in fibre glass and epoxy resin with bamboo of course. Polystyrene foam is used instead of polyurethane foam as it is a hell of a lot lighter. As SUP’s are so large, the lightest products must be used otherwise we would not be able to carry them. Polystyrene contains a lot of air. Depending on the density of the foam this can be around 70% and even more in some products! When the air in the foam heats up it expands which puts a hell of a lot of pressure on the hard-outer shell of the SUP. To prevent damage, all EPS / Epoxy SUP’s should be fitted with an air vent. The air vent allows the gases to escape from the board (allows the board to breath) to try to prevent the internal pressure build up. Our boards, and most modern boards, have a self-breathing vent which takes care of this process for you and helps to prolong the life of your board. Continued exposure to extreme heat can cause boards to delaminate which is when the hard-outer core pulls away from the foam creating a large bubble in the glass. Fortunately, we have not experienced this with any of our boards, but it could be possible. Please note that this is mainly when the board is exposed to powerful UV rays from the sun, hot cloudy days don’t seem to be too bad. Please check the following list of preventative measures that can help to prolong the life of your board.
Question No. 4: So why don’t I need an air vent in my EPS / epoxy surfboard?
This is quite simple. As a surfboard is generally shorter, narrower, and thinner than a SUP the amount of air movement inside the board is not as great which means less pressure on the hard-outer structure of the board. This smaller amount of air movement is manageable for the board. It is still good practice to keep your epoxy surfboards cool to help prolong their life as well.
In the early days of EPS / epoxy construction prior to the use of air vents, usually on wind surfers, it was not uncommon for some boards to pop due to excessive air expansion! This did even occur when the boards were taken to higher altitudes in planes for example!
Question No. 5: How should I care for all my other products? Bag, paddle, leash etc?
Once again, a fresh water wash every now and again is highly recommended (I must admit I get a bit slack on this when I am busy). Our newer board bags can zip right open, so it is a good practice to open right up and hose out now and again. Sand in the bag can act like sand paper on the finish of the board when sliding it in and out of the bag. Be sure to dry the bag well before returning the board to the bag for storage.
A fresh water rinse is also great for your paddle and leash etc. from time to time. Also with the black carbon paddles, it is a good idea not to store them for long periods of time in extremely hot condition. Enclosed parked cars on a hot summers day can get very hot.
Before storage over the cold winter months wash your gear out well and air dry. Wet sandy products stored for months are a recipe for disaster. There is nothing worse than gummed up zips on board bags or mould growth on deck grips and bags!
This is a very hard question to answer as I don’t know how each person is going to care for their product. All I can say is if you follow these guidelines you will get many years of fun from your SUP. Love your SUP and it will give you many years of love in return.
If you have any questions or you have any tips you would like to add, please contact me or leave a comment.