Surfboard Designs Explained

  • The Longboard. As the name would suggest, this is a surfboard that can be anywhere in length from about 8′ to 10′ 6″, but many lie in the 9′ range. The longboard is the closest surfboard design available today to the original wooden surfboards ridden by the Hawaiians. Longboards are a popular choice as they are ideal surfboards for beginners, and favorites with many veteran surfers as well. Longboards are a great selection for beginners as they are long and wide, making them easy to paddle, easy to float, and very stable. This makes them easy for the less experienced to catch a wave and stay on. Longboards can also be a very forgiving surfboard for the surfer who has gained a few pounds and no longer has the physique of Kelly Slater. Longboards can come with several different fin setups including a single fin, thruster, or 2 +1.
  • The Shortboard is pretty much the opposite of a longboard in most ways. First up, the length is a lot shorter, hence the name. Secondly, due to the fact that they are thinner they are not as forgiving as a longboard and are best appreciated by experienced surfers on quality waves. Most shortboards will have a thruster fin setup. To pick up speed, shortboards require constant turning, allowing for great maneuvering. A shortboard will be a frustrating experience for the beginner surfer as there will not be enough stability or flotation to successfully catch a wave.
  • The Fish Surfboard is a newer surfboard design. Fish surfboard designs feature a board that is wider and shorter, with a flatter rocker, than a traditional surfboard. Fish surfboards also have a distinctive swallow tail. Fish surfboards are an excellent choice for surfers looking for fun on soft mushy waves. Fish surfboards will make a slow wave seem much faster, but their design can make them a little too loose for some surfer’s liking. Fish surfboards have great flotation and are easy to paddle and catch waves, making them a great choice for a surfer with a little experience.
  • The Funboard is a blend in surfboard design between a longboard and a shortboard. These surfboards are longer than a shortboard, allowing for easier paddling and catching of waves. However they are not so long that they can’t be turned easily. This surfboard design is great for small to medium waves, but not ideal for big waves. Funboards are well suited to the surfer looking to have some fun out in the water, and can be a great selection for beginner and intermediate surfers. Funboards usually have a standard rail shape, moderate rocker, and a thruster fin setup. This surfboard design is a great all round surfboard.

Surf A Bodyboard Once

Because of this amazing little board, millions have ridden their first wave. Today on any shoreline, you will see kids and adults of all ages riding these fun little boards. Although there are many different sizes, the original size was 42 ½”. Tom Morey said that he came up with this size because the Post Office had size limits and did not charge extra for boxes up to this size.

I should explain here that a bodyboard is not really a board. They are often referred to as a “sponge” because they are made from foam. The most common material used to make a bodyboard is polyethylene foam as the core, deck and side rails, with the bottom made from a serlyn hard and slick foam skin.

The boogieboard was the start of something new in surfing. Everyone could ride this little board. The people did not need to be experienced in the water. All they had to do was get in waist deep water and wait for the wave to come and let the water push them into shore. Young and old alike would ride up onto the beach with a big smile on their faces considering themselves surfers. Go to any shoreline in the summer and watch all of these happy new surfers.

It wasn’t long until Morey was selling the boogieboard in all of the surf shops, department stores, and also as a kit. Kids loved the kits because they could add their own individual decorative personal taste to their new boogieboard. Pretty soon they started getting real good at riding waves using swimfins as a way to pick up speed before catching the wave so that they could catch the wave before it crested and broke. Surfing all summer in their trunks and then into the winter with their wetsuits developed a new class of surfers. A professional Bodyboard Tour developed over the years and is still active today. The prestige event is held every year at the Pipeline on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. Mike Stewart the world renowned bodyboarder has won this contest 10 times.

At first, the beginners were riding the waves straight in, but as they got better they started riding the shoulder of the wave and going across the wave as it broke behind them. This is how the boardsurfers rode waves and this became the norm for the boogieboard riders with experience. By going across the wave, the bodyboarder develops great speed and gets the feeling that he or she is flying. The next step was doing rolls, spins, flips and aerials and other radical maneuvers that are beyond description.

