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Types of Surfboards Explained | Which Is The Best?

Types of Surfboards Explained | Which Is The Best?

  • Surfing is a popular and exciting sport that requires the use of a specialized board, or surfboard. There are many different types available, designed to suit different styles of surfing and different wave conditions. Shortboards are the most popular, as they offer maneuverability and speed. They're typically between 4 and 6 feet in length and are best for experienced surfers in small to medium waves. Paddleboards, or SUPs, are larger and wider, and are best for cruising, flat water, and riding small waves. Longboards are longer and heavier than shortboards, ranging from 7 to 10 feet. They are best for beginners, as they are more stable, and can be used in larger waves. Fish boards are even wider and shorter than shortboards, and are best for weak waves. Finally, hybrid boards combine aspects of shortboards and longboards, making them versatile and suitable for a variety of wave conditions.
Types of Surfboards Explained


Surfing is an incredibly popular sport that is enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels. With so many different types of surfboards available, it can be difficult to know which one is best for you and the conditions you will be surfing in. In this blog post, we will discuss the different types of surfboards and when to use them, so you can confidently select the best board for your surfing experience.

We will go over the different shapes and sizes of surfboards, the materials they are made from, and the advantages and disadvantages of each type. Additionally, we will provide tips for selecting a surfboard that is best suited for your individual needs, as well as advice on when to use each type of surfboard. By the end of this post, you will have a better understanding of the different types of surfboards and the best times to use each one.

Definition of surfing and surfboards

Surfing is a popular water sport in which a person stands or kneels on a board, typically made of foam or hard plastic, and rides a wave in the ocean. Surfboards come in different shapes and sizes to accommodate different types of waves and surfer skill levels.

Generally, shortboards are best for experienced surfers in powerful surf and longboards are best for beginners in small waves. Other surfboards such as fish boards, fun boards, and hybrid boards are also available.

Fish boards are shorter and wider than a traditional shortboard and are suitable for novice to intermediate surfers in small to medium-sized waves. Fun boards are wider and thicker than a traditional shortboard, making them best suited for novice to intermediate surfers in small to medium-sized waves. Hybrid boards are a combination of a longboard and a shortboard, making them suitable for surfers of all skill levels in any size wave.

Benefits of surfing

Surfing is an incredibly exhilarating activity that can be enjoyed by anyone of any age. It not only provides an enjoyable physical activity, but also offers a plethora of mental and emotional benefits. Physically, it can help strengthen your cardiovascular system, improve balance, and build muscle tone.

Mentally, surfing can help reduce stress, increase focus and concentration, and even improve your problem-solving skills.

Emotionally, it can help provide a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, and joy. Surfing also has a strong connection to the natural environment, allowing surfers to appreciate the beauty of the ocean and its surroundings. All in all, surfing is an activity that can truly be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of age or skill level.

You can also check our article about the main benefits of surfing.



Types of Surfboards

Surfboards come in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit different skill levels and wave conditions.

Beginner surfers typically use longboards, which have a wide nose and tail, making them great for paddling and catching waves easily.

Performance boards, like shortboards and fish boards, provide more maneuverability and are best for experienced surfers who want to ride bigger waves and perform tricks. High-performance shortboards are designed for advanced surfers in large waves, with a wide range of lengths, widths, and rocker profiles.

For bigger waves, a gun board is ideal, as it is longer and narrower than a shortboard, giving it the speed and maneuverability to handle more challenging conditions. In addition to these more common board types, there are also specialized boards such as hybrid boards, which are a combination of shortboards and longboards, as well as fun boards, which are wider than shortboards, making them a great option for small-wave days.

Longboard Surfboards

Longboard surfboards, also known as paddleboards, are the classic type of surfboard.

They are typically 9’6″ or longer in length and are characterized by a wide, rounded nose, wide tail, and a flat bottom. Longboard surfboards are best for beginner and intermediate surfers due to their stability, size and maneuverability.

