Introduction: Surf Every River!
So you don't have a motorboat and still want to wakeskate? Here's how you can do it. I'm going to show you how to build a big board that keeps you afloat even at river speeds.
Friends of mine started this hobby some years ago with a rope and an old door from a wardrobe. It has come a long way since then. At first only one rope was attached from the bridge to the board with a handle attached to the board.
That allowed for nothing more than standing on the board going from side to side of the river.
So the next advancement was to use two ropes, one for the board and one for the handlebar, which allowed for spins.
But it was dangerous, the rope could get tangeled around your feet and if you dropped in the water there better be someone with a knife on the bridge.
After nearly drowning one time I had to change it up and I introduced the leash that attached to your ankle, so when you drop you just let go of the handle and float to the bank.
This board here is the third I made, the first was much too small, the second worked fine, but with no reinforcing fibres it didn't last.
This is the pinnacle of Amper-surfing technology you could say.
Step 1: What You Need
• 3 sheets of 175cm x 70cm, 3mm plywood, in my case poplar
• 6 laths 180cm for lenghtwise clamping
• more laths or something similar to clamp perpendicular
• about 1,5kg of epoxy resin (you probably don't need all of it but accounting for wastefulness, spillage etc. it is better to have plenty)
• glass filament fabric - about 5qm2 (one sheet on top, one or two on the bottom and lots on the edges)
• a small piece of plastic pipe 8mm in diameter (for reinforcing the hole for the leash)
• a workbench (no smaller than 60cmx170cm, which are the dimensions of mine)
• clamps, lots of clamps
• a jigsaw
• some sanding equipment
• more clamps
• tools for mixing and spreading out resin
• a drill (8mm)
• did I mention you can't have enough clamps?
For the actual surfing part:
• a surf leash
• a water tow rope (I previously built them myself, but the ones you can buy are nicer to hold)
• a river with a bridge
Step 2: Laminating the Board Into a Bent Shape
On the outer edges of the workbench we put raisers, pieces of wood about 7-8cm in height which will give us a rocker(the height the board raises from the middle) of about 5cm when the resin is dry.
On top of these we put the laths to support the edges and the middle(it wouldn't hurt to add more but it will be harder to clamp down)
Now we mix the resin, put it on all the inner surfaces and start clamping.
Add clamps and weights wherever you can, particularly on the edges where we later cut out the shape.
Step 3: Shaping
After waiting for the whole thing to dry, we can now mark the shape.
A string tied to a pencil makes a great compass.
I used pictures of wakeskates and wakeboards as a reference but in the end the exact shape doesn't really matter that much. We used cabinet doors once to surf on so, yeah.
Cut out with a jigsaw set to an 45° angle and sand it smooth.
Step 4: Add Strength With Glassfibres
I built a jig to hold the board up but you could probably do without(just slap some bricks under it).
Just add a layer of glass fabric and soak it with resin, make cuts on the corners and turn over the edges. Repeat on the other side.
Now add strips of glass fabric on the edges. The more the better.
When working with epoxy and glass fibres always wear protection!
Step 5: The Finishing Touch
Time to get creative!
You will want to cover the paint layer with one or two more layers of epoxy.
Now is also the time to drill a hole at one end of the board for attaching the leash. I glued in a small piece of plastic pipe for strength.
When putting on the last layer of epoxy on the top of the board, wait until it is still tacky and then scatter sugar all across the surface. This will give good grip in the water.
Step 6: It's Surfin' Time!
This is the best board yet, it is light(for the size) and still rigid, but there is still much room for improvement.
One more tip: Tighten your bathing trunks before surfing :)