The Different Types of Surfboards Explained
Surfboards are available in different types, sizes and shapes, and all meant to cater for different levels of surfers. They were invented in Hawaii and were made of wood. However, over the years they have undergone advances in construction to make them light and effective for surfing.
All surfboards have the same basic structure despite the type. Each part or section of the board serves a specific purpose. Here are the parts that make up your surfboard:
Deck – It is the top part of the surfboard a surfer stands on. The deck can either be made domed or flat. A domed deck makes it easy for the surfer to move from one rail to the other because the surface is made with a slight camper at the middle from both rails. Wax is applied on the deck to enhance grip between it and your feet.
Nose – The nose is the forward tip of the board. It sits above the water while surfing. It is either pointed or rounded, depending on the type of board and the performance required.
Tail – The tail is the back section of the board. Different tail shapes differ, affecting how the surfboard responds and performs on water. The shape of the tails can be square, diamond, pin, rounded, bat and so on.
Bottom – It is the part of the board that rests on the water. It can either be concave or convex, determining the side contours on the bottom side face.
Leash Plug and Leash – Leash plug is a small metal ring on the tail of the surfboard. It is used to attach the leash so it secures the board to the foot of the surfer. The leash protects other surfers in the water if the waves knock one off the board. Without the leash, a surfer would have to swim back to retrieve the surfboard.
Rails – Rails make up the edges of a surfboard. They determine the buoyancy of the board. They are also used to turn the board, moving it from one rail to another.
Stringer – Usually, a stringer runs from the nose to the tail of the surfboard. It is used to strengthen the board and reduce flexibility. Some modern designs have the stringer in the rails while others do not have it all together.
Fins – Fins are attached to the rear udder of the surfboard. They help keep the board stable and prevent it from sliding from side to side. A surfboard may come in different sizes, styles and even feature varying number of fins.
Surfboards are available in different constructions, depending on the material used. The most common construction are Polyurethane (PU) boards. They are the most used and affordable boards on the market. Ideally, PU boards are the best performing surfing boards on the market.
However, EPS boards are upcoming and offering stiff competition to PU boards. They are lighter and thus offer better performance.
Surfers or people into riding on high waves prefer EPS boards for making quick snappy turns. They are also highly buoyant, making you feel like you are more on the wave rather than in it.
Other common surfboard construction types include: Balsa boards made of Ochroma pyramidale wood, hollow wooden boards, Composite sandwich construction and Cush-skinned boards. Balsa boards are light and easy to handle, but not solid. Cush-skinned boards, on the other hand, are high performance surfboards ideal for seasoned surfers.
Board Types and Variations
Long Boards – The longboard surfboard can be considered traditional. It ranges anywhere from 9 to 12 feet in length and has a rounded nose. They are stable in water since they have a lot of volume, increasing stability.
They are wide and make it easy for the surfer to move around and catch waves. Long boards make the best surfboards for beginners. They are ridden from the tail almost to the nose of the board. The boards contain between one and three fins.
Short Board – The short surfboards are shorter than long boards, measuring between 5.5 feet and 6.5 feet long. They are highly maneuverable and provide more power, speed and control of the board. They are the most commonly used boards.
They are ideal for people with surfing experience and pros since they are a bit difficult to paddle. Usually, short boards have tri-fin arrangement of fins.
The Gun – Surfboards are long, usually measuring 8 to 9 feet. They are made specifically to ride huge waves, meaning they are ideal for pro surfers only. They have a pointed nose and tip to give the surfer speed and control to navigate the largest of waves.
Fun Board – Also called the fun shape board. The boards are longer than short boards, but smaller than long boards. Therefore, they have a lot of volume to give them buoyancy and stableness.
They are ideal for beginners and heavy surfers. With a fun board, you can catch waves easily and move much better than with a long board. It is also an ideal board for transitioning from the long board to the short board while regaining control.
The Fish Board – A fish board is shaped like a fish. It is similar in size to the short boards, but have more width. They are ideal for surfing small to medium waves. They have rockers to enable the board to move well even in small waves. Since they offer control, they can be used by beginners and people with moderate surfing skill.
Surfboards are always being modified and improved so they offer the best performance for surfers. There are different types available for different levels of expertise and for riding different waves.
The performance and construction of a board determines its selling price, what you’ll have to pay for. High performance boards usually cost more than their smaller counterparts. You also get to choose the features you want on your board, including color, size and finish.
Contact us to learn more about the different types of surfboards available for your next surfing session