Surfboard Types: Choosing the Right Board for Your Skill Level

Surfboard Types: Choosing the Right Board for Your Skill Level

When it comes to surfing, choosing the right surfboard is crucial to enhance your skills and overall experience in the water. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced surfer, understanding the different types of surfboards available can make all the difference in your performance. In this article, we will explore the various surfboard types and provide valuable insights to help you make an informed decision based on your skill level. From longboards to shortboards, fishboards to funboards, we will discuss the characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages of each type, giving you the knowledge you need to select the perfect surfboard for your abilities.

Beginner Surfboards

When it comes to learning how to surf, choosing the right surfboard is crucial. Beginner surfboards are specifically designed to provide stability and easy maneuverability, making them ideal for those who are new to the sport. There are several types of beginner surfboards to consider, each with its own unique characteristics. In this article, we will explore three popular options: foam surfboards, soft top surfboards, and longboards.

Foam Surfboards

Foam surfboards, also known as foamies or softboards, are a popular choice among beginners. These surfboards are made of a foam core covered with a soft, durable outer layer. The foam construction makes them incredibly buoyant and forgiving, allowing beginners to easily catch waves and maintain balance. Foam surfboards are also less likely to cause injuries, as they have a softer surface compared to traditional fiberglass boards. Their lightweight nature and stability make them an excellent choice for those who are just starting out.

Soft Top Surfboards

Soft top surfboards are another great option for beginners. Similar to foam surfboards, they are constructed with a foam core and a soft outer layer. However, soft top surfboards typically have a more traditional shape, resembling a regular shortboard or fish. This design allows beginners to experience the feeling of riding a standard surfboard while still benefiting from the forgiving nature of foam. Soft top surfboards offer a smooth and stable ride, making them suitable for beginners who want to progress their skills quickly.


Longboards are the classic surfboard choice for beginners. These surfboards are longer in length, typically ranging from 8 to 10 feet, providing ample stability and buoyancy. Longboards offer a generous amount of surface area, making it easier for beginners to paddle and catch waves. Due to their size, longboards are incredibly stable and forgiving, allowing beginners to practice their balance and learn the fundamentals of surfing. They are also versatile, as they can be used for small waves or even larger, more challenging conditions. Longboards are an excellent investment for beginners who are serious about learning how to surf and want a board they can progress with over time.

In conclusion, choosing the right surfboard is essential for beginners. Foam surfboards, soft top surfboards, and longboards are all excellent options to consider. Each type of board offers stability, maneuverability, and forgiveness, making them perfect for those who are new to the sport. Whether you opt for the buoyancy of foam surfboards, the traditional shape of soft top surfboards, or the classic stability of longboards, you can’t go wrong with any of these choices to kickstart your surfing journey.

Intermediate Surfboards

Fish Surfboards

Fish surfboards are a popular choice for intermediate surfers looking to enhance their performance. These boards are known for their wider and shorter shape, which provides excellent maneuverability and speed. The distinctive swallowtail design allows for quick turning and easy paddling, making them ideal for smaller and mushier waves. Fish surfboards are suitable for surfers who have mastered the basics and are ready to progress to more challenging waves.


Funboards, also known as mini malibus, are versatile surfboards that cater to the needs of intermediate surfers. With a length ranging between 7 to 8 feet, these boards strike a balance between stability and maneuverability. Funboards offer the paddling power of a longboard and the maneuverability of a shortboard, making them suitable for various wave conditions. They are great for surfers looking to catch smaller waves or improve their skills in different wave types.

Hybrid Surfboards

Hybrid surfboards combine the best features of both shortboards and longboards, making them a perfect choice for intermediate surfers seeking a versatile board. These boards typically have a wider nose and tail, providing stability and ease of paddling. The narrower midsection and performance-oriented rocker allow for more responsive turns and improved performance in larger waves. Hybrid surfboards are designed to handle a wide range of wave conditions and are suitable for intermediate surfers who want to progress their skills in different wave types.

By choosing the right intermediate surfboard that matches your skill level and wave preferences, you can take your surfing to the next level. Whether you opt for a fish surfboard, a funboard, or a hybrid surfboard, each type offers unique characteristics that will enhance your overall surfing experience.

Advanced Surfboards


Shortboards are the preferred choice for advanced surfers who are looking for high-performance and maneuverability in the waves. These surfboards are typically shorter in length, ranging from 5’6" to 7’0", with a narrow and streamlined shape. The reduced length and narrow width allow for quick turns, increased control, and the ability to ride steep and powerful waves.

Shortboards have a pointed nose and a thin profile, which helps them cut through the water with speed and agility. They are designed for advanced surfers who have mastered the basics of surfing and are comfortable with their balance and control on the board. Shortboards require precise footwork and a good sense of wave dynamics to perform well.

Performance Boards

Performance boards are another type of advanced surfboard that caters to experienced surfers looking to push their skills to the limit. These boards are designed to provide maximum speed, responsiveness, and maneuverability in a wide range of wave conditions.

Performance boards often feature a combination of characteristics borrowed from shortboards and other advanced board types. They are typically shorter and narrower than traditional longboards, but not as extreme as shortboards. The outline of a performance board is more rounded, providing a balance between stability and agility.

These boards are great for advanced surfers who want to experiment with aerial maneuvers, aggressive cutbacks, and fast bottom turns. They excel in medium-sized waves and can handle larger, more powerful waves as well.

Gun Surfboards

Gun surfboards are the go-to choice for advanced surfers who seek to conquer big waves and challenging surf conditions. These boards are specifically designed to handle the power and speed of large swells that are typically found in big wave spots around the world.

Gun surfboards are long and slender, ranging from 7’0" to 10’0" in length. They have a pointed nose and a narrow tail, which helps them maintain control and stability when riding fast and steep waves. The extra length and streamlined shape allow surfers to paddle into waves early and generate the speed needed to ride large faces.

Due to their specialized design, gun surfboards require advanced wave-reading skills, exceptional paddling power, and a strong sense of balance. They are not recommended for beginners or even intermediate surfers, as they can be challenging to maneuver and control in smaller waves.

In conclusion, advanced surfers have a variety of surfboard options to choose from. Shortboards provide the highest level of maneuverability and are suitable for experienced surfers who want to perform radical maneuvers. Performance boards offer a balance between stability and agility, catering to surfers who want to push their skills to the next level. Gun surfboards are specifically designed for riding large waves and require advanced wave-reading abilities.

In conclusion, selecting the right surfboard is essential for enhancing your surfing experience and improving your skills. By considering factors such as your skill level, wave conditions, and the type of surfing you enjoy, you can make an informed decision on the most suitable board. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced surfer, there is a wide range of surfboard types available to cater to your specific needs. Remember to always seek advice from experienced surfers or professionals to ensure you make the best choice. So get out there, catch some waves, and enjoy the exhilarating world of surfing with the perfect board for your skill level!