July 4, 2022

Pros and cons of epoxy boards in surfing

Long ago, after World War II, the surfing world changed.

Space technologies of those years began to be used in everything, including the production of boards.

Hobie was the first to make boards using fiberglass and a polyurethane foam core. And since then, for nearly half a century, this technology (PU) has dominated the surfboard industry.

But in the late nineties, there was a new word in surfboard production called “epoxy.” Over time, this technology had its adherents and fans, and today epoxy boards occupy their own rather large segment of the surfboard market.

Surfers often have a question in their heads: “How do fiberglass (polyurethane, PU, ‚Äč‚Äčtraditional) and epoxy (EPS) boards differ from each other?

Which is better, epoxy or polyurethane? Which surfboard should you buy? ”

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PU AND EPOXY BOARDS?

Styrofoam (left) and polyurethane foam (right)

To answer these questions, you first need to understand the difference in technology.

The first technology (PU), traditional, consists in the fact that the shaper takes a blank – a blank made of polyurethane foam – and, with the help of tools and patterns, gives it a particular shape. The resulting figure is then covered with several fiberglass and polyester resin layers.

The second, newer technology, looks the same, but two differences exist.

First, a different foam material called EPS is used as the core.

It is foam, only more durable but at the same time lighter and less dense. One of the features of EPS foam is that it is difficult to handle by hand and requires special equipment.

The second difference is the resin that is used to cover the board. For glassing epoxy boards, not polyester, but epoxy resin is used. This resin is also significantly more potent than polyester.

WHICH TO CHOOSE?

The answer to this question is reminiscent of the response of the Zen sage: “Both types of boards can be good or bad; it all depends on the needs of the rider and the conditions in which these surfboards will be used.”

In general, most epoxy surfboards are lighter, stronger, and faster.

However, many surfers choose polyurethane (fiberglass) boards for the way they feel underfoot.

One of the positive aspects of fiberglass boards is that you always have the opportunity to order a custom board from a shaper, purely for yourself, just the way you want.

Also, those surfers who ride mainly PU boards often say that when riding an epoxy surfboard, it feels like it slips out from under their feet as if the board is going “faster than a surfer.”

Many famous brands produce the same board shapes in different designs. Left and right, respectively, PU and epoxy versions of DHD 3DV and HS HyptoCrypto models

Whoever says anything, there is a difference between fiberglass and EPS boards. In this article, we would like to talk about the pros and cons of epoxy surfboards.

ADVANTAGES OF EPS BOARDS:

  1. Epoxy resin is 33 percent stronger than polyester resin, which is used in the manufacture of PU boards;
  2. Since EPS is less dense, it contains more air. As a result, epoxy boards are more buoyant;
  3. Therefore, on an epoxy surfboard, it is easier to grow and rake on the waves;
  4. EPS formula allows shapers to create boards with thinner rails, which, at the same time, have higher buoyancy;
  5. EPS boards are lighter than traditional PU surfboards;
  6. Epoxy boards are ideal for beginner surfers;
  7. Thanks to the added buoyancy, EPS surfboards are also an ideal choice for tall and heavy riders;
  8. An epoxy surfboard is an excellent choice for weak, small waves;
  9. Epoxy boards will be a suitable choice for older surfers or those returning to surf after a long break;
  10. These boards are much more impact-resistant and withstand the effects of Dinges more easily;
  11. The deck does not squeeze from the pressure of the legs because the coating of epoxy surfboards is much more durable;
  12. On an EPS board, it is easier to drive through flat sections of the wave;
  13. Since epoxy boards are more durable, it is safer to fly with them in airplanes;
  14. During the manufacture of epoxy surfboards, fewer harmful chemicals are used, so they are less harmful to nature;
  15. EPS blanks can be coated with flax fiber using a bio-resin made from plant-based components;
  16. EPS foam can be recycled;
  17. Increased buoyancy is ideal for freshwater, as the boards float worse in it;
  18. Thanks to their lightness, EPS surfboards are ideal for airs;
  19. XPS foam (EPS type) will hardly absorb water if the top layer is damaged.

CONS OF EPOXY SURFBOARDS:

  1. An epoxy board is generally more expensive than a similar fiberglass board. The difference in the cost of two identical panels made of different materials will be about $ 100-150;
  2. Since EPS boards are more buoyant, it is more challenging to duck on them;
  3. These boards may be too light for some riders;
  4. Making epoxy boards is complicated; there are not enough hand tools. All technology is geared towards mass production, so custom options are not always possible;
  5. Need to fix the ding? Not every repairer will undertake such work, and it will cost more;
  6. EPS boards are less flexible than fiberglass boards, so they feel stiffer while driving and are a little harder to turn on;
  7. Most epoxy boards are made in Asia, so their quality may vary from piece to piece;
  8. Epoxy surfboard is more sausage on chop;
  9. Epoxy resin cures twice as long as polyester, so it takes longer to produce epoxy boards;
  10. EPS-boards crash into waves worse, and their rails stick to the wall worse.

As you can see, in comparison with traditional polyurethane boards, somewhere epoxy boards win, and somewhere they lose.

Therefore, it is evident that there is no single answer to which type of surfboard design is better.

Everyone must decide for himself what he wants from the board, and then it will already become clearer which one to choose.

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