It didn’t take long before the boogieboarders started interfering with the surfers and invading their territory, which were the best spots to catch waves. This created a lot of animosity in the beginning, but in most cases this problem has been worked out by the surfers and bodyboarders themselves showing mutual respect for each other. However, to make sure there was no trouble and to keep the soft “sponges” away from the hard surfboards for safety reasons, many beaches changes the rules and flew what they called a “blackball” flag to designate separate areas for surfboards and bodyboards.

But, I am digressing. What happens after the “new” surfer rides his or her first wave? The first thing they do is to go out and ride another wave and then another and another. It is like getting an infection and not having antibiotics to stop it. It just keeps getting worse and worse or better and better as in the case of surfing, because these new surfers are having so much fun. They become addicted to surfing. Once you catch your first wave, there is no turning back. You are hooked forever!

Many of these new bodyboarders are satisfied to never leave the shoreline and ride the white water or the small little shore break for the rest of their surfing lives, but many take the next step and go out into the lineup and learn to catch waves like the more experienced bodyboarders and the boardsurfers. Modern day bodyboards ride the board using a style called the drop-knee. This is where they are up on one knee riding in a semi upright position.

Many of the bodyboarders cross over to surfboards and ride both surfboards and bodyboards. Some switch permanently to surfboards. Surfing is like life, you have a lot of choices most of which are good.

The little bodyboard has added so much fun to so many millions of people’s lives. Have you ever seen a young kid on his knees or standup riding his boogieboard? How about a dad or mom riding theirs together with their youngster on the front of the board?

Tom Morey had a real vision when he designed and made the first boogieboard. He wanted a board that was soft, friendly, safe and without fins. The Morey Boogie was an offshoot of the canvas air mattresses called a Surfrider that he surfed back in the ’40s and ’50s as a young kid. Thank you Mr. Morey!

One big advantage for many people for surfing a bodyboard is the price you pay for them. They are affordable. Beginners can buy one for as little as $30, but as you get more experienced you will want one that is professionally made and designed for more advanced surfing. You will want one that is more durable, made with better foam cores and supported with internal rods to keep them from bending and breaking in the bigger surf. These more advanced bodyboards will sell for as much as $200 up to $300.

So my friends, you can see how this little board called a boogieboard or bodyboard, whichever you prefer, has changed the lives of millions of people throughout the world. There was a movie made called “Step Into Liquid” where they filmmakers took bodyboards to Ireland and put the Protestant and Catholic kids in the water surfing them together. There was no fighting as you would expect, only laughter and fun. This little board changed a hatred for each other that had been taught to them since childhood.

Tom Morey wrote the song “Buy Yourself a Boogie” with the wording “it will bring you a lot of fun”. It has brought fun and excitement to millions of people.

So my friends, if you haven’t already done so, go buy yourself a boogie and have some fun. You will be hooked for life! You will understand what it means to Surf Life and you will be able to apply this feeling to your everyday life!

Oak Street Surf, [http://www.oakstreetsurf.com], is an online surf shop representing the latest surfboard products. You can get a good review of top of the line surfboard types and designs including bodyboards, skimboards, SUPs and custom longboards and shortboards.

You can talk with Chuck to discuss in detail the various options for you to ensure that you select the proper surfboard type and design that will bring you surfing fun and success.

Chuck believes that surfing, whether it is bodysurfing, boogie boarding, board surfing, skimboarding or riding a Standup Paddleboard (SUP) will change your life forever. You will be able to apply the love you will obtain from surfing to everything you do and will learn how to Surf Life! What a joy!!

Catch More Waves and Get Surf Fit Fast

Conditioning with correct land and water based strength movements, exercises and drills can excel a surfers performance, reduce the likelihood of injury, enhance endurance and increase performance consistency every time you surf. This is especially true if you wish to surf well both now and in the future. The thing is, there is a fine line between doing what is beneficial and what is not. There is also a fine line between balancing time spent on your board and time spent performing surf specific fitness to bring about the best and fastest results.

Let me explain. World class coaches consider time as one of the most important training variables to consider whenever they prescribe sport conditioning programs. Time under tension is a strength and conditioning variable that dictates the outcome of any exercise or movement, therefore extremely relevant to every repetition and every set during your training. Coaches also consider total training time for each individual and each workout, while also taking into account the law of diminishing returns. In the training world this translates to mean that the longer you strength train at any one time then the lower the output or results you can achieve.

