Surfboard Design Features



Surfboard design is probably not something you wondered about much before you started surfing. But once you are looking to buy a surfboard, it is important to understand the different parts of the surfboard and what impact they have on the way the surfboard performs.

The main aspects of the surfboard's anatomy are:
Length - Longer boards paddle faster and more length means more volume of foam which helps with stability.

Width - Wider boards are more stable and easier to use in mushy conditions. Thinner boards are easier to maneuver and surf in hollow waves.

Nose - A thicker nose will help you catch more waves while a thinner nose will allow you to make quick turns and throw some heat.

Tail - There are many tail designs. A thin tail lets you turn easier and a wide tail will add stability. A swallow tail, one with two points will let you make sharp turns but the wider the space between the tips, the harder it will be to switch from rail to rail.

Rocker - The curve of a surfboard's bottom. Boards with more curve can ride steeper waves and boards with flat rockers carry their speed for longer while going in a straight line.

Rails - The sides of the board. The design of a rail changes how a board releases water as it moves forward. Rails can be hard (a sharp corner) or soft (rounded).

Fins - There are a wide variety of fin designs. They can come in 1, 2, 3, 4 or more and some boards have none at all. Fins come in a wide variety of shapes as well, they can be tall, wide and sweep towards the back of the board more or less depending on the intended feel. There is a lot to learn about fins, for more reading, see the article on surfboard fins linked at the bottom of this page.

Bottom Contour - The bottom of the surfboard can have different shapes. When looking from the front, some boards have a V bottom where the center is lower, some are round with a belly and some have a contour where the board has a channel to focus water.

Foil - The distribution of foam from the front to the back of the board. Some board might have more thickness in the front and less in the back which helps with paddling, while other are thicker in the back.
Deck - The top of the board can have a few different shapes that make it easier for you to ride in certain ways. Longboards are typically flatter to make it easy to walk, while some other boards are very rounded, which allows them to have thinner rails.

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