SBC Fiji quiver + grom board

I shaped a 4’10 for my son and a 5’6 for me last August. Finally got around to glassing them last month. 4’10 is a twin. Sprayed/sealed the blanks with acrylic paint and acrylic Pledge (Future) floor sealer. 

Glassed three layers of cloth onto the rails (no pics). Traced the outline onto mylar sheet and layed up a layer of 3 oz S cloth on a table. Rolled out bubbles with epoxy roller. Allowed to cure. 

Vacuumed the hardened s cloth skin onto the bottom with another layer of 3 oz s in between, just as I would do with a veneer. The point was to not have to sand the bottom or deck. Ran into major problems:

The skin was so pliable, that it formed to the wrinkles in the release cloth and bag. Decided to use a hard plastic sheet against the deck skin to keep it from wrinkling. No wrinkles, but got some spots where the hard sheet couldn’t conform to the curves in the deck and got some spots with more resin than others. Ended up having to sand the deck, anyway. Hotcoated and hand-sanded the rails. Left the bottom with the wrinkles. Finished product (deck):

8-yr-old son is stoked on it (first hard board). He went under a white wash (can’t duck dive, yet), and it hit him in the mouth, cutting his lip. Didn’t deter his happiness, though. 

My 5’6 coming up next. 




5’6 twinzer groveler. Second attempt glassing with fiberglass skins. Originally routed the blank for gearbox, but decided to switch my Fiji quiver to 4fws. Shaped some scrap EPS to fill in the routed holes.

Routed and glassed in the 4wfs plugs.

Glassed the rails and added fin patches. Tried to mix some tinted resin to cover up the foam patches. Did a horrible job (obviously). 

BTW, the blue dot in the center was where I was spraying the rails on both boards at the same time, separated with a roll of tape. The tape made a slight white circle, so I added a blue circle and decided to turn it into a blue dot (Carl Sagan reference). 

Cut lap rail on deck. 

Used a clear mylar sheet to keep the wrinkles out of the bottom skin. 

No wrinkles this time, but now major bubbles under the glass skin.

Talked with Gdaddy and he thinks the sealed blank contributed to the bubbles. Decided to perforate the blank with holes, ala Hydroflex, to let the air vacuum out from the other side. Ordered a dough spikey roller for the next one.  

Tinted the deck skin to cover up any bubbles. I wonder how many bubbles exist under veneers but just aren’t seen due to the opacity of the material. 

Final product:

Fins courtesy of Huie. Stoked on them, too. 

Next up: 5’9 round pin with spiked dual density blank.


Center stringer, glued on hd PU foam rails. Eps center. More pics to come. 

Cool stuff , like the dual density blank idea:) 

Luv the template on the 5-9 in particular.  I sure hope the blank-as-breather approach works.  

Cut laps. Inspired by nocean, I decided to try a natural cloth, so I went with a linen/cotton blend for the deck and bottom. I thought two layers would be opaque, so I didn’t worry too much about my paint job on the rails. Not opaque and my paint job looks like crap. 

Wetting out linen/cotton skin:

vacuuming the bottom skin on last, I pre-drilled the leash plug hole to pull vacuum through the blank. 

Another mistake I made on this board (my 3rd attempt), was not cutting the mylar sheet narrow enough to match my outline. It hung over the rails, so when I pulled vacuum, it separated from the blank along the rail edge. More bubbles (damnit).

Next up, 6’0 x 19 x 2 3/8 step up round pin.


On this one, I cut the blank in half and traced in my rocker template. Then I shaped to thickness on one half, glued the halves together, and shaped the rest of the blank to match. The HD rails idea is from Greg Loehr’s WMD blanks. I left the perimeter stringers in on this one and there’s no center stringer, just a glue line (it was a PITA to take out the perimeter stringers on the last one). 

Shaping PU rails is a dream. Shaping perimeter stringers that end on the rails is not. 


Final product, from left to right:

6’0 dual perimeter stringer, 5’9 single center stringer, 5’6 stringerless

Forgot to mention that the fabric store ran out of the linen/cotton blend, so I tried 100% cotton on the 6’0 deck and bottom. Again, not opaque so my ugly free laps are showing through. 

Final thoughts:

Spiking the blank probably reduces delam, but increases weight. My sealed stringerless blank is so light and responsive, it feels like I’m cheating when I surf it. The extra weight on the 5’9 came in handy in windy conditions in Fiji last week. I didn’t ride the 6’0, yet.

