Caring For Your Surfboard: Cleaning & Storing

How To Care For A Surfboard Or Stand Up Paddle Board

Proper surfboard care is the difference between a surfboard that lasts for one season and a board that lasts for decades. Simple things like rinsing your board after you surf, using your surfboard bag for storage/transport, and repairing dings and cracks the right way will extend the life of your board significantly.

If you care about your fiberglass or epoxy surfboards and paddle boards, just follow the five tips below to ensure they’re in perfect working condition for the next big swell or SUP adventure. If you want to learn how to care for a foam surfboard, the same steps will apply to this type of board. But remember that your soft top surfboard is far more durable than a hard board.

board bag

Use A Board Bag

Transport:

Sun rays and heat destroy surfboards and paddle boards. If you transport your board long distances on top of your car via roof racks, it’s a good idea to use a day bag or a board sock. The sun will turn the foam in your board yellow if it’s left exposed for too long. Yellow foam is a clear sign that the material is degrading.

Storage:

No matter how carefully you store your boards, they’re bound to fall over or get hit by a hard object. It’s not fun, but this is a simple fact of life. A padded board bag is the easiest way to minimize wear and tear and keep your surfboard or paddle board out of harm’s way. If you own a large collection or quiver of boards, you could purchase or build a surfboard rack exactly like the ones you’d find in a surf shop. If you take the rack route, make sure you have lots of foam to separate your boards, a protective flooring layer, and a rope to secure your boards to the rack.

isle soft top surfboards

Don’t Leave Your Board In The Car

If your brand new beginner surfboard is your baby, then it makes sense why you’d never want to leave it in a car. The inside of a vehicle can reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit when it’s a cool 70 degrees outside. That kind of heat can do some serious damage to your board.

beach shower

Rinse Your Board After You Surf

Salt water wreaks havoc on pretty much everything it touches. When you’re done surfing, it’s a good idea to rinse your board. Most popular surfing beaches have showers where you can rinse yourself and your board with fresh water.

Proper Ding Repair

Don’t Ride A Damaged Board:

Don’t ride your board if you damage it in the water. It’s important that you get a damaged surfboard out of the water as soon as possible. If any water seeps into your fiberglass and saturates the foam core, you’re looking at some serious damage. 

Get Your Board Fixed By A Pro:

Repair kits are great for small dings in a pinch. But if you’re serious about keeping your board in tip-top shape, you need to get professional help. A surfboard repair shop will fix your board with the same polyester resin or epoxy resin that was used to make it. Real repair shops can color match your paint and get your board looking like it’s new again.

surf wax removal

Removing Your Surf Wax

Keeping your board clean might not make its life longer, but cleaning it incorrectly will do a lot of damage. Never use harsh chemicals or metal tools to clean or dewax your board. The proper way to dewax your surfboard is with a plastic “wax comb” that you can pick up at any surf shop for about $2.00. We recommend simply leaving your board in the sun for about 5 minutes (don’t forget about it) to let the wax get soft, then gently scrape it off. If you’re committed to getting every spec of wax off, we recommend applying some flour to the surface of your board and rubbing the remaining wax off with a rag or your wax comb. You can use a citrus-based cleaning product for a finishing shine or purchase a Pickle Wax Remover from your local surf shop for the final cleaning.

Wrapping Up

Keeping your surfboard or paddle board in good shape is pretty easy if you take proper care of your equipment. Keep the following tips in mind and you’ll be able to enjoy your investment for years to come.

  • Prolonged exposure to the sun is a death sentence for surfboards
  • Take your board to a professional repair shop for dings
  • Never leave your board in direct sunlight or a hot car
  • Always store your surfboard in a board bag
  • Rinse the salt off the surface of your board after you surf
  • Remove your surf wax the right way
Beginner Surfboards

Posted in Surf News
Jeff Hale - Jeff is the Content Manager at ISLE Surf and SUP. He's been an avid surfer and paddler for over 20 years, and he's always looking for an excuse to spend more time in the water. Jeff grew up in Southern California where he earned his Bachelor's in English at UC Irvine and his MBA at Chapman University. You can find him in the water after work and on weekends in San Diego.