Longboard: the intricacies of long boards

Long planks are very different. We understand the details and nuances of the shape

A longboard is a massive part of surfing history; from longboards, its march around the world began, from a longboard, every person’s journey to surfing begins.

Riding a giant board is more of a pleasure than a struggle; compared to a shortboard, rowing and making waves on it is much easier.

On the other hand, the maneuvers on a large board require more effort from the rider, so short boarders often wonder how to turn this colossal thing.

At the same time, on the long, you can ride on small and large waves, on sharp and gentle ones.

Thus, the spectrum of locks for this board is more comprehensive than for the shortboard, and the riding styles, accordingly, vary more

On the long, you can ride slowly and imposingly, walk to the bow and back, or you can make solid starts and aggressive maneuvers, almost like on a shortboard. It turns out that longboards are needed for different purposes, which inevitably affects what structural features the board should have.

At the same time, the shape of the longboard turns out to be more important than the length; details that are imperceptible at first glance are of fundamental importance in how it will behave on the water.

Therefore, today I will analyze in detail such elements of the longboard as the shape of the nose and tail, concave, rocker and rail, what function they perform, and what purposes they are suitable for.

What kind of longboards are there?

Longboards have two extremes – High Performance and Nose Rider – and hundreds of variations in between.

These extremes have fundamental differences, which I will analyze in detail.

High Performance (HP)


High performance translates as “high performance,” and speaking in human terms, it should be called “high maneuverability.”

These boards have appeared relatively recently, and their creators were driven by the desire to combine the maneuverability of a shortboard with such advantages of a longboard as buoyancy and ease of rowing into waves.

The riding style on such a long is much closer to short boarding – fast amplitude turns, cutbacks, snaps, floaters, and so on.

This style sits between the old “traditional” surfing and the modern shortboard. Hence, the board’s structure peculiarities – the technological methods adopted in shortboards, adapted and embodied in the longboard.

HP longboards strive to make them durable yet lightweight using modern technologies and materials.

Such boards are often made of epoxy, sandwich, or wood. Although HP boards can be shorter than “standard” 9ft longboards, they are usually thin and narrow.

Rocker (nose-to-tail bend along with the board):

The HP longboard is noticeably curved; the nose can be raised when the board is in the water


Relatively narrow, raised out of the water.


Narrow, Diamond, Round, pin, little square, v-tail, just like a shortboard


Sharp edges near the tail push water out from under the board, add acceleration and improve maneuverability, making turns more accessible and faster.

In addition, the clear line between the bottom and the side is visible to the naked eye.


Three mortgages, usually a thruster (3 finals of the same size as on a shortboard) or a 2 + 1 set (large center and two small side ones), are placed on HP longs. It gives more control when cornering.



Concave (concavity of the bottom surface) – flat, single, or double. In general, an open creates channels through which water flows higher under a moving board, making a buoyancy force like lifting the panel above the water.

As a result, the concave board has more buoyancy with less volume.

The High-Performance Longboard is designed to get out of the water as much as possible, be light and buoyant, and allow the surfer to make sharp maneuvers with minimal effort.

Noserider (NR)

As the name suggests, Noserider is boards made to be skated on the bow. It is a classic style of longboard riding, which has been rightly compared to dancing on a wave.

The surfer runs back and forth across the board on a wave, hanging from the edge of one toe (turn 5) and even two legs (hang 10)!

What is unique about noseride? During the ride, the surfer stands at the very tip of the board, literally hanging over the wave.

According to all the laws of physics, the nose should go down under the surfer’s weight and go under the water.

However, this does not happen because the surfer’s weight is compensated. Instead, you can generally walk on the board and stand on the bow on any longboard.

Still, noseride is a complicated maneuver that requires the surfer to clearly understand the wave and the correct position about the critical section.

And the specially designed shape helps keep the balance and thus simplifies the task

So, the mechanics of noseriding are as follows: the surfer on the board should be in the “pocket” of the wave so that the collapsing section falls on the board’s tail and thereby compensates for the weight of the surfer standing on the bow.

