Longboard Stress Cracks

Was looking at a longboard a friend recently purchased used the other day.  This board was made by one of the most sought after classic style longboard makers out there.  Top dollar doard…a real showpiece.  Absolutely Stunning board.  Unfortunately the board has about 15 stress cracks in the gloss going from rail to rail on the bottom.  From the looks of the glass job I would say the board is glassed with 10 oz cloth.  The majority of the cracks are just in the gloss coat and perhaps the two worst are down to the surface of the weave.  Don’t think any are sucking water.

My question is why???  Simple answer would be that the board got womped by a big wave but I seriously doubt that is the answer in this case.  Brand / type of gloss resin used?  Too hot of a mix?  Environment when glassed?  Too thick?  How can I avoid this issue in the boards I build.

Board got whomped some how.  Thats why it was in the recent purchase category.  Craigslist is a great place to find beaten, old, or just plane old crappy riders.  My favorite ad goes like this “Got too many boards, this one has to go. Only ridden twice, just like new. paid over $700, my loss your gain for $250”…yeah right.

So, was the board a good deal, if so the guy that sold it didn’t want to look at the stress cracks, or its a horrible rider…guys don’t get rid of good boards…period.

It must have gotton stepped on, run over by a small car (smart car type)  had heavy stuff laid on it in the garage, maybe kids used it for a diving board? Maybe the guy slammed it donw in the sand…or most likely, the surfer is a “ditch and dive guy…a board thrower,”  I’ve seen boards broken on small hollow days when guys ditch there boards and dive under, or they jump off and the board goes into the pit and they dive over the back of the wave.   even the smallest of waves can generate some pretty good ooomph.   I mean, haven’t you been wacked pretty good on a small head high day? I mean like rolled around…pushed to the bottom…later that day bend down to tie shoes and you drain saltwater on the floor days?

And the longer the board gets the more leverage applied to it. I think I have personally or someone borrowing one of my boards have broken 3 or 4 boards at Gas Chambers on head high or smaller days, all the boards were 8+ something feet long, and they came up in pieces. And they were all well made surfboards.

How to avoid this situation…use epoxy and eps.  epoxy is way more flexible. It wont keep a board from breaking, but it a bit more impact resistant.

Poly is old school and brittle, like you said, it makes a beautiful board, and you can lay it on thick and make a deep vibrant colorful surfboard. many layers of glass…pigmnts, tints etc…just beautiful like the rainbow…but not so flexible and impact resistant.


Most likely culpret is a thin nose coupled with a thick hotcoat, and thick gloss.    See if there some fine scratches on the underside of the nose.     Sometimes a small day nose ride,  in shallow water, the nose will strike the bottom at the end of the ride.         I’ve seen it result in both stress cracks, as well as  broken noses flapping on a deckside glass hinge.


haha funny you would post this - I have been thinking of selling off a few of my favorite “magic” boards, I just have so many boards, and the good riders are the worst looking, keep the rest for decoration and generate a little income for the many more I have planned, but I hesitate because I know no one will believe me, lol.

Pretty sure based on what I saw this was not so much a womping issue as it was a brittle gloss coat issue.  I’ve had a few longboards over the years that I’ve put through hell and never had cracking like this other than at the corners of a fin box.  Anything is possible but I really think this was a gloss issue.  Cracks were pretty evenly spaced along the bottom as if the board flexed but the gloss couldn’t flex along with the rest.

I"m curious who the shaper is, I think it may be the same guy I’m going to make reference too. But similar to what Bill said, too much unsupported resin. The guy I’m referring too is also considered and might be the same “one of the most sought after classic style longboard makers out there” does whats called a paste. After the lam and before the hotcoat they squeegee on more lam resin to fill the weave. Gives the sander a little more working room so they don’t hit the lam when sanding, especially on the color lams. Unfortunately it leads too the problem your seeing, not all the time but I notice it on that shapers boards more than others. Not that I’m putting down his technique or product, it’s just this method can be prone to getting those stress cracks rail to rail. How not to get them, if you do a paste keep it thin or don’t do one at all. Or if you need the extra protection as to not hit the lam when sanding and truing up the bottom, you can always do a clear cap that you can sand into, eliminating that extra build up of unsuported resin. Could be a brittle gloss, but I have a number of boards that have a lot of flex or are stringerless and haven’t had any issuse of the gloss coat cracking.

Not going to out the builder…not the point here.  Pretty sure the board’s owner lurks here so perhaps he’ll see this and post a pic or two.

I understand, not trying or asking to name the shaper on a open forum. Just sharing my experience / knowledge as too what it could be. Also not trying to take away or say anything bad about the shaper I’m referring to. He’s highly respected and makes a quality product, I’m sure the percentage of his boards that have this issue is very, very small. Again, the story was not about the shaper just sharing what it could be. 

Reason being I still own a 67 spoon with single 10oz. and gloss.

Back in 93 or so I let my daughters boyfriend try it (malibu 4’+) and to my horror he ditches it and womp!

I thought it was gonna snap!. It didn’t but mucho stress cracks.

I think gloss resin gets brittle with age as you can tell on classic/vintage repairs once the gloss coat is gone the lam  is green and clean.


“ditch and dive guy…a board thrower,”  

That’s the best discription I’ve heard for that senerio.

Lots of that goes on when it gets head high where I surf.

Those guys get yelled at!

Stuff the nose into the bottom will do that to most longboards.

Bent to nearly the point of breaking. But not quite.

Sometimes the cracks go all the way to the underside of the lamination.

They turn brown with age.

If you can get your fingernails to catch on them, It may take on water.

Damn ditch and dive guys!

No shit Barry!

Guy was a " ballsy" kook!

A real wall hanger now, never surfed it again,and damn it! I love this board and was surfing it on small days in the mid 70’s, 

Shame but a blessing as it forced me to move on…

Oh BTW really happy it didn’t snap Liddle #001

Sorry Mako “no mean snag your tread, eh”

I’m inclined to blame glassing as well.  I bought 6 longboards from a certain shaper back in the late 80s. Every single one got those stress cracks on the bottom.  Switched to another shaper, who used a different glasser and no more stress cracks.  Still have one of those boards.  It was shaped in 1990 and is very thin, but not one stress crack on the bottom.