For surfing training and conditioning this often further translates into a basic truth we all tend to forget. Less is more. Especially in today’s modern world where we are often time starved to surf train in the first place. In order to improve explosiveness and power (speed x strength) at the same time as developing paddling power and endurance, while also building a strong and supple surfing body, it is of paramount importance we play particular attention to time under tension and total training times. Put simply, spend your time wisely when performing surfing strength conditioning so that you get the most bang for your buck.

It doesn’t matter if your a complete novice just getting your feet wet or a seasoned pro on the world tour, having a functional surfing body will always equate to better performance in the water. A functional surfing body means good physical alignment and structural integrity which is why so many athletes focus on posture and incorporate things like yoga and dynamic flexibility into their routines. Remember, good surfers are good athletes. Period. Great surfers must therefore be great athletes. People tend to forget this obvious fact. It’s a pretty simple concept. Why should surfers be any different from other athletes?

In most cases this means short, sharp, surf specific workouts are better than longer draining sessions. ‘Train don’t Drain’ is another well know conditioning phrase that expert coaches throw around because it is all too common for exercisers to follow over zealous training programs that lead to energy depletion rather than energy cultivation. This is particularly relevant to surfers who need to be ready to perform at anytime.

You see strength and conditioning is one of the best things to quickly improve your surfing performance yet can hamper your goals if training parameters or movements are not specific to your sport, body and lifestyle. Why do you think professional athletes have coaches? We are not the same and every exercise or training methodology is not suitable for every athlete.

Choose the Right Fin Setup for Surfboard

  • Thruster
    This setup uses three fins of the same size, providing both stability and drive. This is a combination many amateurs appreciate so is a popular choice. They are organised in a triangular pattern, with the central fin the furthest towards the rear. Often used by professionals as well as amateurs, the thruster is popular because it works in a range of conditions. However, for amateurs it may be difficult in certain conditions as straight line surfers will experience more drag.
  • Twin
    Common on modern board shapes, the twin setup uses two fins, as the name suggests. Many surfers choose this option as it is ‘looser’, meaning it provides more turn and movement. There are many ways to set this design up too, meaning it can be personalised for a rider’s requirements. There are two main reasons why surfers choose this setup: speed and manoeuvrability. It allows the board to turn quickly and in exactly the right place. There is also less drag because of the twin setup, increasing speed in all directions. The only problem that may arise is when the surf gets bigger and a bit rougher, making the board more difficult to control.
  • Quad
    Another choice for surfers is the quad setup, using four fins to ride the waves. The setup is known for being fairly quick as it lets the water escape out of the back of the surfboard, reducing drag. Another factor, which may not necessarily be relevant to amateurs, is that the quad setup works well in larger conditions.

Etiquette to Follow in Wave Surfing

Pay respect to the local surfers- Most of us are passionate about this hobby we have and like to spread the knowledge. This goes for any hobby but most especially for those with tight knit communities. Many surfers are more than willing to teach you the ins-and-outs of surfing, the tides of your local beach, how to paddle out without being pounded to a sandbar and the courtesy involved with the sport. If you are new in the sport, ask for help.

Purchase the right board for your surfing area- if the area has a small surf wave, don’t buy short surf boards. Short boards often plow through the water and make it difficult to paddle fast in catching small waves. Small boards usually feature a stomp pad on the back which is often used in extremely tight maneuvers like cutbacks. When you are unsure about what board to get, you can ask for the help of the surf-shop employees of the shop found in your locality.

Use the right wax for your conditions – This is important. One of the things that can frustrate you the most is when you are out in the water and you keep on slipping off the board because you have the wrong wax. There are two kinds of wax, typically. The cold-water wax is softer and stickier than wax that is for warm water. If your water is cold enough that this kind of wax will not melt, then use it. Warmer weather, however, is problematic for cold-water wax since it has a low melting point and will run off the board leaving your fiberglass board slippery and you will fall off every time you try to stand up.

