Difference between epoxy and PU (Fiberglass) surfboards
What's the difference between epoxy and fiberglass surfboards? This can be confusing to those just starting out and thinking about buying a surfboard. To the new surfer a surfboard is a surfboard. There may be different lengths and shapes, but it may not have crossed your mind that surfboards can be made out of different substances.
Fiberglass surfboards are also sometimes known as PU or polyurethane surfboards. Fiberglass surfboards have been around for over 50 years and are considered a more traditional surfboard. Fiberglass surfboards are made from a polyurethane inner, and then wrapped in fiberglass cloth, hence the name. Fiberglass surfboards can have better flex out in the waves than an epoxy surfboard, but are easier to damage.
Epoxy surfboards have a polystyrene foam core and are then coated with an epoxy resin. It is the epoxy resin which gives this type of surfboard its name. Epoxy surfboards kicked off in the 1990s, but really gained in popularity after the closure of the Clark Foam factory in 2005, which was a huge supplier of the polyurethane blanks for the fiberglass board.
Epoxy surfboards pros and cons when compared to a fiberglass surfboard include:
- Stronger. Epoxy resin can be as much as 35% stronger than the resin used on a fiberglass board. This makes an epoxy board an ideal choice for those who are beginners and prone to dings, kids and teenagers, those who are on and off planes in pursuit of the perfect wave, and those who surf near rocks.
- Floats better. An epoxy surfboard has better buoyancy than a fiberglass board, making it easier to paddle, float, and ultimately catch waves, making them a great choice for those surfers just starting out.
- Lighter. The polystyrene foam inner used in an epoxy surfboard weighs less than the polyurethane inner in a traditional surfboard, making for a lighter weight under the arm on the way to your local break.
- Less prone to waterlogging. Waterlogging is a term used to describe the phenomena where your surfboard takes in water over time. The end result is a yellow surfboard that weighs a ton, and performs like a dog. Due to the manufacturing process, waterlogging is pretty much going to happen to your fiberglass surfboard at some stage, either due to dings and dents that let the water in, and also as part of the aging process of your board. Due to the harder nature of an epoxy surfboard, waterlogging is much less of a problem.
- Some surfers prefer the feel and performance of a traditional fiberglass surfboard.
The difference between epoxy and fiberglass surfboards comes down to the various substances involved in making them. An epoxy surfboard is made using a polystyrene core and is then coated with an epoxy resin. Fiberglass surfboards are considered to be traditional surfboards and have a polyurethane core and are then covered with the fiberglass cloth. Epoxy surfboards are newer in technology, weigh less, float better, and are stronger than a fiberglass board. Epoxy surfboards feel different to a fiberglass surfboard out in the water, and eventually it will come down to personal choice as to which suits the individual best.