How to Refinish an Old Surfboard

by Natalie Chardonnet
Refinish your surfboard so it looks like new.

Refinish your surfboard so it looks like new.

Refinishing a surfboard is a manageable project that will help prevent you from having to purchase a new surfboard. Surfboards are expensive and require upkeep in order to ensure that they stay usable; however, for a fraction of the cost and some hard work, you can refinish your old surfboard and continue to put it to good use. Collect the things you'll need and get started on refinishing your old surfboard.

Clean the surfboard thoroughly in order to remove salt, dust, debris and dirt. Wipe down the surfboard with a damp rag and scrub it to ensure that you remove everything. Use hot water and soap if necessary.

Lay out old newspapers in a sunny location to protect your work surface. Place the surfboard on top of the newspapers and let the board sit in the sun for 30 minutes. This will soften the wax and help the wax removal process go smoothly. Use a plastic straightedge, such as an old credit card, to gently scrape the melted wax off the board. Throw the wax scrapings away.

Apply surf wax remover with a rag to remove the rest of the wax from the surfboard. Once the wax is gone, wipe the board down with acetone to clean it. Continue to work outside in a well-ventilated area since the wax remover is strong.

Rub sandpaper on the surface of the board, which will help the paint adhere to the surfboard. Work gently so you don't end up damaging the board. Apply acrylic spray paint to the board to add color and help the paint job. Allow the paint to dry completely over night.

Spray the board with clear coat acrylic spray. Let it dry completely between coats. Adding two to three thin coats is sufficient and will help protect the surfboard and the paint.

Apply wax to the surfboard. Rub a thin layer of base coat over the surfboard. Follow by adding a thin, even layer of wax to the surfboard. Work lengthwise to ensure that the coverage is complete.

Items you will need

  • Rag
  • Hot water
  • Soap
  • Newspapers
  • Old credit card
  • Surfboard wax remover
  • Acetone
  • 300-grit sandpaper
  • Acrylic spray paint
  • Acrylic clear coating, such as Krylon
  • Surfboard wax


  • Apply wax in a cool, dry location, since working in the sun will cause the wax to melt.


  • You may want to wear a protective mask while working with wax remover and spray paint.

About the Author

Natalie Chardonnet began writing in 2006, specializing in art, history, museums and travel. In 2010, she presented a paper on those subjects at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research. Chardonnet has a Bachelor of Arts in art history and a minor in Italian studies from Truman State University, in addition to a certificate in French from Ifalpes University in Chambery, France.

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images