How to choose the ideal Surfboard?
Updated: Jan 25
It has happened to me many times throughout my surfing career that people have asked me what is the perfect surfboard for them. For example: could be a surfboard they saw in the store or a friend who has experience in the sport who is selling them or giving away equipment to get started surfing or improving.
That's all very well so far, but we often forget the main reason for getting a new board, IT MUST FIT OUR STYLE AND THE WAVES WE RIDE FREQUENTLY; and if we ride on a surfboard that doesn't fit us or the conditions it can delay our progress or even worse, create unnecessary frustration that can result in giving up this amazing sport called surfing.
Therefore, it is necessary to understand the function of each part of the surfboard and how we can use it for our needs.
If you want to know more, don't stop reading.
Knowing the main parts of a surfboard is essential since these are present in all types of boards and can also be useful to know which surfboard to choose. In addition, knowing them can help you get the most out of maneuvering in large or small waves. We can differentiate between the parts that are part of the table and the accessories.
Here are the main parts that make up a surfboard:
First of all, we have the nose or front of a surfboard. This is the one that always points forward and, when surfing, it rises a little above the water. Its shape varies depending on the type of surfboard, so it can be pointed or rounded, depending on the case.
Boards with a pointed nose are suitable for large waves, in which you need to achieve a certain speed. These are very aerodynamic and cut the water easily to their sides, which is very useful when making tubes. On the other hand, the round ones have easy paddling and allow floating in the soft tides, for this reason, the nose of the paddle boards are of this type.
Another of the most important parts of a surfboard is the rocker. This is the name given to the curvature of the lower part that goes from the nose to the tail and can be continuous or in phases. The first has a progressive curve, which runs along the entire table including its center. In this case, when the curvature is more pronounced, it is usually said that the table is more "lots of rocker".
A section or phased table divides the rocker into two curves, one for the nose and one for the tail. This is due to a flat section right in the center that separates the parts of a surfboard.
Regardless of whether the table is continuous or sectional, the curves are usually not as pronounced in the nose and tail. In the front, it is usually wide to avoid being stuck in the water while the back carries a larger rocker to improve the maneuverability of the board.
The parts of a surfboard are more pronounced as they are aimed at large waves to suit their shape. And, on the contrary, the rocker presents a much lighter curvature to surf waves of small size and provides greater stability.
The area opposite the nose is known as the Tail. This is the part of the surfboard that sinks into the water when surfing. The shapes of the tail vary much more than in the case of the nose, so we can find variations for different styles.
Squash Tails: Squash tails are square shaped at the back. This shape gives the back of the board more width or volume. This allows the surfer to perform more precise maneuvers as there is more surfboard under your foot to push against. The corners of the squash tail allow you to project your board through turns. This shape is generally considered to be the MOST POPULAR tail shape for the modern surfboard. You will get a nice stable ride but still, be able to perform loose turns. This tail shape is suited to all standards of surfers. This tail shape is great for everything from tiny waves to your huge surf which makes it a very versatile tail shape. These boards are also very responsive. The rounded corners allow the surfboard to be looser giving great turning on the wave.
Rounded Pin Tail: A rounded pin tail is pointed at the back. This shape allows for very smooth cutbacks and turns. This shape of the tail will allow for a better grip on bigger and steeper waves. If you are planning on only surfing smaller messier waves, this tail shape is probably not the best choice. The rounded pin can be great for medium to larger waves and is ideal for powerful surf. The rounded pin tail ensures the lines of the rails (or edges of the surfboards) are smooth. This tail shape was enormously popular with the single fin surfboard. The rounder the pin, the looser the surfboard. A very versatile and smooth surfboard.
Fish Tail: Swallow or Fishtails can be found in all types of surfboards, the two terms are used interchangeably depending on who you talk to. These tails can be great for beginner surfers as well as intermediates as they are so easy to ride. As a general rule swallow or fishtail surfboards can be easier to paddle and can have a better drive on the smaller waves due to the greater area of volume in the tail. Swallow or fish tails have the best of the rounded pin and the squash tail combined. The gap in the V of the tail allows the water to flow freely between the two pins providing the surfboard with a better hold when shifting from rail to rail (turning on the wave). This gives the surfboard more direction and holds on the wave. A V in the tail, such as a fish, will allow the surfer to get through the choppy or messy wave more easily.
Diamond Tail: Not as common tail shape as the others mentioned. The diamond tail is a slight variation of the squash tail but the corners bring the shape back to a point at the back of the board forming a diamond-shaped point. This shape allows the board to be more pivotal for increased turningease as compared to a regular squash tail.
Stringer or soul
Of the different parts of a surfboard, the one that is most often ignored is the soul, since it is not always visible and because its function is unknown. For this reason, it is imperative to know every part of a surfboard and its functions from a beginner's level.
It is the backbone of the construction, which goes from the nose to the tail in the form of a strip at the top. Its most common components are wood or carbon fiber to give it more resistance.
This part of the board is fundamental since without it you run the risk of breaking when falling on it or being dragged by a large wave. Most of the time it is not perceived because it is covered with the design, but in some cases it is visible. This nerve is almost always shaped, but professionals prefer carbon because it is more resistant to more aggressive sea conditions.
During the construction of a table, the rails represent the intersection between the lower and upper surfaces. That is, we talk about the edges of the board, through which you hold on when paddling or letting yourself be carried away by the tide.
Its shape also varies as in the previous parts of a surfboard. We find more rounded or sharp styles. The former offers volume to the board, in addition to a greater capacity to float, despite the conditions. The sharpest rails are those of the speed tables to subtract volume and that there is less friction with the water.
If we want to enhance some features to your surfboard it is also possible to add an accessory.
What are they for?
Surfboard accessories added for better performance. Although they are not included in most models, they are widely used by surfers. Among the main accessories that we can find, we highlight the following:
The fins are located at the back of the board and have a shark fin shape, which gives greater stability to the board. These parts of a surfboard are used for water to pass through it and have more grip on the waves. Some carry up to five, depending on the amount of fixation needed for the surfing style.
Very few surfboards have integrated fins, but the most common is to look for one that presents fins to add. The best option is one with capacity for five and, with it, decide the ideal training for you.
Thruster system: This system consists of three fins, one large in the center and two on either side.
Single Fin: Emerged to help give large, heavy boards some traction and stability. It was refined over time to help produce retention.
Twin Fins: On the other hand, they came into play to give maneuverability and an extra boost.
Quad Fins: This 4-fins configuration offers a lot of grip and acceleration power. Faster and with a good operation in tubes are the most used in the tests of the world circuit as Pipeline. A good choice for large waves, since the enormous amount of water that flows between the fins, achieves greater stabilization for the surfer. Kelly Slater and the writer of this article use them in both small and large waves :)
Leash and the grip
Two other additional parts of great help when surfing are the leash and the grip.
The leash is a rope to tie to your support leg, which is hooked by another piece called a plug. With its plastic cable, you keep in contact with the board so you don't have to swim a long distance to it when you fall.
For its part, the grip: is a kind of sticker for the front and back of the board that provides more grip to your feet. It is an alternative to wax with the advantage of not needing constant maintenance, before going out to the beach.
Now that you know what the main parts of a surfboard are, you can take them into account to choose what type of board and accessories you need and be able to get the most out of it when it comes to surfing.
Cheers up and Pura Vida...!!!