They are great for catching small to medium-sized waves, as the large surface area allows you to get up to speed quickly. Longboard surfboards are also great for nose-riding, which is the act of riding a wave while standing on the nose of the board.

Longboards are also perfect for cruising, as they are long, smooth and stable.

Fish Surfboards

Fish surfboards are a great choice for beginners and experienced surfers, alike. Featuring a short, wide design, fish surfboards are ideal for small, choppy waves and provide the stability needed to work on basic surfing techniques. They have a flatter rocker and wider outline than other surfboard shapes, making them easier to paddle and allowing them to move quickly down the line.

Fish surfboards are a great option for those looking to gain more confidence in the water and progress their skills. They are also perfect for surfing more crowded waves, as their maneuverability makes them easier to duck dive and weave through the line-up. Fish surfboards usually range from 5’2″ to 7’0″ and are typically ridden with a thruster fin setup.


Shortboards, also known as performance boards, are the most popular type of surfboard due to their maneuverability and versatility. Generally, shortboards measure between 5’4″ and 7’0″ and are designed for experienced surfers. These boards feature a narrower outline and rounded nose, which allows them to move quickly and generate speed on smaller, weaker waves.

Additionally, shortboards have a flatter rocker, a lower center of gravity, and a thruster or quad fin setup to provide more control.

Shortboards are ideal for carving, tail slides, and high-performance maneuvers in waves with more power, such as point breaks and reef breaks.

Stand Up Paddleboards

Stand up paddleboards (SUPs) are a popular type of surfboard choice for beginners and experienced surfers alike. They are relatively stable and easy to maneuver, making them a great option for beginners or those wanting to cruise around in gentler waters. SUPs are typically longer, wider, and thicker than other board types, giving them greater buoyancy, stability, and volume.

This also makes them ideal for bigger waves and more challenging conditions, as they provide a more stable platform for the rider.

Depending on the length and design of the board, SUPs can be used for leisurely paddling, wave riding, and even fishing or diving. SUPs have become increasingly popular over the years, and are now available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.



When to Use Different Types of Surfboards

Surfing is one of the most popular water sports in the world, and the type of surfboard you choose can make a big difference in your experience. Longboards are great for beginners and those looking for a more relaxed ride. They offer more stability and paddle power, making them easier to stay on and catch waves. Shortboards are best for experienced surfers looking to do more advanced maneuvers.

They offer more maneuverability and are better suited for steeper, more powerful waves.

Funboards, also known as hybrid boards, are the middle ground between longboards and shortboards. They offer a combination of the two, making them suitable for a variety of conditions and skill levels. Foam boards are great for those just starting out and for those looking for a more relaxed ride. They are soft and buoyant, making them easy to paddle and catch waves.

Longboard for Beginners

For those just starting out in the world of surfing, a longboard is the perfect board to learn on. Longboards are usually characterized by their length and wide nose, making them more stable in smaller, weaker waves than other boards.

This makes them ideal for those just learning the basics of paddling, turning, and standing. Longboards are also great for those wanting to practice their style and learn more advanced maneuvers.

The wide nose also helps in catching waves more easily, allowing for longer rides and more time to practice.

There are many different types of longboards available, from traditional logs to modern hybrids. The best longboard for a beginner will depend on the size and shape of the rider. A good rule of thumb is to find a board that is at least 8 feet long and 22 inches wide.

Fish for Intermediate Surfers

Fish surfboards are one type of surfboard that is well-suited for intermediate surfers. These boards are usually shorter and wider than other surfboard types and feature a swallow-tailed shape with a wide nose and a pronounced keel.

These features make the board more maneuverable and provide extra stability for surfers learning to navigate bigger waves. Fish boards are designed to accommodate a wide range of conditions, so they can be used for small days when other boards may be too big, but they can also handle bigger waves.

