Picture of Build your own Surfboard!
A dear friend of mine has a 1971 VW Westfalia Camper Bus he restored and wanted to mount a surfboard on the roof. Ultimately he wanted to cut the board and use it as a panel mount, so we looked for a cheap surfboard with little success. The cheapest one we found was well over 100 bucks, and a) to never use it as a surfboard and b) cut it up at a later date; cost was not justified.

So, I made him one!

The goal was simple; find cheap materials and make a cost effective surfboard. It more than likely will never be used as an actual surfboard, but it very well can be. Well, more like a flotation device I suppose. After all, wood does float right?!

You will need the following:

-Five 2x4 planks (I would recommend more, but that is what I used)
-Wooden wedges
-Circular Saw
-Jig Saw
-Butcher Paper
-Duct Tape
-60, 120, 200, 400, 1000, and 1200 grit sand paper
-Wood Stain (I used gel stain)
-Outdoor Clear Wood/Deck Sealer
-Wood glue
-Wood filler
-Planer (Electric strongly recommended)
-Work Gloves
-Face Mask
-Eye Protection
-Work Bench or saw horse

I already had most of the items listed. I used the cheapest 2x4 I could find and I bought the small quart sized cans for the stains. The wood glue was the large gallon, and the wood filler was the larger of the three cans available at Home Depot. Total expense was between $40.00 -$50.00.

I used a lot of advice from this guy, Abe Toke
He has a neat video series I suggest watching before you start! The main difference is he (and most sources I found on the internet) use foam boards.

As a side note, I am going to include a couple of steps I learned from my mistakes throughout this instructable.
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xxWesxx 16 days ago
not sure what surfers were telling you that would work man. The weight and small size of that board would never catch waves, unless you were in big enough waves to make up for the lack of speed, and then there isn't enough rocker to make up for the vertical pitch of the wave. Wooden surfboards aren't made solid. they are hollow...and long boards meant for small waves are over 8 feet. kudos on making an art piece though.
buck22172 months ago

Looks too nice to use for surfing!

tandm0712 made it!2 months ago
I really appreciate you posting this instructable! you write very thorough and detailed!
tandm0712 made it!2 months ago
took a lot of time waiting for everything to dry but two things I did differently was I put pegs connecting the boards for more strength and I drilled holes all over the bottom and filled the holes with spray foam then put stainable plastic wood over it to make it more buoyant

Do you have any pictures of it mounted on the bus? I've actually got a 1979 Westfalia, and I was thinking about mounting some solar panels on the top of a surfboard and then mounting that to the roof.

joechacon98 (author)  SpaceInvader711 months ago

So we never mounted the panels. My friend said it was too nice and he didn't want to cut the board haha!
BUT here are some pictures anyways.


What kind of wood do you recommend?

joechacon98 (author)  yoshi.catteeuw1 year ago

Depends what you're doing. If you want to use it as an actual surf board, use balsa wood. It is very light weight and heavily used in surfboards.
If its just for decor, what ever you want!

nickerkul2 years ago
what kind of wood did you use and is it not nessey to To cut the chambers to lighten it up? thx
Is the board easy/hard to ride?
joechacon98 (author)  StudlyPalmtree2 years ago
We have yet to put it in the water! And even worse, I have yet to put the fin on!!!
oud253 years ago
where is your fin?
joechacon98 (author)  oud253 years ago
I did not add a fin (yet). We wanted to wait so we can measure how high the board would sit on his bus. We needed to make sure the bus, board and fin cleared his garage door.
Once I add the fin I will update

(That's also the last note on the last page) ;)
reeseecup3 years ago
dude thats cool
joechacon98 (author)  reeseecup3 years ago
Thank you! It was fun making it
thats not my instructable -reeseecup
joechacon98 (author)  reeseecup3 years ago
Haha, I was saying thanks for the comment, then just stated I enjoyed making the board. I see how it is misleading!
oh i didnt know u r the author
I am looking forward incredibly to making this, but first a have a few questions.

Does this actually surf? i want to use the one I'm making as an actual surfboard.
Where do i put the fin at the back? Is there any video instructing me on the best place to put it?
Would I be better off to use dowels as well as wood glue or is there any need?

