Among all kinds of sports, surfing requires the most intricacy. I only mean the proper equipment choosing step.
In the world of surfing equipment, the surfboard is an irreplaceable piece. Without a good unit, we cannot ride the waves.
Purchasing the right surfboard is even more perplexing than learning how to surf itself. However, if you know about the types of surfboards, surfboard shapes, and surfboard size chart, things are more straightforward.
After a deep research, we’ve compiled the list of surfboard types. Hope that it can help surfers expand their horizons!
Types of Surfboards
How can we define a surfboard? It can be any buoyant elongated board that we use in the surfing sport.
However, it does not mean that all boards give you the same surfing experience. Only when you have proper equipment can you enjoy fun discovering the water world.
Surfboards come in various sizes and shapes. Usually, they divide them into different categories based on their shapes and the best way to ride it.
The most common surfboard types are longboard, shortboard, funboard, hybrid, gun, and fish. Also, they group other designs into other categories.
Our article focuses on highlighting the major differences among all common types of surfboards available in the market.
Below are brief descriptions of each type.
Shortboard – For Both Intermediate and Advanced Surfers
Some handy information about shortboards:
- From 5.6 feet to 6.4 feet in length
- From 16 inches to 19 inches in width
Shortboards, also called as thrusters, are popular among competition-style surfers. Generally, they come with a rounded square tail.
They sacrifice maneuverability and ease-to-paddle for the sake of buoyancy, control, power, and speed. These high-performance surfboards are only great for advanced riders.
Beginners might find it hard to paddle shortboards. But, experienced surfers can turn and control them without moving their feet.
NOTE: the weaker the waves are, the harder it is to generate speed.
Longboard (Log or Cruizer) – Great For Surfers of All Levels
Some handy information about longboards:
- From 8.0 feet to 11.0 feet in length
- About 20 inches in width
- More than 2.5 inches in thickness
Out of all surfboard designs, the longboard is the oldest and most traditional one. It has enough volume for almost all types of surfers.
It features a rounded nose and an extra volume making it more stable on the waters.
Also, they allow riders to control the board itself and catch waves without any difficulty. The smaller the waves are, the more perfectly it performs.
A longboard is the best option for any beginners. It helps those with little surfing experience explore wave selection, drop-knee turning techniques, and paddling basics.
Skillful longboarders are famous for their smooth surfing style. But, due to its size, a longboard is hard to turn and not suitable for hollow surf.
Foamboard (Foamies) – For Beginners
Some handy information about foamboards:
- From 5.0 feet to 7.0 feet in length
- At least 20 inches in width
Beginners will find foamboards a great option. Each foamie comes with a handful of features to provide stability to the fullest.
The foam construction makes it much easier to stand up on and catch waves. Moreover, staying afloat on the surface for hours is not a big deal.
Also, it offers more volume and prevents you from hurting yourself or other riders around you. Foamboarders can get the most of their surfing time while still enjoying all foamie’s benefits. So, it is really common in surf schools.
NOTE: The larger your foam surfboard’s size is, the faster you can learn to catch white waves.
Funboard (Minimal) – Great For Beginner Surfers And Intermediate Riders
Some handy information about funboards:
- From 6.6 feet to 8.0 feet in length
- From 20 inches to 22 inches in width
- From 2.5 to 3 inches in thickness
They possess a rounded tail and wide nose. Funboards have excellent features of both shortboards and longboards.
The shortboards’ turning ability provides greater balance and a smoother ride. The longboards’ paddling power helps riders catch waves with ease. They are suitable for inexperienced surfers in any wave conditions.
However, they work best on small and medium waves. The more critical the wave conditions are the less fun your funboards get.
Gun-shaped Surfboard – Great For Advanced Surfers Only
Some handy information about gun-shaped surfboards:
- From 6.6 feet to 12.0 feet in length
- From 20 inches to 22.5 inches in width
- From 2 ½ to 3 1/8 inches in thickness
Gun-shaped surfboards are ideal for advanced surfers only. They call it gun surfboard because it can hunt down any huge surf.
The extra length helps surfers to speed up while paddling to catch the giant and quickly moving waves. This board with maximum rail contact is great for big drops and steep waves.
In the most challenging conditions, it can handle incredibly high speeds with great balance and control. The significant amount of rocker and various fins make it easy to control even in big wave surfing.
Fish-shaped Surfboard – Great For Both Beginners and Intermediate Surfers
Some handy information about fish-shaped surfboards:
- From 6.0 feet to 8.0 feet in length
Beginners and intermediate surfers looking for the best performance in small waves can rely on fish-shaped surfboards. This design has been popular since the 1970s. And these days, we recommend it for any local break.
This surfboard is super flat, wide, and thick with a rounded nose, huge tail and bit of rocker. All of the excellent features allow it to paddle and reach high speed with ease through any waves’ flat sections.
You can bring them to the beach and have fun outdoors when the waves are small and messy. Typically, they are wider and shorter than shortboards. Ideally, a shortboard should be 2-6 inches longer than a fish-shaped one.
