Surfboard Size Guide

different type of surfboards

The four main types of surfboards

How To Choose the Right Size Surfboard?

To match your skillset and types of waves on your local surf break – picking the right SIZE and TYPE surfboard is a crucial step to maximize your progress.


 

Which Type of Surfboard Is Right For Me?

Unfortunately, there is no “size Small, Medium, or Large.”
The rule of thumb when choosing a surfboard comes down to:

1. DESIGN (TYPE OF THE BOARD – Hybrid/Fish/Shortboard)

2. VOLUME (SIZE OF THE BOARD in liters)

3. DIMENSIONS (HOW LONG, WIDE & THICK IS THE BOARD)


1. DESIGN

Round or a narrow board?

Round-shaped boards offer a more relaxed riding style on mellow waves
Narrow boards, on the other hand, are designed to perform on more powerful waves and better conditions.

Beginner surfers are better off starting with a surfboard that’s round so that they could get the touch of balance. Generally, rounder surfboards are also larger for easy paddling and take-offs. Those boards also forgive the mistakes many beginners tend to make when learning to surf.

round and narrow surfboard shapes

Surfboards & designs:

  • Shortboard – Narrow
  • Fish – Both narrow nad round (volumic)
  • Hybrid – Round < Narrow
  • Fun/Mal – Round
  • Soft-Top – Round
  • Longboard – Round

Round Boards

+ Stable
+
Cruisy and smooth
+ Great for small and slow waves
+ Flatter rocker = easy and fast paddling, early take-offs

More to handle on sharper turns
More volume which makes it harder to duck-dive

surfboard rocker explained
Rocker=Bottom Curvature

Narrow Boards

+ Good for sharp turns and deep sections
+ Great for fast waves and late take-offs

– Needs a steeper wave angle to maintain speed
More rocker = Hard to paddle, more drag

 

What is the Surfboard Rocker?

Surfboard ROCKER is the bottom curvature of the board – from tail to nose. The more “bent” the board has – the more rocker it’s got. Flat board = flat rocker.

Having the proper rocker design on your surfboard makes a whole lot of difference riding the prefered conditions.

Most shortboards are shaped with heavy rocker for late takeoffs late on steeper waves without nose-diving the board. Heavy rocket is also better on hollow waves where you have to adjust riding the line quite often and fast.

The donwside of heavy rocker – creates more drag = harder to paddle.

LESS ROCKER = FLATTER ROCKER

Longboards, Soft-top foam boards, and mal boards are designed with a relaxed rocker, other times called a flat rocker. Ideal for small waves and weaker swells. Having a relaxed rocker gives you more ‘float’ and enables to take off on a wave with less paddling.

So, the more floating area you have beneath the board – the easier it will be to move forward on te water. As a downside, it can limit the riding on more demanding conditions.

Nose rocker vs. Tail rocker

Some hybrid surfboards have a mixture of bottom curvatures. Performance-orientated hybrid surfboards generally have flatter tail rocker and a ‘lifted’ nose. This is good since there’s still plenty of flat curvature on the bottom for easy paddling and power and the lifted nose prevents any nose-diving.

Why it isn’t good to have more rocker? When the surfboard is not entirely flat like most longboards – they still creates more drag. More drag = slower paddle speed.


 

2. VOLUME

surfboard volume recommendations
Shortboard – Hybrid recommendations

What is the surfboard volume? Volume is the amount of space (foam) the surfboard occupies – measured in cubic liters.

Many beginner surfers tend to choose the board mainly by the number of liters, which is ultimately not the right thing to do.

It is best to choose a surfboard by the shape (design or type), then volume, and the length.

