Board building for dummies – Part I

When I go to the beach there are always a few things I can count on seeing; sand, water, sun baked guys yelling “lolly to make you jolly” and the bunch of guys in the corner, skimming and having a good time. Last year I met the skimboarding crew of Camps Bay, Cape Town and I quickly realised that this was something worth getting into.

Last year I met the skimboarding crew of Camps Bay, Cape Town and I quickly realised that this was something worth getting into.

Although I had been riding a woodie for years, this was “next level” skimboarding with boards looking more like small, finless surfboards than pieces of plywood shaped something like a flattened egg. So [frame_left][/frame_left]a new, “real” board was what I needed and instead of buying one, I decided that I might try my hand at shaping and making my own.

In this section you can follow the progress of my project as it happens, with photos, links that I found helpful, little bits of info and useful tips I pick up as I go along. I’m planning on finishing two boards in about 4 to 5 weeks and since I only have limited shaping and glassing experience I’m also going to use the help of a local surfboard shaper. As for costs, time, challenges, what works and what doesn’t, stay tuned for more!

Part I

We all have to start somewhere.
I was lucky enough to find a large piece of EPS foam lying around and what better place to start? Not in perfect condition and a bit thick but better than having to buy a sheet, which is harder than it sounds as suppliers don’t want to sell in small numbers (you’d have to buy around 10). Next thing that might prove extremely important is research, of which I did a large amount. I spent time studying boards on the beach, on websites, in photos and in slo-mo in videos. [frame_right][/frame_right]Some of the websites I used include:

After looking at as many different boards as I could and getting a rough idea of the kind of boards I wanted I had to start looking at how these boards are actually made and here YouTube was my saviour! With my research done and all the ideas in my head I started drawing up templates on paper and then on the PC to start fine tuning dimensions and shapes. One of the things I spent some time wondering about was how to transfer the templates form a digital format to my board, obviously I could have printed out life-size templates but a much cheaper way was to simply use a projector which is what I did and although I ended up spending more than an hour on my hands and knees on the floor it turned out quite good. So this is where I’m at, research done, planning done, templates done and outlines traced on the foam.

In part II the shaping starts!