My first board experience... and tips for the other first timers

Yesterday I finally finished my first board- a 6 ft, almost 3 inch thick retro single fin (Im a bigger guy, so the extra flotation helps). For all those first timers browsing the boards like I did to get some help, here are some tips from a guy with one board under his belt:

1)Make sure you have all the mesurements before you buy the foam blank. I went with FoamEZ and bought their 6-6’3’’ fish blank, but discovered the rest of the dimensions wouldnt create the fish I wanted (a 6’1’’ fish), so my project was quickly adjusted to a single fin.

  1. Invest in semi-decent tools. I put so many gouges in my board from the cheap hand planer I had were the blade kept slipping and digging. I saw a 50 buck hand planer (any one had any experience with the “premium hand planes”?)

  2. Make sure you have plenty of work space to use! I had so much S**t stuck to my feet from stumbling over stuff in my garage while glassing, it made the proccess 1 million times harder.

  3. Go easy on the sanding and glassing. You may think your doing great, but dont get to cocky and start flying through it too fast like I did, and then find yourself doing ding repair on a fin box thats never been used :slight_smile:

  4. Make sure youve done your research, but at the same time- Just go do it. Your intuitions will serve you well.

I know these points seem obvious and if your building your first board your probably trying to find threads with details on how to build, but trust me…If I had spent more time on these details and not the minute logistics my board would have come out alot faster and better.

Maybe Ill get some pics up later of the board, its hideous, but I surfed it in 2’ chop yesterday, and it performed as well as you could hope a 6’ board to do in those conditions, which is all that matters to me. Next… My 7’6’’ egg.

Good for you Shaperkook! Sounds like you’re learning well from your experiences. It only gets better except of course for the occasional brain fart.

For example: I did an excellent glass job on my wife’s fun shape a few months ago. Lap lines were straight, no dry glass, beautiful sanding job. I was very very proud. The next board I did was for myself and I decided to switch from UV Poly to Epoxy. Problem was I KOOKED out and didn’t pay attention to what I was doing. Left the resin in the pot too long, left dry lines in the deck, pinhole air in the bottom, sanded into the foam etc…If I had payed more attention to detail instead of getting cocky and going too fast, I would have had a better end product. Oh Well, we all learn from our mistakes. Now I’m ready for the next one.