All the Colors Under the Sun
by Paul Finley
There is a true and distinct beauty of a plain, clear-finished
surfboard. The way the the foam is accented by the wood stringer and
the outline is only defined by the true curvature of the board, speaks
volumes through it's simplicity. In its most raw form a plain
surfboard is a magnificent piece of art. My personality is drawn
towards that simplicity. Torn by a love of color, creating functional
art has become a passion of mine. This article is going to take a
look into what goes into making the colors and patterns on a
surfboard. In a time of overseas manufacturing, mass production and
unpersonalized products, it is sad to see art and craftsmanship be
I came across a quote by Merle Haggard, It's easier
to force feed people than it is to give 'em what they want. It makes
more money." I am not saying there is something morally wrong with
purchasing mass produced products. We all do this and it is virtually
unavoidable. I would say though, with out hesitation, that taking
part in the production or consumption of art is at the least beneficial, if not healing, to our being.
Pin lines are a great touch to accent the rail outline of a board or
add some dimension to the shape. Often a pin line is added to cover
up the seam of the layer of cloth that has wrapped over the rail
during a previous step of the glassing process. This pin lines would
be added to the board just before the final coat of sanding resin is
applied. Some craftsman use acrylic paint, but others prefer resin.
Pin lines can be painted on the foam before glassing as well. This is
typically done by an airbrush after the board is taped off.
Airbrushing can really lead to an endless amount of possibilities.
There are simple one color sprays all the way to the extremely
complex mural-like masterpieces. These are typically applied directly
onto the foam before the glass process starts.
Rice paper is a very thin paper material that becomes transparent when
wet out by resin. It can be printed on or drawn on before placed onto
the board. Typically all the board logos are printed onto rice paper
and applied during the glassing process. They usually sit right under
the top layer of fiberglass cloth. Most logos are screen printed for
a vibrant solid color. Some companies use digital printers to print
out graphics for there boards as well. These mainly all fall under
the same category of rice paper art.
Fabric inlays are basically just that. You inlay a fabric with the
desired pattern or design into your board during the glassing process.
Not all fabric can be used, and because of added weight are not
extremely popular. They can look incredible if mixed with the right
board shape and colors.
Colored Resin Work
Colored resin work is an art form and a construction project all
wrapped into one sort moment of time. When glassing a board, you are
building the structural shell around the form or blank. This is
technical and time sensitive in and of itself. With fast drying
resins and a curved and and often very large canvas of a surfboard
setting on a rack in front of you, adding color with control seems
like the most illogical and impossible thing to try and achieve.
Alas, it all seems to make scene when you see the art come out as the
colors lay on the board. Opaques and tints, swirls and patterns, they
all have a purpose of portraying the board and the board owner's
personality, personalized without force feeding.