What Are Pressure Dings on a Surfboard? (Read This First!)

Have you begun to notice that your shiny new surfboard no longer looks as fresh as it once did? 

Over time, our surfboards take damage, whether from being in the water or simply moving it around. One of the most common types of damage you will notice over time are pressure dings.

Pressure dings are essentially dents in the epoxy or fiberglass of your board. When too much pressure is applied to an area, the outer layer of your board pushes in and compresses part of the foam inside.

This leaves a small concave hole. Although they do not look nice, these dings are usually still water-tight and should not affect your surfing to a large degree.

Pressure Dings on a Surfboard
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What Are Pressure Dings on a Surfboard?

What Causes Dings in Surfboards? 

Several things can cause pressure dings, but the most common is through constant and repetitive pressure from our knees, hands, and feet while we surf.

As our knees and feet tend to put pressure on the same place each surf, it is common to find pressure dings on the top of our board, especially near the front foot.

That being said, dings at the bottom of your board are also common and can be caused by wiping out and hitting your head, elbow, knee, or other hard body parts on the underside of the board.

Although it would seem likely that most of this damage would come from the ocean, a large amount of damage is done to our surfboards as we move them around the house, into our cars, and to the beach.

Door knobs, bookshelves, car doors, and street signs are common places we might bump our boards and cause a ding.

Can You Still Surf With a Ding?

Pressure dings generally do not break the surface of a surfboard. What this means is that your board should still be water-tight.

If your surfboard is water-tight, then it is safe to use it to surf

However, if a pressure ding causes a crack in the epoxy or fiberglass, it will allow water to enter the board.

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If your surfboard becomes waterlogged, it will lose its buoyancy. Once there is water inside of a surfboard, there is not much you can do to repair it, so take care to check all the dings on your board before entering the ocean.

Do Pressure Dings Affect Surfboards?

In some cases, a pressure ding could be so large and in an incredibly inconvenient place which makes your board close to useless, while in other cases, a pressure ding in a perfect spot could improve your board.

Pressure dings will generally affect your surfboard, but it is not always in a negative way

The location, depth, and size of a ding will determine the negative or possibly positive effect it may have.

Are Pressure Dings on Surfboards Bad?

Pressure dings on the top of a surfboard generally cause fewer problems, and some surfers prefer the feeling of a small ding where they place their front foot.

To some, this may feel like their surfboard is broken in as it creates a solid position for their foot as they pop up.

One such person is well-known Australian professional surfer Taj Burrow, who ordered his custom-made Firewire with molded-in pressure dents for his front foot.

That being said, dings on the rail or the bottom of the board are likely to affect the performance of your board due to the added friction they will cause.

Can You Fix Pressure Dings on a Surfboard?

Fixing a pressure ding is not a complex task, but it will be time-consuming and takes the knowledge of doing so.

If you do not know how to fix a ding, it is best to learn how before jumping in with your eyes closed.

It is likely you will cause more damage fixing a ding than leaving it alone; you should consider only fixing dings that are not water-tight.

As mentioned above, pressure dings are common, and most of the surfers in the water likely have a few on their boards.

How to Fix Pressure Dings Surfboard

Although the method is similar, different dings may require slightly different cures, but the following is a general guideline of how to fix a pressure ding on your surfboard.

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You will need: 

Resin and its catalyst (the hardener), sandpaper (make sure it is not too coarse), a paper cup, a mask, a popsicle stick or something similar, and gloves.

Method:

  1. You will need to place your board on a flat surface. Two chairs spaced apart works as a good alternative to using sawhorses.

Make sure that you have ample space around your work area and that your surfboard is around hip height.

It is also a good idea to place rolled-up towels under your board to prevent causing more dings as you fix the old ones.

  1. Take a fine grit sandpaper and lightly sand the ding and the area around it. This will add surface area to the dent which will make it easier for the resin to stick to.

Make sure not to over-sand the area as you do not want to break through the epoxy or fiberglass layer. This sanding should be light and not take away too much.

  1. Pour the resin into the paper cup (or another container) and mix in the hardener. You will need to refer to the resin’s instructions as to what rations this mixture should be.

Be careful not to over mix it as air bubbles may form in the resin as it dries.

  1. Carefully pour the resin into the dent and spread it around. 

It is important to make sure that your board is flat. If it is not, you may find that the resin runs off.

  1. Allow the resin to cure (harden). 

Make sure to follow the drying times of the instructions. If you do not wait long enough, it may seem like the resin has been set, but the resin could still be soft under the hard outside layer.

  1. Once the resin has dried, use the sandpaper to smooth out the area. 

Once the larger bumps are gone, using finer sandpaper will help produce a smoother result.

How to Fix Surfboard Rail Ding?

Fixing a rail ding is much the same as fixing a ding on one of your board’s flat surfaces. The only difference is that the resin will run if you pour it on.

When fixing a rail ding, mix smaller amounts of resin at a time and allow it to become slightly thick before applying it.

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Repeat this a few times until there is a thick enough layer of new resin over the ding or crack.

As a side note, if your board has a crack or hole caused by the ocean, make sure to cut away a small area around the ding and allow it to dry before moving on with the repair job.

How to avoid pressure dents

As with most things in life, prevention is better than cure. This remains true with pressure dings on a surfboard.

Although pressure dings are almost a guarantee if you spend an average time in the water, there are some things you can do to prevent unnecessary dings and damage.

  • Always transport your surfboard in a board bag. Surfboard socks are convenient and will protect your board from scratches, but they will not protect your board from knocks.
  • Store your board lying down when possible. If your surfboard falls, it will likely cause damage.

Furthermore, leaving your board standing on its tail could encourage dings in the area.

  • Do not leave your board in a hot car. Leaving your board to become how will soften the outer layer. 

As you take your board from the car, you may bump it on the door. If the board’s integrity is weakened from the heat of the sun, then you may cause a few dings and cracks.

  • Avoid making contact with other surfers.

This may seem obvious, but one of the leading causes of damage to a surfboard is a collision between two surfers.

In a collision, your board has far more hard surfaces to make contact with and far more likely to become dinged or worse.

Conclusion

Surfboard dings are very common, even for higher-priced and quality boards.

Over time most boards will become dinged, which is not a problem. You can still surf on a dented board, but this should only be done if there is no hole or crack.

If your surfboard is no longer water-tight, then it is highly recommended to fix the crack before taking your board back into the water.

It may seem like a bit of an effort, but it will likely save your board’s life.

Pressure Dings on a Surfboard
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