If you could get back to me as soon as possible that would be great! By the way this is an incredibly good project!
joechacon98 (author)  genericusername53 years ago
I have not taken it out surfing yet. Judging by the opinions by others who actually surf it can.
BUT if you are making a surfboard, I would recommend forking out some money and buying balsa wood. It is really light weight, durable, and seems to be the wood of choice for surfboards!

The fin, I have not placed it yet. And again, we are using it for decorative purposes. I did find a couple of links that go into great detail on fin placement!



Here is a video that will show you how to place a fin

Dowels, I did not use. Most boards I saw did not use them, but I suppose it wouldn't hurt. Thing to keep in mind is balance. You wouldn't want 8 dowels on the left side and only 2 on the right.

Oh and your body weight will determine the size of the board you want to make!
Here is a site that has a nice chart:


Be sure to post an instructable!! I would love to see how you made it and how it did!! Good luck!!
Thanks so much for getting back to me so quickly and with so much useful information! I'm planning to make it around Easter when i have time off from collage. I'll post the link on here and let you know how it works in the water! Love this instructable thanks for making it!
joechacon98 (author)  genericusername53 years ago
No problem, we are all here to help each other out. Best of luck when you go on this endeavor. I look forward to seeing it!
duncan_a3 years ago
Why is this entered in the FURNITURE Competirion???
joechacon98 (author)  duncan_a3 years ago
Why wouldn't it be?!

Furniture [fur-ni-cher] n. :
1. The movable, generally functional, articles that equip a room, house, etc.
2. Fittings, apparatus, or necessary accessories for something.
3. Equipment for streets and other public areas, as lighting standards, signs, benches, or litter bins.

Considering it is an accessory to the bus and will provide a panel mount (and lighting) at a later date, in this case I think it is ok to say it is furniture ;)

Thank you for your input!!
i agree, i haven't made a surfboard, but i do have a SUP (stand up paddleboard) on my wall, in the off season its a piece of "furniture". so a surfboard can also be furniture.
joechacon98 (author)  cnmaine3 years ago
Thank you for the support! I am glad I am not crazy to consider a board a piece of furniture!
I have seen boards hanging up, they look very nice!
GainEnergy3 years ago
No matter what, the board itself looks very beautiful! It may be too beautiful to put in water! ;)
joechacon98 (author)  GainEnergy3 years ago
Thank you for the kind words!!!!
LifeWarrior3 years ago
Very cool use of stains to make a design!
joechacon98 (author)  LifeWarrior3 years ago
Thanks! Maybe next time I will use different types of boards to get different colors.
I've seen people do tribals with paints, never thought of doing it with stains. This would be cool as well on a hardwood floor.
joechacon98 (author)  LifeWarrior3 years ago
I bet that would look nice! Again, make sure you use gel stains for designs. Oil based stains will seep under the taped off areas; gel stains will give you those sharp edges!
BobAJobRob3 years ago
Don't get too excited about it holding your weight in a pool. Usually surfboards will only support a person standing up if they are moving enough to produce lift.
For comparison, I ride a 9ft hollow wood longboard - it's the most buoyant board I or my mates have, but there's no way I could stand on it if it was stationary!
Nice project though - should look good on the van. Have a look here for inspiration for the next one!
joechacon98 (author)  BobAJobRob3 years ago
Great site! And thanks for the info. At least now I won't be too disappointed if the board doesn't hold me up!
b2j23 years ago
From the weight, the volume is under one cubic foot. which would support about 60 pounds in water. However, a good wave might be surfed. Or, if you are in the desert, you could surf a dune!
joechacon98 (author)  b2j23 years ago
I hear White Sands in New Mexico is the closest thing to snow in the desert. Good place to try!
hirod33 years ago
Great instructible! I was the lucky recipient of this board, and I can honestly say it is gorgeous in person!!!! Thanks a million!!!!
joechacon98 (author)  hirod33 years ago
Thanks mang! I am glad it did not turn out looking like dog dukie!
We still need to add the fin! And panel!!!!
We can put the fin on, but there's no way in hell I'm letting you cut a hole in the middle of it!!
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