Surfing With Kids (part 1: Mod Your Longboard)




About: Usually making something on this site.

I have two daughters and I'm excited to get them surfing. Last summer when I was in Hawaii I saw a mother and her two kids catching some waves with a rescue surfboard. The rescue board had hand straps at the top and on the sides, which allowed the kids to hold on while they were on their stomach riding a wave. The straps also allowed them to easily hang on to the sides while they were floating in the water.

I had a couple of extra longboards that I thought would be easy enough to add some straps to, but it took me a year and a half to get around to it. I was getting ready to send these boards off to Hawaii where they will live as I don't expect them to do much surfing around here in the cold shark infested waters. Sharks are also an issue in Hawaii, but it seems that Tiger sharks in clear water are a bit smarter than Great Whites in murky waters. I also think that since the Tiger sharks are primarily looking for other fish and not seals, we look less like their targets.

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Step 1: What You'll Need

A longboard or any surfboard you want to add straps to.


G02-0125 - 3 Pint Kit Resin Research Epoxy 2000 w/ 2100 fast Hardener

Windsurfing foot strap plugs. These ones come with washers and screws.

R65-5491 - Single Post Foot Strap Insert, Northwest Surf Products

Drill with a one inch hole drill bit.

1" nylon webbing. I bought mine at REI.

Step 2: Layout and Drill Your Holes

Decide on how many straps you want to have. I would probably have made one less as it was getting close to bothering me while I was sitting on the board. I did surf both of these boards without any kids on them as our kids are still a bit young.

When you're drilling your holes, make sure you don't drill through the bottom of the board :) I put some tape on the bit so I knew how far I went.

Step 3: Mix Your Resin and Insert Screw Plugs

Make sure to wear a respirator, this stuff is pretty toxic to breathe. I would recommend waiting for the mixture to thicken/harden up for a while before working with it. It's a little hard to get all the tops of the holes level, so if it's too runny, it will start going over the sides.

Pour some in the whole, insert the plug and add more if needed. Don't add too much to begin with as it's a messy job removing resin.

Let the board cure overnight before attaching the webbing.

Step 4: Cut and Attach Your Webbing

So cut the length you need and start at one end to attach it. You want to leave enough webbing between each attachment so that you have something to hold on to.

Remember to burn the ends where you cut it, so it doesn't fray.

Getting the screw through the webbing was a little more challenging that I had thought. I worked out a system of putting a nail through the webbing to start a whole and then using the drill to screw it through the webbing.

Step 5: Now Go Find Some Warm Water for Your Kids!

You're done, now the hard part. So part two will actually involve getting the kids in the water, which probably won't be until next year. This year's trip involved a 16' Tiger shark making an appearance about a week before we were there. The landlord (aka: the shark) had also been spotted while we were there, but didn't come into the small bay for us to see it.

Our girls can't swim yet, so that's probably the first step.

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    14 Discussions


    7 years ago on Step 4

    Great instructable!
    Another way to make a small hole in nylon fabric or webbing is to heat the end of a nail and push it through the webbing, melting a small hole which seals its own edges. Make sure you hold the heated nail with pliers so you don't burn your fingers! To heat the nail you can use a torch, or gas flame on the stove, etc...


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Use a soldering iron to melt a hole thru the webbing. 


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Nice idea.

    My boys fancy the idea of surfing, but that's the North Sea out there. They have to wait until they can afford their own holiday to Hawaii.

    4 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    i went to guernsey this summer the surf was great there for a first timer like me(i'm 14)


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    i was recently at teesside university and surfed at saltburn a fair bit. if you get the day right (look at this site for week long predictions) it provides decent waves. there is also a hire shop and school on the beach front and the beachbreak waves are perfect to learn/progress on!

    message me if u want any more info on surfing the north sea :)

    p.s. get a wetsuit. i went in feb without a hood or gloves and didnt last very long. noot a good idea for the littleuns!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    check out a documentary called sharkwater. it will make you love sharks! did you know your more likely to be killed by a soda vending machine!

    2 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    You're more likely to get killed by a lot of things than a shark. But I'd rather not get bitten by the man. I have been in the water during an attack here in Northern California. I was surfing in the same pack as the guy who got attacked, but had paddled to the next peak about 30 minutes before it happened. My buddy and I were the last people in the water, since we didn't see the attack. By the time we were paddling in, the rest of the crew and the victim were already on the beach. If the waves are good, you don't think about it, but when you are waiting a long time between sets, sometimes it's hard not to think about it.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    fair point! surfers are definately a target as the shape and paddling motion resembles that of an injured seal. that said i still love sharks and have swam with reef sharks and even a hammerhead in the bahamas (see pic)! that said im with you and i definately wouldnt risk having my kids (if i had kids) in the water with them!