Why are the liters not as important when choosing a surfboard? The sweet spot for every rider is +/- 5 liters. It’s better to have the right size and type of surfboard than having a wrong kind of board with the correct amount of liters.

bigger surfboard vs smaller surfboard

More foam = More volume = Larger Size Board

+ Floats good and rides well on small and weaker waves
– Hard to duck dive due to the ‘excessive’ amount of foam in it

Less foam = Less Volume = Smaller Size Board

+ The right amount of foam keeps you afloat and lets you duck dive
– Paddles slow and needs to take off late on a wave

 

SURFBOARD SIZE RECOMMENDATIONS

Surfboard Volume – in Liters (L)
LBS Beginner-Intermediate Intermediate Advanced KG
80 24 – 32 20 16 – 17 36
85 25 – 33 21 17 38
90 26 – 34 21 17-18 40
95 27 – 35 22 18 43
100 29 – 38 24 19-20 45
105 29 – 38 24 19-20 48
110 29 – 39 24,5 19,5 – 20,5 50
115 30 – 41 25,5 20-21,5 52
120 31 – 42 26 21-22 55
125 32 – 42 26 21-22 57
130 32 – 43 27 21-22,5 59
135 33 – 45 28 22-23 61
140 33 – 45 28 22-23,5 64
145 35 – 46 29 23-24 66
150 36 – 48 30 24-25 68
155 37 – 49 31 24,5-26 70
160 38 – 51 32 25,5-26,5 73
165 39 – 52 33 26 – 27,5 75
170 40 – 54 34 27-28,5 77
175 41 – 54 35 28 – 29 80
180 43 – 57 36 28,5 – 30 82
185 44 – 59 37 29,5 – 31 84
190 45 – 60 38 30 – 32 86
195 46 – 62 39 31 – 32,5 89
200 48 – 64 40 32 – 33,5 91
205 49 – 65 41 32,5 – 34 93
210 50 – 67 42 33,5 – 35 95
215 51 – 68 43 34 – 36 98
220 54 – 72 45 36 – 38 100
225 55 – 74 46 37 – 39 103
230 58 – 77 48 39 – 40,5 105
235 59 – 79 50 39,5 – 41,5 107
240 62 – 83 52 41,5 – 43,5 110
LBS Beginner-Intermediate Intermediate Advanced KG

 

Do you already have a surfboard and need to know the Volume by knowing the stock dimensions only?

Surfboard Volume Calculator

Length
5'0" 8'0" 6'5"


Width
17" 24" 21"


Thickness
2" 3⅞" 3"



Shortboard Funboard/Mal Hybrid/Fish


45.9 LITERS

 


 

3.DIMENSIONS

When choosing a surfboard, it’s best to choose it by the 1. Type and 2. volume, not just by the length of the board.

different surfboard dimensions

Larger/Longer/Wider Size Board

+ Easy to paddle due to larger floating area
+ Easy to ride on small to medium and weaker waves

Not as maneuverable
Hard and inconvenient to duck-dive

Short Size Board

+ Manoeuvrable when riding down the wave
+ Easy to duck dive

Slow on a wave and wants to sink on weaker waves
Hard to paddle


surfboard measurements

DIMENSIONS SIZE WRITTEN ON A BOARD

Example: 66 x 20 1/4 x 2 5/6

The length of the board is measured from nose to tail. 6’6″
Width is measured from the widest part. 20 1/4″
The widest part measures thickness. 2 5/6″

The combination of the threes gives the board a rough estimate of a 35-liter volume. How? Read more from HERE.


THICKNESS SIZE

The thickness of the surfboard is a critical factor since the board will be sliding down the wave. The longer the board – the thicker it has to be to maintain its overall strength and sturdiness. Thickness is measured from the widest part of the board on the rails. In ideal, thicker boards offer better float but it will be harder to duck dive under the waves.


Which is the Best Surfboard For a Beginner Surfer?

RELATED: 3 Best Beginner Surfboards

soft top whole surfboard combination
Beginners Soft Top Surfboard

Beginners should start with a surfboard that is long and wide foam or soft boards. Even if you have been a boardrider(snowboard, skateboard) your whole life – standing up on a surfboard is entirely different. Why?

As a snowboarder, you are on a solid mountain sliding on snow, or a skateboarder skating on concrete. Well – as a surfer, you have to stand up on moving water! It is easy to start surfing and getting to know the basics on a long foam board. It is always better to start surfing on a large board. The touch of balance is entirely different since the moving and unpredictable shape of the wave behind and under your feet. The long and wide soft board will forgive on beginner’s mistakes and won’t hurt you as bad as the fiberglass board will. There’s going to be many wipe-outs guaranteed.

