77 Surfboard Designs and Art Ideas

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Painting your own surfboard is kind of like shaping your own surfboard, it feels good to put bit of yourself into your stick. Lots of people don’t really care how their boards looks like, lots of people just order a spray paint when they order a new board, but lots of people also like to be creative and if you are among them then this is an article for you. Whenever I decide to paint my own board I go online and start searching for ideas. These days it seems that every pro surfer paints his own boards but even with loads of surfboard art out there pictures of cool designs on the web are pretty rare and hard to find. This is why I’ve started this collection of cool looking surfboard spray jobs, designs and art ideas. But first a little bit about the process itself.

How To Paint Your Own Surfboard

There are a few different ways to get your artwork on to the surfboard. Some must be done during the surfboard making process, some can be used on an already made board.

Print Your Design On Laminate Paper

You can buy special paper called laminate paper (rice paper), tape it on normal office paper and use an ink jet printer to print your logo or design onto it. This paper is really thin and and fibrous and when it gets soaked by the resin it virtually disappears – only the logo stays visible. As the name suggests you have to put it on the blank during surfboard lamination so this technique only works during the surfboard making process. It is not suitable for bigger designs and it works best if your design has a white background. Also – be careful with the inks, use water based inks that won’t smear when the resin is applied to them and use inks that can stand the sun and UV rays. Some inks tend to fade with time.

Spray Painting

This is the most common way to paint a surfboard. For this you will need some masking tape, paper and spray paint.

Colors

You usually use acrylic colors for painting surfboards. These colors can be bought in a spray can (more expensive) or in plastic bottles (really cheap). In second case you will also need a spray gun and an air compressor…if you can borrow it somewhere or if you by and chance own it then this is the better option, if not then get a spray can.

How To

spray-gun

Spray gun

1. Spray painting can be done on a surfboard blank before lamination or on a finished surfboard. If you paint on a finished surfboard you have to protect your design with some sort of acrylic sealant, transparent spray, so it won’t come off. If you paint on an old surfboard make sure you clean it, remove all the wax and even sand it a bit with 180-220 grit sandpaper.

2. Masking tape and paper are used to cover the parts of the surfboard that you do not want to paint. Depending on how creative you are (and by using a razor for cutting the tape) you can make some amazing designs. Hint 1: Use masking tape of different widths. Hint 2: Masking tape is not the only thing that works, you can use stencils or even go crazy with tree branches, grass, dish soap (yes!)…whatever.

3. Shake the can, shake it real good :) then spray from at least 6” distance, spray evenly, keep your hand moving all the time. Do not stay over one area or you will get a puddle of color. Not good. Hint 1: Use good ventilated area. Hint 2: No bugs, dust, and kids fingerprints!

4. Dry time, at least 5 minutes.

5. If you painted over the lamination apply a clear coat to seal the design (Krylon and 3M for instance make acrylic sprays). Thats it.

Now…basic spray painting is meant for more color based designs. But if you are skilled (think graffiti) or even better – it you have a spray gun AND different sized and shaped tips for it – you can spray paint in much more detail. If not…then use this next technique.

Acrylic Paint Markers

Acrylic markers

Acrylic markers

Same acrylic paint but in different casing. Get a few acrylic paint markers and start drawing. This is how most of the artwork on surfboards is done. As far as I know the most popular brand for surfboard drawing are Posca Pens.

Of course you can mix spray painting and markers.

Hint: Markers come in different sizes

 

Colored Resin Painting

This one is a bit tricky but the finished result can be very interesting. While laminating the surfboard you put pigment into the resin. You can change the color of the whole board or make small batches of differently colored resins and use a brush to paint with them. Why is this tricky? Because you only have like 15 minutes before the resin hardens so you have to work fast and know what you are doing.

There are probably other ways to paint your surfboard but these are the main ones…

 

More…

Here you can find two more guides/instructions that will tell you how to spray paint a surfboard
TW Surf guide &  Fieldey Guide.

 

Where To Get Paints And Supplies?

