Colin Lynch ’14 spends many hours in his garage, cutting down large pieces of foam which will eventually be turned into surfboards.
“The process of making surfboards takes a lot of time and is not cheap, but riding the board that you want makes it all worth it,” Lynch said.
To make a surfboard, Lynch starts with a “blank”, a large piece of foam that is the bulk of what will later become a board. He uses a hacksaw to decrease the foam and a hand planer to cut down the thickness of the board.
Although Lynch makes some decisions before making the board, such as the length and width of the board, he decides on the more technical details only when in the process of shaping the board. Other than the size and width of the board, Lynch must also decide how much curvature the board should have and how many fins should be on the bottom.
He then either sends it off to be “glassed”, or glasses the board himself, a process that involves putting multiple layers of resin on the board, adding a fiberglass cloth between the layers and adding a “hot coat” to fill in holes and imperfections after the resin has been sanded down.
Lynch then airbrushes the boards to add a personal flair of color and artwork.
The entire process costs around $200 and takes 2-3 weeks. Although the process can at times be quite technical, Lynch says it is “more of an art than a science.”
He began shaping boards after a friend told him that he had a “blank” at his house. With instruction from his friend, Lynch made his first surfboard.
Lynch owns 14 boards, and these give him inspiration for the size and curvature of his own boards. He makes each board with the spot where he will surf in mind, he said.
For example, Lynch shaped his most recent board with the winter season in mind and made the board short but wide so that he could paddle quickly and make tight turns.
After riding one board several times, Lynch sold it on Craigslist.com for $350, making a $150 profit. He hopes to sell more boards in the future.