Homemade Stock Paddleboard Glassing Help

Hello All,

My current project is building a stock paddleboard in the hopes of racing in the Catalina Classic on it. The thing is largely completed with the following dimensions. 12’3" X 19 1/4" X 8 1/2". Basically, I’ve got the shaping almost complete and I’ve been trying my hand at glassing on some scrap pieces of foam. I’m using Eps so i have about 25 yards of 4oz. S glass and 1.5 gallons of RR 2000 epoxy. Im also using Dap Fast’N Final mixed with a touch of water to seal the blank before I glass it and was planning on routing out my fin box before I put the laminate coat on.


If anyone has any tips or advice about working with epoxy, especially on something so big and with such strange curves (mainly on the deck where the knee wells are dug out), i’d really appreciate hearing them. I know that the golden rule is mix the epoxy super well otherwise it wont dry out properly. I guess my main concerns are glassing the laps and not overworking the resin. Also, I haven’t decided if I’m going to pain this board and was wondering if people have found good results with using water based acrylic over the gloss coat and then putting one final finishing coat of epoxy over the paint? And one last question concerns my idea of putting down my two layers of cloth on the deck, laminating it, then waiting a few hours till the epoxy gets tacky and then putting on my gloss coat. Then 'id sand the lap and do the same thing to the bottom of the board and have the lap overlap the deck lamination a quarter of an inch or so. Then i figure i’ll just sand the lap and see how it comes out. If anyone has experience trying that please let me know how it went.

Anyway, I’ll try and throw up some pictures of the board at some point and hope to hear from someone. Thanks,


yeah, getting the laps to bond is pretty important and i’ve been thinking about that…well, i’m going to glass on monday so i have another day to weigh the options. 

and i just found out that i’ll be driving back early july, so i suppose i’ll just wrap the board up in extra foam bits and hope that it makes it through 30 hours of desert sun beating down on it. 


and i’ll be building a fin for the fin box and was wondering if anyone has any advice on molding the fin base so it can fit into the box nicely. i figure that i am going to just make a rectangle with the right dimensions, glass it to the fin i’ll make, then drill a whole through the base for the pin, drill another small hole for the screw to thread through, and just sand away the curved part of the base. 

any thoughts on fin making??

Hey Spud, this is a really cool build. I’ve been designing a board in my head and started drawings. I just want a cruiser, but good luck in the race. I’ve seen finishers before and they looked WIPED! Thanks for posting. 

Anybody know of a source in SO. Cal. for this length and thickness of EPS? I was going to use ribbing and lam sheets but was advised by ONE WHO KNOWS to keep it simple stupid( thanks DS.) I’m looking to end up with a 14’ plus board. If someone out there can direct me to a source even in CEN. Cal. I’d appreciate it. THANKS.

Another Question:


I’m debating using primer to cover the EPS. has anyone thought about doing this, or tried it? Primer’s purpose is to seal something and allow for a lamination when it would not otherwise be possible. It stands to reason that maybe primer could be applied to Eps foam and epoxy can bind to the primer??? just a thought…

To qualify my opinions you should know that I have done only one board but am about to my second. It was a good size longboard. I went against most of the common wisdom and used the slow hardener. I am very glad I did since messing around with the resin is less horrible than if the expoxy gets unworkable before you are done. Make more mix than rather than less. having extra resin makes it much easier to wet everything out and less time consuming. Its easier to squeegy off the extra than distribute just the right amount. Using the bare minimum resin is a skill I certainly don’t have. You may want to rethink the s-glass. Not sure why you think you need it for a paddle board which sees less stress than a surfboard. I think it is harder to wet-out and sand and certainly more $ than E-glass. I used expoxy microballon mix to seal the first time and pigmented the expoxy for a single solid color. That all worked fine but this time I will use fast n final and paint the foam. Seems there is enough positive experience here with that mehod of sealing/coloring.

it could be a two man operation…or at least you may want to work in sections.

I might forgo the Dap and any other surface coatings, especially paint…keep it simple. I’ve had mixed experiences with paint(s) under the laminate.