Surf the outside break- there are a lot of newbie surfers who try to surf wave on the shore break. This could be the most common mistake. These aren’t the waves that people surf. If you surf these you will never get any significant ride. You will also put your surf board to be damaged if you surf the shore break- the skeg or the stabilizing fin located at the bottom of the surfboard can get caught in the sand and snap off which sends you off flying into the sand. Look for sandbars where the waves break away from the shore. This would let you surf wave on the deep enough water over the sand bar without breaking your board. It also gives you room to maneuver.

If you live in a cold climate, do not go surfing in winter – It may be tempting, and the waves are often best in winter. A number of surfers do surf during the winter but that is not a wise thing to do. Surfing in the cold water of winter can bring about a condition called “surfer’s ear.” This is that growth in the ear that would let you lose an essential amount of hearing in that specific ear. It is caused by cold water entering the ear canal. Surfing waves during the winter season is definitely not worth it, trust me.

Learning Surf Like a Pro

There is a very fine art to surfing that you will develop over long hours out in the open water. In the beginning it is helpful to go to a surfing academy to learn the basics of surfing, and to be instructed by professionals on how to surf properly. It is also possible to learn how to surf on your own, but you can speed the process up quite a bit by going to a surfing school or at least taking a few classes whenever possible. You will find yourself progressing much faster if you choose to do this.

Along with learning how to surf by attending surfing school, the quality of the surfing gear you have will also play a major role in how quickly you get better. Cheaper and lower quality surfing gear will impede your progress and also dampen your enthusiasm along the way, so it is definitely advisable to go out of your way to purchase some quality surfing gear if you are serious about this sport. You can find a lot of high quality surfing apparel and surf boards at various online stores selling the latest products from the world’s best surfing manufacturers. It is also easy to find good deals on this stuff by purchasing it from online stores.

Surfing gear can be purchased at numerous online retailers as well as at local stores, so make sure to have a good look around. It is quite likely that you will find a variety of price ranges too, so if you are concerned about landing a good deal it is recommended to search carefully. By checking out various options it will definitely not be long before you find the perfect board and the perfect gear to go along with it. This will help you out a lot on your way to becoming a pro surfer.

Surfing is a lot of fun, but to get better you need to have the right gear. Make sure to look at a number of stores and check out the latest in special deals and offers online. Like this you will soon have everything you need to make it as a pro surfer in the future.

Ways to Stay Surf Fit

Four or five hours a day paddling around is bound to keep you ‘fit to surf’.
But after ten years of riding everything that rolled up at my local beach and suffering frost bitten fingers, toes, nuts and nose in the depths of a Cornish winter, I did start to think I was a little bit obsessed with the whole surfing thing. I mean, crunching your way down to the waterline through 3 inches of snow. Paddling out and suffering a dozen ‘ice cream headaches’ in quick succession only to look back towards the beach and see huge icicles hanging from the cliffs.
Pretty special but it was cold!!

Then somebody put me on a mountain bike & I was instantly set free. The adrenalin rush was just as good (if not better at the time) than my beloved surfing. I could not believe I had missed out on this fantastic rush all these years.

Setting off down a steep narrow muddy forest track was just the best feeling. Racing around blind corners only to find an even steeper drop than before or a granny walking her dog, angrily shaking her walking stick. I even got a sick pleasure out of the uphill bits!
It was real good to find another sport that I enjoyed just as much as surfing and was also seriously good exercise.

I’ve also always enjoyed swimming up to a point. Splashing around as a kid at the local pool with your mates was always great fun. But when it comes to swimming miles, up and down the same old pool looking at the same broken tiles, Length after length, same same same. How boring! I even spotted a turd rolling around one day! It sort of put me off public swimming pools.
Now I get in the Ocean with a mask and snorkel. When it’s flat calm its usually good visibility and great for checking out the pretty fish on the reef. I started on this one because I hadn’t been snorkeling for years and now I live in Thailand I figured it was time to see what was lurking under the surface of the Andaman Ocean.

Once I had got to know each fish personally and we were on first name terms, I sort of got bored with the reef so I started to venture out a bit and before I knew it I was swimming a triangular circuit out to a big yacht anchored a good 600 metres of the beach, back to the other end of the beach from where I started and then along the beach to my starting point.

