How To Fix Base Gouges
The Poor Man’s P-Tex Way
There’s no arguing that the best way to keep your board in pristine condition is to take it to a shop with a good tuning department. They can cover up your core shot with a base weld, fill in gouges with a proper P-tex gun, and then smooth it all out on a base grinder. But if you’re in a hurry, on the go, or pressed for cash, this quick fix will alleviate the drag.
You only need three things for this one: a lighter, a metal scraper, and stick of P-tex (black is best for the drip method, unless you prefer the fermented urine color that results from using the clear kind). First, make sure to scrape out any debris and cut off strings or lips of base material that protrude from the base before filling them in. Sometimes cutting them out with a box cutter or X-Acto blade is the best option, just make sure not to cut through the base and into the core. If you do have a core shot (a gash that runs through the base material and exposes the core), it’s best to have it fixed at the shop with a base welder because it infuses epoxy and P-tex to ensure a lasting patch.
With a lighter, spark the end of the P-tex stick until it starts dripping like wax and burning on its own (this stuff’s like burning trash, so make sure you have proper ventilation; and it sears skin, so don’t drip on yourself). Begin to drip the P-tex into the gouges one drop at a time until they cool. You may have to go over them again and again to fill in deeper cuts, but make sure the previous coat has cooled before doing so or you’ll just make a puddle. Now wait about a half hour for the repaired area to cool and set up.
Grab your metal scraper and cautiously shave off the P-tex drips just like you were scraping a freshly waxed board. Be carful of the corners on the scraper to ensure you don’t further slice your base. Scrape ’til it’s flush with the rest of your base, and repeat the process if necessary.
Tip: A lot of your speed actually comes from your edges, so keeping them free of burrs and nicely polished is another way to ensure a smooth ride. Chances are if you have a scratched-up base, your edges are dinged up, too. Pick up a ceramic or hard stone and a gummy stone when you’re at the shop and run both (hard first, gummy second) flush along your base and side edge to clean up your edges. Oh, and wear dorky gloves, too.
Illustrations By Shawn O’Keefe