I am in Hermosa…I have a biiiiggg vacuum bag, that would be a good way to lay down a couple of layers in to those knee wells…I work for beer.

where are you located?


yeah, i’m experimenting on blocks of foam by laminating with no spackle layer. the thing is, i keep reading that the only eps that you can’t get away with not spackling is 1lb, which is what i am using. i’m making a bunch of hand planes for bodysurfing out of the scrap material and am going to be experimenting with the laminations. And i am pretty much decided on going without color to keep things simple. 

And Afoaf, I’m from manhattan, but i’m currently living in New Orleans. i’m building this thing in a tin shed at a woodworkers house whom i’m doing an apprenticeship with. But you work for beer, and i happen to be a homebrewer, so maybe this summer when i get home we can experiment with the vacuum (i’m planning on making an asymmetrical board as soon as i get back).

And as i mentioned earlier, i'm making this in a tin shed down here deeper than the deep south and it is HOT. i plan on doing all the glassing at night and figure that this shed is going to act like an oven for the curing process.
and i'm still really curious what people think of my idea about laminating the deck, waiting a few hours until it is tacky and then brushing on a hot coat over it. Then i would flip the board and do the same thing to the bottom and sand the lap well. Does that seem like a practical way to approach the glassing of this project? 

I think you should buy the video … epoxy 101.  I’m not trying to advertise, I just think you’d do well to give it a look.  Laminating sides with multiply batches of resin is a good idea for when it’s hot.

Do one half at a time if you aren’t fast. I just did two 6’3 eggs with one batch of epoxy so you would have enough time if you had a helper but one side at a time is easy. Gregs video will help alot.

Greg, i’ve watched a few of your videos on youtube and found them pretty helpful, the thing is i’d like to get this thing in the water by the end of next week so that’s holding me up is the glassing that i’d like to start tomorrow. (i’m rushing because i need to get my arms moving if i have any chance of finishing the Catalina race…and there isn’t much surf to speak of here in Louisiana so i’m already out of paddling shape)

Here are some pictures of the thing right now…


[img_assist|nid=1050891|title=Paddleboard Blank|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=480]

[img_assist|nid=1050893|title=cutting blank|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=480]




































cutting the blank with a chainsaw just because i could (in hindsight i shouldn’t have done this because of a real close call with a saw horse)













































tools of the trade. i have pretty much only used the small sur form, level, square, small rounded rasp for the knee wells, and a hand saw to cut out the rocker




















hours later, i get this. the knee wells are about 2.75 inches down from the top of the rail adjacent to them. however the rails from the the area where my chin would be begin to taper down slowly and then back up towards the tail section. I did this to smooth blending of the curve from the nose to the rails where the knees begin. I also left a slight bump in between the knees and up on the chest section to allow for the groove in a person’s chest.




















[img_assist|nid=1050900|title=chest view|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=480|height=640]

























nothing has been sanded and smoothed out, so those lines are indeed gouges, but not too deep. they are all easily sanded away with 100 grit screen.




















thats me digging my knees into the knee wells to mold the foam around them. i figure this board is for me, why not form fit the kneewells?


i’ll throw more pictures up when i have them. for now, i hope these help anyone building paddleboards. i’m new to swaylocks and it seems to be pretty light on the traditional stock paddleboard topic.


anyway, if anyone has any pointers for me based on the pictures or about glassing, id appreciate it. i’ve only shaped two surfboards before this behemoth and could use any tips offered.




cool project...hope this link will help....





I am not an expert, but I would prefer to glass one side, flip and glass the other side while the first is still tacky so that the laps connect while the epoxy is green.

that way you have the chemical bond on the laminate and then can further bind it all together with the hotcoats.

how are you going to get that thing out here?!


