What types of surfboards are there?
Ever asked yourself how many types of surfboards are there? Shortboards, Summerboards, Mini Malibus, Retro, single fins, softboards, guns, funboards, longboards… and a long etc. The question is what´s the difference? Is it necessary to have such a big quiver? Here we´ll talk about the different surfboards that exist and in which conditions you should use each of them.
As you evolve in you surfing skills from beginner towards intermediate, you will start to notice the importance of having good surfing equipment. You will also see how your surfboard affects your performance in the water. In this article we will talk about the 8 most common types of surfboards: shortboards, twin fins, softboards, minimalibus, evolution / funboards, longboards, hybrid, kids boards / groms and finally guns.
We will start from the main axiom, a perfecto surfboard doesn´t exist. In broad strokes, as you augment the surfboards volume, you will gain stability but lose maneuverability. As you add more rocker, you will get more control and performance, but you will lose speed. There is no other way to this. So instead of asking “which is the perfect board for me?” it would be better to ask “what is my objective?”, “what are the surfing conditions like?” and “which is my surfing level?”
We know it can be difficult for beginners to auto evaluate their surfing abilities. So before going through our surfboard recommender, ask a friend or a surfing teacher to give you their opinion.
Possibly the most popular model. The shortboards offer good stability for speed and maneuverability. These boards are useful for almost any kind of wave. Designed for maximum performance in good surfing conditions. Because of its characteristics, it’s a type of board which we recommend to intermediate level surfers. To try to surf a shortboard without a certain level of dexterity is a common error which will slow down your progress. Don´t be quick to go from a mini malibu or an evolution surfboard to a shortboard.
What are the advantages of a shortboard?
Its dimensions make it a very manageable board. Its short length, narrow edges and its rocker give it a lot of maneuverability. Shortboards are ideal for advanced tricks like aereos, snaps, cutbacks, etc. Its rocker makes it easier to hit the critical parts of the wave and its outline perfectly fits the break shape of the wave. With these boards, it´s easier to make turns than with more voluminous boards.
Weaknesses of a shortboard
It can´t be all good. The rocker of a Shortboard makes paddling harder, since the board pushed water with it when you advance. Not only is it harder to catch waves, you´ll also lose speed as soon as you aren´t surfing with its edges because its outline takes water with it under the surface. You will constantly need to turn over its edges, and be near the power source of the wave. Something that requires experience.
A good day with powerful and clean waves of medium size. Perfect for a surftrip in France when it´s the season (starting October).
Twin fins or Retro surfboards
The Retro boards, inspired by the designs of the 70s. They stand out because of its peculiar design. In this model of surfboard we can differentiate single fins or twin fins. To be able to surf these boards well you need to have at least an intermediate level. Perfect for small and medium waves. It doesn´t work as well with big waves, unless you´re Asher Pacey who flies with his Mini Twin in giant Maldivian waves.
Advantages of a Twin Fin
Its wide shape, big nose and low rocker give it much floatability and speed. This helps you surf the weakest of waves and pass sections you normally wouldn´t be able to with a shortboard. Since they are much shorter that evolution surfboards, they give more maneuverability. This is great when you are starting to try basic turns and tricks like cutbacks. Its tail has a swallows tail that will help you make more radical turns.
In EnelPico we have declared our absolute love for Twin Fins. We call this Twinfinmania or Twinfin addiction as Asher Pacey says.
These boards are much smaller that the longboards or evolution boards. Something that will subtract its paddling power. Although short, don´t consider this a performance surfboard. Its wide shape makes it harder to surf edge to edge. But its low rocker and big nose make it difficult to lose balance.
Ideal wave conditions
Weaker mushy waves where you want to have fun when no other board is capable of doing the job.
Softboards are popularly used by kids or surf schools. But they have grown, so much so that even the ex-world champion Mick Fanning has his own collection of softboards. These types of surfboards offer lots of floatability and maneuverability. This type of board is a good alternative for fun summer waves.
To get to know this type of surfboard better, read our post “You need a softboard in your quiver”. In EnelPico we believe everyone should have a soft.
The Mini Malibu surfboards are made for people that have tried surfing and want to take it to another level. A good alternative for your first fiberglass surfboard. Wide from tail to nose. Gives great stability and helps paddling. A type of surfboard recommended for beginners.
Funboards, which we´ve baptized as the best surfboards for beginners, they stand out because they are big and thick. Both of these characteristics contribute towards giving surfers more stability and floatability. This is because its design makes it easier for paddling and surfing waves from day one. If you are looking to make maneuvers, this is not a good model.
Longboards are big surfboards. Also known as longs, these are boards starting at 9 feet. Usually have a round nose; these are ideal for small and medium waves. Only recommended for big waves when the surfer has a certain level and experience.
What are the advantages of a longboard
The big sizes of these boards give it a lot of surface to glide and float. This plus its low – medium rocker help you slide over the surface of the water. These boards help you paddle with lots of speed, making the job of catching waves easier. Its length, width and thickness give it great stability, which is great for learning basic techniques.
With these types of surfboards it´s difficult to pass an oncoming wave, and that’s because it´s practically impossible to do a duck dive. You´ll have to do the turtle roll. This maneuver consists in turning upside down under the water while you hold the board by its edges. Due to their length, they help you take off. But the bigger the board, the harder it is to move it. To move and maneuver these boards you need a medium level of surfing skill. You´ll need to draw longer and slower lines on the wave.
Ideal wave conditions
Small waves (1-2 feet). Some experienced surfers also like to use a long in the biggest of conditions.
Hybrid boards are a mix between shortboards, fish, egg and mini Malibu. It’s a good addition to any quiver. A multiuse board, apt for great majority of waves. It has good maneuverability and doesn´t need a high level of skill to enjoy. You can use them when the waves are small and mushy.
Grom boards are boards specially made for smaller surfers. You can also find them as surfboards for kids. Ideal for young surfers that know the basics and are thinking about improving their surf techniques with tricks and maneuvers. Grom surfboards are adapted to the size and weight of young prodigies.
These gunboards are designed for surfing big waves. Generally, the bigger the board, the bigger the wave you can catch. The designs of these boards usually count with sharp tail and nose. This lets you catch waves with more speed and balance. A high level of surf is needed for this surfboard.
We hope that this guide has helped you choose an adequate surfboard. If you have any doubts contact us or use the surfboard recommender.