What Causes a Surfboard to Turn Yellow? (2023 Update)

Last Updated January 27, 2023

“Yellow what?” You might have experienced before when a surfboard turns yellow with the time (usually after a few years). However, it can also happen only after a few months if you don’t take good care of your surfboard, but let’s explain first what causes a surfboard to turn yellow.

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What Causes a Surfboard to Turn Yellow?

In short, the factors that cause a surfboard to turn yellow are sun exposure, high temperatures, and poor quality materials. 

  1. Sun Exposure
  2. High Temperatures
  3. Poor Quality Materials

#1. Sun exposure

yellow surfboards

The main reason why a surfboard turns yellow is sun exposure, and unfortunately, it is something we can’t fully prevent as surfing takes place in the outside and most of your sessions will be on beautiful sunny days. Also, the ocean reflects the UVA and UVB rays which makes sun even stronger inside the ocean, that’s why it’s so important to use sunscreen to protect your skin while surfing, what a pity that sunscreen for surfboards it’s not available in the market, right?

#2. High temperatures

As well as sun exposure, high temperatures damage the laminated and foam of the board. Sometimes you might see bubbles appearing, and yellowing after leaving your surfboard in the car on a hot August summer day.

3. Poor quality materials

The materials used on the construction of the surfboard are very important, and they affect to how breakable, durable and strong is the board.

Regarding yellowing, it is important both the foam (core of the board) and the resin used (laminated). They are individual parts of the surfboard, that’s why having the best quality resin, but a cheap foam might also suffer from yellowing and vice versa (best foam quality with cheap resin).

Nowadays, there are options of resins with UV filters (most of them have a blue, purple color), of course, at a slightly higher price but much recommended if you want to keep your board for long. The same way, there are UV filtered foams which are more resistant to the action of the sun.

Now that you know the reason why surfboards turn yellow, we give you 5 tips you can follow to prevent your surfboard yellowing this summer!

5 Tips to Prevent Your Surfboard from Yellowing

protecting your surfboard

#1: Avoid sun exposure as much as possible

As we mentioned, this is the main cause of your surfboard turning yellow, so the easiest way to prevent it is not leaving your surfboard under the sun. We know it’s not possible in the water, but try to always look for a shadow if you are planning to stay at the beach for hours to avoid extra UVA damage.

#2: Don’t leave your surfboard in the car

High temperatures can damage the materials of your surfboard, and it is a common mistake to leave our surfboard in the car and spend the day at the beach while our surfboard roasts on the sunny days of summer. If you don’t have anywhere else to leave your surfboard, at least try to leave a window open, so the air can cool down the space.

#3. Use a good board bag

An efficient way to extend your surfboard life is getting a board bag. There are different types of bags, soft bags or socks which are cheaper but also less protective and sunlight protected board bags which use heat reflecting technologies for a maximum protection. All bag is better than no bag, but we recommend you to look for a padded, UV protection bag, so you can not only protect your board from the sun and heat exposure but also from crashes while transporting, or storing it. If you don’t want to spend the money on a surfboard bag, you can try to use a towel, or some cloth to protect the surfboard from the sun.

#4. Fix even the smallest ding

Dings and cracks on the board can make the salty water coming inside the board damaging faster also the materials, that’s why it’s important to fix any ding immediately and don’t wait until the water is inside the foam as it can rot the core. An example of this is local yellowing that sometimes appears in areas where the laminated has been damaged.

#5. Look for good quality surfboards

As we mentioned, the materials used to build the surfboard can make a big difference. It’s not always a matter of price as some expensive surfboards are made by cheap materials and cheaper surfboards can have good quality resins, that’s why it’s important to check when buying a surfboard, how it has been built if possible with the shaper or the factory.

In case is too late, and your surfboard is already yellow:

polishing surfboard

If the yellowing already happened, first try to analyze why? It’s a super old surfboard? Have you  left it at the beach for hours? Has it any not correctly repaired ding? Also it’s important to difference if the yellow is coming from the foam or from the resin, as the foam can’t be recolored but the resin can.

In some cases it’s not worthy to try to fight the yellow, if the board is very old and too damaged maybe the best option is to hang it in your room and get a new one. However, if you haven’t used it for long and it hasn’t been repaired so the inside is quite intact to water, you can try to remove the yellow aspect of your board by:

#1. Polishing

You can gently polish your surfboard with an abrasive pad to buff the discoloration off of is surface.  It can work for minor damage, but if the foam is yellow it won’t be possible to return to the original surfboard color.

#2. Repainting

You will need to prepare the surface by removing wax, cleaning the board and sanding, so the paint is well absorbed. Once the surface is ready, get creative and start painting your board. Before choosing the color, have in mind that dark colors attract the sun rays which will heat up the board faster, so try to go for lighter tones.

Now that you know what to do, enjoy a summer full of surfing experiences and keep the yellow away!

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