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What is Surfboard Volume?

November 25, 2023

What is Surfboard Volume?

Proper understanding of surfboard volume can be a make or break in knowing what board is the right one for you. If you’ve ever ridden a board that feels just a little bit “off” and it's hard to put your finger on it, it might be the wrong volume for you. For this reason, we want to give you this helpful guide in understanding what surfboard volume is and how it impacts your surf experience.  

In simple terms, surfboard volume refers to the amount of space the surfboard occupies in the water. It is typically measured in liters and plays a pivotal role in determining a board's buoyancy and floatation. Traditionally, surfboards were designed with a one-size-fits-all mindset, but as surfers sought to optimize their performance in various wave conditions and skill levels, volume became a critical consideration in board selection.  To make this even easier to understand:

Surfboard Volume = the space a surfboard occupies in Liters

What many surfers don’t know is that it isn’t ultimately the volume, but the type of surfboard that plays a huge role in your performance.

Now that we know what surfboard volume is, what is the best volume for you? The answer depends on the relationship between surfboard volume and a surfer's ability. A board with higher volume offers more buoyancy, making it easier for beginners to paddle, catch waves, and maintain stability. This added flotation allows novice surfers to progress quickly and experience the thrill of riding waves from their early stages, enhancing their motivation and enjoyment of the sport. Furthermore, advanced surfers may choose a surfboard with more volume to allow for increased wave count and speed in smaller waves. Longboard surfers of all levels will also enjoy boards with more volume as well to allow for stability when noseriding, trimming down the line, and catching weak waves. Experienced shortboard surfers, on the other hand,  prefer lower volume boards. With less buoyancy, advanced surfers find that lower volume boards allow them to perform more dynamic maneuvers, execute sharper turns, and ride in critical parts of the wave with greater control. 

Here is a helpful chart put together by Nulltuul to assist you in choosing the right volume board for you. Note: the literage for each is the lowest volume a surfer should ride depending on the surfer’s ability. This does not mean you are restricted to one volume. 

 

As surfboard volume gained prominence, shapers began fine-tuning board designs to cater to individual surfer preferences. Surfers can now select from a vast array of boards with different volumes, tail shapes, rocker profiles, and other features to match their unique style and wave conditions. 

Here at Degree 33, with a mission of providing a “board for every surfer,” we’ve teamed up with our shaper Bill Minard to provide a fleet of surfboards with a vast range of volumes to fit every surfer's needs. 

How much surfboard volume do I need?

This is a loaded question without a simple answer.  Although the volume of a surfboard can be helpful in selecting the best board for you, it is only one element to determining what you need.  Alternatively, we recommend that you do not focus on volume.  If you talk with us about a board, we will focus less on the volume (or liters) of the board and talk to you about several areas to include the shape, dimensions, fin setup and the construction of the board (Epoxy or Poly).  We will make recommendations based on your height, weight and skill level.  If you focus on a volume number, this can be misleading.  For example, you can have two boards with the exact same volume, one is a short, thick, wide board with the same volume as a longer, narrower, thinner board.  Both of the boards can have the exact same volume but have entirely different surfing characteristics.  Each shape has it's purpose but one may work for well for you and the other will not based on your ability and your desired surfing style.  The best approach is for us to help you choose the right board by discussing your height, weight, experience, wave type and your goals.  Selecting an ideal board is actually more involved than it appears on the surface which is why we are here to guide you as surfboard experts.  Degree 33 has worked with over ten thousand individual surfers to help find the right board so call or email us and we can help you find the right board.

Although surfboard volume is a valuable measurement in understanding what board is right for you, it is not everything. A surfboard that has the “right volume” may not be the best board for you depending on your surfing style, along with the board’s outline, rail shape, bottom contour, construction, etc. An epoxy surfboard, for example, will offer much more buoyancy than a poly surfboard. Case in point, a 9' Ultimate Longboard in Epoxy construction with 72.5 Liters of volume will have the paddling ability of the same board in a 9'6" length Poly board because of the buoyancy of the foam is different in Epoxy and Poly boards.  So even though this board may be the exact same volume and length, it will paddle differently based on the foam that is used inside the board.  In this case the volume of the board can be misleading.

Don't buy the wrong board!

To avoid buying the wrong board it takes some in depth consideration as well as understanding of the elements explained in this article.  For these reasons, it is best to talk to us directly if you are unsure what volume surfboard you should ride. If you have any questions or need assistance in choosing the best board for you, give us a call at (800) 920-2363 or email us at surf@degree33.com.

 




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