Looking through the window into Peter's shop on Jl. Benesari, I saw a rack of new boards. I asked him about them and he told me some were 'epoxy' boards. I don't my ass from my elbow when it coming to surfing, but I have heard people say that the epoxy boards are made from a mold and are lighter, tougher and more buoyant than regular boards.
My problem with buying a surfboard is that a new board cost $500. That's for something that will ding, dent, snap and eventually have to be replaces after a year or 2. The epoxy boards can take a beating by all accounts and Peter said all you have to do is take a scouring pad to the board to get the dirt marks off. Normal boards are made from a 'blank' which is a type of hard white foam. This is shaped by hand and then wrapped with a fiberglass sheet and coated with resin. Apparently these boards are the best performers but are prone to damage.
When I've talked to my surfboard making friends and say that in my opinion their process makes no sense they aren't interested. To me the most logical way to manufacture surfboards is to make several molds and use a plastic material that replicates the desirable qualities of the foam and glass, without being fragile. Surfers say there is no such material. I say yes there is, they just don't know about it. If NASA needed a surfboard we'd have a new generation of boards super quick. The epoxy boards are the first step towards this and will only get better. I hope my board making friends are ready for the paradigm shift when it happens. There was once a man who made the best buggy-whips in America, then cars came along.
If I buy a board it will probably be one of Palu's 'tourist torpedoes'. But down the line maybe an epoxy board will be a tougher and more durable choice for me. My main challenge right now is learning to surf before Jevon.