Hybrid Surfboard – For Novices and Intermediate-advanced Surfers
Some handy information about hybrid surfboards:
- From 6.6 feet to 8.4 feet in length
A hybrid surfboard is a winning combination of exceptional features of various types of surfboards.
The tail design of a fish-shaped surfboard ensures the ultimate stability. The performance-oriented characteristics offer a smooth ride in any surfing conditions.
Surfers with larger body frame still consider this small board second to none.
Bodyboard (Boogie Board)
Bodyboards are among the safest models in smaller waves. That’s why they are suitable for different age groups.
They often use wood, fiberglass, foam, or polystyrene to make boogie boards. They are not only cheap but also durable and give us a lot of fun.
SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) – For Advanced Surfers Only
Some handy information about stand up paddleboard:
- From 7.0 feet to 12.0 feet in length
SUP is Hawaii-originated and now one of the most popular surfboards. It is the greatest way to contemplate the outdoors’ beauty, but only in the small waves. Unfortunately, beginners might find it hard to control.
Other less common surfboards are alaia, mini simmons, bonzer, and tow in board.
Pop-out Surfboard – Great For Novices and Intermediate Surfers
If you want to save time on the first lessons, pop-up surfboards are the best choice. They take a beginner with almost no experience to the intermediate level without buying a new one.
Pop-up is the simplest method to build a surfboard. Usually, they use thick resin or molded plastic to build pop out surfboards. Due to the materials, they are less than perfect for more intensive and expert surfers.
What’s greatest is that they have a great resale value. If you want to trade up to a greater unit, pop-up boards are worth considering. The downside is that they are heavier and harder to duck dive the than handmade counterparts.
Soft Surfboard – Only Great For Novices
Soft surfboards often have a shorter life than the pop-up ones. However, the soft construction means that there is almost no chance of hurting yourself. So, regardless of the size, it is suitable for all riders as their first surfboard.
For kid beginners, a six-foot surfboard is perfect. Meanwhile, adult beginners should go for an eight-foot unit.
The tradeoff is that a soft surfboard is quickly outgrown. Additionally, only regular surfers can take full advantage of a new one.
If you are purchasing your surfboard from a retail store, tell the salesperson about your surfing skills. Asking for his/her advice is never a bad idea.
Otherwise, write the expected dimensions down and stay close as much as possible.
How To Choose A Right Surfboard?
There are a lot of board models in the market, each of which is suitable for a specific age, wave condition, and body frame. Thus, doing some research first is not a bad idea.
Selecting the right surfboard is among the most essential and complicated decisions you have to make.
If you are new to the surfing industry, you might find it hard to choose a perfect surfboard. Before choosing which model to purchase, you have a few things to take into consideration. Here are some of the most important points:
Your Surfing Skills
Each surfboard type suits a certain surfing skill level. That’s why you should determine which model to buy based on your surfing skills and styles.
If you do not have many surfing experiences, all you need is an affordable yet durable board. It can be a soft surfboard, longboard, or funboard. It can range from 7ft to 10ft. The longer it is, the easier it is to control and balance.
Regardless of the type and size, the best beginner surfboard should promise a smooth and stable ride in any wave conditions. To do that, it should feature a wooden stringer, a slick bottom, and a sturdy deck.
Those who have passed the first surfing lessons and mastered the soft board should get a fiberglass board. Otherwise, a shortboard or a fish-shaped board is a good idea. They can help you do some tricks.
Once you’ve mastered the shortboard, let’s move on to a much thinner one! If you want to experience the 20-foot barrel waves, all you need is a specialized surfboard. It should be at least 7 feet long and come with a slender frame.
TIP: How to develop your surfing skills? The more hours you spend practicing a session, the better your techniques are in this session.
The perfect surfboard varies according to different surfing conditions.
- Incredibly big and critical waves: All you need is a longer surfboard with higher volume. A gun-shaped surfboard is the best option.
- Good, steep, and powerful waves: a thinner and narrower surfboard
- Small and weak waves: a thicker and wider surfboard
In the hollow and huge waves, a shortboard promises adrenaline yet smooth rush.
The surfing conditions are not always picture-perfect, though. Using a shortboard in rolling waves means struggling to catch every single short-lived wave. In this case, it is much better to bring a fish-shaped surfboard with you.
In recent years, there have been a lot of innovations in surfboards’ design and construction.
Construction is not the most critical factor when you choose the best type of surfboard. However, there are several minor differences that might influence your personal decision.
So now you have known the best surfboard shape to help you improve your skills. It’s high time to find out the best construction for your boards!
- Epoxy Surfboard: stronger and lighter (depending on a particular construction)
- Fiberglass Surfboard: budget-friendly and easier to fix
- Foam Surfboard: cost-effective
Surfers with a large body frame should opt for a wider and thicker surfboard to keep them afloat. Determining the optimal “float” amount for riders and their surfboard is necessary as there is a fine line between “too floaty” and sinking.
