An intro to surfboard foam

Surfblanks Australia has been making surfboard foam since 1968 and Surfblanks South Africa since 1989.   We are dedicated to producing the highest quality foam/stringer combinations. The density chart below offers great choices for lightness and strength. A wide range of blank shapes (see Blank Families) puts the shaper closer to the design target.

Many stringer choices coupled with functional rocker curves will allow for cutting edge surfboard design that is and always has been the core feature of the custom surfboard industry.

Note: Surfblanks foams are formulated for the surfer first, and the shaper second. It would be very easy and cynical to tilt the formula in the shaper’s favour, however doing so would halve the life of the finished board.

Experienced shapers have the answer to strong foam in their cutting quiver.

Tungsten carbide grit barrels for Hitachi and Makita planers are becoming widely available around the world. The grit barrel advantage means no blade sharpening required – ever! Sharp, conventional planer blades work well with Surfblanks foam as do sharp surforms and sand paper.

Many fast shaping foams have a dead feel in the water. A pleasing feature with Surfblanks foams is that they make a very lively feeling surfboard.

This liveliness can be attributed to memory, or ‘spring back’ and a specifically designed density gradient. The core of a Surfblank is somewhat lighter and less dense than the outer skins.

Composite surfboard manufacturers (EPS/Epoxy/WoodVeneer/Cloth/sandwich) spend endless time and money trying to achieve this very basic element which is incorporated into every Surfblank.

Blanks that have a ‘dead feel’ in the water are usually those that are made on ‘old technology’. Off the shelf foam technology supplied by large chemical companies usually dictates that a surfboard foam blank will be soft on the outside and hard and dense on the inside, particularly at the core. Surfboards made from such foam will have very little ‘life’ in the water and are more prone to clean (brittle) snaps when they break.

It is fair to say that Surfblanks would have made foam as is described in the above paragraph for the first ten to fifteen years of the company’s life. Since that time the Surfblanks formula has developed year by year to the point where it bears little resemblance to the 1960’s, 1970’s,and early 1980’s formulae.

Density Chart

  • Pink  – Our lightest option
  • Green – Now a very popular density due to the excellent strength to weight ratio.
  • Blue – Our standard production foam.
  • Red  – Once a very popular density, now considered way too strong due to the new Super Strong formula.
  • Black  – Our hardest density mainly for tow boards

Pink Foam 2008 – developed into an impressive core in 2010 when the Super Strong formula emerged. 2013 sees steady sales growth of this foam as makers realise its potential. Primarily paddle speed is greatly enhanced, then maneuver response is found to be awesome. Add 20% to listed price.

Green Foam 1990 (Hyperlight) – Widely used for team rider’s shortboards, Green will produce what might be considered one of the lightest urethane foam surfboard on the planet. The popularity of this foam continues to grow. Always glued with green glue for identification.

Blue Foam 1985 (Megalight) – The ‘all time’ favourite foam for shortboards in its time. High paddling buoyancy and lively surfing response on a wave make this foam the choice of hard core to recreational surfers.

Red Foam 1972 (Ultralight) – Now considered an extremely hard foam which is still found to be a favourite amounst the “loggers” in the longboarding devision.

This comparison is offered as a guide for first time Surfblanks users. There are cutting edge manufacturers who make most of their shortboards from Blue Foam and their team rider boards from Green Foam.

Foam Blank Type Abbreviations

SB – Shortboard

MM – Mini Mal

KB – Kneeboard Fish

FF – Fun/Fish board

LB – Longboard

GB – Gun

These abbreviations will appear throughout the Surfblanks Price List.

Whatever density the shaper chooses, it is the glass job that ultimately determines the strength and durability of the finished surfboard.

The glass job is critical on a longboard due to foam thickness versus length of the shape (very thin for length).

The more rail laminations of cloth layers the stronger the longboard (or any surfboard) is. Zipper cut laps (halfway around the rail) are a no/no as they provide less than the full strength which is available from the rail. Warped weave cloth (more long strands) is highly desirable for snap strength. S glass beats almost every cloth for ease of use, strength and appearance. S glass has an advantage of 50% in tensile and 25% in compressive strength.

Leave a Reply