NOTE: A soft-top longboard is not a longboard. Longboards are long and heavy, glassed with resin.

BEGINNER SURFBOARD CHARACTERISTICS:

  • Design – Round and volumic
  • Rocker – Flat Rocker
  • Volume – At least 50 liters. Twenty-two inches wide, 3 inches thick.
  • Dimensions – 8 ft and over 

Advanced Beginner

If you have already learned the basics and starting to stand up on the board. Usually, surfers go through the first phase of surfing on a foam board rather quickly. Once they are through the first phase – It is reasonable to get a mal or fun board and step down in the size of the surfboard. Those boards are about 6-8 feet long, rather wide & round, and will let you do and even try to duck-dive. Great step-up.

Volume – 4050 Litres


Best Surfboard for an Intermediate Surfer

hybrid surfboard top and bottom
Hybrid Surfboard Can be ridden on all sorts of waves

Once you are competent enough and starting to enjoy the sport, many intermediate surfers will find themselves wondering about which surfboard to try next.

There are two main ways to choose if you have gone through the beginner’s phase. A performance surfing where you are riding powerful waves, or a laid-back style? Do you already want to jump on a performance shortboard or stick to the cruisy hybrids or mal boards?

Well, it depends on the style of riding you are doing or about to do. Many people don’t feel intimidated by the heavy & rumbling waves, and much rather turn to a more laid-back option like having a longboard. Also, as you have just become from the beginner surfer background – it is advisable not to get a performance shortboard just yet. Instead, you could get the hybrid that lets you ride all sorts of waves.

HYBRID

Best all-rounder surfboard for an intermediate surfer for sure. Hence the name Hybrid – is a mixture between a short- and a longboard. A Hybrid surfboard gives you a glimpse of all sorts of waves that’s out there. As an intermediate surfer – you are probably still looking at what kind of riding you are doing – aggressive or passive – and the hybrid board lets you do both at a certain level. It’s got the speed on small waves, maneuverability, and later take-off capabilities on more massive waves.

  • Design – Narrow but plenty of volumes
  • Rocker – Medium Rocker
  • Volume – 30-40 Litres
  • Dimensions – 6-7 ft

LONGBOARD

Lets you ride very small waves for long-distance with little effort. Since longboards are long and heavy in their size – they float very well. Unlike the soft-top foam-board – a longboard can injure you or others easily if not ridden carefully. Make sure always to protect your head when you fall from the board and try not to ditch your board around others.

  • Design – Long, Round and Heavy
  • Rocker – Flat Rocker
  • Volume – 60+ Litres
  • Dimensions – 8-10 ft 

Read more about the longboard size guide


Best Surfboards for Advanced Surfers

Once you have master riding the previous boards, there’s only one type left that’ll fulfill your needs on the good surf. The black belt in surfing.

A SHORTBOARD

chilli performance shortboard for surfing, top and bottom
A Shortboard for performance

Shortboard enables you to ride those beautiful, powerful waves provided by heavy swells. Those boards have the least amount volume in them to dive smoothly under the waves and narrow design to allow sharp turns. Due to the narrow design, a shortboard can be surfed on steep, fast, and hollow waves. They are very maneuverable!

The shortboard is built for performance where there’s no more to give or take. To know if the board is perfect for you, it must be about your height and float enough. How much is enough volume on a shortboard?

The board has got the right volume for you – when you are sitting on your board, and the water level is around your chest area. If the board water level is around your belly – your board might have too much volume in it.

  • Design – Narrow
  • Rocker – Heavy Rocker
  • Volume – 25-35 Litres
  • Dimensions – Around 6 ft 

Related content

Best Longboards Under $600
Surfboard Volume Calculator – Know how to calculate the volume of your surfboard by knowning the stock dimensions only
Best Beater Boards – A selection of small foamboards to have fun on shorebreaks
Best iSUPs of 2020