The Degree 33 Guide to Surfboard Shapes

November 08, 2019

There is no end to the variety of surfboard shapes and designs. As long as surfers have been building them, application and creativity have opened new doors to surfboard styles, sometimes making it difficult to choose what’s best for our next, or first surfboard. Longboard, Log, Noserider, Fun Shape, Fish, Egg, Groveler, Hybrid...what does this all mean to you?  Our surfboard lineup keeps things simple, a shape for every purpose, a board for every surfer. Here’s our breakdown for what each surfboard shape is designed to do, and who it’s built for! Using this as a guide, we hope that it leads to an easy, educated decision next time you visit our shop or order online. Need some more info? We’ve surfed them all, give us a ring at the shop and we’ll be happy to give you our testimony and guidance!

The Ultimate Longboard

LONGBOARD 

This shape is ideal for any level of surfer especially for those small wave days. A longboard is what we recommend for all beginners and/ or larger surfers and is one of those boards that EVERY quiver should have. There’s a false assumption often made that a longboard is a beginner board. The wonderful thing about longboarding, is that its skill set goes from beginner to expert. There’s actually an elite longboarding tour just like the WSL where the best of the best compete. So just because you love longboarding, doesn’t mean you’re still a beginner, especially if you’re starting to get your toes over the nose or can wrap a solid cutback on your plank.

Pros: Wave catchability, stability, durability, paddle speed, buoyancy, momentum, can be cover a wide variety of wave types and sizes. The long and short of it is that longboards just about guarantee you’re going to snag plenty of waves!

Cons: More difficult to maneuver, somewhat heavy, eats up a lot of wax, more difficult to navigate larger surf (can’t duckdive.) Can be a struggle to carry for shorter arms or smaller riders, more difficult to navigate crowded lineups, can be pricey (more expensive to make due to length.) The general downside of longboarding is mobility in heavier surf… if you don’t time your paddle-out, it could be a rough session!

Some common characteristics are:

  • Beginner to Advanced/Expert
  • Range in size from 8’ - 11’
  • Very buoyant due to its large volume (width, thickness and length)
  • Round nose and variety of tail shapes
  • Wide through entire board, often 23+” (provides stability)
  • About 2.75” - 3.5” thick (adds buoyancy making it easy to paddle)
  • This board style is for EVERYONE
  • Great on anything shin to chest high
  • Best bet for wave count and stability

Be sure to check out all of our Longboard shapes Here

The Poacher Fun Shape

FUN SHAPE/FUNBOARD 

Surfing is an exciting sport, especially quick learning progression from newbie to seasoned beginner (so like 1 epic summer under your belt!) It’s extremely common to want to step down from a full sized longboard, to something a bit more nimble, but a little intimidating to think about losing all the benefits of a buoyant, stable surfboard. Enter the funboard. They’re called this for a reason. This shape carries many of the characteristics over from longboarding, and packs them into a board that will be more mobile; a fun blend of both worlds! The result is a board that is a little shorter, slightly narrower, and a smidget thinner than a longboard. These boards are designed to pave a road towards performance surfing. This shape is ideal for light-weight beginners (120lbs and under) or beginner surfers ready to start their move towards intermediate surfing. This is the first step in looking to transition down in size from a longboard.

Pros: More nimble than a longboard, both in the lineup, and while riding. Easier to carry and paddle out. Good stability, wave catchability, paddle speed, easier to navigate in larger surf than a longboard. Great choice for an all-rounder if you can only have 1 board

Cons: Some loss of stability, buoyancy, and wave catchability when compared to a longboard. Still difficult to duckdive. One more board to master before continuing on to performance surfing.

Some common characteristics are:

  • Smaller beginner to Intermediate/Advanced surfer
  • Size ranges from 6’6” – 8’0”
  • Usually at least 20” or wider
  • Can range from a mini longboard to a speed egg
  • Can have a variety of nose & tail shapes
  • Overall outline makes it easy to paddle and surf
  • A great transitional board as you step down from a longboard
  • Don’t have time to “check the cams?” Funboard, check!
  • Ideally surfed in anything from knee to head high
  • Best bet for light-weight newbies or transitioning beginners

 The Easy Rider Hybrid Fish

The Weapon Hybrid Shortboard

HYBRID SHAPES

If funboards are the on-ramp towards performance surfing, hybrids are the off-ramp once you get to shred town USA. This is where the beginner makes the transition to an intermediate surfer. Hybrids earned their name by combining a more aggressive outline with some softer, more forgiving features carried down from longboards an funboards. An aggressive outline with softened rails, fuller volume throughout, and a touch of width top to bottom all get packed into a board with a little bit of added length to create a rippable wave catching machine. This shape is ideal for big kahuna/dad rippers, intermediate surfers wanting extra wave count, or surfers wanting to maintain the fun as they transition down in size from a funshape/funboard. Hybrids vary greatly from large, full and fishy, to beefed up shortboards. They’re all meant to add wave count and a dash of forgiveness in an aggressive package.

