Which surfboards are best?

Whether you’re an avid surfer or want to get into this daring sport, you need a good surfboard to help you catch some waves. The best surfboard depends on a few factors, such as your skill level and overall size. Plus, there are several types of boards, each designed for a specific purpose. Whichever one you choose should feel right for you, no matter where you’re at in your surfing journey.

Types of surfboards

Here are the four main types of surfboards:

  • Shortboards: Often used by professional surfers, these have a narrow shape and are designed to gain speed quickly and make sharp turns with ease.
  • Longboards: Great for both new and experienced surfers, these boards have a large surface area that provides more stability than boards with smaller profiles. They’re especially helpful for those who want to practice or hone their skills.
  • Funshape: Primarily used by novice surfers, funshape boards excel when it comes to maneuverability. They have less surface area than longboards, though, so they’re a little harder to control on the waves.
  • Fish: This type of board is thicker and shorter than other types, so it’s recommended for surfers who already have some experience or who are skilled with certain techniques, such as bottom turns.

Other less common types of surfboards include the Squashtail and SoftTop.

Fins

The fins on a surfboard can help keep you stable while giving you more control over your movements and speed. There are four main types of fins:

  • Single: Often found in longboards, the single fin provides decent speed since it doesn’t drag in the water very much. This makes it easier to make slow, smooth turns. They’re not as stable as boards with more fins, though, making them ideal for medium or smaller waves.
  • Twin: Boards with two fins offer more stability, maneuverability and speed. The main drawback is that it’s more difficult to make bottom turns with these boards. They also excel at medium or small waves.
  • Thruster: Offering both mobility and stability, the thruster fin is a good option. They have three fins in a triangular formation, with the back fin toward the tail of the board. While these are easier to control, they’re usually slower due to drag.
  • Quad: With four fins, this type of board offers a lot of speed and is perfect for surfers who want to make quick turns. It’s a good choice for nearly any wave.

Tails

Another form factor to consider is the surfboard’s tail. These are many types of tails that, when paired with the right placement and number of fins, can affect the amount of control, movement and speed you have while surfing. Here are the main tails:

  • Square or squashed: Best for overall performance, this lets the surfer take sharp turns and maneuver through the waves with ease
  • Round: With less surface area, this tail excels at turning without reducing speed
  • Pin: Best for catching big waves, these provide better control and speed than other tails
  • Swallow or fishtail: This V-shaped tail promotes speed when the waves are calmer
  • Asymmetrical: Built for extreme surfing, this tail can handle nearly any type of turn
  • Thumbtail: Rounder than the squashed tail, this design provides more stability while surfing
  • Roundtail: With a pinched look toward the tail, this one is best for surfing hollow waves

Volume and size

When it comes to picking the right board, the volume and the size both are important factors to consider.

  • Volume: This refers to how much buoyancy the board has. The higher the volume, the more likely you will float on the water, but also the harder it is to make turns and maneuver. Generally, a higher volume is essential for heavier surfers and beginners. Volume is measured in cubic liters and depends on the board type. For example, longboards usually have between 60 and 100 liters, while shortboards have 22 to 35 liters.
  • Size: Surfboards can vary immensely in length and width. Many are around 6 feet long, though some are 7 or more feet long. On average, the width ranges from 18 to 21 inches and is between 2 and 3 inches thick. If you weigh 100 to 140 pounds, choose a board that’s around 6 feet long and 19 inches wide.

Materials

Most surfboards consist of materials such as expanded polystyrene and epoxy resin. Both of these are durable and flexible. Polyester is also common, as is fiberglass.

Design

Surfboards come in different colors and patterns, ranging from solid light colors to darker ones. Some are solid, while others are patterned or have graphic prints.

Besides this, most modern boards come with surfboard leashes and a spot to put them. This is helpful because it can prevent you from losing the board.

8 best surfboards

Wavestorm 8-Foot Surfboard

Wavestorm 8-Foot Surfboard

With a sunburst graphic, this 8-foot-long board is brightly colored with a long line of white, yellow and orange surrounded by dark blue. It has three fins and comes with a removable leash. It consists of a strong foam core and has a textured traction pad. It’s a great entry-level board.

Sold by Amazon

South Bay Board Company Big Betsy

South Bay Board Company Big Betsy

At 5-foot 5-inches, this small board features a five-fin system, making it easy to control. It has 30.9 liters of volume and can support up to 220 pounds. It’s made from wood and has a sturdy expanded polystyrene closed-cell foam core.

Sold by Amazon

Wavestorm 9-Foot Classic Pinline Surfboard

Wavestorm 9-Foot Classic Pinline Surfboard

With a strong expanded polystyrene core and a three-stringer system, this board is highly durable, making it great for novice and intermediate surfers. Since it’s 9 feet long, it’s ideal for bigger waves as it adds stability when surfing at high speeds. It comes with a textured traction pad and can support up to 200 pounds.

Sold by Amazon

Creative Army Five Sugars PU Longboard Surfboard

Creative Army Five Sugars PU Longboard Surfboard

Available in either light blue or double stringer white, this board is made from durable polyurethane and can handle most waves. It has a full nose profile, 2+1 fin design and high volume that enhances stability, control and maneuverability.

Sold by Backcountry

South Bay Board Company 8-Foot Verve

South Bay Board Company 8-Foot Verve

This long surfboard is a great choice for anyone new to the sport. It has three fins, 80 liters of volume and can support up to 225 pounds. Reinforcing the board is a durable fiberglass rod and two wood stringers.

Sold by Amazon

Modern Surfboards Love Child PU Surfboard

Modern Surfboards Love Child PU Surfboard

This surfboard is ideal for those transitioning from beginner to intermediate surfing. It has a low rocker profile that makes turning and moving on waves easier.

Sold by Backcountry

Salt Gypsy Mid Tide Surfboard

Salt Gypsy Mid Tide Surfboard

Available in 6- to 7-foot lengths, this board has a round tail and a single fin design, which gives it great pivot control. As a mid-length cruiser, it’s a great all-around option.

Sold by Backcountry

Thurso Surf Lancer Fish Soft Top Surfboard

Thurso Surf Lancer Fish Soft Top Surfboard

At 5 feet, 10 inches long, this soft top, twin fin board is great for smaller surfers or children. It has a strong expanded polystyrene core and is lightweight. It also has two wood stringers and a fishtail bottom that promotes more traction.

Sold by Amazon

 

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Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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