WRSC Guide to Surfboard Shape

Whether you are new to surfing or have been surfing for a while, choosing the right board can be a challenge. There seems to be an infinite amount of different shapes, lengths, and fin set-ups. Then there are the slightly more complicated, yet equally important, variables such as volume, rocker, and channels.

Don’t worry, we can help! We’ve created a guide to help you choose the perfect board for your skill level and the type of wave you usually ride. Let’s get started…

Long Board (left)

If you’re new to surfing, a long board will be your go-to ride for a while. While long boards are not just for beginners, their high volume, thickness, and length make them the perfect board to get started with. Long boards range in size from 9ft to 11ft. They have a rounded nose, are thick throughout the entire board, and have a squash or squaretail. As mentioned before, they are very voluminous due to their overall large size, this makes them float incredibly well and paddle very smoothly.  With all that surface area, you have the best chance to catch any wave. These wave-catching machines operate best in ankle to chest high surf.


The “mini-Malibu” is the younger sibling of the classic long board. It carries virtually the same characteristics as a classic long board in a smaller version. The mini-Malibu ranges from about 8ft to 9ft, has a rounded nose, thickness throughout the board, and a squash or squaretail. Mini-Malibus are perfect for smaller beginners or those looking to make a gradual step down in size from a classic long board. These boards ride best in ankle to chest high surf.

Fun Size

A “fun board” is a great step for an intermediate surfer looking to size down and gradually progress towards a short board. Fun boards range from 6’6” to 7’6” and are 20 inches or wider. Fun boards can have a variety of nose and tail shapes, but they are consistently long, high-volume boards that are easy to paddle. Fun boards are perfect for knee to chest high surf.

Fish (left)

The fish is a unique wide-bodied swallow-tailed design that is perfect for intermediate surfers looking to maximize speed and fun in knee-to-head-high waves. While today fish come in all shapes and sizes, a typical fish design ranges from 4’8” to 6’2”. They can be ridden significantly shorter than the average short board because they are so wide and voluminous. The width and thickness of the fish provide phenomenal wave catching ability and paddle ability. The swallowtail channels water under the board to generate speed. The fish is a great board for anyone who loves to have fun or is progressing from a fun board.

High-Performance Short Board

Short boards are designed for performance. Short boards range in size from 5ft to just under 7ft. They often have a pointed nose enabling the rider to make more aggressive turns. Short boards come with a variety of tail designs including swallow, square, squash and round. They have less volume than the other boards on the list, which makes them more maneuverable on a waves face, but increases the difficulty of catching waves. Unless you’ve put in your time with other boards on the list, it’s best to stay away from short boards. The best wave type for these boards is waist high to overhead.

Hope this helps as you are choosing your next board… or choosing one of ours from our famous board cage. Hope to see you in the line-up soon!

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