If you look at this maneuver from above, you can see that most of the board is, as it were, behind the wave and is completely submerged in the water.


NR length usually starts at 9 ‘and can be up to 12’ and more.

Boards, concave, rocker, nose, tail, fin – every detail affects how you feel sliding on the nose and how easy or difficult it is to get to it.

For a nous ride, the board needs stability, which is achieved by greater length and width and more weight.


Flatter than HP, the board, lies almost flat on the water. At the nose, the rocker, if any, is minimal, and at the tail, it can be slightly increased for greater agility.


Necessarily broad, like the whole board. Professional NR longs are made wide in the bow but very thin.


Such boards can visually have “hips” closer to the tail (expansion in the lower third of the board)

It should also be comprehensive since the more significant its area, the more the volume of water presses on it from above, compensating for the weight on the nose.

The bottom is often a square or rounded square; if round, it is still “bold.”


They are rounded along the entire length, especially towards the tail. On the nousrider, there are no sharp corners and clear rigid lines of the board’s edges.

Instead, the rail is streamlined to “sink” into the wave as much as possible and slow down slightly, allowing the surfer to stay in the critical section.

In addition, the rounded edges force the water to wrap around the tail of the board, again offsetting the weight on the nose.


Most often a single fin, but there may be a 2 + 1 set. A large center fin is a must – it dramatically simplifies the no-ride as it stabilizes the board.

The principle of choosing a fin is simple: its size in inches should be equal to the size of the board in feet, or even more if there is a tail rocker.

A wide fin is better to hold the no-ride but turns harder and slows down the board speed.



The bottom in NR boards is the most exciting thing. The curvature of the bottom contour varies throughout its length.

A third or even half of the board closer to the tail is convex, negative concave (belly bottom).

So put – the base is convex closer to the rear and not concave or flat, as with shortboards and HP longs.

The point is that, unlike a concave that pushes the board out of the water, the convex one acts exactly the opposite – the board “sticks” to the water, which again compensates for the pressure on the nose.

But a third of the board closer to the nose is either flat or concave; that is, it additionally pushes the nose up, keeping it above the water surface.

Concave under the nose can be done either with a smooth channel or with a clean spoon; in the latter case, the board is a little more maneuverable

This whole innovative system – nose pushing out of the water + tail sinking into the wave + Finn holding the board in the wave pocket – allows surfers to do an easy and stable no-ride.

But, of course, not without practice and training.

What should you choose?

It’s simple. If you want to ride soft, smooth, and stylish, like the guys from Deus, spend most of your time on the nose of the board – choose favor of nose riders: small rocker, broad tail and nose, concave on the nose, convex bottom in the rear of the board.

If you want a more aggressive style, more speed, amplitude, and cornering span – take High Performance: light and durable, less volume, with a large rocker and three fins

For beginners, it is better not to rush to extremes. In the longboard family, there are “universal” boards that combine the advantages of both styles: vast, medium rocker, medium tail, and nose, with the option to fit 1 or 3 fins.

Neither a highly pronounced high performance nor a nose rider will be a good choice for students: with terrible experience, the NR is difficult to turn, and due to the small rocker, the nose will “burrow” into the water at the start while the HP is less stable and forgives fewer mistakes, typical for first steps of surfing.

It would help if you didn’t buy Gun either (I know of such cases) – these are boards for huge waves, entirely unsuitable for anything else.

And in any of the above cases, look for a solid board first!



About Author

You may also like

surfer holds a surfboard

Pros and cons of materials for surfboards as the characteristics of their quality and perfect exploitation

Imagine a surfer looking for a perfect surfboard in a specialized surf store. Suddenly he sees a classic white-colored fiberglass
surfboard stands on a stand

The Most Common Types of Surfboard Foam Ensure the Best Choice of Quality and Durability

Are you an avid surfer? Are you the one who is eager to try this activity? Then, you probably know