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Should You Get a Short Surfboard or a Longboard?

There is a wave of available surfboard styles for Australian surfers. As they say, different makes for different mates. A comprehensive assessment of skill and fitness levels, height and weight, and surf conditions affect our choice of buying surfboards. This notion is true for beginners, intermediates, and advanced surfers too. 

There is no one specific board to fit one person for every condition. That’s why surfers build a quiver of surfboards in all shapes and sizes to enjoy surfing at all times. If you are starting to build your quiver of boards, you’re probably looking up ‘DHD’ and other brands on the internet. Perhaps you’re researching what legendary Australian surfers like Stephanie Gilmore or Tyler Wright are using. A thorough search will lead you to quite overwhelming results. 

You can see that surfboards usually come from around 6’0” up to 8’0” tall. Then, you’ll find at the ends of the spectrum hybrid boards as short as 5’2” and longboards measuring up to 11’0”. Are you going to need these extremes for your surfboard collection? 

Begin with One Good Surfboard

Before expanding your quiver of boards, make sure you have one reliable beginner surfboard. The average board will be around the 7-8 foot mark for most people. Also, it will be about 22 inches wide and 3 inches thick. Boards around this size provide the right volume for you to paddle into waves. If you can find a soft-top surfboard, it gives you a better float and stability on the water. It has a wider tail and a rounder nose that add width and thickness to the board. 

Together with choosing board fundamentals, practice some surfing fitness practices too. Maintaining a body fit to surf is not just for professional athletes. You will much more enjoy surfing when doing so with a healthy body. Moreover, you will be more capable of surfing more wave types and conditions. 

Trying Out Short or Hybrid Surfboards

There is a broad variety of waves and surfing conditions in Australia. These varying types led to different styles, shapes, and sizes of surfboards. One surfboard type that is increasingly becoming popular these days is the short surfboard. 

Many professional surfers prefer shorter boards, but it was Kelly Slater that popularized this new style. Back in 2010, he surprised surfing enthusiasts with a short surfboard. During that time, most surfers use 6’8” and longer boards. His Wizard Sleeve was only around 5’10”. Since then, short surfboards have become a trend. Aside from its smaller length, it is wider and thicker than other board types. People often refer to it as a ‘hybrid’ board because of its unique design. 

You can use short surfboards in a wide range of conditions. These types don’t need much rocker and provide greater speed. Due to its shorter size, surfers find it easier to whip turns in the waves. 

Short surfboards have a reputation for versatility. For instance, some designs have pointed pins and rounded tails rather than wide squash tails. Pointed pins enable you to surf different waves, while rounded tails provide the same holding capacity longer boards provide. Manufacturers like DHD provide these all-around designs. 

Conquering Waves with Longboards

Longboards are surfboards that are around 9’0” and longer. They are generally wide, thick, and more buoyant than other types. A rule of thumb in the surfing community is to use a longboard at least 3’ longer than your height. So if you stand at 5’8”, look for a board that’s 8’6” to 9’0” tall. 

Experienced surfers share that it’s easier to catch waves with a longboard. These boards also provide the most stability, so it’s easier to stand and balance on the board. Manu surfers train with longboards to refine their skills on the trickier shortboards. Generally, you’ll get to surf more waves with longboards and allow you to upskill and enjoy surfing for longer periods. 

Frank Meyer

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