NOOB here with tons of questions

OK, so I am a newb and am just getting into surfing. I love building things and like going deeper into my hobbies like if i want to drag race a car I build the car from the ground up, If I want to go surfing i want to build my own surfboard. I have been hooked on the culture and history of surfing for a few months now and finally went surfing this weekend. I had a blast and got to try out a few rental boards before I headed home to AZ. I have a goal of building a board up and surfing it in 2 months. I have been lurking here for a bit and have a very hard time following everything you guys are all saying cause your all so more advanced than i and the terminolagy is hard to understand. So basicly I want to start a thread and that I could ask a bunch of questions in and sort of be my build thread. SOOOOO please hang in there with me as this is all new to me. My first question is I saw that you can buy big sheets of EPS at home depot, has anyone ever built a board this way? or does everyone use a company that has a roughly shaped blank?

Lots of folks build boards using EPS from lumber supply stores. Dig through the archives and you’ll see lots of info.

IMO, if you’ve only “tried” surfing once or twice you have a very steep learning curve ahead of you. That’s in regard to both surfing and board building.

I know I have alot to learn ( understatement lol ). Found this when I searched

Execpt like i said the terminalagy and names of parts confuses the hell out of me Stinger? stinger rods? anybody know a book or vid i can check out?

Shaping 101 may help you. Also do you mean the stringer which is the wooden strip that runs up the middle of the foam. You may also find it easier to buy a blank that has the rough shape of the board already in it, rather than starting from scratch from a square piece of foam.

hi michael,

welcome to sways…if your looking for a good book to catch you up on terminology, may i suggest "essential surfing ‘’ by george orbelian (sp?).  the best reading though is right here.

good luck in your new adventure.

 "essential surfing ‘’ by george orbelian (sp?).  the best reading though is right here.


Very good read - There’s gotta be some web site spelling out the basics.  Check some board makers.  I think it was the Harbour site which had a nice write up of the basics of boards…

Good luck and welcome.

To get all the basics for your first board check out

Perhaps one of the best ways to get an overview of shaping and then ask specific question in sways.


I disagree. I think that guy has a lot of strange ideas, and would not be a good reference source for a total noob.

check out this thread:

i think you’re better off buying a blank tho…

where are you?

Welcome to Swaylock's!

I wouldn't go to Home Depot to get foam.  That stuff is too light.  Your best bet is to pick up a blank or two when you visit San Diego this summer -- along with everyone else in your state </kidding>.  You can also have blanks mailed to you from

If you don't want to travel or ship your foam, then you have one other option.  You can get 2lb EPS foam (2 lbs per cubic foot) at places that make architectural foam parts.  I'm sure they have them in Arizona.  They will even hotwire the foam for you if you bring in two matching rocker templates.





Simplify your life

Learn to surf first. Buy a board.

Look your going to end up with a bad board and you dont even know how to surf it.

Plus your going to be asking alot of stupid questions that will be answered just by the exp of surfing for a year.

Its not simple. I can’t see anyones motivation for hanging in there for you on something like this.

But I’ve seen stranger.


Too bad we dont have a KOTY award.


Firstly, welcome to the worlds most addictive hobby, and the website that is our enabler.  If you have any willpower, stop now, and save yourself!

All kidding aside, if you get the bug like the rest of us, tons of fun are ahead.  My little bit of first timer advice is start small.  Rather than trying for a complete surfboard on your first go around, start with models.  Get a feel for the resins. 

Start out with a 12" x 12" piece of cloth over a wood 2x4.  See how the cloth wraps the corners, or fights you.  Try to hot coat the test 2x4.  Get a feel for what happens if you start sanding too soon.  Get a feel of the difference between resin with surfacing agent, and without.  See what happens when the family get a smell of resin in the Garage.  Try doing a cutlap on your test 2x4. 

All the little steps.  If you are like the rest of us, we learn the most from experience, and our mistakes.  Rather than a $60 blank, $30 in cloth, $30 in resin, $15 in fin plugs. $20 in sandpaper and masking tape, get a feel for what you are playing with for $10 with the materials from a ding repair kit, or a fiberglass repair kit from Home Depot.

There is time for boards when the practice is done.

      Howzit Michael, Welcome to the # 1 website for building surfboards and you have come to the right place to learn how to make one. Like one ofthe guys said you should get a video and I suggest the Damascus one since itis the best on the market. It will enable you to understand what we are talking about when you need answers. Where in Az are you located since I moved to Havasu from Kauai last July and we have a few other members in Az also. Take care and learn from us since we re here to teach. Aloha,Kokua

howdy kokua,

like most exemplary elders you certainly share what you know-- thank you for teaching aloha too! 


hey Michael, where are you? U might be able to meet other Sway dudes and get a 1st hand edumacation ?

Buy the Jim Phillips set of dvd-s through damascus production. And possibly score a video real cheap of shaping 101 and glassing 101, instead of buying more expensive DVD’s

p.s. buy a blank for your first try, or even a machine shaped blank to finish, so many things to learn the first time. 

Do a search for build thread, that way you can see start to finish threads of making surfboards

Cheers and good luck, enjoy it


Kokua,you are a class act every post,good on ya.As for the NOOB,stay away from this thread,

and this one also…



     Howzit surfiber and jesus, Thank you for the compliments, but I just do what any Swaylock member would do to help any one who wants to build a surfboard but has no experience at it. Sharing what I know is about the best thing I can do for this site and I am not the only one to do it. I want to thank Mike for building this website so Myself and my sway brothers can share our knowledge. Like I said last night when I and and others first joined there was between 25 and 50 members and we mostly traded tricks and tips of the trade and now we have probably over a thousand members which just goes to show how successful this site is. Aloha,Kokua 

heya kokua,

it’s good to know you guys don’t get tired of helping out newcomers, i’m just acknowledging what i’m beginning to understand that place you’re coming from-- aloha. you certainly show that everything you share, comes from the goodness that is the essence of you. may your tribe increase!


    Hozit surfiber, John Mellor informed me that we are now 15,000 members strong and that is amazing to say the least. Coming on Swaylocks is one of the highlights of my day and am always glad to help. Aloha,Kokua