Here is a question for all you guys who know a lot about materials. Is it feasible to build my own black ball beater for the summer? Can you buy and shape foam that is soft enough to pass the regulations. I was just thinking that it would be nice to be able to surf during the middle of the day in the summer time too. Has anyone else tried to do this? I just cant bring myself to spending a few hundred bucks on an oversized sponge board that was squeezed out of a machine. thanks a bunch. darren
I’m no expert, and I’ve never built one of these before, but I think they are made from polyethylene foam. They use a low to medium density core, with higher density skins. They use a stringer. DOW makes the foam. I don’t know what glue you would use to attach the skins, maybe a polyurethane glue.
I don’t know how easy this kind of foam is to shape with a planer. Since it’s a thermoplastic, you may be able to form it with heat…like with an iron or something, or with a hot wire. It might produce dangerous gasses though.
I’ve been thinking of building one of these also. I was thinking instead of having the whole core polyethylene foam, build and glass a regular surfboard, but make it an inch less in every dimension. Then cover it with 1 inch of polyethylene foam, all the way around. I think that 1 inch would be enough to make it safe. Maybe the skins could be a little thinner, otherwise the core surfboard would only be about 1/2" thick.
Let me know if you find out where to get the foam.
Thanks for the reply. Last night while i was trying to fall asleep i hade the same idea about covereing a board with foam. It is funny how an incoming swell makes it hard to fall asleep. Maybe we could use the same sort of material that Rich Pavel used in his otter board(surfers journal). I dont know how we would attach the foam to the blank but it could be fun. Maybe the flex of foam rails would mould to a waves face like an inflatable mat? I will start searching for foam today. Darren
back in the early 90’s Bill Sharp who was at the time involved with Birdwell had a kneeboard build and colored to look like a booger board, it was however, a ployester hard board, shaped to sort-of look like a short board, he rode it all summer in newport—the lifeguards never caught on----early stealth surfboard??