The sheer amount of different surfboards can make your decision seem like an overwhelming task. The most common and recognizable surfboard shapes are the shortboard, funboard, fishboard and longboard. They all vary in shapes and sizes and provide a vastly different performance on the water. However, finding the perfect board depends on a myriad of things. That is why we made this buyer’s guide so you could find the best surfboard for your needs.

Wider and longer boards are more stable when standing up. Shorter boards turn quicker and are more agile.

Let’s have an in-depth look at different types of surfboards.

Shortboard surfboards

Shortboards are the most agile of all surfboards and provide snappy and quick turns for high performance surfing. Their shape makes them highly maneuverable in a variety of different waves. Shortboards are mainly used by advanced to expert level surfers who require more control from their board. These board styles come in a large variety of sizes, fin setups and materials.

Fish surfboards

While fishes resemble the shortboard shapes, they are slightly wider and shorter in comparison. This leads to ease of use on days when the waves are smaller so you don’t have to paddle as much. Often fish surfboards have a swallow tail to generate speed but the downside of this is that it takes away some of the maneuverability of a shortboard.

Funshape surfboards

Funshapes, or magic carpets, sit comfortably between shortboards and longboards and offer the easy paddling of a longboard with the control of a shortboard – Best of both worlds! These boards are also great for beginners that no longer need a pure-bred longboard but are not yet ready to ride a shortboard. Funshape surfboards range anywhere from 7’2” to 8’6” in length.

Longboard surfboards

Longboards are great for beginners because their length and width offer stability and easier paddling for catching waves. However, this does not mean that they cannot be used by more experienced surfers! For more laid-back sessions and hang-tens (toes hanging from the nose of the board), longboards always give the goods.

SoftTop surfboards

Just like longboards, soft top boards are also great for beginners due to their size and shape. They are exactly what they claim to be – soft on the top for more comfort when paddling out. They are also less prone to dents due to this feature and come in a variety of sizes and materials.

Different tail designs

There are numerous different surfboard tail designs on the market and they have a tremendous impact in how well the board performs.

The squashtail

The squashtail is a great all-round tail. Its loose feel provides the most snap and release due to the wider exit area resulting in easy maneuverability and power on bottom turns. The most versatile tail design!

The roundtail

The roundtail tails provide smooth turns in a variety of different conditions. However, the turning radius is usually longer when compared to the squashtail and therefore it will not offer the same amount of release. Still, the roundtail is a fan-favorite for surfers who enjoy long and flowy turns.

The thumbtail

The thumbtail is closely related to the roundtail but instead of having a skinny tail, it has a a wider and rounder tail. This results in enhanced release but at the expense of the amount of drive it produces. This is mainly due to the wider overall shape of the thumbtail.

The swallowtail

The swallowtail has the tightest turning radius of all tail designs and really comes alive when doing quick changes in direction. Great with twin fins or quads on clean waves.

The diamondtail

Being very similar to the squashtail, the diamondtail shape gives agility in turns due to its shorter rail line. It has a lot of drive and release while still being stable enough for different weather conditions.

The pintail

The pintail offers the most drive of all surfboards but at the expense of maneuverability. Still, a great choice for experienced surfers.

Different types of rails

The rails have a crucial role on performance because it controls the way the water is released under your surfboard. That is why they come in many different styles – for example soft or hard, full hard rail or tapered rail.

Soft rails usually give more float and perform better in smaller surf and longer boards.

Hard rails can be found in smaller high-performance boards and they taper towards the underside of the board for more maneuverability. A great rule of thumb is that the shorter the board, the sharper the edge.

Full rails offer great flotation because of a flatter deck. However, this comes at the expense of mobility due to the amount of foam on the rails. Full rails are mostly used by heavier-built surfers or in boards meant for smaller waves.

The sheer amount of possibilities in surfboard, tail and rail designs give endless possibilities for shapers. In the end, it is up to you to find the best surfboard shape for your riding style.

The rocker

Surfboards can either have a continuous rocker or a staged rocker and they offer different properties in how the board floats and performs. A continuous rocker means that the board has a gradual curve throughout the board. Staged rockers are flat in the middle part of the board for less drag in the water.

A higher nose rocker is usually associated with bigger waves and makes sure your nose stays above water when dropping in on a steep wave. They are highly maneuverable in a number of conditions but the downside of a bigger rocker is that it also provides more drag.

Less nose rocker takes off and planes quicker but has limited mobility when compared to a bigger rocker. A less pronounced rocker also increases the chance of pearling, or dipping your nose at high speed.

A higher tail rocker is usually associated with increased control of the surfboard because it offers more lift when carving. While not the fastest in turns a smaller tail rocker is great in fast or average breaking waves.

Less tail rocker gives a lot of speed due to less drag in the water. However, it does not give you the same amount of control and maneuverability for quick movements when compared to a bigger rocker.

Less center rocker will give you better glide and easier paddling in the water, making it easier to catch waves with.

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