Let's do an experiment to find out how balsa soaks water compared to foam.

First we take a piece of surfboard balsa and a piece of foam. The foam is from an old scrap piece of Clark Foam that is completely cured. The balsa is a scrap piece from the recently completed Waikiki Pintail.

Both pieces are placed in a bucket of fresh tap water and left to soak overnight.

After 15 hours of soaking both pieces are removed...

...and cut in two.

The foam is moist completely through. The balsa is bone dry in the center. The skin of the balsa is wet but the moisture doesn't penetrate very far except on the end grain where it has penetrated about an inch. This is after 15 hours of soaking.

After 7 hours in the shade (not the sun) all four pieces, including the balsa, are bone dry. There is no discoloration at this point.

If you get a ding in a balsa or a foam board while surfing, open the area up and let it dry completely before repairing. Water damage comes from moisture getting trapped inside the core with no way to dry out. If it gets dried out immediately the damage will be minimal if at all.


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