The Porto

The misadventures of a weekend kook

How to fix surf board dings and a popped fin plug

A couple weeks back I had the pleasure of surfing in NY's Long beach. If you haven't ever gone there to surf, I highly recommend it especially if you're a goofy footer, beautiful long lefts. Unfortunately, this particular day the ocean was too full and breaking right on the shore. While it made for a nice challenge I walked away with tons of sand on my ass, a broken fin and a popped fin plug.

A super ding, broken and delaminated glass. Popped fin plug

After consulting with Brian of GreenLight Surf Supply I got the low down on how to fix dings. Granted this was a bit more then a typical ding repair.

You'll need a few supplies to get the job done, you can find most of these things online by searching for epoxy ding repair kit. Luckily I had left over supplies from my last board build.

Clear the damaged area

Removed delaminated glass Sanded and cleaned

The first thing you need to do is clear and cut away delaminated areas. Normally you can leave this on and just apply a quick coat of epoxy to "re-glue" it back down. But my particular case some of the foam beneath it separated and I needed a clean area to fix this. After it's been cleaned up, tape up the fin plugs and sand everything down about 2 inches past the inbox and rail using 80 grit sand paper. You basically want to scratch up the surface so you can get a good bond when epoxying later on. you might notice some yellow on the foam. I didn't have any q-cell resin so I just glued the large piece of foam that got popped off. Worked a charm.

Get patching

At this point you want to cut 2 patches of 4oz fiberglass cloth the first patch being small and going over the edge of the ding. The 2nd patch should be larger covering the smaller patch.

Patches Small patch first Larger patch second

Glass repair

At this point as you can see I painted the foam to match up the color of the surfboard. I didn't want to completely hide the damage, so I only did one coat of color to show through the carnage. Make sure to tape off the surrounding area, you don't want to make more work for yourself later on with the sanding.

Glassing the ding

Lay down the cloth and then mix up the epoxy. When it's ready, pour the epoxy over the cloth. You know you did it correctly because the cloth will become transparent. Make sure to squeegee and roll over the rail and clean up any drippings.

Recycle the fin plug

I wasn't about to go and toss the old fin plug, especially since it was undamaged. Recycling it was an easy process. I used a sander and removed the excess resin. I also went a step further and cut in some notches to make sure it would hold in securely.

popped fin plug pre-sanding Sanded and notched fin plug tape dam installing the recycled fin plug

I went and made a simple epoxy dam in case I got a bit of an over flow. Before inserting the loose fin plug, make sure to mix up some epoxy and careful pour some 1/3rd of the height into the hole. Then attach the loose fin plug to a fin and then attach that to the board. Now the fin will be in it's proper place. Carefully pour a bit more epoxy till it tops off. Let it dry for a few hours or over night.


Sand the glass

At this point you should have a pretty rough looking repair. Get that 80 grit sandpaper we used to rough things up and sand down the epoxied area. Be careful not too sand too deeply as you might get what is called "burn in" which just means you sanded down to the cloth. Not a big deal if you do, since the hot coat should take care of such things.

sanded ding repair

Hot coat and final sanding

Hot coat Sanded hot coat

We're almost at the final step. Mix up a tiny amount of epoxy and have a disposable 4” chip brush or something smaller. And paint on the epoxy over the rough edges, you should see everything smooth out and fill in any gaps or holes. Let the hot coat dry. And finally get a 100grit sandpaper and remove any of the gloss from the application of the hot coat. next get 200 grit sand paper and smooth that out. Lastly use 300 grit sandpaper and smooth out the area again. At this point you can go and use higher grit sandpaper to smooth things out even more.

Slowly sanding with a finer grit Deck side was also sanded, since I had to fix the rail Finished ding repair

Throw on the fins and enjoy your board all over again.

Surfing Bertha

So the east coast had hurricane Bertha pass off shore, bring a nice summer swell this august. Unfortunately the waves were a bit too fast and got up to head high. If you had the skills it was epic. For the rest of us little folk, it was just practice. Here's a little clip I made before I went in. The waves eventually got up to about chest to head.

New Jersey's best surf winter ever?

Photo: Joanne O'Shaughnessy

I haven't been surfing very long, but I can agree, this has been the best winter surf New Jersey has had in my limited surf-lifetime. Surfline did another great special on what NJ had to offer and will hopefully continue for the future. You would think this was northern Cali, but I'm proud to say it's New Jersey.

New Jersey epic winter swell

It's good to see somebody captured the amazing frigid swells New jersey has gotten in the winter of 2013/14. Hop on over to Surfline and check out the last wave in the video, an epic 3 barrel ride.

Photo by: Tim Leopold

How to keep your feet warm surfing the cold east coast winter

It's been a serious cold winter for surfing this year in upper and central east coasts. Water has been hovering at around 35 degrees with the air has been 35 degrees or lower on some blistery days. Cold weather demands good equipment. Personally I've been using an  Xcel drylock hooded 5/4 wetsuit with 7mm booties and 3 finger 5mm gloves. It's super expensive, so try to find them on sale. Personally I use seshday. And yes that link is pointing to my personal invite. I love that site and have been shopping with them for some time.

I went all Xcel, mainly because I fully believe in the drylock system. There are times that no water will get in at all, it's kind of crazy. I've used hyperflex before, but wasn't happy with it constantly flushing. Also a neat aside, the founder of Xcel, Ed D’Ascoli; grew up  a Jersey native. So the company has perspective on our cold water needs.

The problem I've been running into, is that the air feels like it's  0 degrees and the water temperature is hovering between 30 to 35 degrees. I can only last in the cold water for about 2 hours. Mind you, my body is pretty warm considering the temperature, but my feet get frozen and numb in that time period. Once you can't feel your toes, you have serious problems.

I needed to find a reasonable solution to help stay in the water a touch longer or at least have my feet not feel like a frozen popsicle. Nothing worse then walking and not being able to feel your feet. A friend of a friend got a tip from a surfer up in MA. They wear wool socks in addition to thick booties.

About 2 weeks ago, I decided to give that a try and I have to say; it helped, a lot. Instead of the usual frozen toes attached to a numbed stump, I considered a foot. My feet got cold, but not to the point before they start to tingle and get numb from freezing. I didn't stay longer then 2 hours in the water, but  I could have and I've repeated this a couple more times. It works!

So, you might be wondering, what kind of wool socks did I use? I've been using the kirkland brand from costco just for normal everyday use. I think it's a wool blend. It's pretty similar to these wool socks they sell there. The version I own are probably not available anymore.

Another question that arises, did I lose any feeling with the added thickness? Sort of. Wearing the wool socks makes it feel slightly squishy. But, I'd rather the thickness then numb feet.

Lastly, There's one additional added benefit, besides keeping your feet warm. I have a super hard time getting out of the wetsuit. Mainly around the ankles. It's almost impossible being tired and cold. But, with the socks, the wetsuit peels away so much easier. It's a win win.

I hope this helps somebody out there looking to surf longer during the winter.