I had to source the foam as locally as possible to save on shipping and found a chemical plant in Arkansas. But you could try calling your local lumber yards to see if they distribute EPS in big quantities. if so, call their supplier and see if you can order a specially sized block. Or you can try asking a local shaper, im sure they’d know. and if you take on a paddleboard project, just be careful with the tail. i think i may have taken off a little too much volume since those pictures were taken and am kicking myself for doing it…

Cool!  After this morning’s surf in dribbling little waves, I start thinking about paddling. The shape looks nice.


tblank, segway composites has paddleboard blanks in so cal.

Hi -

1 lb EPS is prone to being pretty soft unless you reinforce it with at least double layers of glass.  2 layers of 4 oz (both sides) will likely dent pretty easily but for weight savings it might be an acceptable trade-off.  The bottom of the knee wells will take the most abuse and might need 4 or 5 layers of 4 oz.

You should have some 2" chip broushes on hand to work the glass in the knee wells.  A squeegee probably won't fit very well.  Lay up several layers of reinforcement at the bottom of the wells after you get the main lamination down.  In my opinion your biggest hurdle will be dealing with the deck contours.  Hopefully you bought slow hardener and/or have a helper?

You should be OK laminating, flipping, laminating the other side (with a couple of inches overlap) and then fill coating.  I would fill coat the first lamination before the second if you do it that way. 

Painting with water base paint under final gloss hasn't worked for me in the long run.  I must have had pin air in my gloss as water eventually penetrated and caused chipping of my gloss.  I have not had that problem with clear gloss over freshly sanded epoxy.  I would stick with either spray coats over spackle under the lamination or automotive paint on the outside ala Surftech.  For final finish you might consider Matt Campbell's clear coat or some other protective finish.

On the big blanks in SoCal try Segway Composites.  Ken has some stock paddleboard designs but can cut just about anything you want.  He also has an extended computer shaper and offers in-house glassing services.



I’ve been hearing mixed things about the strength of 2 layers of 4oz but thats what i have so thats what i’m going to do. And I am definitely going to lay down the laminate on the deck first with two layers, then put down all of my scrap material in the kneewells, chest, and inside rails to strengthen everything. As for the fill coating, do you mean to say Hot coat? Right now i’m planning on laminating the top, then strengthening the deck a bit with more laminating, flipping and laminating the bottom, flipping again and hot coating, then flip one last time to hot coat the bottom. and im just going to ignore paint on this project and keep it simple. 


And thanks for all the feedback everyone, its nice to hear peoples’ ideas rather than just reading everything in the archives. 



Thanks Fellas, I’ll try Segway. Spud, thanks for the tip on tail width. The one thing I’ve heard from paddleboarders is that at first they always feel “tippy”. My board will be for “touring” and trips to inaccessable spots towing a surfcraft of some sort. Thanks for everyones’ and anyones’ help.


Do we really need to spackle the foam or can this be omitted? I’m a sworn PU guy.

4x4 glassing with 1 lb EPS.   I guess you don't want to bring it home?  Is this a one way trip for this vessel?

If you are a great glasser, and a good sander you might pull it off.  But if your just learning your going to burn through that glass so fast you won't know what happened until you start to sink 5 miles from Avalon.

Keep the board white then paint it with LP boat paint when your done.

Hi -

Great job shaping that beast!

Double 4 should be OK as long as it's handled carefully.  I've seen racing boards with extremely fragile glass jobs to save weight.  Just don't be too bummed if it flexes during a vigorous thumb test or pressure dents easily.

Fill Coat/Hot Coat... it's all good.  I'm just used to the two terms being applied to epoxy and polyester respectively.  Poly is mixed with extra catalyst hence the term 'hot' coat.  Epoxy is always mixed the same.

well i’m going to try my hand with the double 4 approach and we’ll see how it goes. In case you guys didn’t know, i am using S cloth which i know is much stronger than E and was banking on that being strong enough… If i decide after I put on the fill/hot coat that i need more strength, will fiberglass adhere again? ie. would i be able to put down another layer of 4 oz or even 6 oz cloth on top of the hot coat, then put a final hot coat on again?? and i most certainly have no intention of sinking during the crossing because i’d have to go down with my ship!