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7 Types Of Surfboards

Updated: 5 days ago

Surfing is more than just a sport; it's a way of life. Central to this experience is the surfboard, the most crucial piece of gear a surfer can invest in (obviously). If you're new to surfing or looking to expand your quiver, understanding the various types of surfboards is essential. Each type offers a unique surfing experience, and choosing the right one can make all the difference in your experience while surfing.

Modern surfboards come in a wide range of designs, each carefully crafted to optimize performance in specific wave conditions. They vary in size, materials, and shape, allowing surfers to tailor their board to their preferences and the type of waves they encounter. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore numerous surfboard types, providing insights into their characteristics, ideal wave conditions, and the experiences they offer.

A man surfing in the waves

1. Shortboards

Shortboards are the Ferraris of the surfboard world. They are typically less than 7 feet long and designed for advanced surfers who want to maneuver with precision and take on powerful waves. Their pointed noses and narrow tails make them highly responsive, ideal for aggressive turns and quick rides in big waves. If you're an experienced surfer seeking high-performance thrills, a shortboard is your weapon of choice.

2. Longboards

Longboards, also known as 'logs,' are the 'OG' of surfboards. These boards are typically 9 to 12 feet in length and are perfect for beginners or those who prefer a relaxed and classic surfing experience. They are excellent for catching small waves and provide ample stability for practicing your pop-up and turning maneuvers. Longboarding is all about style and grace on the water, and these boards offer precisely that. While they are often a good choice for a beginner, they are also very common for surfers with a lot of experience.

Two matching light-blue surf boards

A longboard, from San Diego shaper, Josh Hall Surfboards

3. Fish Surfboards

Fish surfboards are short and wide, with a distinctive swallowtail shape. They excel in small to medium-sized waves and are known for their speed and maneuverability. Fish boards are a great choice for surfers looking to have fun in a variety of conditions, and their unique design allows for people to show off their style and flow.

Two matching yellow surf boards side by side

A fish surfboard, from San Diego shaper, Josh Hall Surfboards

5. Foam Boards (Soft Tops)

Foam boards, also known as soft tops, are the go-to choice for surf schools and beginners. These boards are incredibly forgiving and provide ample flotation, making it easier for new surfers to catch waves and gain confidence in the water. They are typically made of soft foam, reducing the risk of injuries during wipeouts. Go to your local Costco if you're looking for a cheap 'foamie' to grab. If you get that soft top be sure to stay away from crowded breaks and popular spots. The locals won't be stoked.

6. Big Wave Guns

For the most daring and experienced surfers, big wave guns are the weapon of choice when facing monster waves. These specialized boards are longer and narrower, designed to handle the immense power of big waves. If you're an advanced surfer ready to tackle the most challenging breaks, a big wave gun is your ticket to the ultimate thrill. You'll typically see this kind of board at spots like Puerto Escondido, Todos Santos, Mavericks, Jaws and others.

7. Mid-Length Boards

Mid-length boards fall between shortboards and longboards in terms of size and characteristics. They offer versatility and are well-suited for surfers who want a balance of performance and stability in various wave conditions. These boards are often a favorite choice for surfers looking to experiment with different riding styles.

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