Balsa vs foam -float

Author: Evelyn

Mar. 07, 2024

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Tags: Minerals & Metallurgy

An object floats in water because of buoyancy or buoyant force. Buoyant force only depends on the density of the fluid (salt water is denser than fresh water) which the object is submerged, the acceleration due to gravity ( the weight of everything like foam, wood, glass, fins, wetsuit, and your weight ), and the volume of the displaced fluid ( the volume of everything below water line).
Take for example a standard shape board that 8’ x 32” x 4” thick and 100 liters vs a similar shape board that is 8’ x 27” x 5” thick and 100 liters and they both weigh the same, if the same person stands on each board separately of course, they will displace the same amount fluid (water and maybe trash) that they are floating on or in.  Here’s the difference, because our ability to balance requires a certain amount of buoyant force where our feet are, the wider board will be easier to balance on. The type of material doesn't mater, but the weight of the material does.

Hardboard / Hard Tops

We’ve discussed why a soft-top surfboard is your best option when beginning your surfing journey, but let’s have a look at hardboards.

Since you’re most likely starting out on a softboard, you’ll probably become a regular surfer and this will cause you to quickly outgrow your foam surfboard. Since you’re becoming more experienced and you’re starting to perfect your surfing skills, board performance and aesthetics will most likely become a priority for you. You’ll also want to show off your killer board, right?

 

Different Types of Hard Boards

Polyester Resin Type

The more traditional or standard type of surfboard manufactured over the years. This type of surfboard has soft foam shaped into it and covered with layers of polyester resin and fibreglass cloth, giving the surfboard a harder outer layer making it extremely waterproof.

This type of surfboard is fairly easy to carry as it’s not heavy and looks just like a traditional surfboard. 

However, these boards can turn slightly yellow after spending time in the sun for long periods, and they can ding or break easily, again, not ideal for beginners.

 

Moulded Epoxy Sandwich Type

Because of the mould used to shape the surfboard, it’s often called a “Pop-out”. 

The Moulded Epoxy Sandwich type surfboard is very durable and usually allows its owner to remove its fins.

 

Epoxy Resin with Fibreglass Cloth Type

Although similar to the polyester boards, it uses a different foam for its core but still has a fibreglass cloth outer layer.

These surfboards are even lighter than the polyester resin surfboards and they’re also more durable. They are also shaped like the traditional surfboards and they can easily be repaired if they get a ding or crack.

 

Why Hardboards are Better for Professional Surfers

Modern surfboards are typically made of polystyrene foam covered by layers of fibreglass cloth. This makes their outer surface extremely hard, making them unfit for beginner surfers.

 

Fragile in Beginner Surfer’s Hands

As these boards are quite easy to get a dent or even break, it’s not ideal for beginner surfers to make use of these boards as they’ll most likely be falling off the board 99% of the time. 

 

Paddling Power

As these hardboards aren’t as easy to paddle with as softboards, you’ll need some paddling power when making use of these boards.
 

 

Upgrading Your Softboard to a Hardboard

If you’ve been surfing for a while and you’re more comfortable on the water, you might want to upgrade from your softboard. 

For beginner surfers, the best boards to upgrade to are the funboard (Mini Malibu) or the Mini Malibu’s big brother, the longboard (Malibu).

As a smaller version of the longboard, the Mini Malibu is the preferable option if you are paddling through larger surf as they are easier to operate. This board is great when you’ve moved on from the foam surfboard and you’re ready to start learning turns.

Another thing to keep in mind with progressing from a softboard to a hardboard is increased risk of injury. As you’re moving away from the softer foam material, surfboards with harder outer layers can become quite painful when they hit you during your surfing.

 

Which One Should You Choose as a Beginner?

As we’ve mentioned, the better option when choosing between a softboard and hardboard is definitely the softboard. Since you’re just starting out it’s a given that you’ll be falling off your board quite a lot before becoming better at surfing. 

The foam surfboard will save you some money in the long run and you’ll avoid massive injuries when you’re learning to surf on it. Once you’re comfortable with surfing, you can choose to upgrade to a hardboard of your choosing. Although, try to stay away from anything shorter than the funboard or longboard until you’re 100% comfortable surfing larger waves.
 

Our mission is to ensure you don’t miss out on the stoke of surfing here in the Mother City. Get in touch with our team to start riding waves no matter your surfing level or experience. 

Balsa vs foam -float

HARD- VS SOFTBOARDS: WHICH IS BETTER FOR BEGINNERS SURFERS

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