Surfboards are not just all about the look, color, and style. When you are a professional surfer, you know that you must choose the plank that is compatible with you. You should also depend on your level of experience for a specific type of wave.
The overall material of a surfboard has a significant impact on your wave riding performance. You can find several surfboards made with different kinds of materials. In this article, we will discuss the difference between epoxy and fiberglass surfboards. We will help you decide what type of surfboard will suit you best, which will help you maintain stability on a wave, and what the best board for surfing maneuvers is.
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Epoxy vs. Fiberglass Surfboard
We all know that the essential things about surfing are safety and enjoyment. We must enjoy the adventure and thrill of surfing while our boards make us feel safe and comfortable throughout our ride in the open sea. Two of the most popular surfboard materials are epoxy resin and fiberglass.
Why do most professional surfers prefer to have fiberglass surfboards to hit the high waves while beginners prefer to have epoxy surfboards? What are the parameters to know which surfboard material will suit you best? What are the unique benefits that each material offers? Let’s find out.
What is a Fiberglass Surfboard?
Fiberglass surfboards are one of the best American surfboard materials nowadays. It initially made an appearance in the 1940s. For over 50 years, the combination of polyurethane foam & polyester resin has been popular among surfers. This material has a fantastic resin clarity and gloss. Fiberglass surfboards are very smooth and feel natural in the water.
According to most professionals, this material has the best performance out of any other board materials. However, you must always take good care of this surfboard since it is very fragile and can easily crack if you drop them.
If you choose to have a fiberglass surfboard, you will notice that the top of your board has more fiberglass than the bottom. This is because your board needs to compensate for the weight and pressure of your body.
Fiberglass surfboards have polyurethane on the inner part and wrapped with fiberglass cloth. These boards have a better flex out in the ocean waves compared to epoxy surfboards. Moreover, fiberglass surfboards have an excellent shock-absorbing ability that makes the board riding smoother.
Based on research, Fiberglass surfboards become useless after a short period of usage. Therefore, these boards also become additional waste in the environment.
Boards made with polyurethane are cheaper than polystyrene and wooden boards. These boards are also more durable, which is why you can find them available on several surf shops around the world where you can rent or buy.
Pros and Cons of Fiberglass Surfboards
Here are some of the points that you need to consider if you are planning to buy a fiberglass surfboard.
#1. Perform smoother
Based on research, fiberglass has a better performance in riding the waves compared to epoxy boards. The glass also gives the surfer and the board more strength to overcome any buckling.
#2. Catch waves better
Most professional surfers love to use fiberglass boards since it can withstand the powerful force of waves while having the best experience. However, if you are still a beginner, we suggest you to use epoxy boards to avoid any severe impacts and injuries when mistakes happen.
#3. Harder and stiffer
Because of the fiberglass, these boards are harder and more potent compared to epoxy surfboards. Some professional surfers prefer harder boards than soft ones. If you are one of them, the fiberglass board is the best choice for you.
#4. Cheaper than epoxy boards
#1. Easily get dinged or cracked
#2. Prone to waterlogging
What is an Epoxy Surfboard?
Surfboard designers have come up with this material last 2005. This surfboard material is three times lighter than polyurethane. Additionally, this material is more buoyant, too. Polystyrene is a better choice of material if you want to have an eco-friendly board. It only emits a few volatile organic compounds compared to polyurethane.
Epoxy surfboards have polystyrene foams and coated with an epoxy resin. It became popular in 2005 since there was a massive shortage of fiberglass for board making.
Beginners prefer to use epoxy surfboards since these boards are lighter and easier to handle. Additionally, these boards also float better compared to fiberglass boards. For that reason, it can give the surfer a better chance of enjoying the waves. Beginners also love epoxy boards since it also has a much lesser impact and injury when they collided with the board.
What are the Pros and Cons of Epoxy Surfboards?
If you are planning to buy an epoxy surfboard, here are some of the points that you need to consider.
#1. Stronger than fiberglass
Epoxy resin is 35% stronger than fiberglass resin. In that case, most surfers prefer to use this board in practice, especially for kids and teenagers. Epoxy board is also an excellent choice for you if you always surf on rocky areas.
#2. Weigh less
We all know that a traditional fiberglass surfboard weighs 30 pounds or more. Fortunately, this epoxy surfboard weighs a lot lighter than fiberglass boards. This is a considerable advantage in surfing.
#3. Float better
Due to their lightweight, epoxy surfboards can float better too. Because of their foam at the center, it can provide you a better buoyancy compared to fiberglass surfboards. When you are a beginner, an epoxy surfboard is an excellent choice for you since it will allow you to catch the wave easier.
#4. Less prone to waterlogging
Fiberglass boards can easily crack or ding. Therefore, the water will leak on the surfboard. When there’s a leak, the surfboard will get heavier, and it will not float well. Fortunately, epoxy surfboards are durable since they cannot get cracked or dinged. You do not have to worry that you might break it while surfing and have a board with leaks even if you got swept on the rocks.
#5. Last longer
With what we have discussed above, you can ensure that you do not have to buy a new surfboard from time to time. With its excellent durability and proper care, you can enjoy a single surfboard for a long time.
#6. Survive traveling
Most surfers who travel a lot prefer the epoxy surfboard since it is incredibly lightweight compared to other surfboard materials. If you do not want to struggle with excess baggage, choosing this surfboard material is a great choice.
#1. Costs a little more
Because of its durable materials, an epoxy board can cost an extra couple of bucks compared to fiberglass. However, it is not a big deal since this board material can survive any rocky areas and bounce off as nothing happened. Most surfers nowadays prefer to pay a little extra for long term use.
#2. Lighter weight
Some surfers do not prefer the lightness and added buoyancy of epoxy boards. However, it is a personal taste. If you are still a beginner, a lightweight board is an excellent place to start.
Which One is for You?
Well, each board material has its own pros and cons. The most important thing to remember is to choose the one that fits your personal preference. However, if you want to protect yourself from major injuries, the epoxy board is an excellent choice for you. If you’re going to go on a bigger surf, a fiberglass board is the best choice for you. Epoxy and fiberglass boards have unique features that you will surely enjoy.
G’day, my name is Rach Taylor and I’m the proud Founder of Surf Hungry. I am a former Australian Olympic athlete and Australian representative surf sports athlete. I’ve worked in the surf industry and lived at many of Australia’s best surf spots, sparking a life-long love of the ocean and a passion for surf sports which also rubbed off on my two young sons! I am also lucky to spend a lot of ocean-time in my favorite second home, Indonesia. In addition to SurfHungry I have founded several other websites in my areas of passion, namely coffee and rock climbing, and am also a regular rowing content contributor.