While we always cross our fingers for a perfect day when we head to the beach, we’ve learned by now that it’s a good idea to prepare for some less-than-perfect scenarios as well. Extra sunscreen, drinking water, energy bars, sun protection clothing and a first aid kit usually cover most snafus, but learning how to repair board dings will take your beach day survival skills to the next level. Carve Ambassador Kat Carter shares her best tips for dealing with dings on the go.
Carve Designs: What’s the worst surfing accident you’ve had?
Kat Carter: The worst collision I've ever had was actually on a really good day at Malibu! I was taking off at the peak and some dude decided to go in front of me. I noticed his novice surfing style immediately and slowed down to give him a little space just in case. Most accidents at Malibu happen because people are just riding too close to each other. At that point there was no sign of him pulling out and giving me the rest of the wave despite my relentless hoots from behind, so I decided to just kick my board over the back of the wave and then… CRACK! In a split second the guy did a huge nose dive and his board sling shotted backwards right towards my face — If I hadn't been swinging my board over the back of the wave at that very moment it could have been a real disaster. Luckily my board took the impact instead of my head and made a noise that echoed down the beach. His fin cut an 8 inch gash into the rail of my board, which is not a ding you want to keep surfing with because your board will just soak up tons of water. I think a friend ended up letting me borrow their board for the rest of the day- that's what friends are for!
CD: Yikes! Thank goodness you’re okay! What are your strategies for taking care of your boards on a day-to-day basis?
KC: I'm the worst about using board bags when traveling local but I think it makes a huge difference to use a day bag or board sock for car rides — I love Sagebrush Bags’ designs. The only dings I usually get are from dropping my board on the ground like an air head, putting it in the car next to other gear, or my dog jumping on them in the back. When you’re sliding boards out of the car you can get dings from hard objects dragging across the board, so make sure there aren't any wetsuit zippers or water bottles floating around between your boards. You can also never have too many towels for padding.
CD: What are your must-haves for board maintenance?
KC: Solar Resin, sand paper (the finer the grit, the better), plastic wrap, and popsicle sticks.
CD: How do you deal with a minor ding so you can get back in the water ASAP?
KC: Here’s my solar resin quick guide:
1) Dry the area really well. A day or two out of the water is best
2) Lightly sand the ding and surrounding area to create grip for the resin
3) Use a popsicle stick (or your fingers covered in plastic wrap) and smooth solar resin on over the ding. Keep in mind that a little goes a long way and you dont want it too goopy, which can result in raised sharp edges or the whole patch popping off
4) Wrap plastic wrap around the ding and wet resin immediately so that the resin is smooth and covering the whole ding area (this method allows you to use minimal amounts of resin as well)
5) Dry in the sun for about 20 - 30 minutes until hardened
6) Peel plastic off and lightly sand the edges. Be careful not to sand too much around the perimeter where the resin gets thin
7) You can add another layer using the same technique if you didnt cover the ding completely the first time
Thanks to Carve Ambassador Kat for sharing her tips with us. Follow her (SurfKat) on Instagram.
Title Photo Credit: Kat Carter by Moses Slovatski