This was great, lots more fun than a dodgy swimming pool. The mask and snorkel cancelled out all that breathing technique you had to have mastered if you wanted to swim any distance. There is lots to see and with the mask it’s like watching a Jacques Cousteau documentary on a wide screen TV. So again, it’s great exercise and means staying in shape is a much more fun.
Now pardon me for going all ‘hippy’ but lately I’ve taken to the ancient art of Yoga. I’ve always had respect for folks that practice Yoga but have found it a bit embarrassing to be lying around the beach stretching and contorting in all manner and form. I practice secretly in my bedroom so as to reduce the risk of having sand kicked in my face.

It really does make you feel much stronger and extra bendy. In the words of an expert on the subject ‘Yoga focuses the mind, strengthens the body and invigorates the spirit”. Just what you need when you’re pulling in to those ‘spitting barrels’.

Choose Surfboard Fins

First, consider these fin characteristics:

  • Depth – The maximum height of a fin as measured from the bottom surface of the board. This shows how far the fin goes in the water. The hold of the surfboard increases with more depth but generally makes it harder to turn as well. 3-4 inch depth is standard on tri-fins and longboard single fins typically have a depth of nine inches.
  • Template – The fin outline.
  • Base – The length of the fin where it joins the surfboard. Increasing length adds forward drive, but makes it harder to turn. Shortboard tri-fins usually have a 3.5-4.5 inch base, longboard single fins are about 6 inches.
  • Foil – The horizontal curve of the fin, measured from the front edge to trailing edge.
  • Rake – The distance between the trailing edge of the fin base and the fin tip. This is the swept back characteristic of the fin. Increasing rake increases traction.
  • Tip – The top third of the fin. More tip means more hold.
  • Flex – Stiff fins are faster but flexible fins are easier to turn.

Second, consider the brands of surfboard fins available:

  • FCS – These fins are the most widely used surfboard fins in the world. The great things about FCS fins are the huge variety and the availability. You can almost always find a replacement at the nearest surf shop. Since FCS is the most common fin system, most surfboards come with that type of fin box. FCS makes a huge selection of fins. For fins with a softer edge try Pro-Tech. The are compatible with the FCS boxes. Installation is with a simple allen (hex) key.
  • Future – Probably the second most popular fin system in the US. They have some of the lightest fin boxes around, weighing in at about 26 grams/box. There are fins system for just about any type of surfboard out there. In particular, Future fins has an excellent selection of of Quad fins. There are also plenty of foils to choose from such as Vector, Vector 2, and the Scimitar. Future fins also install with a simple allen key.
  • Lokbox – These surfboard fins have one significant advantage over most other fin systems; they are adjustable. You can slide them forward and back to find the sweet spot for you. They are easily adjusted with a slotted screwdriver.
  • O’Fish’L – This is a snap in fin system. For those that love to experiment, this might be the fin system for you. You could even slap some fins in your boardshorts and change them in the water.
  • 4WFS – The “Four Way Fin System”. Four ways as in forward/back, cant/flair, toe-in/toe-out, or an entire fin replacement. The only problem with this system is there are so many choices you might go crazy tweaking just one set of fins.

If your having a surfboard custom shaped for you, another consideration is the type of fin system the shaper has worked with before. It might be better to go with one he or she knows well rather than risk an incorrect installation of an unfamiliar one.

With so many choices of fins/companies available, you shouldn’t have a problem finding something close to what you want. Study the different brands. They should have descriptions of the type of surf particular fins work best in. They usually have charts available for recommended weights of riders as well.

Once you have a system you like, it’s nice if all your surfboards use those types of fins. It makes it easier and cheaper to build a decent collection of fins that you can swap around and enjoy.

Benefits of Surfing

Surfing for Good Exercise

The great thing about surfing is that it is a fun and exciting activity. You would not even notice how long you have been out in the water catching waves. Other cardiovascular activities are not that fun. Some people go jogging, but sometimes it is not enough to motivate them. People who jog usually do a few rounds from what they normally have in plan. Some quit the moment they reach three rounds or just 10 minutes of running. Any exercise instructor will tell you that good exercise is not just about the intensity of your workout, but rather the amount of time spent performing it. When you are surfing, you are constantly moving your entire body, resulting in an excellent full body workout.

