Instructables
Picture of Paddle Board
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I wanted a paddle board. If you have been to a beach this summer you have seen someone on one. But even the very bottom end Stand Up Paddle board (hereafter SUP) starts at $350- and that is for a what is essentially a really big plastic milk jug. Plus, that hollow plastic weighs a crazy amount. Even the kids-size SUPs weigh more than my beach babes could possibly carry, strong as they are. Clearly, that is something we can make for ourselves. Come see.
 
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Step 1: Balance

Picture of Balance
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I have no illusions of actually using a SUP myself. The imitable Holly Mann (follow her at instructables.com/member/HollyMann if you don't already) could paddle one with her feet while standing on her hands, but I can't. My center of gravity is located just under my Adams apple because of my ponderous head (like a cake pop) and I will not be able to stay balanced on it. But a child would have a great time on one.
I used:
-One sheet rigid foam insulation 2" thick. ($25) but really it was free from Swap, who gave me a bunch of sheets he didn't need. I added some extra scrap to make it unnecessarily a bit longer. Boys are funny that way...

-Two tubes of construction adhesive $6 (the large ones. You'll be cutting them open so don't worry about a caulking gun)

-A fine notch plastic trowel $1.50

-A wood rasp. Garage sale price. Who on Earth know$?

-Orbital sander

-An optional 1/4" sheet of plywood (left over from a $8 sheet) for decking.

-Lots of heavy things for glue pressure. Sandbags work fine.

Total cost for DDC was low. You can buy everything you need for less than $50. But you will agree that price is only a small part of the cost for makers. The real cost- the only truly limited commodity- is time.
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EStefonek1 month ago
has anyone tried covering it in duct tape? it would help protect the foam without adding much weight, plus you could personalize. I <3 duct tape.

How does this hold up in travel... i've seen people with sheets of that pink foam ripped off the roof of their SUV's driving home from the Home Depot. I don't live on water, but this could be an awesome winter project to work on and take it on the river a few miles from my house.

ferball7 months ago

Buoyancy is calculated conservatively at 50lbs a square foot (if i remember correctly) so an 8' x 2' x 6" would be good for 400lbs. 8x2x.5 = 8 x 50lbs = 400. A 12 footer would be could for 600lbs. Helpful info for this awesome project.

"would be could"?

saosport ferball6 months ago

Thanks that will help me I want one for me and my weim. So I'll try a 9x2x7" just to be safe.

My family made 4 of these following your instructions. We then went to Marsh Creek State Park to test them out and they worked beautifully! Literally 30-40 folks asked about them because they look potentially "home made" and we gave you credit and encouraged folks to check out your posting. Thanks a lot!!!

donedirtcheap (author)  mariannemccormick2 months ago
This comment is worth more to me than you can imagine. I bet you made all four for less than one would have cost at the store. Were they light enough for your kids to carry by themselves?
Another fun thing to do is to lash them as outriggers on either side of a canoe to make a really stable trimaran/ swim platform. My brother and my nephew and I sailed one on Lake Superior!
Your four SUPs tied together would make an amazing raft!
Thank you in earnest,
DDC
Yes, my kids carried them themselves. We spent sub $200 for all. The money savings was key, and I what I think was even more important was instilling in my 8 and 10 year olds the idea that they can build something on their own rather than spend so much for something we wanted! We would have spent just about that much to rent 4 of them for 4 hours! Thanks again. Marianne
danielpena12 months ago

hope this reaches you and we get a reply since the last post is 10 months old...

AWESOME! i want to try this. question, though. you used no fiberglass/epoxy to coat/seal this board? was it left the pink color of the foam?

thanks in advance!

donedirtcheap (author)  danielpena12 months ago

That's right, no epoxy or fiberglass. Fiberglass would make it a bit tougher but much heavier. As it is my six year old can carry it to the beach by herself.

It has been knocked around over the last year and I have used it quite a bit but it is as tough and strong as ever. I'm taking it camping on an island this weekend with about ten kids!

Do you think it shouldn't be pink? I figured that if it got too banged up I could always glass it later too. But cheap and easy wins for me every time.

Thanks for your questions. If you make one please post your improvements.

DDC

thanks for the reply. pink is fine if that's your color of choice. for me i'd want it white if that color is available for the foam, but cool none the less.

if i do decide to do this i will definitely post up!

