Patching Soft Surfboards with a Hot Glue Gun

Did you know you can patch your soft board with a hot glue gun? This also works on fiberglass boards, but for now I’m talking about soft boards, like the ever-popular Costco WaveStorm surfboards. They’re also known as ‘soft tops’ (or derisively as ‘nurf boards’ : ). This is also a good fix for boogieboards or bodyboards. (With any soft board do NOT use regular surfboard resins or Solarez; These chemicals will destroy the interior Styrofoam of soft boards and leave you with a big hollow spot).

We do thousands of surf lessons every year, and when our boards take a hit, this is how we stretch a few more rides out of them.

How to fix your soft board:

For things like fin gashes and separating skins on soft boards, just prep the area by cleaning and drying it out, then keep some clear packing tape handy to hold things together. If you’re patching a large area, you’ll have a problem with the glue cooling too quickly, and may have to do it in several stages.

•  Small dings: Have a large piece of clear tape ready when you fill the ding, then roll it over the top to flatten the glue without burning your fingers … much.

•  Fin gashes: Try to stick the head of the glue gun in there and fill the crack as much as possible, then cover with tape. It’s important to get a good seal – may take a few coats.

•  De-Lams: This is surf speak for when the skin separates from the board and forms a bubble, or the skin peels away from the bottom of the surfboard. Just cover the area lightly, and make a bead of hot glue along the edge. Tape it down for a few minutes. Trim the excess with a razor.

Now go schred, Fred.                                             – Jaz Kaner


21 thoughts on “Patching Soft Surfboards with a Hot Glue Gun

    1. Hi Joni, If patching the bottom with a glue gun, you need to get some of it UNDER the crack to the interior in order for the patch to hold. Make sure you put tape over it before it cools/hardens, and press down. That makes the finish smooth. If that peels off, I sometimes patch dings with clear vinyl tape. You can find it in hardware stores.

  1. This was a great help! I googled how to repair foamtop boards as our brand new one got a major fin gash yesterday and i was worried it was finished!
    I am not sure what glue to use in hot glue gun, maybe there is only one type, but I will get some and give this a go. Thanks a million!

  2. I took a snapped 9′ doyle soft top from a friend and i’m trying to make a mini-mini-soft top simmons. i had to to saw the two ends apart and I’m wondering if i can use some fiberglass and epoxy resin to cover the tail since the foam is an EPS foam. Please advise. Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Mel, I guess you could use epoxy, but it may cut up your opu when you slide over it: ). I’d still use hot glue. What you need tho’ is some soft covering. I got some 2mm thick ‘tolex'(?) deck covering from the folks at Surftech who make the original ‘SoftTop’ boards. I use it to cover tails whenever I have to cut them off. I think any fiberglass is going to be out of place.

  3. So…I bought a used Wavestorm SUP for friends to use. It was in great condition except for a hole on da deck/nose. So, I thought SHOE GOO would fill up dat hole & seal it. I was wrong, it actually ate up da foam on da inside. I dug out as much of the shoe goo from da inside. But now there’s a void about da size of a golf ball.

    How do you suggest I fill dis void? I was thinking of buying some Foam Spray from da hardware store to fill up da void then taking your advice use a heat gun to seal.

    What do you think? Also, should I be concerned about da foam eating away still since I wasn’t able to get all da cured shoe goo out?


    1. Hey Mark, Tuff one. I wouldn’t recommend the foam spray; It might also dissolve foam, and it yellows in the sun. The shoe goo shouldn’t dissolve anything else once it’s dried. I think you’ll have to fill that baby with the glue gun, should take a few rods of plastic.

  4. Hey Jaz great posts, I snapped a 9 made of expanded polystyrene with 2 wood stringers. It all fits back together great including overlap on the stringers, and the plastic underbelly perfectly intact with the Tolex. After reading online I am planning to use gorilla glue, and was just wondering if you have tried this and if you recommend against it, thanks!

    1. Hey Jon, We’ve used Gorilla glue on the softboards, and it’s ok, at least for strength if used on the interior; I found it kind of ugly and brittle for soft board dings.

    1. Hey Suzy, Good idea; Sounds like you’re in this for the long run:). Use the clear silicone glue. It comes in tubes, and I usually keep it handy when we’re assembling our ‘Taiwan Ten’s’. Put it under the fin AND the fin screws.

  5. Can I use the hot glue method if there is just a tear in the soft top and no damage to the fiberglass underneath or should I use something like Solarez?

    1. Hi Stacy, Soft boards are usually made with styrofoam: Do NOT use any regular surfboard resin, Solarez, silicone, etc. It will dissolve the interior foam and leave you with a big hole inside. Use the hot glue gun or (if you’re feeling ambitious) 3M-5200 compound, found at marine supply stores.

  6. Hey, 80% of the plastic on the underside has come off, I have gorilla glued it, I just want to seal it around the edges so it doesn’t happen again, what can I use? Cheers!

  7. Aloha,

    I bought a used surftech black tip soft sup as a beater board and for the kids to use. I got thr board with the fin box damaged and there is some small play with the fin. Probably from riding the board up to the beach. I took it out today and was doing switch backs and the fin has way more movement and the fin box looks like its separating. I was thinking of replacing the whole fin box, Would you recommend repairing the fin box using a hot glue gun? Mahalo in advance…

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