A surfboard is a lightweight, yet strong, board used for riding breaking waves. The first surfboard was first invented in ancient Hawaii where they were usually carved out of wood from trees. These were extremely heavy and many advances have been made in recent times to improve upon the original simple design. Modern surfboards need to float, be easy to carry and maneuver in the water, be strong enough to resist the forces of the waves and support a surfer standing on the board. Let’s find out which materials are used to create the perfect modern surfboard.
What are surfboards made from?
The first stage of manufacturing a surfboard starts with polyurethane or polystyrene foam, which forms the core of the board. The foam is also lightweight and provides the buoyancy so that the surfboard will float. A thin piece of wood is sometimes used in the middle of the foam to provide extra strength. The board is then shaped, often by hand, until it is the correct dimensions. If the board is made from polyurethane it is usually covered in layers of fiberglass cloth and resin to create the finished product. Polystyrene boards are usually made with epoxy resin instead, although sometimes polystyrene is used together with balsa wood.
Surfboards made virtually entirely of balsa are also available. They are popular because they are extremely light and easy to handle. However, they are also far more fragile and are prone to breaking.
Hollow wooden surfboards are made with just wood and epoxy. Even though they are hollow they weigh much more than a foam board.
Did you know?
It is expected that the next development in the surfboard industry will be the adoption of carbon fiber. This material is very strong and lightweight and is well known for being used in the construction of aircraft.