The Age Old Question - PU vs EPS

Posted by Monique Mai on 5th Jan 2021

The Age Old Question - PU vs EPS

It's the question every beginner asks - 'should I buy the PU or EPS?'. The answer really comes down the personal preference! It's a good thing Sideways always stocks both varieties.

We checked in with our hardware experts for their take on it.

What is PU?

PU or 'polyurethane' is the traditional construction found most widely in the surfboard manufacturing industry. It has been around for a long time, and for good reason. PU boards are laminated in fibreglass and polyester resin. PU blanks are made with close-cell foam.

The upsides

PU is durable and has the typical flex qualities that surfers like in a board, as well as being a reasonably light-weight construction. A PU board’s flex when riding feels natural, smooth and predictable.

What is EPS?

EPS or Expanded Polystyrene is a newer construction to the industry. EPS boards are laminated in fiberglass and epoxy resin. EPS blanks are made with open cell foam.

The upsides

EPS is durable extra light weight when compared to typical PU boards. The foam used can be up to 20% more buoyant than PU, because there is more air in the foam. That makes them typically good for paddling, which is excellent for those wanting to catch waves easier. This means you can ride a smaller board, but still have the desired buoyancy. They tend to flex a little less and sit higher in the water so they feel a little different to surf than PU. Beginners usually gravitate towards EPS because this construction is perfect for progressive surfind. Some people through experimentation like the feel of one or the other better.