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Article: Why Do Surfboards Turn Yellow?

why do surfboard yellow

Why Do Surfboards Turn Yellow?

If you're a surfer, you've probably noticed that your surfboard can turn yellow over time. This yellowing can be unsightly and may even lead you to worry about the condition of your board. But why do surfboards turn yellow in the first place? In this blog post, we'll explore the reasons behind surfboard yellowing and what you can do to prevent it. From the materials used in surfboard construction to the effects of sunlight and water, we'll break down the science behind this phenomenon and provide tips on how to keep your surfboard looking its best.

UV Radiation and Its Impact

UV radiation is a primary factor in surfboard yellowing. When surfboards are exposed to UV rays, the resin polymers begin to break down, leading to yellowing and other forms of discoloration. Over time, this can cause the board to lose its clarity and become unsightly.

Geographical factors also play a role in the intensity of UV radiation exposure. In regions with high levels of sunlight, such as California or Hawaii, surfboards are more susceptible to yellowing. On the other hand, in areas with a lot of clouds or rain, such as the Pacific Northwest or England, surfboards are less likely to be yellow.

To prevent surfboard yellowing caused by UV radiation, surfers can take protective measures such as using high-quality UV-resistant resin and storing their boards inside surfboard bags. It is important to place those bags in a cool, dry place when not in use. Additionally, surfers should limit their boards' exposure to sunlight by using protective covers or storing them in the shade. By taking these steps, surfers can maintain the appearance and longevity of their surfboards.

Oxygen Exposure and Oxidation

In addition to UV radiation, oxygen exposure can also contribute to surfboard yellowing. When surfboards are exposed to oxygen, the resin components begin to oxidize, leading to discoloration and yellowing. This process is known as oxidation and can cause surfboards to lose their clarity and aesthetic appeal over time, even if the board is not placed in the sunlight. So, yes, the air alone can yellow a surfboard! 

To minimize the risk of yellowing caused by oxygen exposure, surfers should consider their storage conditions. If the surfboard is a collectors item, it could be beneficial to utilize an air-tight storage container to help prevent oxygen from reaching the surfboard and causing oxidation. Other strategies to minimize the impact of yellowing on a surfboard include using UV-resistant resin, limiting the board's exposure to sunlight, and storing the board in a surfboard bag inside a cool, dry place. By taking these steps, surfers can protect their boards from the effects of oxidation and maintain their appearance and structural integrity over time.

Impact of Water Quality

Water quality can also impact the yellowing of surfboards. Saltwater, in particular, can accelerate the yellowing process due to its corrosive nature. When surfboards are exposed to saltwater, the salt can penetrate the resin and cause it to break down, leading to yellowing and discoloration. Additionally, contaminants in the water, such as oil, pollution, and algae, can also contribute to surfboard yellowing.

Freshwater, on the other hand, is less likely to cause yellowing. However, freshwater with high levels of contaminants can still have a negative impact on surfboard appearance and longevity. It's important to rinse surfboards with fresh water after each use to remove any salt or contaminants that may have accumulated on the board.

To minimize the impact of water quality on surfboard yellowing, surfers should rinse their boards with fresh water after each use and avoid exposing their boards to contaminated water. Additionally, surfers can use a protective cover or bag when transporting their boards to prevent exposure to saltwater and contaminants.

Ways to Prevent or Minimize Yellowing

Surfboard yellowing may be an inevitable part of a surfboard's life, but there are ways to prevent or minimize it. Here are some ways to keep your surfboard looking its best:

1. UV-Protective Coatings and Films

Applying a UV-protective coating or film to your surfboard can help minimize the impact of UV radiation on the resin. This can help prevent yellowing and discoloration over time.

2. Proper Board Maintenance and Storage Practices

Proper board maintenance and storage practices can also help prevent yellowing. Rinse your board with fresh water after each use to remove any salt or contaminants, and store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

3. Choosing Resins with UV Stabilizers

When purchasing a surfboard, look for resins that contain UV stabilizers. These resins are designed to resist the effects of UV radiation, which can help prevent yellowing.

4. Regular Cleaning and Waxing Routines

Regular cleaning and waxing routines can also help prevent yellowing. Cleaning your board regularly can remove any contaminants that may contribute to yellowing, while waxing can help protect the board from UV radiation and oxidation.

5. FARO's surfboard bags

Investing in a high-quality surfboard bag, such as those offered by FARO, can also help prevent yellowing. FARO's bags are designed with durable, eco-friendly materials and feature UV-resistant coatings that help protect your board from the sun's harmful rays.

Removing Yellowing from Surfboards

Over time, surfboards can develop a yellowish tint due to exposure to UV rays, saltwater, and other environmental factors. While some surfers appreciate the aesthetic value of yellowing, others may wish to remove it. Here are some ways to remove yellowing from surfboards:

Home Remedies and DIY Solutions for Removing Yellowing

Although none of these remedies will completely remove the yellowing, it may help restore some of the boards original color.

  • Baking Soda: Mix baking soda and water to create a paste and apply it to the yellowed areas. Let it sit for several hours, then rinse with water and dry.
  • Vinegar: Soak a cloth in vinegar and water, and rub it over the yellowed areas of the surfboard. Rinse with water and dry.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide: Mix hydrogen peroxide and water in a spray bottle, and spray it onto the yellowed areas of the surfboard. Let it sit for several hours, then rinse with water and dry.

    Professional Surfboard Cleaning and Restoration Services for Removing Yellowing

    Professional surfboard cleaning and restoration services can be a more effective and reliable way to remove yellowing from surfboards. These services typically use a restoration process that includes sanding and re-glassing the surfboard. The Effectiveness and Risks of Different Yellowing Removal Methods

    While home remedies and DIY solutions can be effective at removing yellowing from surfboards, they may not be as reliable as professional restoration. Some home remedies may also have risks, such as damaging the surfboard's surface or causing discoloration. It is important to research different methods and understand the risks before attempting to remove yellowing from a surfboard.

    Final Thoughts

    In conclusion, while surfboard yellowing may be unavoidable, there are steps that surfers can take to minimize its impact. By practicing proper board maintenance, using UV-protective coatings and investing in a high-quality surfboard bag, surfers can prolong the life of their surfboards and keep them looking their best.