Even though I used the lightest linen/cotton cloth I could find, they still seemed like they sucked up resin, relative to 3 oz S cloth. This could’ve contributed to the extra weight, along with the stringers and HD rails (duh).  

I used Greenroom epoxy, Blanco DH, and the optical brighteners in it made the linen/cotton look pinkish/purple. It looks good over clear blanks, but not so good for natural fibers or wood. I like the resin though, and it was about $25 cheaper than RR for a 1.5 gal kit. 

4wfs is awesome. My 5’6 felt too slidey, so I spread the cluster a bit and reduced the cant on all four fins by 2 degrees. Problem solved. Still fast as fvck, but holds in, too. 

I’m only 4 boards in glassing with cloth skins and only hand-sanding the rails. I have some bugs to work out, but it seems like a promising technique. I think I’ve worked out the bubble problem.

One problem I need to think about more is getting a seamless transition where the deck skin ends on the rail. I can’t use a roller to set the edge into the blank b/c the rails are already glassed and cured. I’m wondering if I should try to shape in a step down on the deck so the skin fits in cleanly. Seems like a PITA to do this though. Maybe better just to do more basting. Any thoughts would be appreciated. 


Hey Ghostshaper,

Great post. Learning a s-ton with all these recent building posts. I like the NASA sticker, and the 6’0. Man that board looks smooth. Would you mind doing a rocker shot?

Also just wondering how long do you keep it in the bag? Could you do a cutlap on the rail to make it smooth, or would it screw it up putting tape, and brown paper on the rails? Want to try this myself.




wow in true swaylocks fashion you are making it sooooooo much harder on yourself than you need too… for the skins vac’ed over cutlap rails, just cut your skin a little wide - the cutlap gives you a nice little lip that makes it easy to grind off the overlapping skin post cure

did you get to surf tavarua???!!!

ha ha. so true, grasshopper. I guess I need to make sure my last rail lap is shorter than the one underneath, then I can grind the skin even with it and still have another layer of glass underneath at the seam. Point taken. This is why I ask, thanks.  

If you mean cloudbreak, yes. Restaurants, no (wasn’t breaking). Windy, so everyone was funneled to CB. Crowded, but still fun. Really wanted restaurants, though. Just to rub salt in, it’s breaking this week. One of these lifetimes, I’ll get it. 

Jason, rocker shot coming soon. Gotta unpack the boards first.

I kept the skins in the bag overnight, usually. Glassed it after putting the kids to bed and then forgot about it until a.m. The rails weren’t vacuumed, so I babysat them and did a cutlap on one side, freelap on the other (top or bottom, alternating every layer).    



Hey GS -

Great stuff.  So good to see a straight up build thread.  Love the comments about the 4way…  So much to be said for adjustable fin systems.

To clarify:  Are you doing skins to avoid sanding only, to reduce wieght, or both?  Other facets - good point about weight, what are you looking for in strength/longevity?

Why do you leave the tabs on the boxes?  Are you using a jig?  What is your protocol for setting the boxes,e.g. resin and cloth/fibers/filler? What is the orange stuff you covered the boxes with, a special kind of tape, or?

I could go into my own trip about putty, minimal sanding, and finish coats, but it’s just that…  Ha!

Thanks again for all the stoke -

Skins are only to avoid sanding. I like my grovelers light and my good wave boards solid. Other than that, I don’t worry too much about weight. I use epoxy only. I like S cloth for strength/longevity. I was just interested in trying some natural fibers. Just in exposing the fin boxes, I can tell that the natural cloths feel bulletproof. 

These boards were the first time that I installed the UTG 4wfs. I installed the OTG boxes on only 1 board before. I used the jig both times, but a hole saw would work with the OTG boxes b/c it’s a one-depth, circular install. They also have adhesive foam pad guides to line up the fin marks. The UTG  boxes have the rear tab, which I assume are for giving the box some strength under the rear corner of fins and to keep the box lined up correctly (no accidental rotating while installing). I don’t know for sure, though.  The orange circles were stickers. I actually had a resin leak with one of them. I had to tear the insert disc out in pieces in order to remove it. PITA. The disc is made out of really nice plastic (no cracking or shattering, which made the removal difficult). After the first board, I cut out my own circular stickers out of blue tape. No intrusion problems. I bought some clay for future installs.  

I’ll leave the question about protocol to someone with more installation experience with these boxes.  


