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  • Writer's pictureTed Emes

Chasing The Wind: Kitesurfing vs Logs

Sunny Windy Day at Spanish Banks, Vancouver BC
Impressionist Fall Conditions

Kitesurfing Board Bites

There is nothing quite like the sound of something expensive going crunch.

It's a postcard worthy fall day in Vancouver, British Columbia and I'm enjoying a late morning kitesurfing session. The sun, wind and waves felt so good on the senses, it was easy to ignore the cold ocean conditions. Unfortunately, while being lost in the stoke of the day, I missed spotting a small log hidden by the sun's glare on the water.


After flipping my surfboard over, I could see that all three board fins were intact but I was the proud owner of a sizeable gash. That's Spanish Banks for you; instead of sharks, we have logs. No problem, after several kitesurfing adventures my board is well past the shiny and new phase.

YouTube University

Surfboard Gash
Log Bite

Back at the launch site, the gear damage review committee convened. It's a simple process where you put the board in front of everyone and we all say confidently "...yeah a little glass and you're back in business!" Despite the feelings of confidence, on the drive home it dawned on me that I don't really have any experience fixing surfboards.

Kitesurfing is an established sport with an adventurous DIY nature about it. My options were simple: a shop fix or a DIY fix. At the time of the crunch, the film industry had been shut down for several months due to the actors' strike, so it was time for YouTube U.

The Process

I'm not a handy person but I do enjoy a comical, 'just figure it out' experience. Here's a short hand version of what went down, goof ups and all.

Step 1: Googled DIY surfboard repair and picked a video that matched my patience with "how to videos" (short) and followed a link to the supplies on Amazon.

Step 2: Ordered repair supplies on Amazon while remembering that I should have contacted Airush first.

Step 3: Got an amazingly fast response from Airush and face palmed after realizing I ordered the wrong supplies.

Step 4: Canceled previous Amazon order then purchased the correct materials (fingers crossed).

Step 5: Between errands, I spontaneously start the repair. Left a giant mess of stuff on the kitchen table after realizing that I was late for picking my niece up from school.

Step 6: Returned to the repair job on the kitchen table and was promptly reminded that it was my time to make dinner. Resume repair tomorrow.

Step 7: Applied Solarez, a toxic-smelling sun drying epoxy to the board gash on a rainy day...inside my house. My wife asked me to take the board someplace else and further inquired about the status of the actors' strike.

Step 8: Googled "Why is the Solarez not drying?" after finding it still wet after 24 hrs. Set up a drying spot beside my son's west facing window and set an alarm to remove the board before he returned home from school.

Step 9: Solarez still not dry. Googled "Can Solarez cure when placed beside a window?" Ordered a Solarez UV drying flashlight from a surf shop in Victoria and then messaged my daughter who attends the University of Victoria to pick it up.

Step 10: Hugged my daughter on her arrival home and kept my smile when she told me she did not get my message. Called the shop.

Step 11: The epoxy finally cured but the repair looked terrible. Went back to YouTube and watched Hawaiian board shop owners use epoxy ding sticks with smiles on their faces.

Step 12: Ordered epoxy ding stick on Amazon. Noticed that Amazon prime no longer asks me to 'check out' but to swipe right to buy. Feeling kinda dirty and used.

Step 13: Re-watched the repair video with pen, paper and a giant mug of espresso. Refused to let our cats get my attention at 5:30am while watching.

Step 14: Drove my daughter back to the ferry, hugged her good bye and repeatedly begged her to pick up the UV flashlight after her exam. Should arrive next year.

Step 15: Went to Home Depot for more supplies. Best not to say anything.

Step 16: I was left entirely unattended in the house for the day so I transformed the kitchen into the TSCF ADVENTURES INC SURFBOARD REPAIR SHOP.

Step 17: Thoroughly looked over the surfboard and found a previous gash (Santa Cruz) and two rail cracks (Boundary Bay and Hood River). Sigh...

Step 18: Sanded, puttied, and Sloraze'd the chips, crushes and gashes on the board from awful to a water tight mediocre. The drop cloth was sucked into the vacuum four times while cleaning but I managed to keep the cats out of the epoxy dust.

Step 19: The repair has multiple colours to it, so I returned to Home Depot for paint. Again, best not to say anything.

Step 20: Prepped the board for painting and fought with the paint tape and newspaper for about an hour. The neighbours already know that I swear a lot so we're good.

Step 21: Spray painted the repairs. My son complained about the paint smell of the board outside so I've managed to annoy my whole family with this project.

Step 22: The repair bumps are still visible so I re-sanded the board with only three drop cloth removals from the vacuum during clean up.

Step 23: Repeated Step 21. Fought with paint tape and newspaper for only 45 minutes.

Step 24: Final epoxy layer completed. UV Flashlight made me think of Star Wars light sabres.

Step 25: Final board clean up and I checked the wind forecasts.

Was it worth it?

DIY Board Repair
I'm hiding the final repair on the other side

That's always the big question when I dive into these types of projects, particularly when you add up all the time and receipts. The job done is far from a pro-repair but every now and then I just get an urge to explore a new skill.

Things that come to mind:

  1. Best to be crystal clear on your supplies, tools and prep needs before you do anything.

  2. Ensure you have the time to properly do the job i.e. not between errands.

  3. Break down the job into steps and visualize it a little bit.

  4. Just go for it. You're not a pro but how else are you going to learn.

So to answer the earlier question, yes it was worth it to me, but I have a new respect for professional surfboard shapers. It's not the kitesurfing adventure that I was planning to write about but then again I was not expecting to hit a log either. Learning new kitesurfing skills is a lovely mess, so go chase the wind, it's an adventure.

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