coffee convo Hwilsin writing


Surfing involves a lot of science. Physics, chemistry, oceanology, you remember those, don’t you? You may not need to be educated in the field of science to paddle out and have some fun at your local, but you will need a little information if you plan to do any kind of work on a surfboard. Here’s a story with a lesson that I really enjoyed.

There’s this laminator that I worked with who is a hoot to be around. He’s a hilarious dude – watches WWE wrestling, probably NASCAR too, lives off grid, actually rips in the water, and is funny as shit. He’s got great stories. He told me about an old guy he worked with at the factory who he hated. Couldn’t stand him. He once threw a bucket of resin on the guy. The elder fellow was a piece of shit, druggy guy who would ride his bike into work. My friend would put shit in the road like pins and glass trying to pop his tires when riding in or out. Like I said, comical dude.

Anyways, he was talking about this old board he had back in high school. One way or another, he got a ding that he planned to fix himself. He bought a repair kit, set up the board and his gear in the living room of his mom’s place, and got set for work. As I told you, here’s where science comes in. 

Now you might know this already, but in case you don’t, some resins are sun cure, some are not. This means with the sun cure you can put the resin under sunlight or a UV light and it will harden in the light. Other resins will not, it needs a catalyst to set it off. You need to mix the right kind, and the right amount of catalyst with the right kind, and right amount of resin to make sure it hardens. It sounds like a lot to remember, but it’s much easier once you see and use the stuff.

So, this guy gets a resin that is not sun cure. He grabs a styrofoam cup and pours in the resin, followed by the catalyst. As he’s eyeing off the area for repair, mixing the resin and prepping for the repair job, the unexpected happens – the bottom of the styrofoam cup falls straight through. The resin, heating up with the catalyst being mixed in, eats directly through the cup and falls straight onto the carpeted apartment floor, hardens and stains. There’s absolutely no way this could get cleaned up; the carpet would have to be replaced. Not exactly what he was planning for.

We were howling in laughter. I think the reason this story came up is because we were talking about how EPS (epoxy) foam blanks can not be laminated with regular Polyester resin. In contrast, PU blanks can be laminated with Epoxy resin. Supposedly, this was what Ethan Ewing was riding for his run on Finals Day last year. This board model (EE Juliette) is the recent winner of Stab In The Dark with Kolohe Andino.

So, class, what did we learn in science today? We learned that styrofoam (EPS) can not mix with Polyester (PU) resin. And that’s basically it. Keep that in mind if you need to fix up a ding on your own board. You don’t want to end up with a pile of hardened resin on your mother’s carpet.



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