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Compared to when the fish surfboards were first designed in the 1970's, there are now many sizes to choose from. There are now fish surfboards out there that are up to 8 foot long.What's style suits you best? Before purchasing your fish surfboard there are a few things to keep in mind...
The fish surfboard has exceptional flotation, due to its thicker rails and width, giving it extra volume. The fish surfboard has been designed for maximum maneuverability and control on smaller waves. You'll typically only see one of two people on fish surfboards: surfers who have moved on to longer surfboards but miss the maneuverability of their old shortboard; or a newer surfer that has started on a longer surfboard and feels ready to tackle a shortboard.
If you already ride a shortboard, generally the fish surfboard you end up with can be a few inches shorter than what you would normally ride. When purchasing a fish surfboard you need take into consideration the thickness of the rails and the thickness of the center of the board. The width of the board is also another important factor. The wider the fish surfboard, the more buoyant it will be, and the easier it will be to paddle.
Other important factors to take into consideration are the size of the waves you are planning on riding. If you will be riding smaller 2 - 6ft waves a retro fish surfboard will probably be the ticket. If you will be riding 3ft - overhead surf than the quad fish surfboard or hybrid fish surfboard may be a better choice.
Before selecting a fish surfboard you also need to check yourself out. Your body weight, age, fitness, and surfing ability will all play a vital role in determining the perfect size fish surfboard. A keen little grommet who weighs next to nothing will be buying a much shorter fish surfboard than the person who has thickened up a bit.Generally, the bigger the rider, the longer and wider the fish surfboard tends to be.
Retro fish surfboards use the original 1970's shape combined with modern surf technology. The retro fish surfboard tend to be shorter in length and are best suited for small to medium surf. Hybrid fish surfboards are available in longer sizes than the retro fish surfboard.
Hybrid fish surfboards can go up to 8ft or so but typically the best hybrid sizes are in the long 6's or around 7ft. Hybrid fish surfboards can be ideal for the older or heavier surfer who wants the extra flotation, but still wants the looser moves of a shortboard. Fish surfboards are ideal for those surfers wanting to combine the buoyancy of a bigger surfboard with the looseness of a shorter surfboard.
Fish surfboards are great for when the surf is messy and small. The extra flotation allows the surfboard to float through the slop. Turning ordinary surf conditions into ripping fun with a fish surfboard. So if you're looking to get a fish surfboard the best rule of thumb is 2-6 inches shorter than your shortboard. Now if you're getting a fish as your first "shorter" board than go a little meatier. This is accomplished in either a thicker surfboard or longer board. The right length and thickness will be based on your height and weight. I will give you what I ride as a point of reference. I am intermediate/advanced surfer, 5'11" 210lbs, and I ride a 5'8 retro fish (Codfather), and I ride a 6'0 hybrid fish (Jack). Hope that helps.