Intro: Surfing With Kids (part 1: Mod Your Longboard)
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.
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.