With their extra buoyancy, fish boards make it easier to catch waves, and their wider base provides more stability when paddling. Intermediate surfers can benefit from the extra maneuverability of a fish board, especially when attempting more advanced maneuvers.

Shortboard for Advanced Surfers

Shortboards are the most versatile type of surfboard and are used by experienced surfers.

Shortboards are typically 6-7 feet in length, about 18-20 inches wide, and can have a variety of rocker profiles and fin set-ups. These boards are used in many different types of waves, from small beach breaks to larger, more powerful waves.

Shortboards are designed for more advanced maneuvers such as aerial tricks and high-speed cutbacks. Surfers who are comfortable with their board and have a good understanding of wave dynamics and surfing techniques prefer shortboards.

They allow for more maneuverability and control, making it easier to catch waves and perform tricks. Shortboards are also relatively light and easy to transport, making them a popular choice for advanced surfers.



Benefit of knowing when to use different types of surfboards

Surfing is an exhilarating and enjoyable sport, and the type of surfboard you ride can make all the difference in your experience. Knowing when to use different types of surfboards can help ensure that you make the most of your time in the water.

Depending on the size of the waves, the length and width of a surfboard can help you to better handle the power of the waves and carve through them with ease. Different types of surfboards are made to suit different conditions, so it’s important to be aware of the various shapes and sizes available and understand which type is best for the type of waves you will be riding.

Furthermore, with surfboards ranging from shortboards to longboards, you can use your knowledge of when to use each type to really enhance your time in the water and enjoy the sport to its fullest.


Surfboards come with a wide range of optional accessories, from fins to leashes. Fins are essential for providing direction, stability and control during surfing. They are typically made from either plastic or fiberglass and come in a variety of shapes, sizes and designs.

Fins are attached to the surfboard either by screwing into a fin box which is built into the board itself, or by a plug system which uses a plug in the middle of the board and a fin key to secure them.

The number and configuration of fins used can have a significant impact on the performance of the board, with different combinations offering different characteristics such as control, speed and maneuverability. Leashes, also known as leg ropes, are another essential accessory.

These are attached to the surfer’s ankle and the board, and are designed to prevent the board from getting away from the surfer and causing injury to other surfers. Leashes come in a variety of materials, thicknesses and lengths, and it is important to choose the right one for your particular type of surfing.


Fins are an essential component of surfboards, providing stability and maneuverability while in the water.

Depending on the type of board and type of surfing, the size and arrangement of fins vary significantly. Longboards, for example, typically feature a single fin, while shortboards come with two to five fins.

Thruster boards, which are a popular type of shortboard, feature three fins evenly spaced out. Fish boards are also a type of shortboard, with a wide template and two to four fins, usually arranged in a quad or twin fin setup. Fins also come in different materials, including fiberglass, carbon fiber, and honeycomb construction.

Each type of fin has its own advantages and disadvantages, so make sure to consider your board’s design and the type of wave you will be riding before making your decision.


Leashes are an essential accessory for any surfer, regardless of the type of board they are riding.

A leash is a key safety feature, ensuring that the surfboard remains attached to the surfer in the event of a wipeout. There are a variety of leashes available, designed to fit the different types of surfboards. Longboard leashes tend to be longer and thicker, while shortboard leashes are shorter and thinner. For bigger waves, it is recommended to use a coiled leash, as it is more resistant to breaking.

On the other hand, for smaller waves, a straight leash is preferred, as it is more lightweight and doesn’t drag in the water. No matter the type of surfboard, it is important to make sure that the leash is in good condition and fits snugly on the board.


Surfboards that have wax on them are typically made of either fiberglass or foam, and they offer the rider a great deal of control and maneuverability in the water. Wax is a great choice for surfers who are looking to stay in one spot and practice their tricks, since it provides lots of traction and grip on the board.

