Skin Basics

Nylextra Hybrid Fibreglass SKIN
The Skin and Core material properties both contribute to the overall strength and durability of a surfboard.

SKIN: Usually it's a cloth impregnated with a type of resin, though these days lots of new ideas and products are arriving on the market. The skin of the board is mainly there to protect the shaped surfboard core/blank and strengthen the surfboard from the power of the ocean. The way you build your board will affect the performance of the board. Often the choice of skin materials to use for lamination is difficult because the required performance properties.  

This page is to help you understand the difference of each material. SO WHICH SKIN IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

Check out the table below to see what we think is the best to the worst:-

 BEST

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LEAST

Cost E Glass S Glass Innegra Hemp Bamboo Kevlar Carbon
Weight Innegra Kevlar Carbon S Glass Bamboo E Glass Hemp
Stiff Vs Flex Bamboo Innegra Kevlar Carbon S Glass Hemp E Glass
Tough Vs Compression Innegra Kevlar Bamboo Carbon Hemp S Glass E Glass
Hand Lam S Glass E Glass Carbon  Bamboo Hemp Innegra Kevlar
Sand-ability E Glass S Glass Bamboo Carbon Hemp Innegra Kevlar
The table above gives the parameters of each Skin fabric from a best to worst case; sometimes blending different composite materials in a lamination will help the application of performance you are looking for. 

Skin Cloth Variations



Standard E-Glass fibreglass cloth

Fibreglass is made of what the name says – glass. Fine fibres are spun from molten glass, gathered into yarn and woven into a strong glass fabric. It has been a favourite with surfboard manufactures since the days of foam core surfboards started, as it is a great fabric which laminates easily and the ease of sanding at a very reasonable cost.
 
Ø  Can be used with all resins

S – Glass fibreglass cloth

The chemical make- up of S Glass is what differs from E-Glass.  This provides 30% more strength and 15% more stiffness. One ply of S Glass can be stronger than 2 layers of E-Glass when laminated and because you can use less for the same strength, this will make the surfboard lighter.
 
Ø  Can be used with all resins


Innegra - Polyproperlyene fibre cloth

A newly developed yarn that is woven into a fabric cloth that is tough, very lightweight and cost effective. It is compatible with all composite processes and materials. Innegra is now being used in the manufacture of F1 race cars in conjunction with carbon fibre.  It is advisable to use this as a multi lamination with other materials as it is difficult to sand.
 
Ø  Preferred to be used with Epoxy resins and vacuum bagged
 

100% Bamboo fibre woven fabric 

Another new entrant into the market, bamboo in nature is one of the strongest and flexible materials just go to any building site in Asia and see what it is used for!

The bamboo fibre is processed into a woven material which is used in a lot of textile fabrications. In the market you can also get the fabric in a knitted version as in a tee-shirt (5% Lycra). Hand lamination is a little more difficult than normal fibreglass as it stretches slightly when wetted out with the resin, but makes up for it when sanding!! The dust particles are non irritable to skin so no more itching while sanding.
 
Ø  Can be used with all resins
 
 

Hemp

Not a new fibre, it’s been around for centuries!  Hemp has been used as an eco friendly fibre but heavier alternative to fibreglass in surfboard manufacture, one of the key properties of hemp is it absorbency, so it will soak up the resin more than some of the other skins. This will help in its strength factor on a surfboard, while keeping its flex qualities.  It is advisable to use this as a multi lamination with other materials as it is difficult to sand.
 
Ø  Preferred to be used with Epoxy resins
 
 

Carbon Fibre

Originally used in surfboards as a few strips along the stringer under fibreglass to stiffen the board, but now in a woven fabric is an alternative to fibreglass with the properties of strength, stiffness and being very lightweight. This fabric is probably the most expensive in the ones listed.
 
If doing a 100% Carbon Fibre skin, be careful with the final layer lamination by making sure that the fill yarns are facing down (unexposed) and sanding it, as you could make a weak point in the skin.
 
Ø  Can be used with most resins and all cores


Kevlar

Kevlar was introduced commercially in 1972. It combines high tensile strength with lightweight and toughness superior to many other reinforcing fibres for plastics. For surfboards it has had some success though has trouble wetting out in hand lamination (better in a vacuum lamination) and is almost impossible to sand.
 
Ø  Recommended to use epoxy resin

 

What’s new?

Basalt

Basalt fibre is an alternative to fibreglass or Carbon.  Basalt cloth is made from a hard, dense, volcanic molten rock.  It provides high temperature performance and superior strength compared to fibreglass. Basalt offers a middle ground between glass and carbon, and can be a cheaper alternative when carbon fibre would be considered 'over the top'.  Basalt fibre is naturally UV resistant, and can maintain its physical integrity in immense heat and stressful situations. Click here to put some Nylextra Basalt Fibreglass on your next board.    

Can be used with all resins.     


Nylon 66

Although Nylon thread looks delicate, it is in fact as strong as steel. It has only one-seventh the weight of a steel wire of the same diameter and hence its tensile strength per unit weight is superior to that of steel. Because of its great strength, it is used in making hosiery, textiles, ropes, upholstery, tooth brushes, just about everything that we use in our daily life? Why not a surfboard? Well now its starting to creep into surfboard construction.

Other reinforcements

Cerex

Cerex spun-bound nylon is being used as an alternative to rice paper for logos and digital prints underneath the top skin. Also can be used as a cover or a veil over the core of the surfboard, an alternative to putting a scrim on an EPS blank to seal the blank. It comes in different densities and weights

Recommended to be used as an inner skin with Epoxy resins under vacuum bag pressure

 

Hex Deck reinforcements

Hex Deck mesh is being used as an alternative to carbon deck patches. This material creates a significant structural addition under foot. It does what it is intended to do…hold the surfboard together under heavy use. It is much more flexible than carbon, allowing the boards natural torsional tip to tail flex patterns to remain, hence not affecting the surfboards performance.

Can be used with all resins. It is advisable to use this as a multi lamination with other materials as it is difficult to sand.

 

Nylextra Mesh

Newest in fibres to use in conjunction with surfboard laminations. It’s a ultra fine woven fabric that is extremely light. It toughens the skin of a surfboard for impact protection,  without bulking up the lamination. The 0.25oz fabric has similar properties to a layer of 4oz E-glass.  Harder to sand than fiberglass as it does have a slight tendency to fuzz a little bit like Innegra (but not as much).  Recommended to be used with a light fiberglass outer shell to get the ultimate performance of this material. 

*Can be used with all resins.

 

Also check out Nylextra Hybrid as an alternative to E Glass for superior strength and flex for your next board.

 

What resin should I use for my blank?

Buy a skin for your next surfboard

What is the metric conversion of fabric weight? 

 

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