Originally published 7/25/2002


I bought a second hand shortboard a week or so ago and I can feel a soft spot on a section of the right rail. Is this a sign of delamination? Can I use normal polyester resin and hardener and pump it into the soft spot of the rail or do I have to use some special laminating resin? One last question: there is a slight brown discoloration near the center of my board, what exactly does that mean?


Resident WK ding repair expert Nick Carroll responds:

What's the best way to fix a delamination?

Depends what sort of “soft spot”. If the fiberglass coating of your board can be pushed inward, then bounces back up into its previous shape, it indicates a delamination: ie., the glass layer has become detached from the underlying foam, and a bubble has formed. But if the entire structure is soft — squelchy and staying where you pushed it — then you have a more serious piece of dingery.

In either case the best way to deal with the situation is to open the glass layer up and check it out. Squashy, wet foam should be left to dry for a few days, before surgery is performed to remove the worst of it and effect a repair (see below). A simple delamination could be treated very easily the old-fashioned way: by using a big old hospital syringe to squeeze the resin-hardener mix into the bubble through a small hole, then compressing the glass layer back down onto the foam — in effect, using the resin as a glue.

The browning near the center of your board may just be the effect of long-term exposure to sun on the blank, or an indication of a water leak somewhere in that area of the board, or a combination of both. Check the board’s surface for small yet deep cracks nearby — particularly along the stringer line.

You should always use hotcoat or filler-style polyester resin in ding repair work. It contains substances which allow the surface of the repair to harden thoroughly, rather than staying sticky in the manner of laminating resin.

In the meantime, see the authentic WK Ding Repair Manual, below:The horrible truth about your surfboard is that one day you’re going to hurt the thing. Maybe from running into someone else in the surf, or being run into, or hitting some rocks, or a thousand other accidents. But it will happen.When it does, you can have the fun of fixing it. Psyched! Here’s what you will need for a quick easy repair of a small ding or fracture:1) Polyester resin.2) Catalyst, and a small measuring cup to use it with. Methyl Ethyl Ketone Peroxide is its name, and when added to resin it causes the stuff to gel, then harden.3) Fiberglass. (Be careful with this stuff: it can be a skin irritant.)4) Polyurethane foam.5) A roll of tough masking tape.6) Sandpaper. Having several grades of paper on standby can be useful. Get a really coarse one (about 40-grit), a medium (150-grit) and a fine wet-and-dry (360-grit).7) A mixing container. A sturdy cardboard cup, a plastic bowl or an old ice-cream tub will do. It should be clean and dry. Use a small wooden slat as a mixing weapon.8) A Stanley knife, or other heavy-duty tradesman’s blade.9) Added extras: Q-cell, a fine powder which mixes with resin to create bulk without added weight, is great for helping fill smaller dings. UV-curing resin, which doesn’t need catalyst, is a great alternative, especially if you’re traveling.Most surf shops carry repair kits with all the ingredients, but you may need an extra can of resin or more glass. You will be able to get most of these things from a surfboard factory. Some supermarket hardwares offer good value too. This might all sound weird, like it’s a recipe and you’re gonna cook something; well, in a way you are.

First, make sure the ding is dry. This may take a day or more of standing the board somewhere comfortable (not in the sun.) Clean the wound, trimming all broken glass and torn foam and sanding the immediate area to ensure the resin has a roughened surface for a strong bond.

A bigger ding may need a foam plug. This looks a lot better than solid resin, and is lighter and stronger as well. To pull this off:Square off the edges of the ding. Cut a piece of foam to fit the gap. Mix up a small amount of resin and tape the foam into place, using the resin as glue. Once the resin has set, cut and sand the foam until its surface is level with the board, then trim the foam a little more.