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Guide to Surfboard Shapes

There’s a lot to take into consideration before deciding whether or not a surfboard is right for you; its shape being particularly important. Today, we’re going to be discussing the various types of surfboard and their shapes, detailing which models are most suited to which surfers to guide you towards the one that’s going to take you to the next level.

Surfboard Shapes for Beginners

For inexperienced surfers, we often recommend an egg board. Egg surfboards are smaller and wider than longboards and range from 6 to 8.5 feet in length. They provide surfing newcomers with a pleasant introduction to the sport and boast an intuitive design to aid the development of the rider’s skill. It is important to remember, however, that because most egg boards are intended for novice surfers they don’t lend themselves well to extravagant stunts.

egg board surfboard

Beginners also have the option of going with a funboard. Similar to the longboard in its design, the funboard features a rounded nose, which allows it to move through shallow water with minimal rocking. Unlike the longboard, however, the funboard is short in length, which grants the rider greater flexibility. Funboards vary in the quality of their fins, with some bearing a single fin and some two or three.

While the average egg surfboard has applications beyond entry-level surfing, the funboard does not and should not be relied upon for anything other than casual riding near the shore. The same goes for the mini Malibu, a board that, like the funboard, is high in volume, rounded at the top, and wide in the middle for easy paddling.

Surfboards for Intermediate Surfers

An egg surfboard is a great starter tool and will provide even intermediate surfers with countless hours of entertainment despite its simplicity, but such a board will only take you so far. If you’ve been riding an egg board for a while and feel like it's time to upgrade to a more advanced alternative, we suggest going with a fish or hybrid surfboard.

Fish surfboards are shorter than the typical surfboard, coming in at less than 7 feet. Fish boards have a high volume, which grants them superior buoyancy and allows them to move through water with great speed and minimal effort.

Fish surfboard shape

The hybrid surfboard provides surfers with the best of the fish surfboard combined with the best of the typical shortboard. With its wide body capped off by a tail, the hybrid board allows the rider to move through the water at a more rapid pace, while its volume makes it perfect for catching waves, even in relatively calm waters. It is important to note, however, that this is only the most common definition of a hybrid board. There are countless variations out there, some of which even the most knowledgeable surfers aren’t familiar with, so you may just want to go with a fish board if you’d like to keep your search for an intermediate model simple and stress-free.

Advanced Surfboards

If you’re an experienced surfer (or Hemingway) and are confident you can handle high waves and stormy seas, we suggest putting your fish surfboard away and purchasing a more advanced model to make sure you don’t, you know, die. There are various surfboard shapes for advanced surfers to consider, but most dedicated hobbyists and professionals go with either a longboard or a shortboard.

Longboards, as you probably guessed from the name, generally come in at over 8 feet in length. Longboards are chosen by novice and experienced surfers alike as they provide a level of stability not offered by many alternative surfboard shapes. For the former, this stability means a sturdy board upon which one can learn without risk of falling. For the latter, this stability seriously simplifies the catching and riding of big waves.

Shortboards are rarely recommended to inexperienced surfers. This is because they generally don’t exceed 6 feet in length and 19 inches in width, meaning there isn’t a whole lot of room for the rider to move around. Shortboards are most commonly used for competitions, as they are more reliable than their counterparts when it comes to making sharp turns.

shortboard

Other Things to Consider

The shape of your chosen surfboard isn’t the only thing to consider when searching for the right surfboard for you.

Fins

The fin of a surfboard provides stability and determines its efficiency when it comes to turns and stunts. Traditionally, surfboards have a single fin, but double, triple, and even quadruple fin models are available.

Grip

When you purchase your surfboard, you should also purchase some wax to enhance its grip. There are four main types of surfboard wax – cold, cool, warm, and tropical – each suited to a particular climate.

Bottom Curve

The bottom curve of a surfboard directly influences its speed. It also has a considerable impact on a board’s maneuverability. If you intend to ride large waves, go with a board that has a significant bottom curve, as such a design grants greater stability and control. If your main concern is moving at as rapid a pace as possible, you are better off going with a board that has a less significant bottom curve as it will allow you to cut through the water swiftly and more effectively.

Conclusion

Whether you’re a newcomer to the waves or have dedicated your life to mastering the art of surfing, you’re going to have a hard time choosing a specific board. The perfect board should serve as an extension of its rider’s personality. Because of this, we can’t label any specific surfboard as the surfboard you should be dropping your hard-earned cash on.

We can, however, point you towards the kind of surfboards that are most suitable to your skill level and aspirations, which is what we hope we’ve done in this article. Now the water volleyball ball is in your court, so take the information contained here and use it to guide you towards the board that’s going to help you become the finest surfer you can be.

About the Author Thomas

I suppose you could say I came to surfing later than most. I didn't grow up by the water, but after years working the 9-5 grind I felt its draw and decided it was time to lead a slower life. These days I try and spend time in the water every day and consider the ocean as my living room: a place to relax, have fun, and just enjoy life.

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