Longboard to Fish (a story of reincarnation)


So I recently acquired an old stripped longboard form Chrisp (thank you again!) that was hanging on a fence along hwy1. I’ve wanted to shape a board for a long time now, but was a little too unsure of myself when it came to buying a new blank, so an old used piece of foam seemed the perfect candidate to me. I don’t have any pictures of it as it was when I got it, since I enthusiastically started skinning the old yellow foam off when I got home. I don’t have a planer or any power tools for that matter, for the entire project I used a small spoke shave, a 4" sureform, and three 2x4 with different grits of sandpaper stapled to them.

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As I was skinning it and getting down into whiter foam, I discovered a buckle in the bottom. It doesn’t go through to the top, and I figured I would just try to keep it toward the nose of whatever shape the board turned into.

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I found two templates I liked on blending curves and traced them onto the blank as a rough idea where the final shape might land. I then cut off a few inched of the nose, and cut out the single fin box.

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The rails were pretty rough but not too horrible, and I just kept skimming away with the longest sanding block I had.

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I got the bottom flattened out, and got through most of the loose foam on the top, and then cut out a very rough version of my plan shape.

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Side profile, still had a good amount of foam throughout.

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I’m sure you could see the spots on the deck of bad foam, they went about 3/4" of an inch down, but I didn’t want to sand the entire deck that low. I’m pretty heavy and a rather novice surfer (flounderer is more like it) so I wanted to keep as much thickness as possible. I wound up making foam blocks from leftover cutoff’s, tracing the squares over the bad spots, and then cutting/chiseling out the bad areas. Then I mixed up q-cell and sanding resin and glued the squares into the holes. Cut away the excess with a hacksaw blade, and then sand flush to the deck.

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Here’s the deck

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and the bottom

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I then proceded to carefully and slowly shave down the bands using both the sureform and sanding block, trying ot keep them at the same angle, working one band at a time, one side then the other, back and forth. I go tto a point where I was pretty happy, everything looked pretty even, so I then took a sheet of 320 and smoothed everything out.


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For my first time around, I’m pretty stoked. It’s in no way perfect, far from it I’m sure, but I had a blast doing it. I’m making some plywood fins, which I will glass on, it will be a quad. I’ll post pics as I go along, but it may be put on hiatus for a week or so, as it’s a paycheck to paycheck kinda project :slight_smile: Thanks to all of you who post, this place is a huge source of knowledge.

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Well done , impressive , you have achieved a better result using just basic hand tools than others using power everything , perhaps there is a lesson to be learned about starting off with the very basics , going slow can have its rewards .

Very nice, also a novice myself. Been scouring local ads for old windsurf boards or surfboards myself to recycle an old blank. 

Excited to see the final board!

Lookin’ good Jon!


Major Props to you! You’ve done a good job of hand shaping for your first.

Like I told you before, when I looked at that blank hanging on the fence, I thought it was too badly deteriorated from the elements. I’m impressed that you were able to find some good clean foam in there.

Next time your over in Cayucos, I’ll show you the set of different hand shaping tools that I built with  4"x24" snading belts, wood, lexan & closet pole(handles). BTW I use the spray Super77 contact cement to attach the sanding paper to the wood. Wouldn’t want one of those staples to gouge the foam.


Thank you guys very much fo the positive feedback! I’d be stoked to see those parthenonsurfer, the grit on the paper I used is pretty heavy (36 grit and 120) and I hammer the staples in pretty flush. Worked well for getting through the bulkier areas of bad foam. I was suprised to get the thickness out of it, but it worked pretty well. I started on some fins for it, with tabs to hold them on the bottom, then screwed two together to get an even template. I still need to foil the smaller rear ones, might be able to get those done tomorrow. I think I might do a layer of 6oz both sides with a smoke tint before I glass them to the board. Plan for the board is to do an orange tint with some black and ivory pinstriping, and a few lams I made. I’ll post pics as it goes, thanks again for comments and interest!

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Excellent work…for a first bash at it I’d be pretty happy with myself if I were you !!..that’ll look the nuts when it’s done !



