Can you Surf with a Ding?


You pull up to the beach and the waves are going off! You rush to pull on your wetsuit, apply sunblock, and grab your surfboard when you notice it. There’s a ding on the bottom of your board. How did that get there? It almost looks like someone kicked it. Well now you’re in a dilemma should you should you surf knowing that your surfboard is damaged?

Can you surf with a ding? It’s not advised to surf on a surfboard that has a ding with a crack in it. A crack in a surfboard will allow water to get into the foam and damage your board. A waterlogged surfboard can delaminate and separate ruining it permanently.

Surfing with a Pressure Dent

Once you start riding a new surfboard over time it will develop pressure dings or pressure dents. These pressure dents are the result of your feet, knees, or maybe from a wipeout. Fiberglass isn’t metal, and pressure will cause it to compress.

There’s no way of preventing these pressure dents from showing up. Unless of course, you want to hang your surfboard up on the wall and never ride it. They’re natural and not a bad thing. In fact there are some professional surfers who have pressure dents molded into their epoxy boards, because it helps them to place their feet in the correct spot.

All this to say – you won’t damage your surfboard by surfing with pressure dents on your board as long as that’s all they are. The moment you see a hole or crack is when you should be worried and look into getting a repair.

What happens when you have a cracked surfboard?

A surfboard with a crack in it will let water come in. This will cause your surfboard to become waterlogged over time. A waterlogged surfboard won’t perform as well. Overtime a waterlogged surfboard can warp, become discolored, delaminate, and completely separate.

This is why you should never surf with a crack in your surfboard. Even a tiny crack could let water in, and cause permanent damage to your surfboard.

A waterlogged board won’t sit as high in the water as it once did. One of the ways that you can tell if your surfboard is waterlogged is by putting it on a flat surface and pressing down. If water comes out, you’ve got a waterlogged board.

How to Quickly Fix a Surfboard Ding

Fixing a surfboard ding is important and should be done right away. Here’s what you can do to fix it quickly.

Tiny Cracks are Easy Fixes – If you’ve got a tiny crack in your board and are looking for a quick and simple fix I would recommend putting ding tape on the board. Joe Roper’s ding tape is a patch that you can put over the crack, and it’ll cover it up and have you back in the water in a matter of minutes. Requires no tools or chemicals. This should only be used for tiny cracks. You can check our Joe’s ding tape on Amazon HERE.

Watch this video to repair surfboard dings! Super helpful!

Is a waterlogged surfboard ruined forever?

Not necessarily, but depending on how much water got into your board will determine how much work it’ll take to repair it. I own an old single fin thruster that I bought at a garage sale for $1. From the moment I purchase it, it had holes and cracks in it.

The entire thing is waterlogged and truly is irreparable. It’s still fun to mess around on, but it drips water and sits heavy in the ocean.

But if you’ve got a board that only is partially waterlogged, you can repair it. It will require you to try and get all the water and moisture out of it. Stick it in dry room, and tilt it so that the water can drain out of the hole. Once you’re sure that it is dry you can repair the crack.

If your surfboard is SUPER waterlogged you’ll need to remove all the foam that is messed up. You can’t leave that material in there. Once that material is out, you’ll need to put new stuff in.

Get it Repaired by the Local Surf Shop

The other option if you have a ding or crack in your surfboard is to take it to the local surf shop. Surf shops have fallen on hard times with online retailers swooping in for a lot of their business, but there are some things that online retailers can’t do. Online retailers can’t fix broken surfboards.

Support your local surf shop and take your board in for a repair. Generally, it will cost you $40 to $50 to have one crack/ding repaired on a surfboard. Additional cracks that need to be repaired are usually about $10-$15 extra.

For larger repairs, it will obviously be more expensive depending on what you’re needing. This is one of the reasons why you should get a crack patched quickly. A waterlogged surfboard will be much pricier to fix at the local surf shop than a single ding repair. Take care of business before you paddle out for fun!

This price is going to be more expensive at the local surf shop compared to doing it yourself, but you’re helping a local business. In my opinion, it’s worth the extra cost.

In Conclusion

So unless the message wasn’t clear. You should not surf a surfboard that has a ding or crack in it. Water will get inside and ruin your surfboard. Fix the problem before you paddle into any waves.

While you may miss out on some waves, because you just found out that your surfboard has a crack in it, it is worth fixing before getting in. You don’t want to permanently damage your surfboard for a single surf session.

Tyler Smith

Tyler Smith started surfing in Carmel, California with no wetsuit and a board he traded for. Since then he's gotten a wetsuit and more surfboards than his wife approves of. He's been surfing for over 15 years, and is friends with beginners, kooks, and old salty surfers too.

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