How to Make a Stand-Up Paddle Board

by Don Kress
Producing your own stand-up paddle board is a challenging exercise.

Producing your own stand-up paddle board is a challenging exercise.

Stand up paddle surfing utilizes a board that is structurally similar to normal surf boards, except being slightly wider. For the simplicity of their materials, however, stand-up paddle boards can cost as much as $2,000. Made with expanded polystyrene and fiberglass, making one of your own is far from easy, but at the same time, far less expensive than loading up your credit card for one.

Forming the board

  1. Cut a piece of expanded polystyrene foam with a jigsaw in the rough shape of a paddle board. Paddle boards are slightly wider than traditional surf boards at around 26 inches, but they are equally as long, ranging from 10 to 12 feet in length. In addition, the board should come to a rounded point at the tip.

  2. Sand the edges of the expanded polystyrene to create a rounded contour. At the back of the stand-up paddle board, there should be a slight taper to a flat or moderately rounded point. At the front of the board, the taper should be more pronounced, finishing in a more aggressive point, but still rounded at the tip.

  3. Flip the stand-up paddle board over so that its top is facing downward. Sand the base of the paddle board to produce a slightly curved bottom across the entire surface, and then taper the board upward at both the front and the back.

  4. Cut a fin for the back of the stand-up paddle board using the leftovers from what you trimmed off with the jigsaw. The fin should be shaped like a shark's fin, approximately 2-inches thick and flat on one side. On a 10 to 12-foot board, make the fin at least six inches in height.

  5. Glue the fin onto the bottom back side of the board so that it is aligned lengthwise with the stand-up paddle board.

Glassing the board

  1. Mix the fiberglass resin with its hardener, and then apply a coat of the resin first to the bottom of the stand-up paddle board. Make sure to apply resin to the fin, as well.

  2. Press fiberglass sheets into the fiberglass resin, pressing them together with the roller. You will see the resin squeeze out of the edges of the fiberglass sheets. When this happens, brush resin over the fiberglass sheet and apply another fiberglass sheet over the top of the first sheet, overlapping the edges by two to three inches. Continue applying the fiberglass sheets and the fiberglass resin until there are at least five layers of fiberglass applied to the bottom of the stand-up paddle board. When you reach the edges of the paddle board, simply wrap them over the sides and onto the top of the board.

  3. Turn the stand-up paddle board over, being careful not to damage the fin. Apply fiberglass resin and fiberglass sheets to the top and the sides of the board until it is at least five layers thick. Allow the resin to harden completely. This should take approximately three hours.

  4. Sand the surface of the paddle board with 400-grit sandpaper on an electric sander until you have achieved a uniformly smooth finish. It is critically important, however, that you not break through the fiberglass resin to the expanded polystyrene below.

  5. Paint the stand-up paddle board in your choice of color, but use single-stage marine boat paint for the best finish. After the paint is allowed to dry for approximately 24 hours, wet sand the surface with 1,500-grit sandpaper, and then buff the finish to a shine with polishing compound on a clean rag. Apply traction tape to the top after it has been buffed so that you can stand on the board without slipping.

Items you will need

  • Fiberglass sheets
  • Fiberglass resin
  • 4-inch thick expanded polystyrene foam
  • Jig saw
  • Pencil
  • Sandpaper
  • Glue
  • Fiberglass roller
  • 400-grit sandpaper
  • Electric sander
  • Marine paint
  • 1,500-grit wet/dry sandpaper
  • Polishing compound
  • Traction tape


  • "The Basics of Surfboard Design: Know Surfing and Surf Better by Understanding the Surfboard Shape; Key to Surfboard Shaping and Construction"; Bob Smith; 2008
  • "Plane Shaping: How To Make A Surfboard (Volume 1)"; Robin Morris; 2005
  • "How to Build Surfboards and Related Watersport Equipment"; Stephen Shaw; 1983

About the Author

Don Kress began writing professionally in 2006, specializing in automotive technology for various websites. An Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified technician since 2003, he has worked as a painter and currently owns his own automotive service business in Georgia. Kress attended the University of Akron, Ohio, earning an associate degree in business management in 2000.

Photo Credits

  • Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images