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Blue Tomato Team Rider Mathias Weissenbacher

Surfboard

Buyer's Guide

Pro Advice

If you've ever wondered which surfboard is right for you, you've come to the right place. From beginner, intermediate to advanced surfer, our Surfboard Buyers Guide will help you find the right equipment for you.


Chapter 1

How well do I surf?

It is essential that you assess your surf skills correctly to find the right board for you. With the right surfboard, you will progress faster and have more fun on the waves

Which surf
level do I have?
  1. Beginner
  2. Intermediate
  3. Expert

White water and your first waves

As a beginner, you might have only surfed a little or not at all. Higher volume surfboards are just right for you. They make it easier for you to get up (takeoff), paddle and give you enough stability to progress quickly. Fun in the water is guaranteed.

Two beginners on the beach carrying their surfboards

Takeoffs and turns

Intermediate surfers paddle on green, unbroken waves. They can takeoff cleanly and work straight on top and bottom turns. Medium volume surfboards are for you. They are more playful and agile, perfect for improving your skills.

A green wave building itself up and is almost on its breaking point

Cutbacks and style

As an experienced surfer, you feel comfortable on any waves. Cutbacks, top to bottom turns and duck dives are no problem for you, your surfboard is always under control.

Depending on wave size and swell, you choose a board that fits your surfing style.

Blue Tomato team rider on a green wave

Blue Tomao team rider Jonas Bachan

Chapter 2

Which is the right size surfboard for me?

The surfboard size is in feet and inches. Length, width and thickness give the volume in litres.

The volume determines how much lift your board has, so is the most crucial factor when buying a surfboard.

For beginners, the more volume, the better. High volume surfboards are more stable and make it easier for you to takeoff. More volume also means easier paddling. As you advance, you should try boards with less volume. They are more agile and better for faster turns.

If you want to know which volume suits you? Use our surfboard volume calculator.

Enter your level and your weight, and we’ll calculate a range of volumes for your surfboard.

Depending on how fit you are, you can go towards the lower or upper end.

Chapter 3

Which surfboard shape is right for me?

The shape determines for which waves and which surf style the board is best for. When choosing a shape, your ability and level are the most important – that’s why you see a variety of shapes in the waves.

Surfboard
shapes
  1. Mini Malibu
  2. Fish
  3. Hybrid
  4. Shortboard
  5. Longboard

Perfect for smaller waves

Mini Malibus are long, between 6′6 to 8′ and have a high volume. They are easy to paddle, stable and forgiving - perfect for beginners.

Their volume makes them ideal for small and slow waves.

Short and manoeuvrable with lots of volume

The fish has a characteristic shape. These boards have a wide shape and a swallow tail, little to no rocker and are short built. Because of their shape, they have a lot of volume on a short length so remain agile and playful.

Fish boards are great for advanced surfers and small to head-high waves. They are also the ideal transition board from a mini malibu to a shorter board.

Your quiver’s secret weapon

The secret weapon in your Quiver

Hybrid surfboards combine the positive characteristics of different shapes. They close the gap from shortboard to fish or mini malibu. Compared to a shortboard, a hybrid has more volume, a wider nose and less rocker. This shape can be paddled easily and still surfs playfully. A real all-rounder.

Hybrid shapes are ideal for experienced surfers. They perform very well in hip-high to head-high waves

Aggressive and fast surfing

Shortboards have a pointed nose, the strong rocker and the sharp rails. They have little volume, so are more agile and let you surf powerfully. The step up from a mini Malibu, fish or hybrid surfboard.

Smooth surfing

Longboards usually have a length of 9 feet and more. A longboard is characterized by a rounded nose, a narrowing square tail and a large middle fin. Due to the length and the high volume the handling and the dynamics of these boards are very limited. Paddling on a longboard is easy but the surf style is more a comfortable cruising and smooth than aggressive and fast. If you are looking for a board for small waves and relaxed riding then a longboard is the right one for you. Although these boards have a lot of volume they are rather unsuitable for beginners due to the handling.

