Why are most surf skis white?

3 years 1 day ago #27865 by LakeMan
I'm not sure there's a simple answer but maybe there is. My first guess would be that if lost at sea you'd be easier to find however in high-seas with whitecaps that may not be true. Maybe white is easier to manufacture. Maybe it just makes for a better looking boat. Am I missing something? Thanks

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3 years 23 hours ago #27866 by OSS
Replied by OSS on topic Why are most surf skis white?
Hi Lakeman,

there is a huge difference in heat absorption (in sun light) between white and darker colours, may make a difference of up to 50°C/122°F which can be quite harmful to the materials/resin but also the paddler.
There is also sometimes a huge difference in weight (colour pigments), some paints cause up to 2kg difference per ski.

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3 years 23 hours ago #27867 by LakeMan
I can understand heat being an scientific issue but when in the water I would think it wouldn't be critical due to the water cooling it down. Of course I could be wrong. Never texted it.
And isn't epoxy clear? And if it is, wouldn't white pigments have to be added too, which would make the weight the same as using a color?

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3 years 22 hours ago #27868 by Ranga
Replied by Ranga on topic Why are most surf skis white?
When we started making surf skis from polystyrene very very long ago there were not that many options available in the composite technology.
First the polystyrene did not like the heat and second even more serious the epoxy would melt, or would get soft when heated, this still applies today with uncured epoxy.
Yes we had the paint available to change the colour, that was the only thing that was up to speed at that point in time but no good when everything under it would melt.

Ever tried sitting in a non white seat after being in the sun?

Also being a ski repairer I love white skis, much easier to get a close match with gel-coat, but that is my problem.
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3 years 22 hours ago #27869 by LakeMan
Very interesting.

So why do some ski builders use the colors? Is it to offer a variety to the consumer or do they have another reason to offer the color versions? I would think it would hurts sales but maybe it helps. Nelo, Vajda, Stellar etc offer dark or bright colored skis.

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3 years 18 hours ago #27870 by sAsLEX
Nelo is Northern Hemisphere, maybe not used to the UV damage you get down south?

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3 years 17 hours ago #27871 by LakeMan
Not sure but I do know our toilet water swirls counter-clockwise.

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3 years 6 hours ago #27872 by rhainan
When Epic first came to market with their 18X Sea Kayak they offered it in several colors. I think It was hard to gauge exactly which color the market wanted. The red might sell out quickly and the yellow ones hard to move. So, they would bring in extra red ones on the next shipment but then everybody would want yellow. Being a small manufacturer, I think Greg Barton just decided to simplify things and go all white, all the time.

Stellar seems to have gone in the other direction and really emphasizes their multi color lineup. In fact, I rarely see a white Stellar anymore.

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3 years 49 minutes ago #27873 by Newbflat
White is by far the easest color to keep looking good. It doesn't show scratches and scuffs nearly as easily as any other color. They also repair/ color match easer. It also covers well so you don't need to used as much gelcoat and therefor a lighter ski. It definitely wins on points but not for safety or looking generic. I for one welcom Stellar's colors. But they do show scuffs quickly.... like 30 seconds after you buy one.

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3 years ago #27874 by sAsLEX
There is also the method of purchase and delivery to consider.

When I bought my K1 I chose the colour scheme and design in consultation with the manufacturer, he even let me fiddle a little with their logo to better match my wants. Low volume custom builds and proximity of the manufacturer to the market facilitate this, my kayak was built down the road essentially and I just went and picked it up.

Manufacturing in China or offshore with a long logistic chain to get the product to the market, and delays restricting the ability to react to changes in fashion would be another issue that would drive simple/single colour options.

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2 years 11 months ago #27875 by LakeMan
That all makes good sense. I've owned white cars and one black one. Black shows everything wrong including dirt. White is much more forgiving. I'm sure skis are no different.
White looks good. Probably the easiest to sell used and if it weighs less that's good too. I do think the new Stellars look good but then so do the Thinks with the big strips.

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2 years 11 months ago - 2 years 11 months ago #27877 by Uffilation
I think it's a mix of all answers given ... while cost efficiency/logistics would be the drivers imo to keep the manufactured ski range an all white fleet (for whatever reason started White skis: availability origin material, less heating up, UV (fading, degradation, etc.), visibility, maintenance); to take the other route is an option for others to be different.


and the question also puzzles others on the water:
www.google.de/?gws_rd=ssl#q=why+are+most+boats+white

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2 years 11 months ago #27878 by Spacehopper

sAsLEX wrote: Nelo is Northern Hemisphere, maybe not used to the UV damage you get down south?


I guess it's never sunny for antipodean K1s then... ;)

And I guess all those carbon road bikes should be white as well...

I think as has been known for a while - white is an awful colour if something goes wrong on the sea (a lot of sailing clothing used to white, but you'll struggle to find proper offshore gear that colour these days). I think Rob's article on surfski safety from some years back came to the same conclusion.

Interesting that vinyl wrapping or car paint don't get a look in - would think car paint would be lighter than gelcoat if the boat is from a well faired female mould.

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2 years 11 months ago - 2 years 11 months ago #27879 by Uffilation
@spacehopper: colors/vinyl scratches off compared to gel coat, if that scratches, color is deep within the coat.
However, look at all the paint jobs on skis from Kape, Vajda, Nelo

I agree that darker colors getting hotter (just keep the seat light colors then) is a different issue than UV degradation.

UV protection is a matter of just adding UV protection agents in to the colored resin/laquer ... you can do that with any color. ... which still can fade over many many many years though. White does not fade in that sense.

However while white pigments are kind of a UV protection to some degree, white resin/laquer/gel coat can also degrade from UV if not protected, but it does not get that hot, so thermal degradation/stress is less (over time).

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2 years 11 months ago #27880 by LakeMan
I would also think salt water would play a role in the breakdown of the skis color. It sure plays havoc on everything else it touches. I've always washed my boats after use and kept them indoors and therefore have never had fade or degradation issues. An occasional wax has kept the fiberglass looking good too.

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2 years 11 months ago #27917 by TaffyMick
You have to be kidding me...

The reason most surf skis are white is that the wife/girlfriend/partner cannot tell whether or not you have bought a new ski. I have had Fenns, Epics and Stellars of all different sizes and types. SWMBO has never picked up that I have a new ski... Because They Are All White! LOL!!!

Though when I had two Stellars in the garage (an SR and SEI), she did notice the second one! LOL!!!

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2 years 11 months ago #27919 by LakeMan
I have to admit that's the BEST answer ever.
I'm married to one of those high academic types so I agree, she'd never in a million years notice a change if it were the same color. She's brilliant but notices nothing.

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