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With so many different surfboard options, it’s difficult to know which is right for you.

What type of surfboard should I get?

In this article, we’ll seek to help you weigh your options and narrow down your choices to find the right surfboard for your riding needs.

Types of surfboards

When looking at different types of surf boards it is important to consider what kind of shape you want it to be because each specific type has different strengths and weaknesses in its design.

  • Shortboard — The first type is the ‘shortboard.’ Its about six feet long with a pointed nose and a short, flat tail. If you are just beginning surfing then this type might not be for you since this board can be hard to control as its shape means that it is very sensitive to the slightest shift in weight. The design means that unless you know how to balance on a surfboard, you may spend more time in the water than riding on top of it. But if you have some experience and are looking for more control, then the short board may be for you.
  • Fish — This second type is the ‘fish’ and if you have any experience with kneeboards, you may notice their many similarities. Typically a fish is shorter than six feet and has a wide nose and a swallow-tail shaped tail. While the previous board is designed to cut through rough waters this board is designed to help you smoothly and quickly move through more mellow waters. Due to its build, surfers can quickly gain speed on this board so this is another one that is perhaps better for those of you who have a bit more experience.
  • Funboard — The third type is the ‘funboard’ and typically is about seven to eight feet long. It is designed to have a sloping, wide nose on its front and a slightly more pointed edge as its tail. Unlike the shortboard this type is much more accessible to beginners, with its rounded structure making it capable of working easily in a diverse range of conditions. Due to how this board is created to help the surfer with stability in any type of water, this board is one of the best options for you if you are just starting out surfing. However, do not be fooled, as if you play around with the set up of the fins, the funboard could also be great for those of you who are experienced.
  • Longboard — The fourth board is the ‘longboard,’ as it is one of the longest types of boards. Its length ranges from eight to nine and a half feet. Its edges are both fairly blunt, with its nose being a round edge and its tail a short, straight line. Similar to the funboard, this is an ideal surfboard if you are a beginner to the world of surfing. However, unlike the previous one, the longboard works best on smaller waves and swells and can be difficult for beginners to ride on anything bigger.
  • Gun — This fifth type is the ‘gun’ and is definitely not for you if you are a beginner or even an intermediate surfer. Its length can be as short as seven feet to as long as nine and a half feet, and its front and back sides are very steep, with its nose and tail both coming to pointed edges. This sharp design choice makes it easier for surfers to cut through massive waves, however this shape also means that if you try to ride it on smaller waves, it can have too much cut.

Different Fin Variations

Surfboard fins are the pieces of material on the bottom of your surfboard that allow you to control how you move through the water.

How does the number of fins affect a surfboard?

  • Single Fin — This setup is one large fin and is the classic fin format. The best type of board for the single fin is the longboard, as the combination offers you easy control of the board’s movements. However the downside of having so much control is that this fin type can make it harder to make sudden or fast turns, as the large shape creates a lot of drag. If you are new to surfing and want to ride small to medium sized waves, the single fin could work for you.
  • Twin Fin — The two fin setup typically consists of two, short to medium long fins which lie parallel to each other. Their purpose is to give you when surfing a similar sensation to skateboarding by allowing you a higher range of maneuverability. Commonly the two fin setup is on smaller boards, like the fish or shortboard, because of the fins own small size. This is not a combination for the inexperienced, but if you want to improve technique and surfing tricks this twin fin setup could help you achieve that.
  • Tri-Fin (Thruster Fin) — The tri-fin combo, sometimes referred to as the ‘thruster fin,’ is very common in the surfing world because of its versatility. The set up is similar to both the single fin and twin fin, with the tri-fin combination being three small fins placed in a triangle formation where one sits nearest to the back of the board and the other two sit in front of it and parallel to each other. One of the appeals of the tri-fin is the ability to change the setup, as by removing the single middle fin you will have a twin fin set up. Likewise, if you remove the parallel fins then you can have a single fin setup. However, when all the fins are combined, you will have a board that has both great balance and maneuverability. This combination will work on most boards, just be aware that because of the middle fin, there will be some extra drag on your board.
  • 2 + 1 Fin — This combination is similar to the tri-fin setup, however the 2 + 1 Fin is different because of its single middle fin’s size. While the tri-fin has three fins of the same size, the 2 + 1 fin setup has the middle fin that is comparatively larger than the other two, parallel fins. Due to this large fin, there will be drag, however this variation in size also allows more flexibility in how you set up the combination. Often, this fin type will be used on funboards.
  • Quad Fin — The quad fin, named because of its four fins, is notable in that it is basically two sets of twin fins arranged in a similar setup to the tri-fin combination. By adding another fin, this setup is organized so that there are two sets of parallel fins on the board’s tail. These small fins give extra control to you, however because the set up lacks a single fin in the back there is less built-in stability. This feature is not necessarily a bad thing, but you should know that when you surf you will go faster than you probably expect because of the absence of drag.
  • 5- Fin — While this name implies a setup of five fins, this combination actually does not intend for you to surf with all of the fins on at once. Rather, this five fin setup is meant to give you many different options about what kind of combination you want on your board. The five fin is very adaptable and can used on any type of board, however it is most commonly used on fish surfboards.

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