A spin off from our Real Deal page. We'll take a look into surf products, contests, sponsorships and the such.

How are surfboards made? How much time does it take to manufacture a surfboard, and how much does it really cost before surf shop mark-up?

Lets take a short board with FCS and no color for instance. A Hand shaped short board can take anywhere from 1 1/2 hours to 3 hours. Depending on the shapers speed and accuracy. Next is the lamination process. This process has two steps, first the bottom is laminated then the deck. In this process, fiberglass cloth is layed out over the shaped blank and then saturated with laminating resin. Laminating resin has a tackyness to it. This allows it to adhere to the blank better and gives the sanding resin something to grab on to. The lamination process takes about 1 1/2 hour all together. The next step is to hot coat the board. Much like laminating, hot coats also have two steps. The hot coat gets its name from the way the resin is mixed with a harding agent. It is mixed in such away that the resin sets up in about 10 minutes. The resin used for hot coats is called sanding resin. Sanding resin is laminating resin with an additive added to it, this additive allows the resin to cure hard and smooth making it possible to be sanded. The total time to hot coat and board is about 30 minutes. After the board has cured for about 4 days, it is time to drill the holes for the FCS plugs. Setting the plugs usually takes about 30 minutes also.
Once the FCS plugs are cured, then the board gets handed over to the sander. Sanders that are good, can sand a board in about 30 - 40 minutes. Last, it's time to look the board over for any imperfections. If everyone did their job right the first time, this step could be skiped. But not always.
At some factories there can be 4 different people that touch your board. All these people get paid in the form of piece work. Piece work is when you get paid per job you do. So, if a laminator gets $20 per board and laminates 10 boards a day that's $200. It doesn't always work that way; so don't quit your day job. People who do piece work usually move fast. The more boards they do, the more money they make. Now keep in mind that fast isn't always accurate. Anytime you have piece work, there is always the chance the boards aren't going to be 100% perfect. That's why the boards have to be looked over before leaving the factory.
It takes about 6 hours to take a surfboard from start to finish. So why does a board take anywhere for 4 - 6 weeks when custom ordered. It's simple, you have to take a number. Just because you ordered your board on Monday doesn't mean it's going to be started that day.
The answer to the last question depends on where the boards are coming from. Example, in the Northeast foam has to be shipped, there are no foam warehouses anywhere close, so the shapers have to order their blanks either from Florida or California. This adds about $10 + dollars more to the production price because of shipping. Also the Northeast doesn't have to many glass shops. The rates are higher because there isn't any compitition. The production base price for a board from the Northeast can be around $275 - $290 for materials and labor. This price doesn't include profit for the board company. Now take the West Coast, Hawaii and the Southeast for example, There are foam warehouses in all 3 locations and there are alot of glass shops. This equates to lower glassing cost.  I don't know the exact amount, but if you do the math it comes out to be less than boards out of the Northeast. 

Now keep in mind, Clark Foam has closed it's doors.  Companies have take avantage of this and board prices have sky rocketed. Recently prices have started to level out a bit.





"Surfing is life, the rest is details".

Absecon Island Surfing