The art of glassing surfboards is a vital step in the process of creating a functional and high-performing surfboard. Glassing involves applying layers of fiberglass and epoxy resin to the surfboard's foam core, creating a strong, waterproof, and durable surface that can withstand the forces of the ocean. The process of glassing surfboards has evolved over time, both in terms of technique and philosophy.
In the early days of surfboard building, glassing was a simple process. A single layer of fiberglass cloth was applied to the foam core and then coated with a layer of polyester resin. This method resulted in a heavy and stiff surfboard that was not very responsive to the surfer's movements.
In the 1970s, with the rise of the shortboard era, surfboard shaping began to evolve. To keep up with these new designs, surfboard glassers began to experiment with new materials and techniques. They started using multiple layers of fiberglass cloth and added a layer of epoxy resin, which is lighter and more flexible than polyester resin. This allowed for the creation of thinner, more responsive, and more durable surfboards.
In recent years, the philosophy of glassing surfboards has shifted even further. Today, many surfboard builders and glassers are focused on creating environmentally friendly boards. This has led to the use of more sustainable materials, such as plant-based resins, and a reduction in the amount of fiberglass used in the construction process. Some shapers also experiment with alternative materials like bamboo and cork, which are renewable and have a low environmental impact.
In addition to this, glassers are taking on more of an artisanal approach, focusing on the aesthetic side of surfboard building. Glassing jobs can be simple or elaborate with graphics, airbrush, or hand-painted artwork. This not only adds a unique touch to each board but it also makes them more appealing to customers.