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  1. #1

    PU vs EPS Epoxy vs Cheap Epoxy

    So i'm getting a custom small wave board. I was pretty set on getting a traditional PU constructed board, but the shaper suggested EPS instead. He says most of the small wave boards he does for people are EPS.

    The reason I initially wanted nothing to do with Epoxy, is because my only experience has been with rental boards like Bics and my own pop-out fish. My board feels like it is made out dense plastic recycle-bin material. When I first got on a PU board, let's just say it felt magical. So am I unfairly hating on a real "epoxy" cause I've only experienced cheap epoxy? FWIW, the shaper uses EPS foam blanks and epoxy resin with 2x6 oz deck and 1x6oz bottom.

    Is an epoxy board also less likely to experience catastrophic damage, or is it really just less dings to worry about? The durability is a plus, but I really don't mind making minor repairs to my boards.

    The price is the same, so do you all have a preference for smaller wave boards? Also, would you order an epoxy slightly smaller than a PU cause they are a little more buoyant?

    Thanks for your help...
    Last edited by brek; Jun 11, 2010 at 05:45 PM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by brek View Post
    So i'm getting a custom small wave board. I was pretty set on getting a traditional PU constructed board, but the shaper suggested EPS instead. He says most of the small wave boards he does for people are EPS.

    The reason I initially wanted nothing to do with Epoxy, is because my only experience has been with rental boards like Bics and my own pop-out fish. My board feels like it is made out dense plastic recycle-bin material. When I first got on a PU board, let's just say it felt magical. So am I unfairly hating on a real "epoxy" cause I've only experienced cheap epoxy? FWIW, the shaper uses EPS foam blanks and epoxy resin with 2x6 oz deck and 1x6oz bottom.

    Is an epoxy board also less likely to experience catastrophic damage, or is it really just less dings to worry about? The durability is a plus, but I really don't mind making minor repairs to my boards.

    The price is the same, so do you all have a preference for smaller wave boards? Also, would you order an epoxy slightly smaller than a PU cause they are a little more buoyant?

    Thanks for your help...
    ugghh.

    A bic is not an epoxy board, or at least not anything like the EPS/epoxy contruction your considering.

    YES you are unfairly hating on epoxy if you are basing it on your experience with BICs or cheap mass produced popouts.

    "catastropic" damage is going to happen to your PU board or your EPS/epoxy board if you slam it into something, or leave it in a hot car etc. The 2x6 1x6 glassing with epoxy resin is solid.

    Getting the right shape for the conditions/your ability is more important that the diff between PU and EPS construction. Working with a local shaper is 3/4 of the battle. You ARE getting a locally shaped board right? What is that link to a $475 board on an FCS website?

    BTW, i used to think i disliked EPS/epoxy until i made a nice EPS Round Nose Fish last summer, and honestly i like it as much as any poly board i can think of. Its not as lively as poly, but im riding it in waves under chest high anyway so paddling, float, width, and rocker are more important and it does all those things
    Last edited by mitchell; Jun 11, 2010 at 06:36 PM.

  3. #3
    EPS is nothing like the "epoxy" you are used to. If you grabbed an EPS board done right you wouldnt even know it was epoxy it looks and feels like PU. I hate Surftech and was totally against "epoxy" but got a custom Stretch EPS board last year and love it. Like i said it looks and feels nothing like Surtech type epoxy it fells like PU but is lighter, stronger and floats better.

  4. #4
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    Most of the difference between the feel of EPS/epoxy and PU/PE is the glass schedule. Because an EPS core is lighter (and more durable) than PU, you can glass it heavier for added ding resistance and a longer life. It's the heavier glass bill that makes it "less lively".. in other words...stiffer. Recent independent, controlled variable tests on unglassed EPS and polyurethane blank materials showed almost identical flex properties.

    When we first started building a lot of EPS/epoxy boards with 6oz all around, like everybody else, we immediately noticed this loss of flex. To compensate for the stiffness, boards started to get thinner to get some of the flex and pop back... up to an 1/8 thinner... and the results were much better. But... the boards lost volume, so paddle and flotation were affected, too. This is where a lot of people misinterpreted something about EPS... it's no more buoyant than PU! People thought you could shape EPS thinner because it was "more buoyant," which it isn't. It was just being shaped thinner to make it feel more like PU/PE. Whether is should or shouldn't is up to the individual.

