Aluminum surfboards and mass production?

Might get uncomfortably warm sitting on a alumninum board in a hot climate…just thinking…

I like the caption for that board in that photo - Newson’s metal-and-polyurethane “Nickel” surfboard, was created for riding the largest of waves. That “requires an extremely heavy—hence stable—hydrodynamicform that can behave as predictably as possible in the water,” he explains."The surfboard works unbelievably well in extreme conditions. It is literally a knife in the water.” 

So, I guess performance isn’t an issue.

Heat and aluminum I don’t think are an issue. Ever put aluminum foil in the oven? Not to mention, I imagine some white paint would solve that issue either way.

Wow - Those other pictures of the old-school metal board are a trip! Things have come a long way since then I imagine. You figure, Apple makes all its laptops with seamless aluminum casings, why not a surf board.

Didn’t find much googling “hollow aluminum honeycomb boards” from the 60’s and early 70’s. Curious what that’s all about.

I’ve thought about using an aluminum veneer but then I figured it would be too dangerous. If you hit someone or even yourself with an aluminum skinned board, it will be bad, very bad.

I already tell people that they don’t want to get in the way of my boards that have solid wood rails and solid wood nose or tail blocks. Their fiberglass boards have no chance, and flesh, well that’s even softer than fiberglass.

My brother has 2 boards glassed with Texallium, which is fiberglass with aluminum oxide. It’s not as strong as carbon, but it’s way stiffer than plain glass. We had to use a vac bag to wrap it around the rails. And yes it gets hot under the tropic sun. 

Here in Hawaii we see that Aluminum will oxidize and salt water will pretty much eat away at anything. You can leave a surfboard in your backyard for decades, but aluminum will oxidize and wear away.

Interesting article on aluminum and its corrosion-resistance:

It would seem salt isn’t actually the culprit, and that certain alloys are in fact completely corrosion-proof.

But the safety issue would most defintely be a concern. Was just thinking that looking at that nickel board above. Definitley looks like it could terminate some people.

But I’m surprised about the heat factor. Texallium might not be the same, I don’t know. Maybe pure aluminum would be more like aluminum foil? Aka, pull it out of an oven and it’s not hot. 

Aluminum oxide is what keeps keeps aluminum hull boats from dissolving.  If I recall correctly, the aluminum oxide film over the surface is fairly insoluble.

Edit:  Aluminum dissolves in an acid environment.  Seawater is basic/alkaline.

Dick Van Straalen has made at least one whilst Rasta was getting boards from him.

Apparently it worked very, very well.

The owner of a patent shut down the idea of production for them if I recall rightly.


Is that what I think it is?! A giant metal balloon toy? If that things hollow then you could for sure make a hollow aluminum board. Guessing it would cost a hell of a lot without mass production though.

     Howzit sharkcountry, I have seen personally what happens to aluminum when exposed to the salt air and as you know it isn't pretty with the white corrosion that builds up on it. One of my jbs was repairing aluminum Jalousie hardware and the salt air would just eat away at the rivets on them, even Stainless steel can't take the environment in Hawaii and if you live to close to the ocean things just can't take it.I have one friend who has to buy a new computer every 3 years max and they don't live right on the ocean but 1 block back, Aloha,Kokua

aluminum does not corrode, its the alloys (nickel) in the auminum that start the corrosion process, its called dissimilar metal corrosion.

the weaker (softer) metal corrodes due to electrolisis

Nickel free aluminum is used on off shore oil rigs as electrical conduit and fittings,,, they dont corrode!

this aluminum surfboard could be made of two pressed halfs from sheet aluminum.

ribs could be preglued to one shell then put the two halves together, only glueing the ribs away from the seam.

clamp or press the two halves together and weld up the perimeter

when cool sand the weld flush

this could then be anodized and clear coated.

would be stronger than you know what!


Now lets talk about an auminum fin,,,,,,,,,


Cheers Ken, I should have looked that up :slight_smile:


Just did some rough- and ready calculations -


For a shortboard that weighs 6 pounds, totally hollow without ribs, you would only be able to use 1/32" thick aluminum for the deck and bottom.

As soon as you add ribs, protective coatings, fin boxes/mounting etc, you would have to reduce that thickness a lot.

That doesn’t sound thick enough to me.

I don’t believe you can make a performance shortboard from it (6 pounds isn’t even close to light enough anyway).

Other styles of boards, yeah, maybe!

Well, that just about explains it. It'll end up being too heavy. Bummer. Someone mentioned looking into "the hollow aluminum honeycomb boards that were being made in the late 60's early 70's." An array of paper thin aluminum cells comes to mind, which might be another approach, but if they were trying it back then, I imagine there's a reason we haven't seen it today.

Wood sounds like it's the most environmentally friendly board. I don't think you could mass produce them though for less than China. And don't get me wrong, I'm not down with mass-production. But if it's going to happen, and it already is, it might was well be domestic and, ideally, environmentally sound. Just figured maybe aluminum was the "silver bullet" to solving this problem.

Maybe the guy who mentioned building a board out of pasta had the right idea. Of course, when your idea evolves into making boards out of pasta, that's when you know it wasn't such a great idea to begin with!!!

As far as I can tell, nickel is not a component of the most commonly used alloys of aluminum (e.g. Series 6061, 6063, 2024, 7075, 5056, 5059). Series 5059 aluminum alloy is commonly used by boat builders for boat hulls because of its combination of strength, weldability, and corrosion resistance (pure aluminum is relatively “soft”). The primary alloying metals for this series are Mg, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Si, Ti, Zn (but no Ni).

On the other hand, an alloy of nickel and chromium, combined with iron, are the components of Type 316 stainless steel, which is highly resistant to sea water corrosion.



(Edit: Post deleted  (identical to the post immediately above))

Well, the Alu honeycomb idea might work…

If you made it with the right cell size, then a thin aluminium sheet for top and bottom skins could work.

Not sure what is involved in building that though!! Seems like you’d buy a commercially made honeycomb core product, dunno how you’d do it yourself.


I think Nomex (phenolic honeycomb) has probably stolen a lot of the Alu honeycomb market. There’s definitely companies making it still though.

What about some kind of closed cell expanding foam? You could injection mold a 1 piece, very thin board shaped shell out of some light weight metal, paint/seal the inside and then inject in expanding foam to fill the core. That gives you strength and protects the inside from future dings where water might get in! I’m sure you could fine tune the density of the foam to get the weight to strength ratio that you wanted.

let alone frozen nuts in winter surf hehe " )


That just made me think…a metal board that had a heater in it for cold water! I would love to paddle out on a nice warm stick, sit outside with my hands warming on the rails! Awesome!

The cost of producing a suitable mold and or producing a robotic welder would be astronomical. Lets not forget the cost of engineering. The cost would be in the millions before one board ever saw a wave.  You would have to sell thousands of boards to recoup the up front cost.  Ever see footage of an aircraft wing being made? Jigs have to be very precise. Every piece has to perfectly fit together. Even building boats takes time and skilled craftsmen.  Yes they nmake small aluuminum row boat and jon boats but they are still expensive.   It takes a long time to learn how to  correctly weld Aluminum so that it does not change shape and the weld will still hold.  Painting aluminum is a multi step process  That starts with an acid wash then a coating of strontium chromate  then  a couple of coats of a epoxy under coat followed by a two part poly liner Urethane finish.