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Rahdzhillaxxx4 months ago

sandwiching a thin layer of thick plastic might help any fears of breaking. if it did then it would still be in one piece. strips of plywood might work too. for the bottom I might try the roll up sled material since I will be fishing rivers with mine.

emorcos4 months ago

Is there any disadvantage to starting out with a 4'' piece of foam?

donedirtcheap (author)  emorcos4 months ago
Do you have one?! That it's awesome. No disadvantage at all. Go nuts! Take a picture too, please.
DDC
erinw11 months ago
Love your posts! made my daughter a paddle board put gel resin pink paint on it and painted cherry blossoms on the top with white gel resin looks amazing and it's all thanks to you :)

Sounds like fun. Has anyone tried any different types of paint? Trying to round up some options for the board that I'm working on.

saosport erinw6 months ago

Do you have any photos you could share?

donedirtcheap (author)  erinw11 months ago
Thank you. Some people shop sales, some people clip coupons, some people just take what they want. You and I, we make what we want. Thanks for the comment/follow.
evgen_ru1 year ago
Is your board slippery?
Аpply the paint and sprinkle sand immediately.
And your board is not slippery :-)

Great idea. Do you think the grains of sand embedded in the paint would hurt the bottom of one's bare feet? Looking at making this in next couple weeks.

Lei_Kei evgen_ru11 months ago
That is a great idea! When I make one I'll keep that in mind for sure!
WampaSlayer7 months ago

This looks great! I have wanted one of these ever since I tried my friend's. Can't wait to build it this summer!

papadezil728 months ago

How does the foam hold up in the water, does it soak any? Do you think that salt or brakish water would eat away at the foam?

donedirtcheap (author)  papadezil728 months ago
The foam doesn't absorb any water at all. I can't swear to it but I don't think salt water would have any effect. The soft foam will take much more damage from dings and nicks of playful use than from salt. Please post photos if you make one and good luck!
dkrall11 months ago
Awesome. I have a pile of this pink foam in my garage. I am so making one for next season.
myrrhmaid1 year ago
Favorited. Voted. WANT!
MadiHall1 year ago
Sorry, One more question, when looking for the foam we have noticed that it only comes 8 feet in length. We wanted to make a 12 foot one, is there foam in this size that you know of? We have looked on the hope depot and home hardwear website. Thanks
donedirtcheap (author)  MadiHall1 year ago
There aren't any 12 ft sheets that I know of but the foam can be layered and staggered to make whichever length you like. I would like to see one made of thinner foam that has been laminated into the curved rocker shape instead of being carved that way, like the one I made.
MadiHall1 year ago
Hello i would love to make one of these, great Idea! But we are curious to know how the rigid Styrofoam does not break easily with pressure. My dad is familiar with the foam and said it is easily broken. Thanks!
donedirtcheap (author)  MadiHall1 year ago
I added the plywood thinking that it would prevent it from breaking but I see now that there is really no chance of that. See, if you set it up on a couple of sawhorses and jumped on it it would break for sure, as would a $400 dollar paddle board. But when it is in the water it is evenly supported by its uniform buoyancy and it hardly flexes at all. The next one I make will not have a plywood deck at all because the foam is easier to stand on and I am sure it would be more than strong enough for my weight. We had four kids and two adults on it (hilarious) when we were trying to submerge it and it stood up to that fine.
Good luck. Post a photo if you end up building one!
DDC
Sounds good! Thanks a lot! :)
Bard1 year ago
Is it possible to put a coat of resin on it that doesn't eat the foam?
donedirtcheap (author)  Bard1 year ago
I really don't know. Hardening the surface would be good because the paddle will ding up the sides over time. I can't claim that it is as good as a $400 model but for the money...
I hope you make one. If you find a way to harden it let me know please.
DDC
This is such a great idea I am going to make one!!!! But done use truck bed liner it eats foam!!!
jbh1231 year ago
Funny, I've used pink foam for skateboard molds and other types of foam for sandwich construction, but I never once thought of making my own SUP board. And I'm one cheap SOB when it comes to stuff like this! :-) So, thanks for your Instructable. You did a great job.

I imagine your board must've gotten a few dings here & there. But if I read it right, it held up OK even with no outer protection (e.g., fiberglass) on the pink foam?
zoomroom1 year ago
1. beautiful, thank you for sharing.
2. I'm planning on making one. I'll share pix.
3. So you also get to pond skate up there in beautiful Duluth. I'm hoping to be a neighbor soon.
donedirtcheap (author)  zoomroom1 year ago
1. You're welcome and thank you
2. I can't wait to see what you make.
3. Just let me know when you get here. On Lake Superior you can skate 10 miles some years. We were out on the deep ice fishing and curling when that photo was taken.
acuchetto1 year ago
Looks very cool! I tried paddle boarding this summer and my rented board had a keel (I think that's what you call the bottom "fin" at the tail end of the board). I bet this would help a lot with balancing--especially with an adult-sized board.
donedirtcheap (author)  acuchetto1 year ago
I didn't add one because I am lazy-ish. I just wanted to get it on the water. But it would be much better with a fin. (Don't tell my kids)
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