What is the difference between different materials of surfboards?
Surfboard blanks are mainly made of three materials:
PU polyurethane blank
Polyurethane (PU) structure refers to the surfboard made of polyurethane blank and polyester resin.
The polyurethane foam is easy to form and spray, so the surfboard is cheaper than polystyrene because it takes less time to form and finish each board.
Polyurethane surfboards react faster, but with the passage of time, they will absorb water and easily turn yellow, and are easy to peel or crack.
Polyurethane (PU) foam has higher foam density than polystyrene (EPS), which increases elasticity and makes riding more stable.
The biggest disadvantage of building PU boards is their impact on the environment, because they contain carcinogens and are basically impossible to recycle in the form of surfboards.
The biggest benefit: PU surfboard is the cheapest choice.
PE PE blank
Polyethylene (PE) refers to the surfboard made of polyurethane blank and epoxy resin.
Polyurethane foam (PU) and epoxy resin are upgraded versions of traditional PU boards, which are laminated with glass fiber cloth and special epoxy resin. It has been proved that it can have a more vivid pattern design, and its strength is also increased by five times, which also helps to reduce the yellowing over time. But the manufacturing is more difficult and takes longer.
EPS polystyrene foaming
EPS is a popular choice for many brands today for many reasons. One of the most significant differences between EPS and PU is weight.
Epoxy resin is the only resin that can be used for EPS foam.
EPS foam is lighter and more durable than traditional PU. The epoxy resin has high strength and is not prone to dents and indentation.
EPS foam is more tough and elastic, which makes it easier to restore its shape than polyester fiber, while polyester is more brittle and easier to crack.
EPS foam is much lighter than PU, which provides an excellent choice for beginner surfers. Lighter surfboards are easier to move quickly. This extra sensitivity makes them very suitable for progressive surfing on the waves, allowing you to operate quickly and flexibly.
At the same time, EPS foam has better buoyancy, which is conducive to faster acceleration, and also makes it easier to glide through flat waves. The combination of these factors makes them an excellent choice for small waves.
In addition, EPS is also more environmentally friendly. Unlike PU, EPS can be recycled, making it the best choice for sustainable surfboard manufacturers and surfers.
But at the same time, EPS foam is not easy to form and cannot be used together with polyester resin due to temperature/chemical sensitivity. It does not react well to the thermochemical reaction of polyester resin and will melt. Therefore, epoxy resin is the only choice for polystyrene.
The polystyrene foam core sealed with epoxy resin has a longer service life and releases less toxic gas. Therefore, this combination is better for the earth.
In short, if you have a limited budget and are an intermediate/advanced surfer, you can use PU/PE board. They are easy to ride and responsive, but they will wear faster than materials. If you have a large budget and are a beginner and need a solid board to learn, you can choose EPS board.
In addition, many beginners will ask a softboard question, which is also mentioned here by the way.
Soft top surfboard
The three materials mentioned above are all hard boards. Another kind of soft board is also very common. Soft top surfboard is a kind of surfboard with a similar soft skin on its surface. There is also a kind of foam surfboard, also called soft board.
Hardboard is generally made of polyurethane (PU) or polystyrene foam (EPS), and then covered with polyester or epoxy resin to form a hardened surface around the board.
The inner core of the soft board is the same as that of the hard board, except that the surface hardened glass fiber or epoxy resin is replaced by the soft and curable vinyl acetate board. Think of the sports mat, the insole of sports shoes, the yoga board and the baseboard. They are all made of the same material as the soft top surfboard.
Compared with the traditional hard-top surfboard, the soft-top surfboard has better buoyancy, good stability and low price. The soft skin on the surface also makes the paddling more comfortable.
In addition, because it is a soft board, it can greatly reduce the risk of injury. At present, most clubs use soft boards.
In general, the soft board is more suitable for beginners and some weak and fragile waves in the wave area. However, it is difficult for beginners to control the direction of the board and its speed is slow, resulting in poor wave grasping.
The biggest advantages of fiberglass board are light weight, better performance, faster speed and faster responsiveness. It can be quickly adjusted according to the wave conditions to adapt to the wave, and it is also convenient to do some difficult professional actions.
Hardboard is obviously more suitable for intermediate or experienced professional players, as well as some stronger and faster waves in the wave zone, so it is still the mainstream in the market.