You can get most of the stuff you need for surfboard painting on Amazon:

  • Posca markers – BEST acrylic pain markers for drawing on surfboards!
  • Spray Guns – I wouldn’t buy a spray gun for only one or two surfboards but if you are a bit more serious, maybe want to make a hobby out of it , why not:).
  • Krylon Acrylic Top Coat – this can be used for protection of all ‘finished board’ designs. If you created your design on a already finished surfboard you have to protect it since acrylic paint can be rubbed off when wet. So spray your design nicely and evenly (like using an airbrush) with acrylic top coat.
  • Masking tape – this tape feels like paper when you touch it. It’s easier to shape and cut and not so aggressive on the taped surface. But still – don’t leave it on your surfboard for too long. When the paint is dry remove the tape or you will create yourself unnecessary work when you’ll have to clean it off.
  • Airbrush acrylic paints – these are the acrylic paints intended for airbrush painting, for spray gun.
  • even dishwashing detergent :)) – if you like that design you can even get some detergent.

 

Design & Art Ideas

These belong to Parko

 

dont-poke-the-bear-design

Dont poke the bear. This is my own design!:)

 

Monsters

Monsters with long pointy teeth…or you can paint smiley faces insted. Round, colorful, easy to make.

 

Skulls

Are these hippie skulls?

 

Eagle

Stylised eagle…not my favorite but interesting.

 

Random surf art

Random surf art, from Superman to just some colors.

You can paint on fins

Surfboards are not the only piece of surf equipment you can draw on. Here are cool painted surfboard fins. Or are these FCS originals?

 

Cookie monster is an addict

Cookie monster is an addict :)

Simple surfboard design

Just some colors but the final design looks really nice…

 

Another collection

These are really dark and punk, maybe not the best thing for a hot tropical getaway…

Sick colors

Each of these designs is cool…but all these boards put together…sick:)!

Another collection

 

Hip

Weird stuff works too…

 

Is this a shark?

Even a shark is sad if someone tries to cut off his fins…

 

Skull

Another skull, this one has crazy eyes :)

 

Black and white and crowded

 

Another collection

Love the hat, the squares…nice collection of surfboard art.

 

Weird sentences

If you can think of something stupid to say that makes no sense at all…that works too. PS: this is in fact a quote from the Simpsons, check it out..lol.

 

Spray painting freestyle

Some spray painting freestyle…I think this one uses the shampoo technique.

 

This one is all over the web

These pink critters are all over the web if you search for surfboard design ideas so I wasn’t sure if I should post them or not..but here we go.

 

Another collection

I pick washed out birds, how bout you?

 

Weird is popular these days

Weird is popular these days

 

Another unusual one…

 

Like the style, don’t like the colors…

 

Another collection…

…that belongs to this guy – Sprayboy.

Can these two words make u famous so you can earn money from writing on surfboards?

 

More industrial design approach

More straight lines, not my thing…nice colors.

 

Nice...Roxy board

Everybody loved this one…

 

Another collection

If I had 7 boards I would make the same photo :)

 

Another B&W

Another B&W design

 

If your surfboard is not a fish put a fish on it.

 

Not a surfboard design, but could be used as such

Not a surfboard design, but could be used as such

Not a surfboard design, but could be used as such

Not on surfboard but could be used

Not a surfboard design, but could be used as such

Simple but nice

Instructions for life

This one also makes sense…

 

Here do all the lovers meet with one another design

This “Sleeping with the fishes” fish surfboard design is crazy cool. To bad you can only ride one surfboard at a time.

This is the latest collection from Pukas Surfboards (if you don’t know Pukas, Gabriel Medina rides for them…). They regularly Instagram their paintjobs, looks like circles are in these days.

 

dead-kooks-surfboard

Dead Kooks are Australia made surfboard, I like this one, but you can check their site for more nice designs.

Just someones extensive quiver full of nice paint jobs. It is true though that a nice lineup always looks better that a single surfboard.

Fishes….just make sure you don’t get caught and eaten.

