How to Sand a Surfboard

A quality sanding may be the most important step in surfboard shaping and repair.

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How to Sand Surfboard Hot Coat

Sanding is another important step in making your surfboard. Don’t get lazy here!

Sanding your hot coat is done by starting with a medium grit sandpaper and moving up to finer grits.

You can use a power sander or hand sanding here or a combination of the two. A power sanding will be faster and more consistent, but you may want to use your hands for more sensitive or tight areas of the board.

The goal of sanding is to smooth out the hot coat to get flat, even surfaces throughout the board. Try to keep the sander level and moving to avoid creating any gouges. Go slow and apply light pressure.

After moving around the board and up through grits, inspect the top and bottom for any burn throughs.

Burn throughs are areas where the fiberglass weave has been exposed. You’ll need to apply a little resin to these areas. If you have a lot of them, you may want to apply a second hot coat.

Once burn throughs are dealt with, move up to your finish grits.

From here, you can add any painted art or pinlines you were planning on and apply a gloss and polish coat.

Sander/Polisher for Surfboard Shaping & Ding Repair

Milwaukee Sanders/Polishers have been an industry standard for sanding surfboards.

Models that feature variable speed control from 0-6,000 RPM give you more than enough control to get the sanding phase of shaping your surfboard done right.

Pair this with some flexible sanding pads and adhesive sandpaper discs and your freshly shaped board will be ready for water in no time.

What type of sander do surfboard shapers use?

After the surfboard has been shaped and glassed, surfboard builders use a variable speed sander/polisher tool to sand it smooth.

These surfboard sanders are sold sanders/polishers/grinders and are often used for metal work or for working on cars.

To use them for a surfboard, you attach a soft and flexible sanding pad with an adhesive sanding disc. Look for one with a standard 5/8″-11 spindle thread size.

Variable speed in a surfboard sander is important to give you the most control as you sand different areas of the board and to help you avoid burning through the resin and fiberglass layers.

To properly sand and finish your surfboard, you’ll need:

  • The variable speed sander/polisher tool.
  • Soft-backed sanding pads.
  • Adhesive sanding discs of varying grits.

These types of sanders are also handy for surfboard repair.

Keep your sander lasting longer by clearing out the vents on the side.

Sanding Pads for Surfboard Shaping

To go along with your surfboard sander, you’ll also need some sanding pads. Some great choices for the best surfboard sanding pads include:

You’ll typically use a harder pad for starting your sanding work, making repairs, and working on your fins. The softer pads can be used for finishing sanding and sanding foam.

Softer sanding pads should be used at lower RPMs.

Sandpaper Discs for Surfboard Shaping & Repair

You’ll use adhesive sanding discs to work on your surfboard and finish repairs. These stick to your sanding pads with their own adhesive backing or with the help of some spray adhesive.

You’ll want to get a variety of grits and work your way up from about 80 grit to 600 grit as you sand your surfboard. Be sure to pick the right sized sanding disc for your sanding pads.

Some great choices for the best surfboard sanding discs include:

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