Chapter 4

Which surfboard tail is right for me?

The rear part of the board is the tail. Its shape influences the speed, agility and control of your board. Here are the most popular tail shapes.

  1. Round
  2. Pin
  3. Rounded Pin
  4. Square
  5. Squash
  6. Swallow
  7. Diamond

The all-rounder

This tail shape is well suited for fast, steep waves. Its round shape makes it very manoeuvrable, but it is less stable than other tail shapes.

The round tail supports you during long, powerful turns and helps you keep speed on slower waves.

More speed

Pin tails are for big wave surfing. The pointed shape stabilizes your board and gives you more control - great for surfing down the line and maintaining speed.

Control and gentle turns

The rounded pin is a mixture of the round and pin tail. So, your board gives you the stability of a pin at high speeds and good hold during long turns.

Playful surfing

Square tail surfboards have a squared end that abruptly interrupts the water flow at the rail. The sharp edges make your board more playful, allowing for tight and aggressive turns. Additionally, square tails help you with planing and are a lot of fun even in small, slow waves.

Best performance across different waves

A squash tail has rounded edges. This shape has the perfect balance between stability and agility. It is well suited for the most different waves, surfboards with a squash tail are versatile.

More control in sharp turns

The swallow tail gives you power for fast and sharp turns. It's also great for weak, smaller waves as it provides the surfboard with more lift in the back.

Fast and agile

A mixture of squash and pin tails. The bevelled edges make your board turn faster and faster.

Chapter 5

What nose shapes are there?

The front part of a surfboard is called the nose. Its shape influences the buoyancy and agility of your board.

There are round, round pointed and pointed noses.

  1. Round
  2. Round Pointed
  3. Pointed

For stability

Because of the large nose, the surfboard has more buoyancy at the front which helps you paddling. It also makes the board more stable; great for beginners.

Round nose

For progression

It is a mixture of round and pointed noses - a balance of buoyancy and agility. Surfboards with a round pointed nose are better for intermediate surfers.

Round pointed nose

Performance, Speed and Grip

High-performance surfboards often have a pointed nose. As well as the pointed nose there is usually a lot of rocker. It has less buoyancy because of its narrow shape, so paddling is a little more challenging. However, the nose makes the surfboard very manoeuvrable. This nose is on boards for advanced and expert riders.

Pointed nose

Chapter 6

Rail, rocker and bottom shape

Many factors influence the behaviour of your surfboard in the water. In addition to the tail and the nose, the shape of the rails, the rocker and the bottom shape are also influential. Here is a short overview of these shapes and what they do.

  1. Rails
  2. Wings
  3. Rocker
  4. Bottom contour

Stability or manoeuvrability

Rails are the edges of your surfboard. They extend from the nose to the tail and help you to turn.

Generally applies:

  • Round and thick rails are forgiving, more stable and slower.
  • Edged and thin rails are for agile, fast and aggressive turns.

Wings for manoeuvrability

Changes to the rail in the rear area are called wings. These small dents interrupt the water flow along the edge, which makes the surfboard even more playful. At high speeds, this can be a disadvantage.

Hybrid and shortboards can have wings.

Slow or fast waves

Slow or fast waves

The rocker describes how much your surfboard is bent up from the tail to the nose. The best way to recognize it is to look at your surfboard from the side.

In principle one says:

- Get caught with a flat rocker

- With a strong rocker you surf high, powerful waves.

Rocker is a smoothly curved profile from nose to tail

Rocker Shape

water flow

The underside of the surfboard is called the bottom. Its shape influences the water flow at the bottom of the board and affects stability, manoeuvrability and speed. There are different types of bottom shapes, each of them has its advantages and disadvantages.

Chapter 7

What is my surfboard made from?

There are different types of surfboard constructions. They affect the surfing behaviour, the weight and the durability of your board. Each has pros and cons, your budget, your surfing style and your surfing level will also influence your decision.

