Perhaps no other surfboard design element has as many different designs as the tail. Sharp, oval, round, square, with notches and squiggles – each has its characteristics and “chips.”
This article will explain how the basic tail shapes work and their general rules.
So the classification. What are surfboard tails:
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Thanks to its small width, it has a small surface area absorbed by the wave, providing maximum grip and allowing you to keep the trajectory.
The pin tailboard is challenging to maneuver and is not suitable for small waves, as they do not have enough energy to push out the narrow tail, the board seems to get stuck.
But pin-tails are ideal for Ghani – long narrow boards for big waves.
When you ride along a wall the height of a house, somehow it is not up to maneuvers; you need the board to hold steadily and move quickly.
Like a pintail, a round tail is watered down to provide good grip and stability, but due to the increased width and, accordingly, the larger area, the seat is pushed more to the surface, allowing for easier turning.
In addition, the wider the bottom, the more speed you can gain on small and weak waves.
First of all, the square bottom is usually wide enough, which gives the board stability, and due to the sharp corners that cut the water, it turns on it come out strong and fast.
Boards with such a tail are very responsive when cornering, but at the same time, they hold the trajectory better due to a good grip on the water.
Squash tails are made in different widths. Due to the greater buoyancy force, they can be quickly accelerated even at small waves.
On the other hand, the narrow ones go deeper into the lock, providing stability and control at high speeds when the waves are more significant.
Thus, Squash works well in various conditions, which has made it the most popular tail shape among surfers.
The wave closest to the wave wall also bites into it, providing good grip and control.
Thanks to the cutout in the middle, these two pintails work in turn, so at the moment of turning, the surfer easily rips off the board (much more accessible than on other tails) and, as it were, switches from one to the other, that is, the beginning and end of the maneuver are more precise and more stable.
Again, a broad tail makes it easier to gain speed, so the Swallow’s tail is most often found on buns – short and wide boards for small waves.
For example, the tail looks like a Swallow on one side, and on the other, it turns into Squash.
These are not separate categories but rather a combination of the two tail types that allows the surfer to control the board differently in the front side and backside.
Generally speaking, the rail is a separate design element, but it works so closely with the tail that it makes sense to talk about it as part of the study of this issue.
A rounded rail is called weak, and a fence with a distinct edge is rigid. If the bottom is practically flat with a sharply defined edge, it is a low, rigid rail (Down Rail).
The advantage may be slightly raised relative to the level of the bottom, in which case it is usually not so sharp, but it is still clearly present.
The level at which the edge is located is designated as the ratio of the upper and lower part of the rail: “50/50” means that the border is in the middle, “60/40” – slightly shifted downward, “80/20” – is much closer to the bottom than to the top of the board.
Rugged rails are typical for shortboards, while soft rails are more common on longboards, funboards, and short wide boards for small waves.
On the other hand, a wooden fence cuts through the water, allowing you to go faster and make sharper turns, but it is easy to rip the board with it, which is more a minus than a plus for those who have poor control of maneuvers so far.
Since tail designs can be very different, and even each of the listed categories only summarizes a wide range of options, it is helpful to remember general rules, not individual facts.
Imagine the water passing the edge of the board’s tail: it flows around the surfboard because of its uniformity.
The rounded outlines of the board seem to keep the water in a single stream, and the sharp corners break it.
Thus, the round tail and soft rail grip the water better, providing stability, especially at high waves, while the square bottom and stern rail, on the contrary, push off the water, making the board more agile and sharper.
In addition, the tail surface area plays a significant role; the larger it is, the more the water pushes and accelerates the board.