Another essential factor to consider when choosing a surfboard is your weight. Ideally, your surfboard should 1 foot longer than you. For example, provided that you are 5ft6 tall, your board should be 6ft6 in length.
That way, whenever you catch waves, the surfboard’s nose will not dip into the water.
Once you’ve got better at the basic tricks, challenge yourself with a shorter board. Not only does it help you make sharper turns but it also improves your maneuverability.
Besides the width, height, and thickness, a surfboard’s volume is also an important factor to consider when choosing an ideal unit. We can calculate the volume by multiplying length x width x height.
These days, they use computers to design boards. Therefore, regardless of the types of surfboards, volumes are exact. They often write volumes on boards or display them alongside each other.
Your Fitness Level
Surfing is among water sports requiring much fitness. If you are a skateboarder, snowboarder, or wakeboarder, you will have no difficulty jumping right onto a surfboard.
However, those who don’t often play sports should pick a longer board.
A fish-shaped board or a longboard with more buoyancy sounds more fantastic. For those who are somewhere in the middle, a bigger shortboard or a funboard is not a bad idea.
NOTE: Regardless of your fitness level, it might take a few weeks of daily surfing to master the basics of surfing.
Which Surfboard Size Should You Choose?
WAIT! Here are some key points helping you pick the right surfboard:
- A beginner needs a wider and longer board than an experienced surfer;
- Those who surf one day a week need a larger board than those who practice surfing every day;
- A too small surfboard does not help you improve your skills.
Surfboard Size Chart
|Weight||Longboard’s Length||Funboard’s Length||Shortboard’s Length|
|100 – 140 pounds||7’0″ – 7’4″||6’2″ – 6’4″|
|140 – 160 pounds||7’2″ – 7’8″||6’4″ – 6’8″|
|140 – 180 pounds||9’0″ – 9’6″|
|160 – 180 pounds||7’6″ – 8’0″||6’6″ – 6’10”|
|180 – 200 pounds||9’2″ – 9’8″||7’10” – 8’4″||6’10” – 7’4″|
|More than 200 pounds||9’6″ – 9’8″||8’2″ – 8’6″||+ 7’4″|
For Intermediate Surfers
|Weight||Longboard’s Length||Funboard’s Length||Shortboard’s Length|
|100 – 140 pounds||6’0″ – 6’4″||6’0″ – 6’4″|
|140 – 160 pounds||6’2″ – 6’6″||6’2″ – 6’6″|
|140 – 180 pounds||9’0″ – 9’4″|
|160 – 180 pounds||6’4″ – 6’8″||6’4″ – 6’8″|
|180 – 200 pounds||9’2″ – 9’6″||6’8″ – 7’2″||6’8″ – 7’2″|
|More than 200 pounds||9’2″ – 9’8″||+ 7’2″||+ 7’2″|
How To Protect Your Surfboards?
Here are our tips to protect your surfboards:
- Get the right surfboard bag
- Be careful when you leave your house with surfboards under your arms
- Properly stack your boards in your bags
- Pay more attention to danger zones such as tail, fin, rails, and nose
- People-watching when surfing. Avoid getting too close to beginners.
- We know how tricky it is to move a big surfboard from the shores to the water. However, never drag your friend on the sand.
- Use a soft towel to reduce direct contact between your surfboard and your car straps
- Don’t let your surfboards expose to UV
How Much Does A Surfboard Cost?
There is no fixed answer to this question. The price varies according to the types of surfboards as well as their materials and construction.
- New soft surfboards range from $250 to $400
- -New shortboards range from $500 to $700
- New longboards range from $600 to about $1500
You can get better deals by purchasing used boards.
What Are The Best Surfboard Manufacturers?
Surfing is one of the most favorite water sports in the world. It comes as no surprise that there are a lot of surfboard manufacturers in the market.
It is not fair to say which one is much better than others. We just want to share our personal favorites. They are Channel Islands, Surftech, Lost, Rusty, Firewire, Huna, Rip Curl, Gordon & Smith, Santa Cruz, Haydenshapes.
How To Safely Transition From A Longboard to A Mid-length Surfboard or A Shortboard?
- Take it slow
- Wait for perfect surfing conditions
- Tighter position
- Make sure you’ve been excellent at the first lessons
Which Type Of Surfboard Will I Choose?
Riders of different levels need different types of surfboards. So, it is challenging to recommend a surfboard for all of you. However, if you know where to start and what to look for, things are much easier.
- A beginner who hasn’t mastered catching waves should surf with a longboard.
- An intermediate surfer can have fun with a hybrid surfboard or a funboard.
- An advanced rider should catch waves with a shortboard.
- Surfers of all levels with have a lot of fun with a fish-shaped surfboard. It is incredibly light for kids to bring around. It is wide and buoyant enough for adults to improve their skills.
What do you think about our ideas? Share with us in the comment box below!