I am just a beginner so I realize that I am most likely putting more abuse on my board than more experienced surfers. Non the less, I feel like my board is getting beat up very quickly. I travel with it in a bag and have been surfing beach breaks. All the dings are just cracks, nothing major.
So I'm wondering:
How often do dings happen on average?
Is it normal to ding your board a lot when learning or am I being to hard on it?
Yes, completely normal. Just try to pay attention to how you're beating up your board. I used to get a lot of dings on the bottom of my boards because I would wax them while on the sidewalk or the tailgate of my truck. Now I wait til I'm on the beach or I'll sit the board on something soft, like someones lawn.
All but one of my dings are on the rails of the board. One ding on the deck I know is from me landing on it with my knee, but other than that, I'm not sure where they are coming from. After being out in shoulder high waves today, I noticed a new crack along the rail, near the nose of the board. I'm guessing this is from the board hitting the bottom? Anyone have tips on how to prevent this?
I would say rail cracks are probably the result of setting it down on the rail on concrete or another hard surface. Maybe if you have a really light glass job on a really thin board you might get small cracks from squeezing the rail too hard. Try to be very careful also when putting it in the bag as the rail may hit on the zipper and ding. But all in all boards get dings and crack just make sure you seal em and keep it water tight and you should be good.
Falling onto your board does take it's toll... but I'd say 99% of dings that aren't pressure dings happen out of the water. It's just a matter of getting used to handling your board, knowing how to get it in and out of your vehicle, where and how you store it... As been said, you'll get used to it and get fewer dings with time.
Until then, be sure to fix your dings before your next session, even if it's just a temporary fix. Even "just cracks" can, and often do, leak. Fixing dings is a skill you should also develop over time.