Video clips and chats about surfboard types/specs coming very soon!!
So then, you have just started surfing and have probably been using a friend’s old board or hired one from a local shop. You are now ready to take the plunge and buy your first very own surfboard but with so much choice out there and so many different types of board available, what is the right one for you?
In this guide, we will simplify and explain everything you need to know. We understand that boards are not cheap and getting it right the first time is very important, so just sit back, relax, grab a cup of tea and browse our surfboard guide at your leisure.
WHAT BOARD SHOULD YOU START WITH?
The most important thing to remember when first starting to surf is that it is all about catching waves. The more waves you catch every session then the quicker you are likely to progress. Generally, the bigger the board, the easier it is to catch waves. Larger boards like Longboards and Minimals are more stable then the stereotypical shortboard due to their wider width and larger thickness. On boards such as Longboards and minimals, beginners can confidently learn to pop up (stand up) on a wave and learn to turn to face down the wave (this is known as the bottom turn). Once you have mastered standing up on a surfboard and are confident on surfing the actual face of the wave, then you can start to think about dropping down to an intermediate sized shortboard.
TYPES OF SURFBOARD
The standard surfboard (5ft to 7ft), with a pointed nose, the shortboard allows for maximum maneuverability. Regularly used by professionals in surfing contests.
Retro / Egg
Modern hybrid board inspired by the first (old school) shortboard creations. The boards are normally thicker, flatter and wider than a shortboard, typically with a rounded nose and tail. This gives extra floatation, awesome fun for smaller waves.
Created for small wave fun although generally not as fat (wide, thick) as the Retro / Egg surfboards. Fish surfboards still maintain the maneuverability. in the small waves. Note, any type of board can have a fish tail, but isn't referred to as a Fish unless it has the other features of a Fish.
Big wave (paddle in) board (7ft to 12ft). Thin, long, needle-like template with single or thruster fin set up. Basically a longer version of the shortboard, which makes it easier for a surfer to gain momentum required to paddle into the big waves.
Malibu / Longboard
Aka (Mal), is the long board with a rounded nose. Back in the days, Mals were the only option for surfers before the surfboard revolution. Despite the revolution, Mals are as popular as ever. Riding a mal is a different style of surfing which is responsible for famous surfing terms such as "Hang Ten" and "walking the plank".
Typically surfboards are measured in inches. The length is measured from the nose to the tail. Choosing the length of the surfboard is dependant on your size (weight, height), board type and waves conditions you wish to use the board for.
The widest point of the surfboard is measured from rail to rail. Generally the wider the surfboard the more stable the board, while a board with smaller width maintains better speed and performance.
Surfboard thickness is measured from the top deck to the bottom. The thickness again has a bearing on the board's performance. Professional surfers will tend to go for the thinner boards as they are lighter and offer better performance. The thicker boards are stronger and because there is more foam under the surfer the boards are more stable.
The bottom curve of a surfboard. Generally the more rocker the surfboard has the more loose (maneuverable) the surfboard will be. Where the flatter rocker surfboards will be faster, although they will lack the looseness.
The tip of the surfboard, the nose can vary in shapes and size. Basically the thinner the nose the more response the board will perform, while wider noses are better for stabilization.
Used to increase the strength of a surfboard, a stringer (normally made from wood) runs down the length of a surfboards (typically in the center of the board from the tip of the nose to the tail). Boards built with Epoxy, Carbon Fibre and soft boards generally don't have stringers.
If you have had a look around a surf shop, you'll already have seen that there is a wide range of different surfboard tail shapes to choose from.Tail shapes are where the water exits from the back of the board. Tail shapes are designed to affect the stability, hold and performance of your board. Surfers will use different tail shapes in different types of waves.
The squashtail is probably the most common tail shape on modern surfboards. There are no prizes for guessing why it got its name. The design offers a stable ride but enables the surfboard to still remain loose. The squashtail is a great tail shape for any standard of surfer and can be used in both small and overhead waves.
The squaretail's shape is, well, squared off at the end. It's really the pre-runner to the squashtail and is not so common on new boards these days. The rails meet the tail at sharp corners giving the surfboard good maneuverability. It's best used in small to head high waves.
Very similar to the thumbtail, the rounded pintail is slightly more "pinched" toward the tail. This tail was very popular in the single-fin days and is the tightest-holding rail. Like the thumbtail and the regular pintail, there is no interruption in the flow from the rail directly through to the tail. The rounded pintail is a great tail for medium to large waves and ideal for powerful hollow surf.
The pintail is the next step down from the rounded pintail. The pintail comes to much more of a point than the rounded tail and finishes in a sharper, thinner pin. This is the tail shape for surfing large, powerful, hollow waves. This is the tube rider special!
The swallowtail, like the baby version, combines the rail drive of the squaretail and the sensitivity of the pintail. The swallowtail is an easy one to spot for the novice! This is the tail shape used on fish surfboards. The wider tail gives better paddling power and increased drive in smaller waves.
The battail performs like a swallowtail. Its two outer pivot points and the addition of the central point of the wing provide greater stability. The battail is good in smallish to overhead waves and is one of the more modern surfboard tail designs.
The wing is really not a tail shape but more of a rail shape. It can be seen as the bump in the rails just in front of the front fins. Don't be confused and think that this is a different tail shape. The tail shown on the left is still a swallowtail. Just remember that the board also has a wing.