The buckle in question here is the most common type found on boards made by many leading manufacturers and brands. They are typically used to connect two pieces of fiberglass together at their edges (although some models use plastic for this purpose).
They can also be seen throughout the board where they act as reinforcement points for its construction. You’ll find them in all manner of places including under fins, between layers or even inside foam cores. Some people call these “weak links” in the structure of a surfboard because if damaged during manufacture then it’s likely that cracks will occur elsewhere later down the line when pressure is applied to the board while being ridden.
If you’ve ever watched someone riding your favorite wave with a broken board then you may have experienced the pain yourself too! This is why it’s so important to know how to repair a buckled surfboard should yours break mid-way through an epic session. But what causes a board to bend like this? And how do you fix it? Keep reading to learn more…
What is a bucked surfboard
Surfing involves standing up on a long thin piece of wood called a surfboard, which has been shaped into a curved form that maximizes speed and maneuverability. A hollow section known as the center well runs down the middle of each board, allowing riders to store things such as leashes, tow ropes, water bottles and other essentials without having to hold onto them externally.
As mentioned earlier though, there are times when the board becomes deformed due to external forces. These include impacts from rocks, trees and waves breaking around the edge. In extreme cases, the entire surface area of the board bends away from the rider. When this happens it leaves no room for any part of his body to fit underneath the decking, making the ride uncomfortable and dangerous.
There are various reasons why this might happen, but one of the main ones is poor manufacturing practices. Poorly trained workers who spend little time practicing proper maintenance techniques can cause problems along production lines, resulting in warped sections of finished product. Other factors that can contribute to a buckling surfboard include natural deterioration over time, improper cutting methods and excessive weight placed upon certain areas of the board.
How to fix a buckled surfboard
Once a buckled surfboard has bent out of shape it must undergo repairs before it can return to service. There are three basic steps involved in doing this:
First off, the owner needs to make sure he doesn’t need to take the board anywhere immediately. If not, it would probably just be easier to get another replacement rather than trying to repair something that isn’t broken yet. Next, it’s wise to consult a professional mechanic about the problem. He/she can advise whether the damage is worth fixing or if it could instead be replaced with new material.
Finally, the board needs to be taken apart completely. It’s essential that the worker knows exactly how every component works and fits together properly again so that everything functions correctly after the repairs are complete. Once the internal components have been located and identified then they can be repaired using whatever materials are available. Sometimes parts that were only slightly damaged can be fixed relatively easily, but sometimes large chunks of the decking need replacing entirely.
It’s vital that the person performing the repairs understands the nature of the issue involved beforehand otherwise it won’t end well. For instance, if the problem was caused by a minor force impacting the board somewhere near its tail then it’s easy enough to replace small sections of decking in order to restore stability. However, if the defect occurred closer to the nose of the board then it requires much deeper work to ensure safety.
The process of repairing a buckled surfboard
In either case, the first step is to identify the exact location of the flaw within the board. Then the affected area needs to be isolated and marked clearly on both sides so that subsequent work can proceed smoothly. After this point, the board begins to be dismantled, layer by layer until it reaches the bottom. At this stage, it’s possible to see exactly what kind of material surrounds the flawed portion of the board. Is it fiberglass, plastic or foam? Knowing this helps determine the best way to approach the situation next.
Sometimes it’s necessary to cut out the defective material altogether and then fill the hole left behind with resin. This technique is often preferred since it allows the remaining portions of the board to retain their strength whereas filling the void directly weakens them. Another option is to simply cover the hole with epoxy resin and leave it open to let air flow freely beneath the decking once the whole thing dries. Either method produces results and neither takes very long.
Next comes the tricky bit — fitting the decking back together again. Each segment needs to be carefully aligned with neighboring segments so that gaps don’t appear between them. To aid this process, it’s useful to remove any labels attached to the underside of the decking. Also, try to keep track of the orientation of each individual panel so that it matches the original design specifications laid down by the manufacturer. All of these details help prevent future defects occurring.
After the final stages of alignment and gluing, the board must sit overnight to cure fully before returning to service. Depending on the severity of the incident, this can last anything from half an hour to several hours.
Should you buy a buckled surfboard?
So now that we understand how to deal with a buckled surfboard, let’s consider whether buying such a device makes sense in the modern world. Despite growing awareness of the risks associated with surfing, millions of people still choose to participate in this exhilarating hobby year after year. As such, manufacturers continue to produce high quality products designed specifically to withstand the physical stresses inherent to the sport.
But if you’re unlucky enough to experience a loss of structural integrity during a particularly big wipeout, chances are good that you won’t be able to purchase a replacement right away. Instead, you’ll probably have to wait weeks or months before getting access to a properly functioning version of your favorite board. Even those lucky few who manage to obtain replacements quickly may run across difficulties if the shop offering said goods lacks expertise.
That’s why it’s always better to go ahead and prepare yourself now. Make sure you own a reputable brand name such as O’Neill, Quiksilver, Reef, Billabong, Xcel etc., and invest in a decent pair of wetsuits and accessories. Your local sporting retailer should be happy to assist you further. Alternatively, check online reviews and forums relating to the specific model of board you want to acquire. Plenty of information can be gleaned from this source alone that will allow prospective owners to decide whether they’d prefer to pay full price or opt for a discount offer.
You should also consider the size of your budget. Buying cheap gear is fine in theory but it usually means sacrificing performance. That’s especially true for beginners who lack knowledge regarding which equipment suits their level of skill. Don’t worry though, there are plenty of affordable options out there. Just look for deals that feature items such as discounts on rentals, lessons or personal training packages.
Also think about potential weather conditions. For example, if you live in Australia then you should definitely splash out on a top-of-the-range custom built surfboard instead of settling for a mass market knockoff. This is because the average Australian winter sees temperatures drop below freezing at night. Such low temperatures can weaken the fibers within a typical factory-built surfboard, causing warping and twisting. This sort of distortion can lead to serious accidents.
On the flipside, if you live somewhere like California then you shouldn’t bother spending money on expensive gear. Why waste cash on something that barely gets used anyway? Stick with cheaper alternatives and save yourself a lot of grief in the years to come.
Lastly, bear in mind that you aren’t guaranteed a perfect day every single time you hit the beach. Buckling surfboards are rare occurrences and not everyone is capable of avoiding them. So regardless of your skillset, never assume that you’ll automatically avoid injury. Always remember to respect your limits and stay safe whenever you head outdoors.
We hope our article helped answer a couple of questions concerning how to fix a buckled surfboard. From start to finish, the procedure isn’t overly complicated and anyone with moderate DIY abilities should have no trouble completing the job themselves. We recommend following standard procedures to reduce risk of errors and encourage maximum efficiency.
One important note concerns the idea of purchasing a secondhand board. Those looking to save money on their purchases should stick to previously owned devices unless they’re confident that they’d perform equally well to newer arrivals. Otherwise, it’s safer to err towards caution and opt for a brand new item instead. Remember, if a company offers great value prices then there’s normally a reason for that. Unfortunately, in this industry unscrupulous operators are nothing short of professionals.
To recap, the key tips discussed above are:
- Identify the precise location of the fault and mark it accurately
- Disassemble the board layer by layer until the faulty section is exposed
- Use tools and adhesives wisely
- Rebuild the board slowly, working upwards from the base
- Take care of the board while sitting empty to preserve its strength