In chemistry – a resin is a solid or highly viscous substance of plant or synthetic origin typically convertible into polymers.
In the surfing world, they are simply what most surfboards are made of. Since they are used for shaping surfboards, it is logical that they are the same thing used for repairing dings and cracks. Resins are easy to work with and are safe to use.
Whether you are looking at shaping a surfboard or are preparing to repair damage on your surfboard, you are in the right place. This article discusses the best surfboard resins to use and other things about resins you need to know.
- What are surfboard resins
- What type of surfboard resin should I use
What Are Surfboard Resins?
Resins are used to bond the cloth to the foam blank during the process of surfboard shaping. They are poured straight onto the fabric and the board until the material is entirely soaked and saturated.
Resins come in two types, polyester resin, and epoxy resin. Both of them may be used with PU (polyurethane) foam. But, only epoxy resin may be used with polystyrene foam.
Polyester Resin / Fiberglass
These two materials are used with PU foam blanks. The most significant advantage of polyester resin/fiberglass is how cost-effective it is. On the other hand, it is more susceptible to cracks and dings.
Epoxy Resin / Fiberglass
XPS (Extruded Polystyrene) and EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) blanks are the most popular blanks used in modern surfboards. The problem is how they break down and dissolve once the polyester resin is applied. In this case, only epoxy resin can be used.
Epoxy resins are lighter, making them buoyant, and are typically stronger. Compared to polyester resin, epoxy has a higher resistance to cracks and dings. Along with the excellent resistance to damages is the more expensive price tag.
Top 5 Best Surfboard Resins Reviewed
Deciding on which resin to pick is critical. After all, it is what holds the surfboard together. To help you narrow down your choices, here are 5 of the best surfboard resins in the market today.
- Resin Research 2000CE Ultra with Fast Hardener
- Summer Epoxy Resin 2000CE Ultra with Slow Hardener
- Ding All 24 Ounces Epoxy Resin Kit
- TotalBoat Polyester Laminating Resin
- TotalBoat 5:1 Epoxy Resin Kit
The 2000CE Ultra Resin from Resin Research is suitable for PU and EPS foam. It is a convenient mix when you are new to shaping or repairing your surfboard. You will like how easy it is to put together, cure well, and sand well, too.
Sometimes, blushing and peeling happen. You can prevent that by getting Additive F from the same brand. Add it to eliminate flushing and flaking. At the same time, the combination makes saturating your fiberglass easier.
It has UV stabilizers making sure the finished product won’t brown out quickly.
|Blue tint in the bottle but cures clear||May need surfacing agent to avoid flaking|
|Odorless and less toxic|
|Safe to work with|
The Summer Epoxy Resin 2000CE Ultra with Slow Hardener has been one of the industry’s standards for surfboard building epoxies. It is UV stable and has been optically brightened to make the surfboard appear clearer and whiter.
What makes it different from the first Resin Research item on this list is the hardening degree. Being a slow hardener helps during the lamination phase, primarily if you work gradually or work on longer surfboards. It is also an excellent choice in particularly hot temperatures.
|Compatible with most pump kits||Hardens slower than Resin Research Ultra|
|Best for longboards|
Ding All’s Epoxy Resin Kit is a favorite choice for surfboard builders. It is an effective resin that some shapers claim only a couple of coats needed to hold up materials amazingly. If you have an epoxy to fix or build, this is the kit to pick.
This surfboard resin has exceptionally high strength and low odor while curing and working of roughly 30 minutes. It uses Ultra-Clear Nano Technology and UV stability to keep it from yellowing. These also help in easy sanding and are widely used for ultra-strong and bright lamination and hot coats.
|No harmful VOCs during cure||It is hard to see through the dark bottle if you still have enough left|
|Ultra-clear Nano Technology|
Another favorite in surfboard shaping, the TotalBoat Polyester Laminating Resin, stays sticky when holding fiberglass cloth and composite fabrics in place during surfboard shaping or repair. It makes for an excellent base coat for laminating applications with a bit of help from an MEKP catalyst.
This Two-part polyester laminating resin doesn’t contain wax. It helps to prevent the creation of an oxygen barrier that would cause to cure instantly. It stays tacky and won’t sag while you continue building up layers. Its final coat, TotalBoat Polyester Finishing Resin, contains wax. Once applied, the curing will start, allowing you to sand, paint, or gel coat in no time.
|Surface remains tacky, so cloth adhere to each other better||Requires a final coat of polyester finishing resin to cure|
|It doesn’t sag on vertical surfaces|
The TotalBoat 5:1 Epoxy Resin Kit is a convenient kit that allows you to do all from layups and laminating, bonding, filleting, and tabbing to filling and fairing. It wets out reinforcement fabrics easily and adds a filler to form solid and smooth fillets.
Its viscosity is excellent for flatting and filling holes. And, with some thickening agents, it creates quite a potent fairing compound. That combination helps for easy sanding and shaping once cured.
|Easy to apply by brush, roller, or syringe||It does not include pump as advertised|
|Exceptional thin-film characteristics|
|Easy to mix and measure|
What Type of Surfboard Resin Should I Use?
Most surfboard shapers prefer epoxy resin and PPS (prolapse polystyrene) instead of polyurethane and polyester. Epoxy resins are more beneficial and advantageous to use than their predecessors. They emit less than half of the VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) that most polyester resins emit during manufacturing. This is something you may want to consider in picking the surfboard resin type to use.
Resin is one of the primary players in building a surfboard. It is also the same material that repairs the surfboard if it gets damaged. Resin gives surfboards more flexibility and durability while also allowing them to be more resistant when faced with torque.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q; What is the recommended shelf-life for resins and hardeners?
A: Experts advise that as long as resins and hardeners are stored with their caps tight, they have an infinite shelf life. Note that in colder temperatures, the resin may become more viscous. At times, they may even freeze solid. If this happens to your stock, you can simply put it in a hot bath to re-liquefy for use.
Q: What is the difference between a fast hardener and a slow hardener?
A: Fast hardeners are best used in cold temperature conditions to speed up curing time while still making adequate working time available. On the contrary, slow hardeners extend the working and curing time in warmer temperatures.
Q: Should you sand epoxy between coats?
A: When using additional coats of resin to parched epoxy, sanding can improve the mechanical bond. But, be sure to remove any amine blush before sanding.
Q: Will epoxy still cure if mixed at an incorrect ratio?
A: No. Unlike polyester resin, epoxy resins require a very particular resin to hardener ratio to cure appropriately. If done incorrectly, you must remove the epoxy and start over. You can use solvents like acetone to remove the uncured resin.