    My personal preference is EPS for small waves, and I've even gone to PU/epoxy for my big wave boards. I reserve PU/PE for logs and retros, and for boards with resin color work and a gloss/polish finish. I encourage all sanded finish boards to be glassed with epoxy.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchell View Post

    Getting the right shape for the conditions/your ability is more important that the diff between PU and EPS construction. Working with a local shaper is 3/4 of the battle. You ARE getting a locally shaped board right? What is that link to a $475 board on an FCS website?
    Thanks for your help. Yeah, I started off looking for local shapers by searching around the various mid-atlantic surfing forums. I found this guy that way because he began his career in New York, but is now in San Diego. The company is Solid Surf (the actual website is all flash, so i couldn't link directly to the board). I emailed a few different shapers and just kind of got a good vibe from him; and I figured he knew the area pretty well having started out in the mid-atlantic.

  6. #6
    ive seen a solid eps board, they seems to surf pretty well


  7. #7
    nice pic!

    Going off of what Mitchell was saying, it is so much better to get a board made for you or at least talk to guys at a shop before you buy a board. When I got my pop-out "epoxy" board, I was still a beginner and figured I wasn't "good" enough to get a custom board -- even though the cost difference isn't that much. A couple used boards later, I still probably wouldn't notice minor changes in the dimensions, or the subtleties of different tail shapes or rails but there is huge value in talking with someone who does know all of that. My point is, if you are getting a new board you shouldn't have to wait until you are "good" to get yourself a good board for a few dollars more.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by LBCrew View Post

    When we first started building a lot of EPS/epoxy boards with 6oz all around, like everybody else, we immediately noticed this loss of flex. To compensate for the stiffness, boards started to get thinner to get some of the flex and pop back... up to an 1/8 thinner... and the results were much better. But... the boards lost volume, so paddle and flotation were affected, too. This is where a lot of people misinterpreted something about EPS... it's no more buoyant than PU! People thought you could shape EPS thinner because it was "more buoyant," which it isn't. It was just being shaped thinner to make it feel more like PU/PE. Whether is should or shouldn't is up to the individual.

    My personal preference is EPS for small waves, and I've even gone to PU/epoxy for my big wave boards. I reserve PU/PE for logs and retros, and for boards with resin color work and a gloss/polish finish. I encourage all sanded finish boards to be glassed with epoxy.
    So if you took off an 1/8in in thickness, you are going to get a board with a similar feel and flex to a PU/PE board, but it will actually be less buoyant because of the loss of volume? As I said, an 1/8 in here or there wont matter much for me, but thats interesting. Can you use less glass instead to give the board more flex?

    Is there anything in particular you like about using EPS/epoxy boards for small waves, or is it just preference?
    Last edited by brek; Jun 12, 2010 at 07:46 AM.

  9. #9
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    Right... less buoyant because of reduced volume. (Archemedes)

    Yes, you can use a lighter glass schedule and get more flex. But that, in my mind, defeats the purpose of EPS/epoxy, which is to build a lighter, stronger board that will never delaminate, will last longer, will resist snapping better, and get fewer dings. In small waves, a lighter board makes sense. In bigger waves, not so much.

    You can go stringerless, or go with parabolic stringers, or thinner stringers, or fiberglass stringers, or high density PVC foam stringers, etc. to get more flex, too, but that requires a custom blank order, in most cases. The easiest thing to do is to just buy stock blanks with stock basswood stringers and adjust the shape... thinner, flatter decks, etc. It still won't feel the same as PU/PE, because epoxy has a different flex modulus, tensile strength, etc. But it will most certainly feel more like traditional construction.

  10. #10
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    I've been riding my Greenroom eps/epoxy Whiskey Fish for more than a year now and is hasn't had any major dings yet or anything. To me, Pu/Pe are for sponsored people, or people who enjoy seeing their favorite board lose life after a few months.

    IMHO, if were to buy like a CI, or a ...lost stick, I would get it in eps/epoxy, because if you're spending more than 600 dollars for a board, that crap better last.

    Yes, there's a huge difference between handshaped eps glassed with epoxy, than that tuflite stuff. The process for making an eps/epoxy board is almost exactly the same as making a pu/pe board. And, if you had a bunch of eps and pu boards sitting on the rack, the average tourist, and uninformed surfer would never know that there were eps board on the rack.