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The Materials Science of Surfboards

Updated: Sep 11, 2022

Materials science and engineering appears everywhere...even in surfboards! 🏄

Have you ever wondered what materials surfboards are composed of and why these materials specifically were selected?

Surfboards are made up of different materials depending on how the surfboard will be used and the user’s level of experience.

An advanced rider needs to have really specific torsional requirements to make quick twists and turns out on the waves. Beginners need something that can handle getting battered, as they may take a beating early and often (speaking from experience)

Surfboards were originally invented in Hawaii and made of heavy wood. Now, different foams are used, depending on the level of twisting and turning the rider can handle.

Experienced riders typically use boards made of polyurethane foam with a fiberglass coating to allow for easier twisting and flexing, but this makes it more susceptible to damage.

Novices use boards made of prolapse polystyrene foam with an epoxy resin coating. Because they are stronger than fiberglass and float better, they tend to be better choices for beginners.

What other common objects or processes would you like to know the materials science behind?

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