Performance shortboards today are generally boards found in lengths between 5’6″ and 6’6″. The average width falls between 17 1/2″ and 19 1/2″ and thickness of 2″ and 2 3/4″. Nose widths vary from about 10″ and tail widths usually fall between 13″ and 14 1/2″. These basic dimensions are increased or decreased depending upon the height and weight of the rider.
Recent trends in shortboards feature a slightly flatter rocker, with various subtle concave configurations on the bottom. Virtually all are the basic 3 fin thruster design. The center widths have seemed to creep a bit wider along with slighter wider tails.
Tail configurations vary wildly in shortboard design…squash tails, round tails, along with swallows and occasional wing designs are all widely being ridden.
For the novice surfer, shortboards can be very frustrating…they are difficult to catch waves on and can be very hard to ride in small weak surf. We always suggest beginners to start with a Funboard shape, learn the basics, and advance to a shortboard later.
Fuboards are aptly named because they allow the Surfer to focus on the purest goal of surfing…To have fun! Funboards incorporate all of the elements of modern design including moderate rocker, performance rails and standard tail designs. Funboards normally utilize the standard three fin setup although you can also find them as 4 Fin Quads and 2+1 setups (smaller side fins with a large center fin). Because of their larger volume and length, it allows the riders to paddle, catch waves, and turn effortlessly. Most shapers will agree that for average recreational Surfers, funboards provide the best of both worlds: the paddling power of a longboard and the turning ability of a shortboard all blended into one.
Funboards work very well in small to medium Surf, however, funboards lose their charm in large Surf. The shape is a great all around board that works well for all Surfers, best is best suited to the beginner or a Surfer making a step down in length from a longboard toward a shortboard.
The Modern Fish design is a re-invention of a design that came into prominence in the late 70’s. The original Fish was designed by Steve Lis of San Diego. The design features a full nose, full parallel rails ending in a wide swallow tail. The fins were set near the rails. The design was ridden very short generally between 4’10” and 5’6″. and featured a very loose skaty feel, which worked well in small sloppy surf. Today’s Fish is generally ridden in lengths of 5’8″-6’6″. The widths range from 19 1/2″-21″. The noses fall between 11″-13″ and the tails range from 14″-15″. Some designs have wings and most bottoms have generally flatter rocker for increased speed. Today’s fishes are ridden as twins, thrusters and now even Quad 4 fins, although many of the 3 fin configurations use bigger side fins and a smaller trailer fin. Because of the added width, Fishes tend to ride flat on the wave and don’t transition from rail to rail very well making them difficult to surf vertically. However, the flat rocker and quick planing make this very fast design that loves to race down the line and blast past slow sections on a wave. The Fish is best for intermediate to advanced Surfers.
Guns are serious surfboards for serious surfers. They are designed for riding on the largest days of the year. Chances are if you need this type of board you’re probably not reading this except for the sake of education. Guns are often thought of as a survival tool rather than a performance design, because only the best of designs would be used to survive the giant waves ridden on the beasts.
The objective in Big Wave Surfing is to get into the wave early, get down the face and make the wave. These boards have vee bottoms which create suction and control, essentially holding you on to the face of the wave. The last thing a Surfer wants in giant Surf is to spin out at the bottom of a twenty or thirty foot wave!
Guns need to be thick with the wide point slightly forward of center for maximum paddling efficiency and to help cover a lot of ground in a very short time. Guns are normally thrusters or single fins. This type of board is for expert Surfers only.
Since the Longboard resurgence in the late 80’s, the Modern Longboard has truly gone through a revolution in design. While many longboarders prefer the wider, flatter, heavier ride that Traditional Longboards deliver, there’s another group of Surfers that want to push the limits and use all the benefits that a longboard delivers while still doing Shortboard maneuvers. These demands have produced a newer longboard design…the High Performance Longboard.
High performance Longboards are narrower than their traditional brothers, with widths of 21 1/4″-22″. They have increased rocker to allow for faster maneuvers. many Performance Longboards feature greatly increased rocker right in the last 1′-2′ of the tail. They are also thinner with thickness ranging from 2 1/2″-2 7/8″. Almost all feature either a three fin thruster design or a 2+1 fin setup. Many also feature high performance rails and various concave bottom configurations. The magic Model is without a doubt one of the most high performance Longboards ever produced!
Murphy competitor. While the high performance design is much more maneuverable than the standard longboard…there are also drawbacks. While they are usually much lighter than the standard, this is because they are generally glassed much lighter, usually without the final gloss coat. This make them more fragile than the Standard design. Because of their increased rocker, they do not glide as well as the stock designs, but under the feet of an advanced longboarder they are able to reach mach speeds all the while blasting from turn to turn!
Longboards are loved and hated by all. If you’re riding a longboard, you love riding them. If you’re on a shortboard chances are you’ll hate all the longboarders in the line-up. The truth is, riding a longboard puts you as close to the roots of surfing as possible.
On a board that catches any wave with ease, you’ll increase your wave count riding one. You’ll learn or re-learn the simple joy of wave riding. Because of it’s length, width, and thickness, longboards are often referred to as Tankers. The Longboards straight rail line makes it trim effortlessly down the line but requires strength and good technique to perform. Noserider Longboards are often thicker and bulkier with concave in the nose. Most Traditional Longboard bottoms utilize vee, blending from the center and flowing off the tail. Longboards work in any size waves and for Surfers of any skill level from first timers to life long Surfers.