When surfing first became popular as a sport 50 odd years ago, surfboards were made out of wood. These surfboards were extremely heavy, easily damaged, and difficult to repair. The surfboards of today are much lighter, float better, are easier to repair, and are capable of great maneuvers on the wave. What's made the huge difference?
Getting a surfboard for beginners can be a confusing exercise. For those of you with more enthusiasm for surfing than experience, this can be an especially tricky exercise. Obviously there are a few requirements that your first surfboard will need to meet until you get a bit more practice.
What are Surfboard Concaves? I can hear you thinking to yourself. Turn your surfboard over, or the one in the surf shop, and you may notice a smooth subtle contour, or contours, carved into the bottom of the board. These contours will run from the nose (the front of the surfboard) down towards the back end of the surfboard. These contours are called concaves and can vary dramatically in length.
The fin, or fins, underneath your surfboard are there to help with the steering of your board. The fins will also assist with stopping the surfboard from sliding around on the wave. The further the fin goes down in the water, the more control you will have over the surfboard on the wave. The shorter the fin, the less resistance there will be on the water. The longer the distance of the fin where it is attached to the base of your surfboard, the faster you will be able to go.
The tail (or back end) of the surfboard can come in many varied shapes. While there are many shapes, generally, these different styles all originate from several basic concepts. So what the heck does the tail of your surfboard actually do?
To put it simply, the rails of a surfboard are its edges. Surfboard rails run the full length of your surfboard on each side from the nose (or front) to the tail (or end). Surfboard rails are KEY to how the water will move around your surfboard when you are up on the wave. The rails on your surfboard are most narrow at the nose and tail, and are the thickest up in the center.
There are many things to consider when you go to purchase a surfboard. Have you surfed before? What size waves do you have access to? How tall are you? How about your physical fitness and age? The term surfboard design can encompass all aspects of your surfboard.
Ever wondered what keeps your surfboard floating in the water with your body weight on it? Well, since the 1950's, after surfboard makers moved away from the wood off trees, you'll pretty much always find a foam core at the center of your board. There are a couple of different foam substances available for use in surfboard manufacture.
You are out surfing fantastic sets in the middle of some remote surf paradise. There are only two things in the water: you and your surfing buddies. The place is so remote that there isn't even a surf shop. Sounds fantastic until you ding your surfboard on that nasty piece of coral. Or worse, it gets knocked around on the plane before you even get out into the sets.
If you are ever going to get out to the line up (where the good waves are breaking), then you need to be able to duck dive. This is the technique for going under any wave bigger than 2 foot and is used by surfers on shorter surfboards. If you ride a longboard you should read our article on the turtle roll--you can't duck dive a longboard surfboard. Too floaty.
As you may have already discovered, your longboard cannot be used for duck diving. Longboards are just way too buoyant for this technique. To get through the big stuff, and to also escape any runaway surfboards, the turtle roll will now be your go to maneuver. Perfect your turtle roll technique with these handy hints. How to Turtle Roll.