In the world of waves, salt and spray,
There’s a tale to tell, so listen and stay
When surfboards suffer, in dismay,
“Got a ding? Give the Sea Cat a ring,” they say.
Meet our hero, swift and keen,
With magic hands, the best you’ve seen.
She mends the boards, makes them glean,
In our waters, she’s the queen.
With resin and care, her craft so fine,
After her touch, the surfboards shine.
Each ding and crack, she’ll realign,
Restoring glory, line by line.
So here’s the story, bold and bright,
Of the Sea Cat’s skill from morning to night.
Her fixes are a delightful sight,
She heals boards, making them right.
We can’t help but get creative with such a cool name. Sea Cat – a cross of two worlds. The cats we’ve come across hated the sea, but Cat’s as comfy on the water as she is in the shed, covered head to toe in protective gear. Don’t worry, this cat doesn’t bite… all she needs is some epoxy.
Nose jobs, dings, cracks, fin boxes… you got it! The only thing she won’t fix is my crooked Schnauze. (How’s our German, Cat?)
We caught up with Cat in Morocco, where she and Tim surfed in Tamraght and nose-dived in on dings.
Dings make Cat feel “Excited, quite literally. When I saw Julian Paco’s board after Zach Holland crashed into him, I was like: I NEED to do that repair. A bit like Gollum in the Lord of the Rings: “My precious”.
“Basically the more fucked up a board is, the more excited I will feel.”
“The repairs allow me to channel my patience, creativity and love for power tools. I used to sew a lot and thought of getting into woodwork but nothing felt as right as repairing surfboards. After all, it combines several of my passions.”
“Nothing feels better than you guys coming up to me, and showing me your broken boards.
And even more if you text me after your repairs, that your babies are still doing well and such.”
“It’s very rewarding and I am grateful for the community.”
We’d never met anyone excited about broken boards. It’s sick, in the best possible way!
Cat got into it as river surfing is quite literally a destruction derby of surfboards, as you can imagine.
“As it was very common for me to break my board, I decided I needed to learn how to fix it. I started off easy with Solarez, as I didn’t know much about repairs then. I basically just read what it said on the packaging and asked the guy at the board shop how to do it for easy dings.” It’s been a learning curve since, and it looks like there’s no stopping the SeaCat.
First Repair: A flame and a wedding
Cat’s first major repair job was a memorable adventure. Laughing, she recalls, “It was a catastrophe.” In July 2021, she attempted to restore a board for her sister’s wedding. “I almost set my place on fire,” she admits, explaining her mishap with the resin mix. Though she didn’t complete this particular repair, it marked an essential step in her learning journey. She replaced the innovative wedding guest book with a new board, hanging in her sister’s house, signed of course. “Yikes, that was tough” she giggled.
From a flame to a brand
Almost like a phoenix, or some kind of hybrid cat-like bird from the depths of Greek mythology, that particular board ignited a passion (no pun intended). Cat’s built her own board, which curiously just hangs in her livingroom.
“I know, it’s a shame, but I put so many hours of hardwork and love into it, that I couldn’t bear seeing another ding in it.” Cat and Tim attended a workshop in Hamburg, shaping their own boards. Tim uses his, but Cat’s is a display piece, which, curiously, already has a ding in it despite only being used once – that’s airline travel for you! Let’s tempt Cat to bring that 6’6 egg down to the beach this summer!
Addicted to wipeouts?
“As long as they aren’t my own or anybody gets hurt, I guess yes! But I haven’t fixed a snapped board yet. It intrigues me a lot though.
The big no-no’s
“DUCT TAPE!”, she yelled, practically punching… “don’t use it. It’s not waterproof and will partially seal the water under the tape making the ding bigger and worse because everything around it gets soft. So the repair will be bigger and more costly.
Generally, don’t store your broken board in your car in Malta in the summer. It’s too hot and will lead to delamination.”
Do wipeouts excite you?
“As long as they aren’t my own or anybody gets hurt, I guess yes! But I haven’t fixed a snapped board yet. It intrigues me a lot though.”
“Have you ever had to tell someone “It’s a write-off”?
Not yet. I think I would have a hard time telling somebody that. I would rather give it my all and spend hours on it to bring it back to life or water.”
Favourite step in the process?
“I really love the part where I strip down the dings and clean them up. I also love the sanding and glassing part.
I think the only part I really don’t like is cleaning my gear and using acetone. It stinks and melts my protective gloves.”
A tool you can’t live without – big or small
“My sander and my mixing scale.
And soon I will have a Dremel, which I am really excited about.”
A shaper you admire:
“Catherine Girard. We share the same first name and she’s also French-speaking. There are many cool male shapers but for me it is inspiring to see other women shaping boards.
And then there is “The Lord of the Dings”. He is my absolute favourite shaper/repairer/god. I aspire to reach his level of quality one day.” – What a name too!
Do you feel awesome in your protective gear?
“Yeah, I do. It’s this cool white painter’s suit that my dad gave me. It has a lot of pockets, which is very convenient.”
The Cat’s next steps
With about 20-25 board repairs under her belt, Cat’s next step is to find a larger workspace. She laughs as she quotes Tim, “I want my living room back.” She aims to keep improving her skills and learn new techniques, like replacing fin cases. Rumour has it she’s already got her new garage and is itching to return to the rock, and that’s not due to some fibre-induced rash!
Well, Cat, after our Reef Rampage we’ll need you back on the island, so hurry back, please… your inbox is flooding! Meow!