How A Paddle Board Is Made
From laying fiberglass for the hull to adding anchor poles, watch how a paddle board is made from start to finish.
Stand-up paddling has become a popular sport, but paddle boards have been around for over 3,000 years. Contemporary boards rely on modern materials to make light and reliable paddle boards suited for leisure, as well as for competition.
This paddle board is made with vinyl ester resin and laminated fiberglass. It's equipped with an on-board lighting system, an anchor, and a neoprene rubber non-slip pad. In the gel-coating room, a technician wipes a release agent on the paddle board mold to make the surface smooth and clean.
Another technician positions the fin channel on the mold using a thin fiberglass template as a guide. He uses an airless pumping system to spray the mold with a vinyl ester gel coating mixed with hardener.
He takes a mill gauge to make sure the hull thickness is even. A technician prepares to make the first structural layer of the hull, using a 3/4 ounce bi-directional fiberglass mat.
First, he pulls out a panel of fiberglass and covers the gel-coated surface. Using fabric scissors, he cuts the mat and makes the fiberglass skin as tight as possible.
He tears the mat to conform it to the rounded shape of the gel coat and fits the mat to the edge of the hull. He applies vinyl ester resin with a paint roller. The resin saturates the fiberglass, which merges with the gel coating.
Extra material is placed over the fin channel to strengthen the structural bond between the channel and the hull.
Then, the technician uses a bubble roller to push out air bubbles. He applies a second coat of fiberglass to reinforce the structural integrity of the board.
In the assembly room, another technician fits a template on the board deck and traces the contours of the hand-grab mount with a pencil. He uses an air saw to cut out a slot in the fiberglass laminate to fit the hand-grab mount.
He binds the hand-grab mount to the hole with a coat of vinyl ester resin. Within about 20 minutes, the laminate hardens.
Next, plastic tubing for the internal anchoring system is installed. A technician applies a bonding adhesive to the tube, securing it in place.
He attaches the tube with tie wraps so it doesn't get tangled inside the hull. He installs a jam cleat for the rope, that will allow the paddler to manually control the anchor from the deck.
The hull's cured vinyl ester resin is now firmly bonded to the structural laminate. The assembler applies the expanding adhesive and positions an expanded polypropylene foam stringer inside the hull.
The foam stringers are the backbone of the board. They support the weight of the paddler on deck while keeping the board as light as possible.
Using a nylon wedge and rubber mallet, the assembler removes the mold from the hull. Since the hull is so lightweight, two assemblers can lift and flip it onto as cart.
An assembler trims off the excess laminate using an air cutter fitted with a diamond cutting blade. He levels the foam stringers with a file blade ensuring the tightest possible fit between the hull and deck.
He applies expanding foam adhesive on the stringers before he places the deck on the foam with the help of a coworker. The adhesive quickly binds the parts together. The vinyl rub rail, designed as a side protection masks the joint between the deck and the hull.
The hull contains a dry storage hatch where the onboard battery is housed. The 8-amp hour battery can activate the power pole -- a micro anchor designed for shallow waters. In deeper waters, a paddler can manually activate the internal anchor system with a 16-foot nylon cord.
Finally, this board is ready to hit the water.
Now that you've seen a fiberglass SUP being made and can appreciate the technicalities involved, you're ready to check out some Fiberglass SUPs from brands like Starboard SUP, Grey Duck, and more!
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