A Basic Guide to Most Popular Surfboard Types
Those who are interested in getting into surfing should understand the basic concepts and descriptions before paddling out to the waves.
This article is designed to list the main types of surfboards are out on the bench and in stores. Each surfboard type has advantages and disadvantages to them and each is designed for more specific crowd based on expertise and/or type of waves.
While there are more specific surfboard versions, there are five main types: shortboard, longboard, fish, gun, and fun. They all come in different shapes and sizes, some similar, others vastly different.
Averaging from five to seven feet in length, the shortboard commonly has a narrow body with a sharp, pointed noise sometimes shaped as a rocker (meaning that the nose is pointed slightly upward). The board usually has multiple fins and thin rails along the edges.
Professional surfers often use this type due to its maneuverability through the central section of waves. Because of its penchant for handling and quick turns through powerful waves, more advanced surfers usually catch a wave with this type.
Commonly called the Malibu after the coastal town in southern California just north of Los Angeles, this type of board ranges from eight to 12 feet in length. They are also thicker, usually by a couple of inches. Usually there is only a single fin and the nose is more rounded compared to a shortboard.
Despite its large size and weight in comparison to other board types, the longboard is ideal for beginners and more casual surfers. That is because it is easier to catch a wave with such a large board. A beginner can learn paddling and wave-catching techniques much easier aboard these boards. Some designs can make it a more aggressive board though.
A gun board is the ideal board for the big waves. In terms of length, the range for these are from 6 1/2 to 10 feet. Some consider it a bigger version of the shortboard since it also can have a rocker and multiple fins.
The main design of a gun is for handling those big drops while allowing surfers to maintain good speed and control throughout the dive.
The fish board is named for its fish-like shape. Shorter and wider than a typical shortboard, these boards originated as knee boards in the 1970s. Around five to six feet in length, the fish board is more rounded than the other board types.
These boards are good on small waves that break slowly. However, that doesn’t mean these are for beginners. Despite their rounded shape which allows for good balance, the board is still designed to carry speed all the way through the waves, so intermediate and advanced surfers are more ideal for this type of board.
The fun board serves as a transition from the longboard to a smaller-sized board. Therefore, intermediates prefer them. They have better paddling power, but still have good stability because of length (ranging from six to 10 feet). It doesn’t have the width of a fish board, but is still wider than a short board. Therefore, surfers can catch more waves with it. This type is also best for heavier surfers.