Hand Shaped EPS/Epoxy

Shaping

The Harbour Surfboards hand shaped EPS/epoxy surfboard is made from an expanded polystyrene foam core.  After it is hand shaped in much the same manner as a P/U blank, it is fiberglassed by hand using much the same techniques as polyester glassed surfboards. Do not confuse this hand shaped EPS/Epoxy board with molded epoxy boards.

A molded EPS/Epoxy surfboard has an extremely lightweight EPS core, which is blown in a mold and does not involve hand shaping. A layer of epoxy fiberglass is placed on each side in addition to a layer of PVC (high-density) foam covered by another layer of epoxy fiberglass. This is all assembled in a mold under pressure and the result is a sandwich type construction with a very rigid, dent resistant deck and bottom. Since the core is very light, the finished product is about 20% lighter than a polyurethane construction and very rigid.

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Glassing

We use a specially designed epoxy surfboard resin. It contains UV stabilizers, and a far superior strength to polyester resin. The glassing is all done by hand using much the same techniques as with polyester glassing.

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Strength

Since the adhesion properties of epoxy resin to EPS foam is so superior to the old P/E resin to P/U foam, delaminations will be very rare. A finished board will be stronger, lighter and livelier than any P/U surfboard you have ever owned.

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Coloring

  1. Paint that is sprayed onto EPS foam has no better bond than paint sprayed onto Polyurethane foam. Polyester resin has a better bond to foam than paint, and paint does not the have the greatest bond. Poly resin does not have great elasticity and this is why there are so many deck delaminations on polyurethane foam boards. On the other hand, Epoxy resin has much better elasticity and sensational bonding properties to EPS foam, as long as there is no paint on it. Clear EPS/Epoxy decks should be delamination free for all but the most extreme abuse. Therefore we don’t paint EPS decks. We can’t add pigment to Epoxy resin. Epoxy takes so long to cure that it seeps under our tapelines and looks terrible. Resin tints are out of the question because the foam has little pockets where the balls of foam tear out during the final sanding. Tints concentrate in such area and it would look awful.
  2. We will not put dark colors on the bottom of the board nor will we put our 15” triangle there. We have had Epoxy boards with those lams bubble and had the foam melt under them. Boards left in the sun for just a minute or two may get hot enough to melt foam under dark colors. EPS/Epoxy boards are very strong but extremely sensitive to heat. EPS foam begins to melt at about 150 degrees.
  3. Transparent colors cannot be had due to the texture of the EPS foam. It just wouldn’t look good. An EPS/Epoxy finished board will not have the look of a polyester board. There are issues with the rice paper laminates not turning a clear, and the glass fibers having a silvery appearance. If you wish your board to look like a polyester glassed surfboard, then that is what you should buy.
  4. We don’t gloss EPS/Epoxy boards. The gloss must be Polyester resin due to production requirements. Since Poly does not have the same elasticity as Epoxy resin, it eventually will begin chipping in dents if they are allowed to get too severe. Surfboards properly maintained will not experience this problem.

We have set these new guidelines for EPS/Epoxy boards because we want them to be of the highest standards that are possible. It is foolish to compromise anything when this kind of construction is intended to deliver a stronger, lighter, better performing board. EPS/Epoxy technology is best suited for High Performance boards and surfers more focused on the ride than the look. Customers who want their board to look like a PU/PE board should order a PU/PE board. Polyurethane foam is as good or better than it ever was and readily available.

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Care for an EPS/Epoxy surfboard:

They are stronger, both in impact and breakability. They are at least 10% lighter, which makes turning much easier. However they do not withstand heat very well. EPS foam actually begins to melt at 150 degrees. This temperature can easily be met in just a few minutes with a dark colored board left in the sun. No breather vent will prevent over heated foam from melting. With the weight of EPS foam that we use I don’t see an issue with delaminations. A vent might help reduce the possibility of delaminations, but the BEST solution to any heat related problems is to never leave any surfboard (polyurethane or EPS) exposed heat that will get the surface to more than 120 degrees. I have seen many polyurethane boards delaminate from excessive heat. Putting it inside of a car is not the answer, as you would not do this to your child or pet for the same reason you should not your surfboard. If there is simply no place with shade, the only option is a board bag. Dark colored bags only collect heat, making matters even worse and are not acceptable. Board bags are like ovens, they do not insulate from the heat, but collect it. Now being sold is a great bag that has a side vent that allows the bag to breath. Every surfer should own one. However I am still not comfortable with even a vented bag as the complete remedy for heat. It should only be used when you just cannot go home, or there is no shade. If you will treat your surfboard as if it were a newborn baby, you will never have any problems.

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Buoyancy

Two vessels that are the exact shape and weight will have the same buoyancy. A lighter vessel of the same exact shape will be more buoyant.

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Flex

The idea that all epoxy surfboards are stiff is a myth. Hand shaped EPS/epoxy surfboard are usually more flexible than your current polyurethane foam board.

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Size

Because they are lighter, our standard EPS/epoxy board will float just a little better. This means that you can go down about 2″ on our size charts for the same float. If you wish the float and length of one of our existing polyurethane models, we will need to increase the glass schedule.

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Weight

To add weight we increase the glass schedule.

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Repair

No surfboard is completely ding or break-proof. As with a P/U board, it will soak water if used with open dings. Also, unrepaired dings weaken the structure of the board, thus increasing the possibility of breakage. Use only epoxy resin for repairs, as P/E will melt the EPS foam. Otherwise, repairs are done in the same manner as your P/U board.

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