Surfboard: basic elements

As any fruit consists of a rind, pulp, and bone, any surf has essential elements, the design of which determines its characteristics

Throughout the history of surfing, the board has continually evolved to meet the increasing demands of advanced surfers.

As a result, it touched everything from size and shape to the material of which the surfboard is made.

Nevertheless, its main parts remain the same, as any fruit consists of a peel, pulp, and bone; any surf has essential elements, the design of which determines its characteristics—breaking down the anatomy of a surfboard.

Surface (deck / bottom)

The general outlines of a surfboard, if you look at it from the front (from the top or bottom), are called “shape” (from the English shape)

It is this shape that determines the main characteristics of the board. Width is measured at its widest point, usually in the middle, although sometimes offset.

The nose and tail width is measured 12 inches from the corresponding edge

How much is it in meters?

Historically, boards were measured in English units in feet and inches.

However, the fact is that until 2005, almost 90% of all blanks for surfboards (that is, specially prepared foam, from which the board is then machined) was made at the Clark Foam factory in California, where this measurement system is adopted.


Rocker is the bending of the board from nose to tail, its profile “rounded.”

Rocker is divided into bow and rear since these two values ​​affect the board’s behavior differently.

So, a small, almost flat nose rocker gives the board more buoyancy and ease when raking but slows downturns.

On the other hand, a steep tail rocker helps to make sharp turns but degrades speed characteristics.


A thin strip of wood running down the center of the board from tail to nose is called a stringer

The center pivot is firmly glued into the foam, strengthening the board.

Some boards are made without a stringer; for example, epoxy sandwich boards do not need a stringer since a multi-layer durable coating acts as an exoskeleton.

Some boards, on the contrary, are made with two or even three stringers; it becomes twice as difficult to break them in half; this is justified in the case of a longboard if they ride on big waves.


The front of the board is called the “nose”; it can be round, sharp, and generally anything between these two extremes

The wide, rounded nose adds volume to the board, making it more stable and easier to rake; such a nose is typical for large panels from Malibu to longboard.

Pointed nose – the lighter forefoot allows for sharper and sharper turns for shortboards. In general, nose width is a measure of stability versus agility.


The tail is the most crucial detail determining the board’s maneuverability; the shapers were very smart with this part, so the choice scatters their eyes nowadays

The general principle is this: a broad square tail gives speed and is pushed well by the wave, but it is more difficult to “cut” the edge of the board into the wall of the wave.

On the other hand, a narrow trail allows you to cut the wall smoothly, make turns but generally slows down the travel speed. Any intermediate options are the ratio of speed and agility.

For big waves, tapered tails are suitable, as the wave power is enough to give the surfer the correct rate, and on small waves, it is more pleasant to ride a board with a broad tail.


The contour of the cross-cut of the side edge of the board is called a rail

The sharpness of the transition from the bottom of the board to the edge determines the smoothness of the turns.

Classic longboards are almost always made with 50/50 rounded rails that allow the water to bend around the board and hold it.

A low rail is made on boards for large and powerful waves, giving stability.

In general, on modern surfboards, you can often find a transition in the roundness of the rail from 50/50 to the understated from nose to tail.


The thickness of the board can vary from nose to tail and usually tapers from the center to the sides

Measurement in the thickest part is taken as the main one.

The wider the board, the greater its volume, and hence the buoyancy; thick panels are easy to rake but more challenging to turn.

Understanding how each detail works, you can roughly predict how a particular board will behave in water.



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