5’6: 4.5" nose, 1.75" tail. Center point (widepoint, too, IIRC) pushed back 1" from midpoint. I shaped this last summer, so it’s been a while, but I think I tried to match it up to the side of the squared up blank. 


5’9: 4.5" nose, 2" tail. Center point 1" back again. I put in a center stringer with my rocker as a template with this one. Even though this one was for good waves, I just extended the rocker from my 5’6 out three inches in the tail and it ended up at 2", so this is basically my 5’6 rocker just stretched out in the tail. This board felt nice at Cloudbreak. Gonna test it more in punchy beach break barrels. 

6’0: 5" nose, 2.5" tail. Cut the blank in half and traced the rocker to one half, sanded flush. Glued back together. 



Thanks for the reply GS -

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like you may be after lightness, as well as reduced sanding too…

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like you may be after lightness, as well as reduced sanding too…

Also, would I be right in thinking you have the vac bag for other purposes?  As, from my naïve perspective, making a panel, using a rocker table, vac bagging, and sanding the edges, sounds like more work than just a smoothing sand and a finish coat.   But then again, as I wrote that, I realize, I have another question or two: It sounds like you still have to sand the edges of the panel (Do you do panels on both sides?), is that correct, and if so, do you only sand to a finish level, or do you do a finish resin coat?  So, other than some bubbles under the skin, you have worked out, is the panel as smooth as you want it when it comes out – ready to ride?

Regarding the box setting – I’m only curious how you set ‘em?  I baste the hole with straight epoxy, then use a resin and cab-o-sil putty for a bit of added strength. I love the under the glass, as, one of the last steps becomes cutting the hole open and then, ta da!  Ready to ride…

Yes, panels on both sides. Bottom panel is cut flush to the bottom edge. Still have to hotcoat and hand sand last, but just the rails. My ultimate goal is a sand-free board ala Coil, but I’m not setup to do infusion. I’ve been laying up the panels on a smooth plastic sheet, so the side facing the sheet comes out smooth. The light weight is not my main objective. I think sealing the blank results in a light board, but then will create more bubbles. Most veneers are opaque, so they’re not seen. I may just start doing opaque pigmented s cloth skins.  

No rocker table is needed if you lam the rails first. The vacuum is just to attach the skins. 

As for the boxes, I use straight resin. I don’t think cabosil adds strength, just viscosity. To avoid bubbles, I’m going to sand the lip off the boxes first, then fill with clay on my next one. I sanded the boxes flat on my second one, but forgot to on the last two. I used a razor blade to cut them open on my first one, but relegated to an angled die grinder with small disc to open up the last two b/c the lam was too thick and it was difficult getting a clean cut. Also, the small sanding disc fits the circular opening shape well. Rectangular openings might be a different story.   

Remember, I’ve only glassed 4 boards with these skins, so I still need to work out the kinks and streamline the process. This is definitely not a production technique, but just aimed at saving a garage builder the sanding (and resin dust). 



Thanks GS -

I use a “dremil” type tool to open the boxes up.  I like the idea of reduced sanding, and since I’m a fan of extra weight, or, at least, not opposed to it, I go for the “finish” coat as much as possible.

Have you, or anyone reading, heard if you can get a finished product - it sounds like Coil is doing it - out of the vac bag with some level of ease?

Do you, or have plans to, use your vac bag for any other steps, or? 

Are the panels hand layed up, or do you vac bag those too?

Hey GS, thanks for the rocker shots. 

Learning alot on this thread. Would be very nice to be able to pull the board out of the bag and only sand rails. Would save alot of time/cleanup.

I don’t know anyone who is doing boards that are done out of the bag like Coil. 

I don’t use the bag for any other steps. 

I did the panels two ways:

  1. Wetted out cloth on the plastic sheet on the wet out table. Allowed to cure. Vac bagged to blank with one more layer in between; and 

  2. Wetted out cloth on blank like normal. Stuck the plastic sheet against the cloth and slipped into the bag. This method is harder to control how the finish is b/c you need to make sure that the cloth has enough resin to make a smooth finish, but not too much where it will build up. 

Method 1 is easier, but takes more time. I was kind of in a time crunch before my trip, which is why I tried method 2.    


Thanks, hopefully you’re learning what not to do. That’s pretty much how I operate: plenty of mistakes. 

Even though I have a disc sander, it’s nice not to have to use it. The resin dust kills me, too. Hand sanding the rails still makes it, but far less. Plus I don’t have to buy sandpaper adhesive, etc. Fewer materials, lower cost, less mess.