Epoxy Surfboard vs Fiberglass
When it comes to picking out your next board, you’ll be faced with the choice of epoxy or a traditional fiberglass board. It might seem like an afterthought, but this decision is critical when picking a board. It’s important that you know the difference and what you’re getting with each so you can get the best board for your needs.
Polyurethane or PU fiberglass surfboards are traditional. Traditional is traditional for a reason and these are some of the more popular boards out there. But, epoxy is space-age tech for surfboards. Lighter, stronger, and hardier than traditional boards, epoxy surfboards build a strong case.
Traditional construction definitely has its place, but space-age is pretty cool too. You want to make sure you know what exactly your board’s construction means for your surfing. So follow along and we’ll break it down for you.
- 1 Epoxy Surfboard vs Fiberglass
- 1.1 What is an Epoxy Surfboard?
- 1.2 Why should I use epoxy surfboards?
- 1.3 Why should I avoid epoxy surfboards?
- 1.4 What is a Fiberglass Surfboard?
- 1.5 Why should I ride a fiberglass board?
- 1.6 Why should I stay away from fiberglass boards?
- 1.7 Are Certain Shapes Only Found as Epoxy or Fiberglass?
- 1.8 So Which Type of Board Should I Use?
What is an Epoxy Surfboard?
Epoxy surfboards, made from EPS foam, are some of the most innovative surfboards out there.
They are glassed with epoxy resin making them extremely tough and durable. The hallmark of epoxy surfboards is that they are incredibly light and tough.
They don’t flex as much as fiberglass boards, but an epoxy surfboard will be much more durable.
Just because an epoxy board is light, doesn’t mean that it won’t float you.
Since EPS foam is less dense than polyurethane, an EPS foam board will float better than your average fiberglass board. This means that you can get away with riding a shorter epoxy board for more maneuverability.
Why should I use epoxy surfboards?
Epoxy surfboards are much tougher and more durable than the standard fiberglass surfboard. If you are looking for a single surfboard that will last, an epoxy board is an excellent choice. Though they can be expensive, these boards will last a long time.
Epoxy boards make excellent boards for beginners. We mentioned their durability, but there are a bunch of other attributes of epoxy that makes EPS boards ideal for the novice surfer.
If you are just getting started, you’ll want to make sure your board has plenty of stability and buoyancy. If you also want a board that can help you learn to surf but that you can also carry on your own, epoxy is your only choice.
Besides being lighter, epoxy surfboards move faster on top of the water than traditional fiberglass boards. So when it comes to riding smaller, weaker waves, an epoxy board trumps a PU surfboard. Epoxy is a great material for any small wave board.
Why should I avoid epoxy surfboards?
Many surfboard manufacturers are still figuring out the whole epoxy and EPS foam thing. This means that your epoxy surfboard might be more expensive than a regular, fiberglass board. But, it will also last longer.
Although epoxy boards are tougher, they can be way more of a hassle if you end up dinging one. The EPS foam often needs to be vacuum sealed so if you get even a little crack, water will come rushing in and leave your board waterlogged. Plus, EPS boards need to be fixed with epoxy resin. If you use regular fiberglass resin, it will end up eating the foam which is bad news.
Epoxy surfboards have great flotation and buoyancy. But, if you usually surf choppy waves or larger surf, you might find that an epoxy board has more trouble cutting across the water on the wave face. Because the epoxy board will float better, the board sometimes makes it harder for you to control when the water gets bumpy.
What is a Fiberglass Surfboard?
Surfboards have been made by wrapping fiberglass and resin over PU foam ever since surfers decided to stop using wood for surfboards.
At one time, this technology was space-age too. Fiberglass surfboards are the most common board you’ll see and for good reason. Fiberglass boards offer many positives.
They are relatively cheap to produce making it easier for you as a surfer to get your hands on one.
Fiberglass boards offer many positives. They are relatively cheap to produce making it easier for you as a surfer to get your hands on one. Since the majority of boards surfers use are fiberglass, it is also easy to find one used.
One thing that fiberglass boards are viewed as having is better wave feel and flex. This helps you stay on the face of waves and more easily cut through chop or recover from radical snaps.
Why should I ride a fiberglass board?
Fiberglass surfboards have been around forever. Since fiberglass boards are so numerous it’s easier to get them used. This makes it easier to find the right board for you, but also means that you might get stuck with a bad board.
If you’ve had bad luck with boards breaking, fiberglass boards are much easier to repair yourself. Whether you are looking to get into ding repair or just want to save a few bucks, a fiberglass surfboard is the choice for you. Resin and cloth is relatively easy to work with and have a larger margin for error. Plus sanding down a fiberglass board is quicker than epoxy. And, you can even use epoxy resin to patch fiberglass boards if that is all you have.
One last pro of fiberglass boards is related to performance. Since they sit lower in the water, they can be easier to control when you want to turn. The added control and comfortable flex can help you rip easier.
These kinds of surfboards are more often hand shaped which is an added plus. It gives boards a higher level of craftsmanship.
Why should I stay away from fiberglass boards?
Fiberglass boards are fragile. They usually won’t break in the water. But, if you accidentally drop one, watch out. These boards are definitely prone to dinging easily.
They don’t float as well as EPS epoxy boards. If you are just getting started, you may find a fiberglass surfboard more difficult to paddle and stand up on.
Since fiberglass boards are more often hand shaped, there can be a higher degree of variation between boards. You are more likely to get a skunked board because of a bad glass job when you ride fiberglass surfboards.
Are Certain Shapes Only Found as Epoxy or Fiberglass?
The good news is that having a certain shape or type of board doesn’t mean that you can’t choose epoxy vs fiberglass. Though they are different materials, you can ride pretty much any shape you want using the materials.
Just because you have a favorite shape doesn’t mean that you have to limit your board materials. You can even try out the same general shape as an epoxy board and a fiberglass board to see which you like better.
So Which Type of Board Should I Use?
Ultimately, the choice between epoxy and fiberglass surfboards comes down to personal preference and the type of waves you will be riding. Each surfer will have a different answer, but many surfers have come to see the benefits of riding epoxy boards.
Even at the highest levels of surfing where it is less common for surfers to radically experiment with their equipment, we are starting to see epoxy boards. All of this is to say that the future is here when it comes to epoxy surfboards and alternative surfboard foam.
So, if you want a more durable, faster, lighter board, then epoxy surfboards are for you. Hopefully, this guide can help you choose your next stick for maximum stoke.