Wax is also great for beginner surfers, since it helps them stay firmly on the board and get used to the feeling of riding a wave. It’s also a great choice for more experienced surfers who are looking to do some intense maneuvers, as it provides a good grip for more complicated tricks. While wax does need to be replenished every now and then, it is a great all-around choice for surfers of all skill levels.

Advice for Choosing the Right Surfboard

When choosing the right surfboard for you, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, look at the type of surfboard you want.

Shortboards are great for experienced surfers who are looking for maneuverability and performance; longboards are great for beginners who want to learn to ride the waves and gain confidence; and fishes are great for smaller waves and tight turns.

Secondly, consider the material and shape of the surfboard.

Epoxy boards are lightweight and durable, great for long-term use; polyurethane boards are more buoyant and provide good performance; and asymmetrical boards are good for experienced surfers looking to add more style to their surfing.

Lastly, consider the size of the surfboard. Generally speaking, the bigger the board, the more stable it will be in the water, making it easier to stay upright. However, you should also consider your size and weight when choosing the right board; a board that is too big can be difficult to control.

By considering all these factors, you’ll be sure to choose the right board for your needs.

Consider surfing ability

When choosing the right surfboard for you, it is important to consider your surfing ability.

Beginner surfers should opt for a longboard, which is the classic surfboard design and is great for learners due to its stability and ease of paddling. Longboards have a wide nose, a flatter rocker, and a wide tail, all of which contribute to their stability.

As your surfing ability progresses, you may want to look into getting a fish or a funboard, which are shorter than a longboard and can provide better maneuverability.

Experienced surfers may want to try a hybrid surfboard, which is a combination of a longboard and a shortboard, making it suitable for both small and large waves. Finally, shortboards are best suited for experienced surfers who need a board that can perform in high-performance surfing. Shortboards tend to be narrower than other types of surfboards, allowing them to cut through the water with ease.

Consider wave conditions

When choosing the type of surfboard to use, it is important to consider the wave conditions.

For example, if you are surfing in a beach break, you will want to choose a board with a wide nose and a rounded tail.

This type of board will allow you to paddle quickly, generate speed, and turn sharply when needed. If you are surfing in a point break, you will want to use a board with a pointed nose and a swallow tail. This board will allow you to navigate long, drawn-out turns and hold its own in steeper, faster waves.

For bigger waves, you may want to choose a gun, which is a sturdier and longer board designed to handle bigger surf. For smaller waves, a fish or hybrid board is ideal because they are designed to be more maneuverable in smaller waves.

Consider type of riding

When selecting a surfboard, one of the most important things to consider is what type of riding you intend to do with it.

Different boards are better suited for different types of riding. Longboards are the most versatile and are great for beginners because they are stable and easy to paddle.

Shortboards are great for experienced surfers who are looking to do tricks and carve turns. Fish boards are great for smaller waves, while hybrids are a combination of the two and can be used in a variety of conditions. Understanding your ability and the types of riding you plan to do will help you find the best board for you.

Consider size and weight

When considering the type of surfboard to use, the size and weight of the board is an important factor.

Generally, the bigger and heavier the board, the more stable it will be, making it easier to ride in bigger waves. However, a bigger board will be harder to maneuver, making it less suitable for performing tricks.

On the other hand, a smaller and lighter board is more maneuverable, allowing for greater control and the ability to perform tricks, but it will be less stable in choppy water and bigger waves. Finding the right balance between size and weight for your particular needs is essential for having a successful surfing experience.


When it comes to choosing the right surfboard, the best option is to find one that fits your skill level and wave type. Longboards are great for beginner and intermediate surfers, as they are more stable and have more flotation. Shortboards are great for experienced surfers who are looking for a challenge and more maneuverability.

Fish boards are great for small waves and offer more speed and maneuverability. Hybrid boards are a great choice for those who are looking for the best of both worlds. Ultimately, the type of board you choose should be based on your skill level and the wave type you are surfing. With the right surfboard, you can take your surfing to the next level and enjoy your time in the water.

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