How to build a powder surfer

Some friends told me last season that they were going to build a powder surfer, so I had to join! Ever since I saw Taro Tamai paddle into the powder and stand up on his board in the movie Signatures, I knew I had to try that some day…

What do you need to build a powder surfer

We got lucky. A local guy had build a powder surfer before and built his own press that we could use. The press consists of a frame that holds sheets of plywood and is covered with a lot of cross beams that you can screw into place to deliver the pressure, more on that later.

The powder surfer itself is built from several sheets of plywood mixed in with fiberglass and held together by Epoxy resin. Making sure that I would have some grip while standing on the board, I ordered a roll of transparent griptape, normally used on skateboards. Since I’ll be riding the board without bindings I mounted a ring to be able to attach the board to myself so I won’t lose it when I fall off.

  • 3 sheets of plywood
  • 2 sheets of fiberglass
  • Epoxy resin
  • Transparent grip tape
  • Galvanised screws and hook
  • Varnish

Design

Take a sheet of plywood and draw your favourite design onto it. I made a template for one side of the board, to make sure that the design was symmetrical. My design was about 150cm long and 40cm wide.

3 sheets of plywood The design

Press

Our next step is to setup the press. Like I said before it is nothing more than a frame to hold the plywood and some cross beams. To give the board the correct shape you have to fill up the frame to shape the wood. I put quite a lot of rocker in the nose, so I made sure that there the nose would be lifted up. My board also has a concave in the length, to make it easier to stand on. This was created by two pieces of wood on either side of the board and one piece of wood on top in the middle that would press the board down. Make  sure  that the beam for the concave is lined up with the middle of your design.

Next we have to create the sandwich construction of plywood – fiberglass – plywood – fiberglass – plywood, with a coat of epoxy in between each layer of course (wear gloves when handling the fiberglass). Put the board into the press, screw down the beams for the pressure you want and wait for 24 hours…

In the press In the press

Finishing

When you take the board out of the press, you have to saw it out into roughly the shape that you drew on it. Then you refine it to the shape you want. I used a surform and then sanded it with sandpaper with different grains. To finish it of you have to make sure that the board can take all the snow. I applied several layers of boat varnish. Applying the grip tape and mounting the ring is all that is left and you’re ready to go.

Out of the mold and cut Sanded and ready to paint

The result

I built my powder surfer over summer, which is pretty frustrating. Just waiting for the first snow to fall down and give it a try! Thanks to Gü, Mads, Martin and Bart for all the tips!

Powder surfer Powder surfer

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