Whether your old surfboard has yellowed from the sun, or you just want to jazz up a new board, we’ll show you how to paint in a way that won’t damage your board or wash away with the first wave.
How to Paint a Surfboard
There are a few simple things that you need to properly paint a surfboard, including:
- Wax Scraper/Wax Comb
- Spray Paint
- Acetone (nail polish remover)
- Acrylic Paint
- Masking Tape/Painter’s Tape
- Gloves and a Face Mask
Once you have these tools, you’re ready to start the painting process!
Step One: Clean Your Surfboard
The first step is the most crucial, as you’ll need to clean the board and prepare it for the paint.
If you have any stickers on the board, remove them. If there are any dings or scratches, get a ding repair kit and fix them.
Next up, you’ll need to grab your wax scraper and remove all of the wax.
Use a hairdryer on hardened wax that you can’t scrape away. It will melt the wax slightly, loosening it and making it easier to scrape away.
After removing the wax, add some acetone to a cloth and wipe your board clean. The acetone will remove all minute traces of wax, along with any grease and dirt that has accumulated from all those surf sessions and long periods of storage.
It might be a laborious process, but it’s important.
If you do it properly, you will spend as much time cleaning and prepping the board as you do actually painting it.
Step Two: Protect the Fin Boxes and Traction Pad
You probably don’t want to paint the fin boxes or traction pad, nor do you want any stray flecks of paint on them. To make sure this doesn’t happen, use masking tape to cover these areas.
You can add masking tape to other areas that you don’t want to paint, including the rails.
Don’t just assume that you’ll be neat enough to avoid these areas. You’ll be using spray paint, not a fine paintbrush, so you will be covering areas that shouldn’t be covered.
Place some paper towels or an old towel underneath the surfboard, ensuring that paint doesn’t get on the floor.
Step Three: Prepare the Spray Paint
Don’t cheapen on the spray paint, as it’s the most important part of the puzzle.
For a surfboard that looks like it has been plucked from the shelf in a surf shop, buy the best spray paint you can afford.
Shake the can for a good minute or so before using and don’t spray too close to the board. This is a mistake that many people make when spray painting for the first time and it creates a messy finish.
Before spraying anything, you should wear a face mask and gloves. Thanks to the pandemic, we all have masks and gloves these days, so grab some of them and keep your hands and lungs protected.
First, apply a light coat that helps everything else to stick properly. From there, you can apply a base coat, keeping it thin but covering all areas that need to be covered.
If you’re using multiple colors and shapes, this is the point you get out your stencils and start being creative.
Step Four: Apply a Clear Coat
When you have finished with the spray paint, it’s time to move on to the acrylic paint, which adds a clear coat to seal and protect the paint.
You can buy acrylic paint in spray cans from most hardware stores. Apply the clear coat at a distance, as with the other paint, and remember that while it’s a clear paint, it will look opaquer with each additional layer.
You’ll get more protection, but you’ll dull the finish at the same time, so don’t overdo it.
Step Five: Wait and Ride!
Once the clear coat has dried, your newly painted surfboard is ready to ride!
Remember to take good care of the board. Wash it down after surfing. Store it away from extreme heat and buy a protective bag if you’re going to be transporting it.
How do I Add Intricate Designs to a Surfboard?
If you want to add some fancy designs, use a stencil and spray paint. That way, it’s very hard to make a mistake.
If you want to draw freehand and have the skills, patience, and steady hand to do it, pick up some paint pens.
How To Paint Surfboard Rails?
To paint the rails on a fiberglass board, you can follow a similar process to the one listed above and use the same materials. There are a couple of small differences though:
- Clean your board and remove all the wax with a wax scraper and acetone.
- Sand the rails down. Keep it light—you don’t want to expose the fiberglass cloth.
- Add some masking tape to protect the areas that don’t need to be painted.
- Use spray paint to paint the rails. Add multiple layers.
- Wait 24 hours for the paint to dry and then apply a clear coat spray.
- Apply another clear coat spray if desired. Wait for it to dry.
- Remove the tape and admire your handiwork!
What Paint To Use On Surfboard?
As noted above, you can use spray paint and a clear coat of acrylic to paint your surfboard. Brush-on acrylic can also be used.
What are Surfboard Paint Pens?
Surfboard paint pens are tailormade for surfboards. They are easy to use and allow you to explore your creative side while adhering perfectly to glassed finishes.
How To Paint A Fiberglass Surfboard
You can follow the steps above for fiberglass surfboard painting. For extra adhesion, sand the board first.
Only a light sanding is needed as you don’t want to go too deep and damage the board.
How To Paint A Surfboard Before and After Glassing
You can paint a board both before and after it is glassed.
If you paint directly onto the foam and then glass the board, it will last longer as the fiberglass will protect it. You can still paint on top of fiberglass, but it won’t last as long.
Can You Spray Paint A Foam Surfboard?
Water-based spray paint can be used on foam boards. These paints have less moisture than other types and they also dry much quicker than oil-based paints, so there is less water getting into the foam.
How To Paint An Epoxy Surfboard
An epoxy board can be painted in much the same way as other surfboards.
Use a wax comb to remove the wax followed by a little nail polish remover (acetone) to remove the grease and oils. Add the painter’s tape to protect areas that you don’t want to be painted and get going!
How To Remove Paint From Surfboards
Acetone will help to remove paint from a spray-painted surfboard. Apply a few drops and scrub before rinsing with water. Alternatively, you can look for a spray paint remover, which will usually consist of acetone and other chemicals.