Which
construction
  1. PU / Polyester
  2. ECO IMPACTO
  3. EPS Epoxy
  4. Soft Top
  5. Future Flex
  6. TET

The classic construction

This classic surfboard construction uses a PU foam core with polyester resin. These surfboards are a little heavier and more susceptible to dings. Since the core draws water when exposed, any damage must be repaired immediately. They do, however, have a little more flex and glide more smoothly in rough conditions. They are also a little cheaper.

Robust and environmentally friendly

Eco Impacto is an exclusive Lib Tech design. These boards are more "ding-resistant". Lib Tech constructs a core from recycled nitrogen cell foam coated with a magnesium/basalt fabric. The core doesn't draw water, so you can surf the board with a ding without any problems. To make the board even more resistant and environmentally friendly, the layers are bonded with a special bio-matrix resin.

This construction is one of the most durable and sustainable and is great for every surfer.

Light and stable

Epoxy surfboards are lighter, more environmentally friendly and robust than polyester surfboards. The EPS core has more buoyancy and an epoxy resin is much more resistant than polyester resin. For beginners, epoxy boards are a bit heavier. They have a thicker lamination and a core of non-water repellent, compressed EPS elements. Performance boards have a water-repellent core and a thin lamination - this makes the boards exceptionally light. Epoxy boards are a little more expensive to buy and don’t compensate unevenness in the wave as well.

Safe fun

Soft Top Surfboards are similar in construction to EPS Epoxy Boards. The decisive difference lies in the outer layer. The deck and the rails are covered with a soft polyethylene foam and the underside is reinforced by a hard plastic layer.

Soft Tops are mainly designed for surf schools and beginners. However, advanced surfers are also finding these boards more and more popular. Meanwhile you can find them in different shapes and variations.

More fun with soft tops

Exclusive to Haydenshapes

The Future Flex construction was designed and patented by Haydenshapes. The surfboard consists of a high-density EPS core without stringers (reinforcement in the middle of the board from nose to tail), biaxial fibreglass fabric, epoxy resin and carbon fibres along the rails. This construction gives the board a long life.

The Future Flex construction creates a fast, dynamic and responsive surfboard suitable for intermediate to expert surfers.

Future Flex surfboard technology

Moulded surfboards

TET, the Torq Epoxy Technology, can be found on Torq surfboards. The surfboards are shaped using a shape template. EPS balls are pressed into shape with steam, then the plugs are added and the core is laminated with fibreglass and epoxy resin. Finally, the core pressed into shape once more. This method does not produce any EPS waste.

The advanced materials and high-tech construction promise a lightweight board with responsive flex that is both stable and durable.

TET production process

Chapter 8

Fin Systems

The final factor for the behaviour of your board is your fins. They differ in construction, size, arrangement, materials and other factors.
The size of the fins is based on your body weight.

Overview of fin size and body weight

Fin size Body weight

XS

> 55 kg

S

55 kg - 70 kg

M

65 kg - 80 kg

L

75 kg - 90 kg

XL

< 85 kg

There are four common fin systems available. Before you buy fins, you should know which one is used for your board. Look at the fin box at the bottom of your board and you can find out which fin system your surfboard has.

Tip: It makes sense to buy all surfboards with the same fin system so that you can use your fins with each board.

  1. FCS
  2. FCS 2
  3. Futures
  4. US Box
  5. Universal

Simple and widespread

With the FCS (Fin Control System) the fins are inserted into the fin box and fixed with two screws. The FCS is easy to use and you have a big selection of fins. You can find FCS fins all over the world – in case you break one.

Quick installation

FCS 2 is the evolution of the FCS system. You insert the fins into the fin box via a lever mechanism. They are held and fixed by a clamping device. Since this system is compatible with both FCS 2 fins and FCS fins, you have a wide selection worldwide. However, you will need an adapter for fins with FCS system.

The Californian system

The fins of the Futures System are inserted into the fin box via a lever mechanism and fixed from the front with a screw. This system is straightforward to use. You should keep in mind that this system comes from the USA and isn’t so common in Europe. It can be a little tricky to get a replacement if yours break.

