SURFBOARD Length and Size
THREE basic elements for choosing a surfboard are SHAPE, LENGTH and CONSTRUCTION.
1. SURFBOARD SHAPES
SHORTBOARD - For Intermediate to Advanced
The traditional shortboard is the shape most people think of when they think of a surfboard. Pointy nose and refined shape. A shortboard might be classed as anything under around 6 foot 6 inches however the definition is not specific. e.g. for some a 6'3 is a "step-up" board for bigger waves and yet for other heavier guys a 6'6 is their choice for a shortboard.
- Whatever the board size the meaning of shortboard is a board someone chooses for high performance surfing in small to medium waves.
- The main reason shortboards are not good for learners is they are thin and unstable and made for accurate performance surfing. The opposite of what a beginner needs!
FISH SURFBOARDS - For Beginner to Advanced
Fish surfboards are designed to surf smaller waves. They are a similar outline to a shortboard but basically wider and thicker with less rocker (curve). They generally have a swallow tail design and a 2, 3 or 4 fin setup.
Fish used to be the summer board choice for advanced surfers but now many designs and the bigger fish boards are good for some people learning to surf. Fish allow learners to progress beyond the turning limitations of a mini-mal surfboard or a longboard. They are also popular with the "big boys" who want something to rip it up on and with kids who want to look cooler than carrying a minimal.
Intermediate to advanced surfers normally ride a fish that is up to 4-inches shorter than their normal surfboard.
- Perfect for small waves.
- Move quickly over flat sections of the wave.
- easy to maneuver.
- Smooth riding and look great.
- DO NOT perform as well in bigger surf
- Tend to be quite loose.
- Quadfish surfboards are the fastest but can be slightly harder to turn.
MINIMAL (FUNBOARD) - For Beginners to Intermediate
Mini-mal surfboards or funboards are perfect for the person who likes the feel of a longboard but wants more maneuverability. Minimals are easier to carry and manage out in the water but with all the surfing ease of a longboard. They therefore are the best board for learning to surf for kids and smaller adults. Advanced surfers can have fun on one of these on small surf days too!
LONGBOARDS - For Beginners to Advanced
The longboard or malibu surfboard is a modern replica of what the sport was started on. Paddle into what ever you want and hang ten all the way to the beach. Among the most popular boards in the water and for good reason - longboards are easy to start on and always fun.
SOFTBOARD - For Beginners Only
Softboards are for kids or beginners to learn to surf on. The length and width of these soft boards are designed to maximise stability and make them easy to paddle on. The soft construction of the board ensures you don't get hurt during the spills while you still enjoy the thrills.
Softboards limit how far you can progress as they don't turn as well due to the soft fins. Mini-mal's are more popular for the serious learner surfer.
2. SURFBOARD LENGTH
- More float which is going to make it easier to paddle and catch.
- If you are a beginner, seek for a longer size in your range.
- Harder to learn and slow your progress down dramatically.
- The correct surfboard for your body is usually the one that has one hand palm over your head.
- If you ride small-to-medium waves, you can pick a longboard or a funboard/ malibu.
Surfboard length is dependent on a few things:
- Someone with better water fitness and coordination can ride a slightly smaller board.
- A surfer who only surfs occasionally will need a bigger board.
- More time spend in the water, more waves you will catch and less waves you will fall off.
- Bigger board will learn faster with better improvement.
- Your weight is the key determinant of what length board you should choose.
- If you feel you are water fit, coordinated or will get a lot of time at the beach go for the ower end of the suggested scale.
The tables below can be used as a general guide.
The correct surfboard for your body is usually the one that has one hand palm over your head.
If you ride small-to-medium waves, you can pick a longboard or a funboard/ malibu.
3. SURFBOARD CONSTRUCTION
- Surfboards Direct carry all types of surfboards
(Fibreglass, epoxy and softboard surfboards)
- No one type is better for learning.
- Construction is not important as shape and size.
- Each type has slightly different characteristics
(important to your personal preference)
- The most popular and the normal type of surfboard construction.
- Machine shaped to absolute precision measurements and hand finished.
- Most popular due to the attractive traditional gloss and matt finishes.
- Easier & cheaper to fix in the future.
- Use polystyrene foam and epoxy resin.
- Lighter weight boards to make the larger boards easier to carry and handle.
- More durable and more buoyant.
- Popular due to their ability to resist the smaller.
- Glassed using high quality epoxy resin and seamless rails.
- Have a more plastic-looking finish.
- Allow for brighter more vivid colours.
SOFTBOARDS or FOAM SURFBOARDS
- Only for beginners and cheaper price.
- They are safer and you can surf between the flags on a softboard.
- Have a slick or foam bottom much like a boogie board construction.
- Fins are softer/rounder and made of stiff rubber so are less likely to cut you accidentally.
- Do not need to wax because the foam itself is quite grippy.
- Rubber fins are difficult to turn and control.
- Wear a rashvest or wetsuit when using a softboard
- Increased amount of friction.