A surfboard is such a uniquely Californian icon that one tends to forget that the surfboard probably originated in the Hawaiian Islands. Today, famous surfers come from all over the world, but Californian and Australian surfers tend to win most of the big championships.
History of surfboards
The ancient Hawaiian Islanders used a hardwood board which is much shorter than some of the later developments. Because the hardwood surfboard was heavy, a transportation issue may have been the reason for smaller surfboards. Over the course of the last one hundred years, surfboards got much longer, some as much as three times the length of the early wooden boards. Again, because of the weight problem, the longer and heavier equipment was harder to transport and more difficult to maneuver through the water. Man made materials allowed for some leeway in design and more specific styles and accouterments began to make their way into surfing history. Fiberglass, space age materials and designs became common among professional surfers. Now, however, the tide seems to have turned in the other direction. Surfboards are again lighter smaller and much more maneuverable.
An example is the fish surfboard. A typical fish surfboard measures 76 inches long by 18.5 inches wide and is only 2.5 inches thick. It is shaped like a simplified fish body, with a pointed tip and slightly blunted tail. The fish surfboard is made with a light and flexible inner core which allows for extreme maneuverability, spring and control.
Surfboard repair is not as common as one might think. Because the older wooden boards were structured in one piece, any break in the integrity of the wood resulted in danger to the passenger/ rider. Surfboard repair progressed with the advent of the polymer and fiberglass boards. With care, the broken or delaminated board can be stripped down to its core and repaired, although not without some degree of skill and experience in handling the resins and glues required. Most surfers would prefer to be our riding the waves rather than spending time in surfboard repair.
Surfboards for sale
In most parts of the country a classified advertisement labeled ‘surfboards for sale’ would bring only a chuckle, or at best a fond remembrance for those younger more carefree days when surfing was a sport of choice for young men and women. The story might be different in coastal areas, particularly the California coast on the mainland and in the surfing hotspots such as the Hawaiian Islands and Australia. A store with surfboards for sale is not an unusual sight along beaches and in beach towns. A commercial establishment may be the best place to get correct fit and widest variety of boards, but used surfboards provide a better bargain for those with limited income or who are just trying out the sport for the first time. When purchasing used surfboards, it’s best to find someone knowledgeable about the different types of construction and which may fit your needs better. Otherwise, you may end up with a surfboard meant for a professional and with features that are not found on a good learner’s surfboard.