The vast amount of types of surfboards out there is the result of a vast amount of surfers’ trial and error, crazy ideas, and knack for engineering and hydrodynamics.
It can be overwhelming, though. This is why it’s always a good idea to rent the type of board you think you want to get or ask a good-natured buddy if you could borrow theirs for a bit. If you’re itching to buy the coolest-looking board or the one with the most hardcore rep but know deep down that you’re not quite ready for it, this solution will take care of that Barney type of notion.
On the other hand, you may have been practicing your skills and feel that you are ready for a more challenging ride but don’t want to end up with a board that offers more of the same.
This is a quick guide.
Types of Surfboards
This 5’-7’ board is generally used by intermediate to advanced surfers as it offers more maneuverability and speed. It’s also much harder to balance on, and the sharp nose can really do some damage.
Measuring in at 5’-6’6”, the Fish is similar to a shortboard but has a characteristic fish or swallow tail, which lends a bit of lift in the back, resulting in speed. It’s also a bit wider, making it easier in small surf.
The groveller slots in between the short board and the fish and ranges from 5’2” - 6’2”. It’s good for traveling as it carries easily and has very good maneuverability, but a bit more versatility than a shortboard in weaker waves.
A 9” best all-round board from beginner to advanced. It offers great balance and makes it easy to catch waves, which makes it great for beginners, but also offers more advanced riders the opportunity to ride smaller waves on days when the surf isn’t that great.
A transition from short to longboard is the funboard at 6’5”-9”. You can ride a range of waves with better maneuverability than a longboard but more stability than a shortboard.
The Mini Simmons is built for speed and dynamics. They are short and wide, usually with straight sides.
One of the first, most successful boards with three fins, the Bonzer effectively directs water flow, allowing you to make the most of the water force and propulsion.
This very old style of board, on the other hand, has no vertical fins and is below 1” thick (or thin), which means it glides over the waves, being steered with a round nose.
Stand-Up Paddle Board (SUP)
Considered by many not to be a real surfboard, the SUP is quite a bit thicker and wider than most types of surfboards, It is 9’-12’ long and used with a paddle to propel one through smaller or completely flat water.
Another board that uses an additional propelling mechanism, namely jet skis, but unlike the SUP not for beginners at all. Strapped to the 6’-6’6” board, advanced surfers use it in huge and hollow waves.
These sci-fi-looking boards are short and can be used with or without foot straps and with or without jet-ski or boat propulsion. They have a hydrofoil (which looks like a fin on a pole) sticking out from under the board, making you look like you are gliding above the waves with the foil under the water.
The Shape And Dimensions Of A Board And How It Affects Your Surfing Performance
There’s a lot more than length and cool names to the unique shape of each board. The overall width and thickness (not to mention fins, noses, and tails), as well as where the widest and thickest points are positioned, all play a role in determining how the board performs in the water.
The board’s length
Most surfboards range from 5 feet to 11 feet, with the medium to upper ranges being the easier ones to ride. The length of the board determines how easy it is to keep going in one direction, which makes it much easier to keep riding a wave. Shorter boards can change direction faster and more easily, which makes them harder to ride, but offers an advanced surfer a more dynamic ride.
The board’s width
The width of a surfboard determines how stable it is and, thus, how easy it is for you to pop up and balance while riding a wave. As with length, narrower boards change direction easier but are harder to keep your balance on.
The board’s thickness
Thicker boards are more buoyant and better for riding small waves. This is not necessarily a good thing when you are an advanced surfer looking to maneuver waves and do some tricks.
The board’s foil
This refers to the point where a surfboard is thickest when viewed from the side profile. This, too, has an impact on the board's ability to balance, glide over the waves and make turns, and is used to tailor different boards to different riders’ needs.
The board’s material
In essence, boards are made from different foams and wrapped in different materials. (Unless you are talking about a wood board.) A soft-top surfboard has an additional EVA (Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate) layer glued to the wrap.
Starting with soft-top, let’s have a very quick look at the advantages of each. Soft-top or foamie surfboards don’t need to be waxed, are very buoyant, and won’t hurt one as bad as a regular board when it comes down on you or a fellow surfer after you’ve bailed.
Traditional boards are made from a PU (Polyeutherine) inner foam and wrapped in fiberglass. They’re very light, more flexible in the water, beautiful to form, easy to repair, and inexpensive. But they are not environmentally friendly at all!
Finally, the more modern boards are made from Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) and covered in an epoxy resin. They are more durable, lighter, float better, and are much better for the environment as the scraps can be recycled.
Connect With South Bay Board Co. Services Today
If you still feel like a kook, here’s the summary: Longer, wider, thicker boards lend themselves to more stability and better balance, while shorter (we’re not talking about guns here), thinner, narrower boards allow you to do faster, more challenging stuff.
Now you’re armed to the teeth with the facts before taking a trip to your local surf shop, where hopefully they’ll sell you the board best suited to your needs and pocket… or maybe not.
We hate to hear how people were sold the wrong boards at crazy prices, which is why we started South Bay Board Co. in the first place.
Drop us a mail or drop into our warehouse if you need more help. If you know what types of surfboards you want and just want the most legit place to get them, order from our large online store.