Ready to buy a surfboard? Purchasing a surfboard could be one of the most difficult pieces of sport equipment to buy. There are so many variables in surfboard design that influence the way the surfboard will ride! Just a few elementary questions include, “What kind of tail do you want?,” “What kind of rails do you want?” Plus, you have to think of the fin set-up, the rocker, the bottom, how thick, how wide… it can get downright overwhelming and confusing. Remember, no one surfboard design works in all waves, all of the time. This is why so many different surfboard designs exist and why some surfers have a collection of surfboards to cover a range of different waves and surf conditions.
We want to help you out, so here are a few terms you should know when you pick out the board that’s right for you:
Surfboard rails are the outside edge, or the perimeter of the surfboard. There are several different main types of rails, which all produce a different effect. Soft and rounded rails make the board slower but are easier to handle and have a better “grip” on the water. Hard edges, especially in the tail, allow the water to break away (release) from the rail and increase speed. Sharper rails promote quick turns but don’t carry momentum as well as fuller rails. The most common rail line features a “tucked under edge” design that combines the best properties of both soft and hard rails. The volume (thickness) of the rails is also important. High volume rails are better suited to small, slow waves as they do not sink as much when turning. Low volume rails are better for bigger waves, as they allow better control at higher speeds and where sinking the rails for turning is desirable.
The rocker is the bottom curve of your surfboard from nose to tail. It can be broken down into different sections such as nose rocker, tail rocker, and center. It is the single most important design feature of your surfboard. Less rocker makes a surfboard plane faster and is better in small or mushy waves. More rocker allows more control in trickier situations and is preferable in steep waves. In most cases, the longer the surfboard, the more rocker it needs to have. There are also several options on the actual bottom contour shape of your board as it influences how water travels under the surfboard. Some common surfboard bottom contours are: Belly bottom, Flat bottom, Concave bottom, Vee bottom, and Channel bottom.
The tail is the back section of the board. Increased tail width means greater speed, especially in smaller surf, but less control. Narrower tails don’t maneuver as well, but adhere better to the wave face and are ideal for big-wave boards and tuberiding. The surfboard tail types include swallow, pin, rounded-pin, bat, squash (or square), thumb, diamond, and asymmetrical. Squash and/or Square is the most common tail for short surfboards. The width of the squash/square tail enhances maneuverability and is great for small waves and heavier surfers. Pintail is commonly used on a big wave surfboard. Pintail has a small area that allows it to hold in, in more crucial situations where a wider tail would cause the surfboard to spin out. A swallow tail design combines the area and turning abilities of a wide tail design but helps it act in a similar fashion to the pintail design.
Surfboards may have any number of fins, usually 1 or 3. Without a fin, a surfboard would slide sideways and be almost uncontrollable. A fin creates resistance to the water allowing the surfboard to be turned and to travel across the face of the wave without turning to its side. The surfboard fin combinations are Single Fin, 3 Fins (Thruster), and 2 & 4 Fins. Single Fins are mainly used on beginners’ surfboards where control, not performance, is the main criteria. 3 Fins (Thruster) is used in most surfboards. Thruster design has been found to perform best for most people, on most surfboard designs, in most surf conditions. 2 (Twin) fins make the surfboard very loose but difficult to control in certain situations, especially in large waves. 4 Fins were used to combine the best of twin and 3 fins set ups, but they have never had a wide following.
So, that’s a quick lesson on surfboard terms. Don’t forget to check out all the different Becker board options http://beckersurf.com/boards/ ! If you got more questions, feel free to contact customer service, and we’ll find the perfect one for you!