Michigan Surfboard

After a recent trip to Santa Barbara I decided I really need to make a surfboard and learn to surf on it.  Problem is I live in michigan and know nothing about surfing or surfboards, neither does anyone I know.  I’m not really interested in spending any big money on a surfboard because I probably won’t have the opportunity to surf a lot, and I happen to have some fiberglass and epoxy laying around from a boat building project I’m working on.  This board will be used exclusively on the great lakes.


My questions are mainly about how I should go about designing this surfboard:

a) Thickness - I plan on using sheets of XPS foam from the hardware store as the blank for the board.  To make the rocker I’ll probably laminate together two or more sheets.  It’s my understanding that a more bouyant board is both easier to learn on and better in fresh water.  I was imagining a blank starting at around 2.5-3make inches before I form the rails.

b) Length/shape - I’ve heard bigger boards are better for the lakes because of the relatively weak surf, also I gather they are easier to surf on (true?).  What kind of length would you suggest?  Since I plan on using home insulation XPS sheets (which are 4’x8’), any board up to 8’ long will be super easy to make, longer than that is very doable, but a little bit more of a hassle.  I imagine a fairly tradition roundish longboard shape would be acceptable (And simple to build)

c) Width ~2’ would be convinent since I could slice XPS sheets in half and get more out of them, is this way too wide/narrow?

d) Rocker/foil - any general guidelines on the nose/tail rocker?  How much (roughly) should the board thin out towards the ends?

e) Rails - I’m imagining pretty simple round rails, would any other shape be significantly more suitable?

f) anything I missed?


I’m not asking for really specific design details, I probably won’t get to surf a lot, and worst-case scenario I’ll end up with a really long boogy board and have a fun time making it, so maximum performance doesn’t concern me too much.  If there are some general guidelines for any of these paramaters that would save me from making a really especially awful board, that would be nice.



Hey MI,

You are asking for a lot of info. You are better off getting a video or two and scouring the threads here that waiting for a reply to your request for specs and information.

There are a few of us building boards here in the mid west and you can get some great waves on the Great Lakes.  Here are some pics.

Check out Boards by Bouchard on FaceBook

Check out Redbull  with my buddy Bob Temathis last winter.


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