No two waves are the same, so why should surfboards be? The surfing experience is optimized by the kind of board you ride. With a plethora of different varieties to choose from, it can be confusing to figure out what all their differences are for.
While your weight, physical fitness level, and skill all determine the ideal board for you, that doesn’t mean you should necessarily restrict yourself to that option. Other surfboards can offer unique surfing experiences you would rarely get with a different board.
Now, what exactly is it about these subtle changes that make the experience so different? Here we outline the most common types of surfboards, their qualities, and the best conditions to use them in.
Generally, shortboards are always below 7 feet in length, and come equipped with an upturned nose or a ‘rocker’, pointed ends, and two to four fins. Shortboards are ideal for hardcore, long-time surfers and allow wave catchers to push the limits of surfing. These boards can cut through the toughest of waves, offering the ultimate surfing experience. They’re not advisable for beginners though, as they are shorter and narrower which makes them harder to maneuver.
On the other end of the spectrum is the longboard. Significantly longer and wider than its shortboard counterpart, longboards are the oldest kind of surfboards in the market. Unlike the shortboard, longboards are ideal for laid back wave catching, made to slide with the waters for a fun, relaxing surfing experience. Longboards are ideal as beginner surfboards because they’re easy to handle and easy to paddle.
Right between your short and longboards, you have your fun board. Typically measuring between 6 and 8 feet, the funboard is perfect for surfers who want to move on to a smaller board after mastering the longboard. It’s wider than the shortboard and makes sharp turns better than a longboard which makes it ideal for intermediate surfing enthusiasts.
Fish boards are shorter and wider than shortboards, making them the ideal board choice for shorter, slower waves. Although some experienced surfers might feel a little frustrated using a fish board on steep, hollow waves, fish boards are great for surfing beginners below 130 pounds. Its wide surface makes it easy to catch waves, and its unique shape offers an over-all unique surfing experience.
The gun ranges anywhere from 6 feet 6 inches to 10 feet and allows surfers to pick up speed while paddling, thanks to its long and lean design. Made with big waves in mind, the gun is the surfboard of choice for highly experienced surfers who catch nothing but monster waves. The gun is ideal for fast waves and steep falls making it the daredevil surfer’s top pick.
Because there are countless ways to design a board, lots of less popular board designs have popped up around the market. These boards have cult followings and often put together the different characteristics we see in more common boards. The more you explore your surfboard options, the more feasible it becomes to explore these indie choices. Try out new board designs and find out what they’re best for. You never know, you might just discover new thrills out on the waves.
There you have it. Understanding surfboards is easy and opens our minds to the countless ways we can enjoy waves. Experimenting with boards can help us discover the many ways to ride a wave and what surfing style suits us best. Just keep in mind to always make safety a top priority.