man buying a yellow surfboard

How Long Will a Surfboard Last?

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Nobody wants their surfboard to go bad. But it happens anyway with time and use. The expected degeneration of surfboards could leave you wondering how long your own surfboard will last.

old surfboards

How long will a surfboard last?

In most cases, if a surfboard is well maintained, it can last for many years. However, some types of surfboards are primed to last longer than others. This variation in the lifespan of surfboards is largely dependent on the material they are made from. While some surfboards can last for 5-10 years, others can last for 10-20 years.

In this article, we offer you more information about the lifespan of surfboards. We also discuss how you can care for your surfboard and make it last longer.

How Long Will a Surfboard Last?

Surfboards can last for many years, but their lifespan largely depends on how well you maintain it.

It also depends on the type of material the board is made from. Let’s take a closer look at different materials and their affect on the durability of a surfboard.

Epoxy

Epoxy surfboards are a modern surfing innovation, and they have become quite popular in recent years. In fact, when these boards first came to be, many surfers labeled them indestructible. 

Provided there are no mishaps or dings, your epoxy surfboard should last up to 20 years without issues.

Hybrid Composite

There are several hybrid surfboards available including some well-known brands like Libtech and Firewire. 

Libtech surfboards are well known for their performance and durability. These boards are made with a unique woven basalt fiber, which makes them strong.

Firewire, on the other hand, uses standard surfboard blank, which is wrapped in paulownia wood and bamboo layers.

If you get your surfboard from either Libtech or Firewire, you should expect it to last between 10-20 years. But you should note that some earlier models by Firewire may not be as durable as the newer ones.

Standard Fiberglass Polyurethane (PU)

This surfboard is a classic white foam blank with a polyurethane and fiberglass coating that adds to its strength. These boards have a short lifespan with an average of 5-10 years.

The materials used in these types of surfboards are an old combination which contributes to their lessened durability.

The expected duration of these boards depends highly on the volume of fiberglass used during construction.

Surfboards with less fiberglass have a short lifespan while surfboards with heavy fiberglass layers will last longer.

Foam Soft

Foam surfboards are soft and have a fun design suitable for small waves and different surfing abilities. These boards are designed with a strong plastic bottom and a soft foam deck.

Because of this, they do not last long relative to other surfboards with a lifespan of 5-10 years.

The plastic bottom of these boards can become detached from the foam deck following a few knocks. This can be an issue because once detached, the board becomes waterlogged.

Also, repairing this issue can be challenging. In some cases, it could cause the board to fall apart.

Factors That Affect How Long a Surfboard Should Last

The lifespan of a surfboard can be altered by the presence or absence of the following factors:

Water

While surfboards were built to be used on water, they were not built to hold water. If water gets in your board, it could go bad quickly. If you notice a ding on your board, you should repair it immediately.

Most modern surfboards are built with foam covered in epoxy or fiberglass. If the epoxy or fiberglass shell breaks, the foam starts to soak up water.

Once the foam soaks up too much water, it becomes waterlogged, and the foam will lose its form and buoyancy.

The board will become sluggish, heavy, and hard to paddle. This means you will not catch waves with it like you used to. And since saltwater is corrosive, it will weaken the fiberglass with time.

Sun

surfboard on the beach at sunset

The heat from the sun will cause the surface materials of your surfboard to expand. When this happens, you may see some bubbles and separations.

With bubbles all over the surface of your board, you may not enjoy your ride with the lumpy feeling beneath your feet.

Sunlight can also cause your surfboard to become yellow or fade. This is perhaps the most common damage that happens to surfboards. The yellowing of a surfboard depends on how long it is exposed to the sun.

Storage

This is also related to sun and heat. Leaving your board in your car might seem like a great way to stay prepared. But when you live in sunny places like California, you may regret doing this.

The added heat and exposure to light that can happen when storing a surfboard outside or in a car will cause damage to the board overtime. Leaving your board exposed to the elements can reduce your surfboard’s lifespan.

Type of Board

People choose their surfboards for various reasons such as personal preference and type of waves. While these are valid reasons for buying a board, you could also consider durability when getting a surfboard.

Among the different types of surfboards, epoxy boards are the most durable. They are stronger and can handle more punishment when compared to the others. This is why many surfboards for beginners are built with epoxy.

Frequency of Use

The more often you use your surfboard, the most of an impact that usage is likely to have on its lifespan. But this should not stop you from using your surfboard as much as you want. Surfboards were made to be used and enjoyed.

When a surfboard is used frequently, it is placed under a huge amount of strain. So, you can expect an often-used board to have a relatively short lifespan.

Surf Style

The types of waves you surf and your surf style will affect the lifespan of your board. If you are an aggressive surfer or go after high-energy waves, your surfboard may not last as long as others.

How to Care for Your Surfboard

man cleaning the surfboard

By adopting the following tips into your surfboard care routine, you should be able to make it last a bit longer:

  • Always store your surfboard indoors. You could get a rack for this purpose.
  • Get a board bag for your surfboard. Many of these bags come with reflective materials, which keep heat and sunlight away. Some come with padding to provide protection against impact.
  • Whenever you notice a ding, fix it immediately. An epoxy or fiberglass repair kit will come in handy. You could visit a repair shop if the damage is more significant. Waiting to fix a ding will probably lead to increased damage over time.
  • Rinse the board thoroughly with fresh water after use. Saltwater weakens fiberglass. Once you leave the beach, use a hose or the beach showers to rinse your board and stop the salt from eroding the board’s materials.
  • Avoid impact. For the fins on your board, take caution when you get in the water because you might encounter obstacles like rocks. The less damage the board takes, the longer it will last.

When Should You Replace Your Surfboard?

man buying a yellow surfboard

In many cases, you will probably know that your board needs to be replaced. But sometimes, it’s not so obvious.

If you snap your board on a shore break, you should get a replacement. With your feet applying pressure on the thin thrusters, your board may become sluggish and unnecessarily flexible.

If the foam core of your surfboard gets really soaked, it may become irreparable. When this happens, get a replacement.

You could replace your board if you have been using it for a very long time. You might not notice any damage, but refreshing with a new board can give you a new surfing experience.

Final Take

Surfboards can last for a few months or as long as 20 years. It all depends on the conditions surrounding its use, how well you care for it, and the elements it is exposed to. If you take diligent care of your surfboard, you should be able to use it for many, many years.

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