Different shades of the same color usually make a really eye pleasing desing. Here is a nice use of green.

Half painted boards look way better than if the whole deck in covered.

Looks like Picasso or something. Nice.

peacock-desing-in-progress

Artist at work. Peacock design and acrylic markers.

red-face-design

I like the colors and the style of this design…

sharks

If you don’t mind swimming with sharks all the time this is the design for you.

sick-jellyfish-design

This jellyfish is sooo sick. Love the colors.

sick-joker-surfboard

A Joker that is just enough punk. Love it!

stoned-giraffe-surf

A stoned giraffe design…why not:)? Or maybe giraffe is just hypnotizing you:”Catch another one…catch another one…”

surfboard-design-lineup

A lineup of boards that remind me of ancient native patterns. Again the whole quiver probably looks better that a single board but a nice design.

text-writing-surf-design

Someone had A LOT to say. It’s not just a clever or wtf punchline that makes a design, text itself can be a design.

the-sailor-needs-an-anchor-surfboard-design

The Sailor Surfboards come from Bordeaux, France. And where is a sailor there is an anchor.

totem-or-something

Looking into the eye of the wave.

watch-your-step-design

Watch your step. Or this foot forward. Or this is the side of the board where you put your feet.

wouldnt-mind-owning-that-surf-shack-design

I wouldn’t mind owning a surf shack like that. I personally don’t like designs that cover the whole surfboard because they make it look more like a painting and less like a surfboard, but some of them – including this one – are pretty sick.

b&w-anchor-design

B&W anchor. Anchors are so hip these days…

fist-surf-design

I would like to high 5 you. With a fist. In the face. :)

more-jellyfish

Another jellyfish design.

nelson-mandela-trubite-surfboard-design-jordy-smith

This one was made as a tribute to Nelson Mandela 95th birthday on July 18th 2013. Jordy said:”I created the surfboard with a design of Mandela’s face. I wrote above it a quote from him: ‘It always seems impossible until it’s done’.”

octopuss-eating-a-skull-surfboard-design

Octopus eating a skull. A dark design.

shiny-red-surfboard

I don’t like designs that look more like they are meant to be hung on the wall that put under your feet. All shiny ones give me that impression. But still..it is really red and shiny and interesting. And there is a dollar bill inside:)?

smile-you-are-surfing

This is not so much a good design as a…”Smile, you are surfing.” I really like the feeling of this photo.

smoke-surfboard-art

To designish for me (is that a word?) but I’ve included it in the collection to show what can be done. Yep, smoke can be done. Check.

thats-all-she-wrote-surfboard

“That’s all she wrote.” If I would get a penny every time I heard a surf contest commentator say these words I wouldn’t be rich but I could buy myself this surfboard together with the design.

wooden-surfboard-quiver

Yep. Wooden surfboards can be painted too.

Color Dipping

Color dip designs are IN. Here is a short sub-collection of color dipped surfboards. There is no use of making it huge since there are endless color possibilities but I have collected a few that I like that will explain the concept of color dipping.

These belong to Ace

These belong to Adrian “Ace” Buchan , nice colors

color-dip-and-lines

Subtle, ice-cream like colors are popular with color dips. I like this one because something extra is added…

color-dip-and-pencil

Again, 3 different colors and the lots of marker work.

color-dip-and-trashed

The dip doesn’t have to be straight nor plain.

color-dip-designs

Black is the new white. Well almost. Black almost never went together with surfboards since it’s not very practical color. The board gets to hot, the wax runs off etc… But it looks cool and recently you can see more and more dark colored boards.

color-dip-indian-quiver

More ice cream with a bit of native touch?

By now you probably get what is a color dip, this one was dipped 4 times, last time in blue or like RWJ yould say “just the tip”.

color-dip-red-white-black-surfboard

White/black/red color dip

 

That’s what I’ve collected so far. 77 different design and art ideas. I only counted them once so…. Hope this grows…if you have any good drawings, designs, spray jobs that you like… post them in the comments!

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