The Coalsurfco Story: Res’ Journey in Pumpfoiling-Board Shaping & Design

Welcome to our latest feature on the blog! Today, we have the pleasure of interviewing Res, the founder and creative force behind Coalsurfco Pumpfoilingboards. In this conversation, we delve into Res’ world, learning how he cultivated his passion for board design, and uncovering the secrets behind his unique and innovative creations.

Res, could you share with us when and how you started making Coalsurfco pumpfoiling-boards?

Hello everyone! Thanks, Patrick, for considering me as an interview partner!
As a surfing enthusiast, I wanted to understand what distinguishes a good surfboard from a bad one. Which materials, geometry, and mass contribute to a successful design? So I purchased a self-assembly kit in Biarritz back in 2012. However, it caused the entire hotel to have an unpleasant smell of polyester while we were surfing. Thus, I returned to Zurich with my car windows open! After making numerous surfboards and finding less time for my favourite hobby, I finally constructed my inaugural pumpboard in 2019. As I had only previously encountered them on the internet, I designed it with a trackbox distance of 15cm. 🙂

What stands behind the name Coalsurfco?

After my bad experience with polyester, I discovered it is unhealthy, smelly and toxic. It also performs worse than epoxy, which is why I turned to bio-epoxy made from 10-40% recycled and renewable materials. This move made me an early member of the Sustainable Surf Eco Board Project Program. Even though coal goes against sustainability, I found its name ironic. My boards have a carbon deck that bears similarities to a lump of coal.

What inspired you to venture into the world of pumpfoiling-boards?

As I know the amount of time and money needed to craft such a board and because I desire to make it accessible to as many people as possible at a reasonable price during this early stage of the sport, I propose that a pumpfoilingboards should be priced within CHF 500 – 700 only! If created with superior materials and made in Switzerland, then it should cost no more than CHF 700 – 1’000. This inspires me to offer pumpfoilingboards that are affordable! Moreover, my other motivation is: I think life is very diverse and nature is unique. In addition, most pumpfoilers often have very special characters. Why should everyone pump around the dock with the same boring board?

You manage to balance board making with your work and family life. How do you find the time and energy for this passion alongside your other commitments?

I work for the Zurich fire brigade in shifts. I work for 24 hours and then have 48 hours of free time. Since my son goes to school every day, I have plenty of time for my hobbies. Some days I have to catch up on sleep due to the demands of the shift, but shaping boards is a fantastic way to relax and unwind.

Over the past three years, what have been some of your key learnings and developments in the process of creating these boards?

Making a board is basically very simple! However, to optimise it and turn it into a profitable hobby, you need a lot of experience in working with epoxy, different materials, templates and special tools.

Could you share a particular challenge you faced and how you overcame it?

Cutlap is a method of creating two laminate layers by cleanly separating them with a cutter, razor blade or similar tool. It is crucial to determine the correct timing during the epoxy curing process in order to do this. This must be done individually, and there should be sufficient time to ensure the process runs smoothly in the workshop. Hence, it is advisable to have a shaperoom or workshop located nearby from where you live.

Would you mind telling us the secret sauce of your boards?

The deck: i.e. a slight drop at the front foot
Wooden double stringer, where the boxes are firmly glued!
Quality epoxy, carbon, foam
Unique, if desired!

How important is customer feedback in your shaping process, and how do you engage with the foiling community to gather insights?

Basically, I do almost everything the customer wants! I’ve already pumped a lot of different boards and can therefore give good advice! But a board is also something that you may have to try out, because tastes, physique etc. can be different!

Your designs are always unique and creative. Where do you usually draw your inspiration from for these designs?

I enjoy creating designs with an ironic touch. Please note: I don’t take myself or my designs too seriously!
When I discover neat fabric dyeing techniques on Instagram, I try them out. I’ve invested a lot of time in learning the methods of tie-dye, resin pouring, and shibori marbling. For me, manufacturing surfboards combines various crafts. If I’m lucky, I can even use fiberglass to execute them! However, I consider myself an apprentice as I still have much to learn.

Can you walk us through your design process? How do you go from an idea to a finished product?

I no longer make any major changes to the design, as the current one has proven itself over the years. However, it is still a goal to lower the price for young riders. However, this requires different constructions or finishes, which I have to develop and test first.

When I started making boards, I knew from the beginning that I wanted each board to be different from the next. I was amazed that even the smallest design elements can have a big impact on the lamination process, weight and price.

Of all the boards you’ve designed, do you have a personal favorite? What makes it special to you?

Hmm, honestly, the pumpers among you might not like to hear this but it’s an asymmetric shortboard and not a pumpboard! Slim, smooth curves… “Epoxy Resin gradient design”! Bio-epoxy and 100 recycled EPS!

Do you have any upcoming projects or designs that you are particularly excited about?

As mentioned: cheaper beginner boards are a project!
Japanese art has taken a liking to me, some boards will find their way onto the water!

I have also found a swiss EPS manufacturer who will supply me with core material which is made from 100 percent pv-electricity and will be almost twice as pressure-resistant with only about 20 percent more weight! that makes 50-100 grams per board.

Finally, what advice would you give to someone who wants to start creating their own foiling boards?

Have the courage to try it yourself, for example as a winter project! With minimal manual skills and youtube you can do it :)!

You can find everything you need on swiss-composite. On viral-surf or seabase^ you can find all materials even more specific to the surf industry!


Res, thank you so much for taking the time to share your experiences and insights with us. Your passion and commitment to pumpfoiling-board design are truly inspiring, and your journey offers valuable lessons and motivation for all aspiring creators in our community. We eagerly look forward to seeing more of your innovative designs and wish you continued success with Coalsurfco.

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