Once you’ve learned the basic rules of surfing, got all of the needed equipment like earplugs or surf watches, and finally found the right wetsuit, it is time to go and get your surfboard. But before you begin your surfing career and buy your first board, you should learn how many different types of surfboards are there.
They come in different sizes, widths, lengths, depths but can also be shaped differently to achieve different things. Some will help you keep your balance, some are really fast, the others are best for specific types of waves… The choice can be tricky, but if you know what you’ll look for, you’ll find it. And we are here to help you with that decision.
Why Are The Dimensions Important?
They are mostly made out of foam and fiberglass, which is why they are so light, but also strong and endurable. The length, width, and depth of the board are some of the main factors that determine how good performance will be.
Let’s start with the length. The longer your board is, the easier is to paddle out, stand on in and keep your balance, which makes the longer boards more suitable for beginners. The width, same as the length, provides stability and the wider the board is, the easier is to balance on it.
Depth is key for floating and the “smoothness” of wave riding. Calculate the weight of it, add your own, and follow the simple logic – the thickness of the surfboard directly depends on the weight of the surfer. Now it is time to switch to the different types of surfboards and try to find the right one for you.
Shortboard aka “Thruster”
This type of board is mostly used in contests. It is fast, powerful, and easily controllable, but could be a bit difficult to paddle. Their dimensions are from 5’6’’ to 6’4’’ in length and vary from 16’’ to 19’’ in width. Their tail is usually rounded, and is not suited for beginners, but can be a great choice for advanced surfers or professionals.
This board is wide, especially in the middle, has a rounded nose and a so-called “swallow tail”. They can be from 5’2″ to 6’4″ long and 18” – 22” wide. The main ability of this board is improved wave catching while keeping the speed and maneuvering performance. It is the best choice for small or medium waves.
Unlike the “fish”, if you want to try out the big waves, you should consider this one. It is long (from 6’ to 10’), narrow, and has a pointy tail and nose to maintain maximum rail contact, which makes it easier for paddling out and controlling while riding the big and powerful waves.
Longboard, Also Known As A ‘Cruizer/Log’
Being long from 8’ to 9’ and with a round nose, they make paddling and catching waves look easy. But, it has it downsize, because it can be hard to pass by the white water. Again, it is one of the most fun boards, like the fact that is easily controllable and quite stable means you could use it for tricks, like drop-knee turns, hang fives, and the length makes it great for possible tandem surfing. It can be a bit hard to transfer if you don’t have a car rack.
Malibu and Mini-Mal
It has similar characteristics as a longboard, also comes in a similar shape but it is a bit shorter and slimmer, so it is possible making sharper turns unlike when you’re surfing with the longboard. It also has a “relative” called mini-Mal, a smaller version of this board. They could have one large or three smaller fins and are easy to travel with.
Foamboard, Also Known As Softboards
The best choice for beginners. Learning to surf includes lots of falling, losing balance, and colliding with the water surface, beach sand, and, in the worst case, the board itself. And it could take some time before you learn when and how to throw your board away to avoid possible injury. These boards are lighter and softer, so if they do hit you, they probably won’t hurt you or anyone else.
Also, it is nice to know that it is easy catching waves on it, easy to stand up and this board is probably the most stable one in the water, so if you’re just starting, don’t look any further.
When you learn the basic controls and get used to the feeling of surfing, it is time to take a step forward and switch from foamboard to funboard. They can be between 6’6’’ and 8’ long and 20’’ do 22’’ wide. It is considered to have the paddling power of a longboard combined with the maneuvering ability of a shortboard.
Another big plus when you consider this surfboard is the fact that it is usable in any conditions, from small waves to big ones, and it is ideal for those who are not beginners but don’t have much experience.
Although not a typical surfboard, as it is usually small, rectangular and you lay on it, the best bodyboard also called “boogie board” is almost as much fun as the others. This board is considered to be the safest for families because it is used in small waves. They can be wooden, also made from foam, fiberglass, or polystyrene which can make them cheap and provide you hours of a really fun time, especially if you have kids.
What Are Fins?
All of these surfboards have a thing that is hanging from the bottom, near the back of the board. This thing is called “fin”, and it gives the directional stability while the surfer is on the face of the wave, so he can turn and make tricks.
In the beginning, while surfing was still developing, old Hawaiian boards didn’t have a fin, and it lasted until 1934, when Tom Blake, one of the surfing pioneers, saw an abandoned boat on the beach. He proceeded to take the keel off, change it a bit and add it to his board, which made his board easier to control.
Since then, the number of fins on the board has changed. It all started with one per board, then came “twin-fins”, followed by “tri-fins”, “quad”, until they became changeable, so now surfers can decide how many fins they want, depending on their surf style.
That Bottom Curve Called ‘Rocker’
If you look at the bottom of your surfboard, you’ll see it has a curve, and it is called “the rocker”. If your board has a more bottom curve, it means that it will be looser and therefore more maneuverable, while it will lose speed. On contrary, when the bottom is flatter, the board is faster, but at the cost of maneuverability.
So, when you intend to catch some big waves, or simply think your surf is more dangerous, it is a better choice to use the one with the larger curve, and if the waves are smaller or you need more speed, use the flat one. And if you don’t know what to do, you could always use the neutral one.
Globo Surf Overview
When you decide it is time to buy a surfboard, there are a few things you should pay attention to. First, you should see the size and the effect it has while you surf. Then, check the beforementioned types and find the one that fits you the best. Remember – be honest to yourself and go step by step, until you find the one you feel the most comfortable with.