PU VS EPS
You've probably read this title and are thinking what makes this blog any different than all the others that everyone has done? The truth is, it's not a lot different, the question is very complicated but also very simple. Everyone has the same points (I know I've read the majority of them).
What makes this question so complex is that it is opinionated, and anything that involves opinions often has conflict. It's just like asking whether you'd prefer a Lamborghini or a Ferrari. Both have positives and negatives but in all honestly, we'd be happy with either.
Unfortunately, there is no right or wrong answer to which is better or worse due to surfing being so personal and so many variables in the ocean. Unfortunately, if you were looking for enlightenment on the situation, it would be impossible for me to do so. The most common answer to PU vs EPOXY is that it is your choice. However, I can give you my opinion and reasons for that. Maybe you'll agree with me, maybe you won't but at least it's a different opinion and it might help you come to a conclusion.
What everyone knows about EPS and Epoxy
Expanded polystyrene (EPS) and epoxy resin are better for the environment.
Epoxy resin takes longer to cure. (A longer time to wait for your board)
The boards are lighter and more strong.
What everyone knows about PU and PU resin
Polyurethane (PU) is easier to work with.
A lot more accessible due to its popularity.
Roughly £100 cheaper.
Now, in my opinion, I personally think EPS is the choice to go for. Here's why.
Firstly EPS is a lot stronger whilst being a lot lighter. A lot of people say the lightness is almost a negative because in wind it gets effected. However I've surfed in gale force winds with both PU and EPS on the same days and found if the wind is effecting your board's performance, a few more kilograms doesn't make it much easier. However, due to its lightness, I did find it easier to throw the board around. Again only a small difference but noticeably enough. In conclusion to this point, the negative factors of EPS are very small and almost unnoticeable however the positive impacts are more dominant making you notice the good side.
I am a big believer in development and I personally feel that EPS is the product that surfing needs to be taking to another level. EPS has now made it onto the big wave scene and the world series too. More commonly seen in small mushy waves but there are more and more EPS boards coming through regardless of conditions.
In terms of the UK, we are used to small mushy waves that carry little to no power at all so to have a board that can harvest the power and still be able to do manoeuvres, for me it is vital to have EPS in your quiver.
EPS has been around for almost as long as PU however there has been nowhere near the amount of development and testing on EPS due to the factor PU was the sole choice until the last ten years. This is now becoming a new thing and more people are using EPS which therefore means more development. When I first bought an EPS surfboard I was told, it would be too light for windy conditions, not good for the winter and PU is better. I've had many EPS boards and also many PU boards. The one thing I've noticed majorly is that my eps boards seem to be getting better each time whereas PU although a solid choice I feel the time with exploration and development with the material is over whereas we are still on a learning curve with EPS meaning it's got a lot further to go.
Lastly, let's talk about the environment. EPS boards are a lot better for the environment. From waste material to the board itself it can all be recycled. There is recyclable epoxy resin however many don't use it, so let's just stick to the surfboard blank. EPS is used so frequently in day to day life that most of us don't even realize how much it is there. The beauty of EPS is that the particles can be broken down and then compacted back together without losing it's original strength, causing it to be reusable. There are different densities of EPS (expanded polystyrene) which are used for different things like your child seat, a cycling helmet, and packaging for parcels. This means if you were to snap your board, it can be used for more purpose than a trophy that you claimed to snap in the gnarliest of conditions.
In conclusion, there will be a constant debate on people for EPS or for PU so just always try and enjoy what you have and enjoy the reason why we all surf. PU is a choice that has been proven to be correct, you can't argue with the facts, however, EPS is the new kid on the block (even though it's been around for just as long). I personally will have a whole quiver of EPS from my small wave board to my step up they will all be EPS but glassed slightly differently. No one knows what the future may bring so grab a board and have some fun whilst you can.
Also, why not end on a link to our second blog about wave pools. In my opinion (can't predict the future) I think EPS will have a very dominant place in wave machines due to the fact they're not that powerful, it's in freshwater and anyone who's surfed one will know speed is key.