“I thought I said a big board, but loose, Chandler. The nose is too thick! I don’t ride waves going straight like some people I know.”
“It’s a fast gun. It’s built for speed, not hot dogging.”Lance Burkhart & Chandler, North Shore (1987)
Surfboards are just tools. They’re pretty cool tools, sure, but you still need to know how to pick the right one for the job. This section has everything you need to know and surfboards and board design. This information is designed to help you pick the right board for the conditions, find your next perfect board, and better understand what’s happening under your feet as you surf. Below you’ll find a deep dive into the different types of surfboard shapes, their characteristics, and their histories.
Types of Surfboards
An overview of the variety of surfboards you’ll encounter. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, start here.
Picking the right board often comes down to figuring out the right volume for your body, skills, and style. Learn all about it here.
A classic shape with modern merit. Perfect for small days and clean, peeling waves. Trim, nose ride, cross step, carve – it’s hard not to have fun on a log.
Woah there, ripper! You’re not ready for a board like that. Learn all about the surfboards responsible for pushing the envelope of what’s possible in surfing.
If a one-board quiver is what you’re after, a hybrid has your name on it. Combining the characteristics of different boards to go good in a variety of conditions is what the hybrid surfboard is all about.
Whether it’s a log or a retro shortboard, a single fin is going to expand your surfing experience tremendously if you’ve never ridden one before.
Speed and loose is where the twin fin surfboard excels, but get to know it and it can be pretty versatile. But be careful, you might not want to ride anything else!
The thruster was a game changer in fin and board design. Learn all about them here.
Quad fin surfboards are a solid choice in most conditions. Check out how they work and what they’re all about.
Surfing’s supposed to be fun, right? And you don’t need to be doing off the lips or sending airs every time you surf, do you? A good choice for beginners and experienced surfers alike looking to have a blast.
Maybe part funboard, maybe part mini-longboard, the mini-mal has a solid place in surfing history and is still a worthy shape today.
The fish is a timeless classic that is worthy of a spot in any quiver. Whether you go totally retro or more modern in design, you’re bound to enjoy surfing a fish.
When the waves are big, you’re going need a bigger board. Learn all about the big wave gun.
Step ups & step downs = tweaking what you’re used to for bigger or smaller conditions. Learn how to request the perfect step up for when bigger waves come your way.
Grovelers give you some options when the surf is small and gutless. For those who don’t want to log, the groveler provides some variety.
The perfect choice for beginners, but a fun choice in its own right. A foamie may just be able to turn a nightmarish, board-breaking closeout day into a barrel fest.
Who said surfboards have to be the same on each side? Learn about the characteristics and history of the asymmetrical surfboard.
Take your surfing back to its roots with an alaia. Not too hard to make for yourself, but pretty challenging to surf. A nice addition to expand your experience.
Ideal surfboard size is all about volume. Once you build up your skills, you’ll have much more flexibility. But if you’re just starting out or are having trouble catching waves, stick with a board with more volume. Learn more about surfboard sizes and dimensions.
Intermediate surfers should look to start building their quiver in regards to the types of waves they like to surf and the type of surfing they like to do. Though a fish is not a bad choice for an intermediate surfer. Learn how to build your board quiver.
If your surfboard is sinking or feels too low in the water, it probably has to little volume for your size. Get a bigger board.
Surfboards can be as simple or as complex as you want. In the simplest form, they’re made from wood. Most modern boards are made from a foam blank, wood stringer, fiberglass shell, and resin. Learn more about surfboard materials.
You definitely need a new board if you’ve mastered your current board and have hit a plateau or your current board is not suited for the type of waves you want to surf. Other than that, experimentation is the secret to happiness. Use the surfboard buyer’s guide to help figure where to get your new board.
A Fish describes a surfboard that’s generally short, wide, has a relatively flat rocker, and features a swallow tail. The Fish is a classic shape that can work well in almost any type of wave. Read more about the fish surfboard.