Depending on your creativity, curiosity, and patience, a surfboard can be made out of as many or as little materials as you want.
And the end result can be as toxic or as sustainable as you want.
The mix of materials used to produce the final surfboard will have unique effects on its final weight, buoyancy, flex, appearance, and more.
Surfboard materials is yet another knob that can be adjusted to achieve what seems like endless results for your final board – all in the pursuit of experiencing something new on the face of a wave.
What are Surfboards Made of?
Before we get into more alternative surfboard materials, let’s start with a baseline.
A typical surfboard you’ll find on the rack of your local surf shop is made of:
- A foam core (EPS or PU)
- Resin (Epoxy or Polyester)
- Wood – for the stringer
- Plastic – for the fin boxes and leash cup
Many boards also feature a mix of carbon fiber to add some sort of strength and flex in certain areas.
Composite surfboards feature some of the same materials above, but in smaller layers and are often combined with other materials like wood veneer or cork.
Wood surfboards offer even more versatility to the mix of materials – ranging from not all that different than the typical foam board described above to something that surfs with only a few materials.
The simplest wood surfboard can be produced with nothing more with wood and natural oil.
A more common wood surfboard likely includes:
- Wood – for the core, whether hollow frame or chambered.
- Wood glue – to bind the joints.
- Resin – to seal the wood.
- Fiberglass – to strengthen the board.
What is the Best Surfboard Material?
The best surfboard material is a question with unlimited answers. The best surfboard depends on the waves, your mindset, how you want to surf, the weight of the board, the sustainability of the board, etc.
Best can be judged on a variety of criteria, and I think it’s kind of a waste of time to think about things in that way.
If you’re able to abandon the labels of best or perfect, you’re going to find yourself more open to experimentation and curiosity, and unexpected moments of joy and discovery.
Ah – what am I saying? Surf and build whatever you want.