Surfboard Choices

What Surfboard Types are available?

Soft surfboards are made from various types of foam with a soft foam core and foam skins, which make the board soft and friendly for the beginning surfer, the surfer wanting to have fun riding the shore break, and surfers worried about getting injured when getting hit by the board when they fall off.

Hard surfboards are made with a special foam core and coated with fiber glass and either polyester or epoxy resin. The boards are considered more for the intermediate or advanced level surfers, although many beginners choose to start with these boards.

Surfboard types are further broken down to categories by size. There are basically 6 categories of surfboards.

  • Short surfboards
  • Long surfboards
  • Funboards
  • SUPs
  • Skimboards
  • Wakeboards

Shortboards are primarily surfboards that are shorter than 7' 0" in length. These boards are commonly referred to as "performance" boards. The shortboards allow the surfer to do more drastic maneuvers such as riding inside the barrel of the wave, making extreme cutbacks, doing floaters, and getting "air". They come in many different shapes, which I will discuss in future articles. There are worldwide contests in this sport.

Longboards are surfboards from 9' 0" to up to 12'0". These boards were popularized by the Hawaiians at Waikiki Beach and then by Tom Morey who held the first Professional Longboard Surf Contest in 1961 and determined that a longboard had to be a minimum of 9' 0" in length. The longboard shows off the surfers style and grace and allows the surfer to ride the board on the nose, which is the classic maneuver for the experienced. There are worldwide contests in this sport.

Funboards are sizes between shortboards and longboards. These boards are just what they sound like, having fun. They are a cross between a long and a short board and the surfer can do many of the maneuvers accomplished on the other types of boards.

SUPs, aka Standup Paddleboards range in size from 7'0" to 18' 0" and sometimes even longer. They have become very popular during the past 10 years and are ridden on all types of water; lakes, rivers, bayous, bays, and oceans. SUPing has become a sport for all age groups. The boards are ideal for cruising, sightseeing, racing, and even surfing. There are worldwide contests in this sport.

Skimboards are short little boards from 36" to 4'6". These boards are used on the shoreline for skimming on as little as ¼" of water. This can also be done on wet lawns. Typically the skimboarder will skim the board from the beach out into the water and then catch a wave back onto the beach. There are worldwide contests in this sport.

Wakeboards are typically shortboards, but could also be the other sizes. These boards are surfed behind boats from a tow rope. More experienced surfers will let go of the rope and ride the wake of the boat.

Choosing the proper surfboard type will bring you enjoyment and you will not only be surfing great waves, but you will be Surfing Life, which will become your lifestyle. Surfing waves will change your whole attitude about life. Does this sound exciting? Yes!

Surfboard Types
Credit: Chuck Herpick