The single fin and longboard system

This system is used to attach one large fin. A pin attached to the fin is inserted into the fin box and fastened with a screw. The US Box System is often combined with other fin systems. This system is mainly for single fin surfboards and longboards.

Best flexibility

With this system, the fin can be inserted or fixed with small screws.

The Universal fin system is compatible with FCS, FCS 2 and Futures fins, giving you the most flexibility.

Chapter 9

What is the fin setup?

The setup is how you arrange your fins. For certain conditions and different surfing styles, you need different fin setups.

  1. Single
  2. Twin
  3. Thruster
  4. Quad
  5. Five Fin

For longboards

This setup gives the board stability, support and speed. Sharp turns, however, are tricky as the big fin brakes in the corners. The single fin box is very long and lets you move the fin. The further forward you place the fin, the more agile your board becomes. If you place the fin further back, your surfboard will become more stable.

The single fin setup is mainly for longboards.

Double holds better

The two fins mounted on the outer edge of the tail offer the water a large area to flow through. The board generates lots of speed even in slow waves. A twin fin surfs quickly and playfully with tight turns but isn’t great for big waves.

The twin fin setup is usually on fish boards.

Three is the magic number

Most surfboards have a thruster setup.

You can vary the size of the fins, but often three fins of the same size are used.

The thruster combines the best of the single and twin fins with a balance between agility, speed and stability. The thruster gives you enough grip in hollow waves and allows you to pull tight turns. This setup is suitable for almost all waves.

For fish and hybrid shapes

As a development of the twin fin, the quad setup has an advantage in bigger waves.

In principle quad and twin fin work the same - due to the "missing" fin in the middle, your board generates drive. The four fins give you enough grip and allow you to powerfully turn. However, you will have to make sacrifices in quicker turns with this setup.

If the fins are further forward and out, your board will perform well in smaller waves. If they are further back and closer to the centre, they will help you in larger hollow waves.

The most flexibility

Just because you can mount five fins doesn't mean you have to. Even pros rarely surf the full five fin setup.

With a five fin, you can adjust the setup to the conditions and your style. You can surf your surfboard as twin, thruster or quad - and vary the size of the fins.

Chapter 10

Which surfboard accessories?

You don't need too much stuff for surfing. Surf wax or a traction pad and a leash belong to your basic equipment. For travelling, you should get a surfboard bag. The bag will protect your board and has space for wax, sun cream and everything else.

  1. Leash
  2. Surf wax
  3. Traction Pads
  4. Surfboard bag

Which leash for my surfboard?

A leash guarantees you don't lose your surfboard in the waves and protects other surfers from your board. Leashes usually are attached at the ankle and are available in different lengths, thicknesses and colours. Longboarders attach their leash below the knee - It gives you more freedom to move up and down the board.

The leash should ideally be as long as your surfboard. This gives you maximum freedom of movement and safety. If there is no leash in precisely the right length, then round up to the next length.

Girl swimming next to her board with a leash fixed on her ankle and the surfboard

Why do I need surf wax?

When choosing the wax, the water temperature should be your guide. Surf wax is made for different temperatures to give you the best possible grip. Before you go surfing, check the water temperature at your spot and choose your wax.

Girl doing a take off on a green wave

What do I need a traction pad for?

A traction pad has the same function as surf wax. It provides grip and control on the board. The difference is that a foam traction pad is glued to the board. With the pad, you can create targeted pressure on the tail and fins. This is especially useful for radical turns and aerials.

Girl on the beach carrying her surfboard which has traction pads on it

Protection against dents and scratches

A board bag is indispensable for travel and transport. It protects your surfboard from scratches and dents from travelling. You also have space in the bag for fins, wetsuit and towel. So, everything is protected in one bag.

Choose a slightly longer bag than your board. You'll have plenty of room to cushion it for air travel.

How to pack your surfboard bag

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