I was going to ask about striping. This board is amazing, nice work!

looking forward to the striping!

Nice work. Especially considering what you began with, the tools used and it being your first attempt.

Great job!

Echoing everyone else’s comments - great work and thanks for sharing. I’m planning a phoenix project sometime in the future on an old longboard I’ve had in the shed for many years. You’ve inspired me to get my arse into gear and get back into it!

Jon, I’ve attached  photo of the three main shaping tools that I’ve used up to this point. The left (blue) is my main workhorse. The middle (maroon) one is for shaping the nose scoop, and the right one (lexan) I use for both doming the deck & shaping concaves in the bottom. The lexan is stiff enough that once I bend to desired shape, it’s easy to maintain it for consistency thru the push or pull stroke. I’ve settled on using 50g. belts because the 36g seemed to leave gouges/scratches that were too deep (especially on eps).

I did recently purchase a hitachi planer off EBay & will be modifying it  per NewLeafs excellent video instructions when I get the time. Hoping to take my shaping to the next level.

I love this kind of topic. To me it’s part of the essence of this site. There’s something rather noble about shaping completely by hand. Also the re-shaping old boards is good to see. I’ve done a few projects like this one over the years. My most recent was getting two old short boards and combining them to make something else…


Thank you everyone again for the positive comments, they are much appreciated!

CassS I look forward to seeing it, glad I could be of some inspiration.

Parthenonsurfer those are awesome! I love the handles and the lexan is a great idea, I might have to go make a few of those tools myself.

Spuddups that board is great, I love it!

Foiled my other two fins today at lunch, hope to get them in some glass this weekend, I’ll post pics as soon as I have them done. For now here is something I came up with last night, just messing around with possible lams for the board, though I’m sure it will get redrawn as I don’t dig the banners as much as I thought I would. Eh, anyways, it would be roughly 5" tall or so, pretty small.

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hi mate !


  good on you !


  back in ? around 2001 ? , I reshaped the midsection [pretty much] of a petrol damaged 9’blank [!] a mate had sitting in his garage for YEARS . Made it into a  "  5’5 x 19 1/4" fish", inspired by the dvd of the same name [or was it a video , it was 'soooo long ago ’ ?!  :wink:


 It ended up , not surprisingly ,  as flat as an ironing board .


  As  I also decided [for some reason that escapes me , now !] to make it with a  concave deck , it was difficult to paddle …


  Being me , I put plenty of fcs plugs in it , and a back fin box . So I could play around with numerous fin setups.


  Eventually a much younger / smaller / fitter surfer rode it for a while …


And surfed it well !


 … then … hicksy got it . It now languishes at his place , in a state of total disrepair [sigh]. Seems his daughters never ended up surfing it . [Or looking after it , at all ?!] … oh well , live and learn …


All up , I think that  it only cost me a coupla hundred aus dollars … to spray , to glass , to fin plug …


this is it … the deck , anyway !  [the bottom was a different colour]


From my days here as ‘chipfish61’, from memory ?

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 [no shot of initial damaged blank , I’m sorry…]


let us know how YOURS  goes , eh ?


  cheers !







That looks awesome Ben! Dig the color on the deck. I’ll most definitly give a ride report (as good as my abilities allow, anyways). I’ll be pretty damn excited if it stays afloat with me on it and goes down the line, thats about where I’m at :) 

I’m thinking of doing 2 layers of 6oz on the deck, and perhaps one layer of 6oz on the bottom, with a patch that mirrors the tail under the fins, and another one from the nose to just past the buckle, for strength, much like this Bing-

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Good idea, bad idea?

good idea

Made some progress on fins today, still need to sand down my hotcoat.

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Going to have a very tiny halo around them, more soon! I hope you’re all having a great weekend, I’m off to have a beer and fire up the BBQ-

Made a trip to The Craft in San Luis (best supply place EVER, there’s my shameless plug of the day) and picked up some goodies! Hope to get glassing the board this coming weekend, fingers crossed everything goes well.

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I also redrew my lam for the bottom

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Ready for action!