Board Restoration Experiment


Well-Known Member
Oct 7, 2021
Figured I'd share, given the recent chatter on board repairs. Picked up an old, very beaten, Mandala last year. Deck was delaminated, water in the foam, rot around stringer, etc. etc. As I prepped it for repair, it continually revealed that matters were far worse than expected. First attempt at something this extensive, very fun but not economical in any way. Took this as an opportunity to try out some ideas I'd been considering.

-Board is PU, I re-glassed the deck in epoxy. Used a single layer of 4oz, double bias weave, basalt cloth (so two layers of 4oz in total).
-Scraped out the rotted foam and filled with strips of divinycell (high density, high quality PU).
-Attempted to fill minor low spots by spreading a thin layer of epoxy boat fairing compound over the deck. Didn't work great for this.
-Also used the fairing compound instead of Q-cell for the repairs, and used it to rebuild one of the rails. I was drawn to this over Q-cell because it's less brittle, easier to work with, and bonds well with resin. Worked great for this. However, it's much more expensive. All repairs have cloth over them.
-White spots on the bottom are quick setting lightweight spackle to smooth out dents, no cloth, only a hot coat over the entire bottom of the board. Never tried this, the idea was that it'd absorb resin well, be light weight, and would be low consequence if it didn't work out. Green smears are from attempting to do the same with the fairing compound. It was difficult to spread this way, so that's when I switched to spackle. I left the spots where it had already filled some low-wide dents.
-Laminated a carbon strip over a part of the stringer where I had to remove the glass to get it dry.

Black rail bands are to cover up my horrendous cut-lap. Cloudy spots on deck are from sanding out resin that pooled in the low spots. Had a few issues with spots of foam being softer than expected, had to carve them out late in the process, and the fairing compound didn't substitute foam as easily as I'd hoped. There's a lot I'd do differently next time and the board is far from perfect, but so far it appears to be holding up well. I've surfed it a lot and it goes great, despite the fact that I definitely added weight and likely changed the flex pattern. I promise you that I'm aware of every little flaw in my process and end product!


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Well-Known Member
Oct 7, 2021
Thanks for the stoke sharing, everyone!

@SdSurferguy I bought a little slab of divinycell from a local shaper, roughly 2 square feet. It's not cheap. I considered buying a couple sheets from different manufacturers online, but the cost was silly for the quantity I needed. For the strips, I sliced those off the slab by hand using a box cutter. Would've been better if I could have kept it all one piece and routed out a flat square in the foam on the board... but I was limited by my tools. I'd definitely recommend going to a local shaper and seeing what scraps they have as a first option.

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