Discipline and Encouragement

Another benefit of surfing is that it gives discipline and encouragement. Surfing can also turn most couch potatoes into athletes. Those who get the surfing bug will be eager to wake up early morning even if they have regular work after the exercise. Some even turn surfing into a hobby, giving it more time than anything else. They start to enjoy it so much that they go surfing several times a week.

Younger Looking Benefits

The ocean is a good source of revitalising energy. Surfers love to ride waves that are a good distance off the shorelines. People who surf regularly can still perform well even if they are in their old 60s, 70s, and 80s. In fact, you will be surprised to even realise that older surfers do not look their age. Surfing will keep you in shape and looking healthier and younger.

Mental Benefits

The health benefits of surfing lessons do not only apply to your physical health. They also give you mental benefits. Surfing can reduce stress, and often gives surfers a calm and peaceful attitude about life, which is very beneficial for their psyche. The high stress of today’s world is very harmful for your mental wellbeing. Too much work and less exercise can take a toll on your health. Physical exercise such as surfing will help reduce the negative effects of stress in your life. Nothing beats going to the beach, feeling the cool breeze and the warm sun touching your skin. Surfing is a fun activity that helps you forget most of your daily problems.

Proper Nutrition

Surfing is an activity that works most of your body parts; therefore, you will need good nutrition to stay fit and healthy. You should always eat food rich in protein after you surf. This will help recover and repair burned out muscles. Always drink plenty of water and include fruits and vegetables in your diet.

Paddle Boarding

Today, I think most people who live near any body of water have either seen someone or heard something about this exciting new sport. Its the newest and fastest growing water sport in the world called “Stand up Paddle Boarding”. Its also referred to as paddle surfing or SUP short for “Stand Up Paddling”

Research has shown that this kind of activity goes back centuries in French Polynesia where indigenous tribes were seen standing on hollowed out logs. By the early 1950’s, beach boys in Hawaii were seen by tourists vacationing on the islands standing on their surfboards holding long wooden paddles. Today “Stand Up Paddling” boards are lighter, wider, faster and come in larger varieties of color ad design.

Currently, this sport is booming everywhere in the world. Races, events and competitions are being held in several countries including Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Canada and Australia. The average person who may not have ever competed in a sport before, are competing in SUP races worldwide.

Christina Boeri, a passionate paddle boarding enthusiast and good friend of mine just returned from her one week Hawaiian trip and said “Its everywhere, everybody is doing it, every car has at least one board strapped onto the roof.”

With Stand Up Paddle boarding, the possibilities are endless, if you want to ride waves it is a blast, if you want to explore and paddle beautiful flat-water lakes that is also a great adventure. I’ve witnessed people fishing on their boards, going down wild rapid rivers and as well as paddle surf the wake behind boats for long distances without a rope.

Some of the challenges beginners face when purchasing their first board, is what brand to buy, what size, shape, color and design. The choices are vast. New models and brands are being introduced to the market continuously. It is important to choose a board that is big enough to give you stability based on your weight and height. Another consideration would be the kind of paddling you intend to do.

Ridding waves and long distance speed paddling require completely different types of boards. Most people are purchasing what we call an “all a rounder” board witch has a typical length between a 10’6 to 11.’6. They are approximately 29 inches wide and 4 to 5 inches thick.

Many board companies will carry this category of paddleboard and this allows the user to catch waves and also paddle flat water. Boards will run you about $1000 to $2000 depending on the expected use. Paddles start at about $150 to $400 for top quality Carbon Fiber paddles.

The benefits of this new sport go way beyond the fun factor. The health benefits are fantastic and another bonus is that it works your mid section giving you an affective core workout. Paddleboard sale in the US will explode on that basis alone!

Personally, when I first tried this sport, I new within 5 minutes that I was hooked. The feeling of calmness and peace one experiences is so different than any other sport that I have ever done. It really is like walking on water!

Beginners should always get started on calm flat water and get a feel for the board and learn proper paddle strokes and balance. Paddle boarding schools all over the world make sure their customers have a positive experience by teaching their newbies in a relaxed calm body of water for their first outing.