Pros: Compact yet forgiving, easy to carry, larger surfers can duckdive a hybrid, fast and maneuverable, a variety of outlines to choose from, super rippable for larger surfers, fast-track path for smaller, younger surfers wanting to surf like guys/girls on the WSL.

Cons: Not many. Often the over-confident board choice when newbies don’t do their homework. Not a beginner board. Less float and stability than funboards.

Some common characteristics are:

  • Transitioning surfer entering intermediate surfing, veteran big guy shortboard, or intermediate/advanced performance wave hog
  • Size ranges vary greatly and can be anywhere from 6’ to 8’+
  • Fuller yet aggressive outlines
  • Extra width and thickness than a shortboard provide stability and float
  • Great transition board for someone stepping down from a funboard
  • Great first board for a youth or grom
  • Surf this board in anything from thigh to head high

Check out all of our Funboards and Hybrids Here

The Codfather Fish 

 The Bullet Performance Groveler

The Cloud Groveler

FISH/GROVELER 

These shapes are ideal for intermediate to advanced/expert surfers looking to maximize turns and speed on small to medium sized waves, especially if the conditions are variable/questionable. Shortboards only get us so far, especially when it’s gutless out there. For the diehard that still needs his daily sesh, we’ve come up with a few choices for busting that slump or spell of mediocre swell. The struggle with shortboards in typical everyday waves, is that board rocker and straighter, thinner rails catch easily on crumbly/sectioning wave faces. A rounder template, softer rails, and low rocker allow the surfer to plane and skate around those sections without losing much speed. Fish and Grovelers are all about bringing performance surfing to less than ideal surf. The Codfather requires some finesse but supplies the biggest payoff with killer speed and blistering maneuverability. The Bullet is a close cousin, adding some skateyness and even better planing through flat sections, the ultimate slump buster. The Cloud is the fullest groveler outline, allowing the surfer to go extra short for a combo of tight turns and wave count boost.

Pros: Compact and fast, easy to carry and duckdive, great for shortboarders wanting to rip any conditions, boosts wave count and holds their own when the waves turn on.

Cons: Often mistaken/purchased by newer surfers as easy to surf, often sized to long by said surfer. Less stable than hybrids, harder to duckdive than shortboards. Somewhat tricky when the waves really turn on.

Some common characteristics are:

  • Created for intermediate and advanced surfers wanting to carry performance surfing into less than ideal surf conditions (Also a great 2nd board for groms/youth)
  • Size range from 4’8” – 6’2”
  • Sized 4-8” shorter than your shortboard
  • Wider, rounded or fuller-pointed nose
  • Wider tail with variety of tail shapes
  • Fuller template provides float and planing ability
  • Variety of fin combinations (Twin, Tri, Quad, 5-fin)
  • Great transition board for stepping down from a hybrid
  • Great alternative to the shortboard for added wave count
  • Build for performance surfing in weaker waves
  • Best in knee to head high waves

Check out all of our Fish and Groveler shapes Here

The All Terrain Vehicle Shotboard 

SHORTBOARD (All Terrain Vehicle or Custom Shape)

Along the path to performance surfing, no board shape is as frustrating and time consuming to sort out than the shortboard. Narrow, sharp, and twitchy, these aggressive boards make intermediate surfing the longest road between rest stops. However, once you find your place in performance surfing, you’ve accessed the best conditions your surf break has to offer. The thinner rails, steeper rocker and straighter rail line on a shortboard are designed for steep, fast, aggressive waves. If that excites you, then you’ll want a shortboard or two in your quiver whether you’re catching it all-time at your home break, or packing for a bucket-list trip to the Mentawai Islands. This shape is ideal for intermediate to advanced surfers in fair to epic conditions. Designed for speed, agility, and vertical surfing, the shortboard is the most aggressive of all surfboard shapes.

Pros: Lightweight, easy to carry, fast, maneuverable, easy to duckdive, nimble in the lineup, easy to punch through big surf, least expensive, handles meaty surf

Cons: Least durable, most difficult to master, least amount of float and stability, most effort to paddle, often bought too soon, least variety in styles/templates

Some common characteristics are:

  • Designed for intermediate to advanced/expert surfers for an aggressive, fast and vertical surfing approach
  • Size range from about 5’ – 7’+ (Shortboard is more a shape than a size)
  • Depending on your height, ride this board 2 inches shorter than your height, or longer, depending on the conditions you’re aiming to surf it in.
  • Narrower nose
  • Straighter/thinner rail
  • Steeper rocker
  • Vast variety of tail shapes
  • Many fin combinations (tri, quad, twin, 5-fin, tri-quad, etc.)
  • Unless you can pump for speed and wrap a full figure-eight turn, you’re not ready...
  • Ride this board in waves waist/stomach high to overhead+
  • Usually calls for decent conditions/smooth faces

Check out our selection of Shortboards Here

In summary the diversity of shapes available for the surfer is vast and requires a fair amount of research to understand what is best for you. We want to help guide you in your board purchasing decisions so lean on us for help...if you would like to know more please call us at the shop (800) 920-2363, email surf@degree33.com or if you are in San Diego please feel free to stop by our shop.




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