Different Types of Surfboards

different surfboard types

Surfing is an exhilarating sport that allows people to ride the waves and connect with nature. A crucial part of surfing is having the right equipment, and the most important piece of equipment is the surfboard. Surfboards come in many different shapes and sizes, each designed for a specific type of wave or surfing style. We will explore the different types of surfboards available to help you choose the right one for your next surf session.

  1. Longboard
  2. Shortboard
  3. Fish Surfboard
  4. Hybrid Surfboard
  5. Funboard / Malibu / Mini-mal
  6. Foamboard / Soft-top Surfboard
  7. Beater board
  8. Egg Surfboard
  9. Midlength
  10. Gun Surfboard
  11. Tow-In Surfboard
  12. Groveller Surfboard
  13. Grom / Youth’s Surfboard
  14. All-Rounder Surfboard
  15. Step-Up Surfboard
  16. Step-down Surfboard

1. Longboard 

longboard surfboard length

The longboard’s sturdy and imposing construction has made it a familiar sight to surfers and non-surfers alike. It is the very foundation upon which the sport of surfing was built, tracing its roots back to the longboard surfboard. While in the past, during the 50s and 60s, these boards were crafted from hardwood, the industry has since shifted to fiberglass and epoxy boards that reign supreme today.

Whether you refer to it as the original, classic, or traditional longboard, this iconic board typically comes with a single-fin set-up, though a thruster set-up has become more commonplace in recent times. The single fin, which is typically large, is complemented by two smaller side fins, also known as “side biters”. Boasting excellent stability and tracking, longboards are incredibly easy to paddle and maintain in a straight line, making them a popular choice among surfers of all levels.

Riding style: Nose riding and performance longboarding.
Types of Waves: Small to medium. 2ft to 6ft waves.
Average Length: 9′ to 12′
Different Types of Longboards: Performance longboards, nose-ride longboards.
Weaknesses: Heavy and slow to maneuver, nose dive in hollow waves, almost impossible to duck dive.
Fins: Single, thruster

  • Early paddle-in.
  • Fast to paddle.
  • Good in small and big waves.
  • Can ride a wave for a long time.
  • Stable on fast and hollow waves.


  • Impossible to duck-dive.
  • Hard to turn.
  • Heavy.

2. Shortboard

shortboard surfboard size

The quintessential shortboard is the ultimate wave-riding machine, enabling surfers to extract every ounce of performance from the breaking swell. As these boards are deliberately designed to be on the cusp of floatation, they possess the least amount of volume, allowing for nimble duck dives, late take-offs, radical carves, and high-flying aerials. In short, the shortboard is where the art of surfing truly shines.

When it comes to shortboard surfboards, they typically come equipped with either a 3-fin or 5-fin arrangement, enabling them to perform impressively on swift waves. This setup allows for exceptional maneuverability, making shortboards a top choice for surfing enthusiasts seeking a thrilling ride.

Riding Style: Performance.
Types of Waves: Fast & hollow. 3ft to 10ft.
Average Board Size: About the same height as the surfer.
Different Types of Shortboards: Pintail, round tail.
Weaknesses: Slow to paddle.
Fins: Thruster, quad, 5-fin

  • Can ride fast and hollow waves.
  • Easy to duck-dive.
  • Lightweight.
  • Superb maneuverability.


  • Need to be fit to ride one on a daily basis.
  • Slow to paddle.
  • Late take-off.

3. Fish Surfboard

fish surfboard size guide

Designed to perform admirably on small to medium-sized waves, both slow and fast, the fish surfboard boasts a wide, short, and thick shape that allows for swift and effortless maneuvering. With a generous amount of volume in the board, these surfboards are remarkably easy to paddle and take off on a moving wave. Ideal for surfers seeking a snappy and agile ride, the fish surfboard is a must-have for any surfer’s collection.

The twin-fin set-up is the standard configuration for the original fish surfboard, but many other models feature a quad-fin set-up for added stability and maneuverability. As a highly influential design, the fish surfboard has inspired numerous other board types, from its distinctive fishtail design to its fin set-up, which has been replicated across a range of surfboard styles. It’s no wonder that the fish surfboard has become an iconic staple of the surfing world.

Riding Style: Performance, relaxed.
Types of Waves: From small and weak to 2′ overhead.
Average Board Size: 2′ to 3′ smaller than a perfectly chosen shortboard.
Different Types of Fish Surfboards: Retro Fish / Hybrid Fish.
Weaknesses: Unstable on powerful waves.
Fins: Twin, quad.

  • Can be ridden in various conditions.
  • Lightweight.
  • Great maneuverability.
  • Easy to duck-dive.
  • Fun.
  • Plenty of volume for the size.


  • Hard to paddle.
  • Late take-off on larger waves.
  • Not as stable on larger waves.

4. Hybrid Surfboard

hybrid surfboard for beginners

The hybrid surfboard is the ultimate amalgamation of various surfboard designs, offering an incredibly diverse range of performance capabilities. A crucial addition to any surfer’s quiver, this versatile board is perfectly suited for tackling an array of surf conditions. Particularly ideal for travelers seeking to make the most of their surfing opportunities with a single board, the hybrid surfboard is a must-have for those seeking an adaptable and reliable ride.

While there is no shortage of surfboard types and models available, the hybrid board is often regarded as a transition board, providing a bridge between various surfing styles and conditions. With its adaptable design and versatile performance capabilities, the hybrid board is an excellent choice for surfers looking to hone their skills and explore different surfing techniques. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a novice surfer, the hybrid board is a reliable and valuable tool in any surfer’s arsenal.

Riding Style: Mixed from laid back to performance.
Types of Waves: Small to medium. 3ft to 6ft in ideal.
Average Board Size: From 5’6″ to 7′
Different Types of Hybrids: Shortboard-inspired, longboard-inspired, fish surfboard-inspired, mid-lengths.
Fins: Thruster, quad.

  • Can be ridden in various conditions
  • Great all-around surfboard
  • Many different sizes and shapes are available

5. Funboard / Malibu / Mini-mal

malibu surfboard shape

As a surfboard that straddles the line between a longboard and a shortboard, the Malibu is closely related to the hybrid surfboard. Highly favored by both novice surfers and heavier riders alike, the Malibu is the quintessential Sunday surfer’s board. With its intermediate length and rounded contours, this forgiving surfboard is an excellent choice for surfers of all skill levels. Able to tackle larger waves that don’t break, as well as those that cannot be ridden with a typical hybrid board, the Malibu is a versatile and valuable addition to any surfer’s collection.

Riding Style: Relaxed.
Types of Waves: Knee, ankle-high to 6ft.
Average Board Size: 6′ to 8′
Different Types of Funboards: Mainly the one, malibu type

  • Great all-rounder.
  • Beginner-friendly.
  • Rides well in fat and mushy waves.


  • Lots of volume making it difficult to duck-dive.
  • Slow to turn on a moving wave.
  • Not as stable on fast waves.

6. Foamboard / Soft-top Surfboard

foam board surfboard

The Foamboard, also known as foamie, is primarily favored by novice surfers who are still getting to grips with the size and handling of larger boards in the waves. With their soft, foam construction, these boards offer a forgiving nature, minimizing the impact of wipeouts on the water. Despite their lightweight design, foam boards are remarkably lively and responsive, making them an ideal choice for surfers looking to develop their skills and technique. It’s no surprise that almost all surf schools rely on foam boards that are eight feet or longer, helping to introduce newcomers to the joys of surfing in a safe and supportive manner.

Riding Style: Relaxed, fun, beginners.
Types of Waves: Small, slow, poor quality, whitewater.
Average Board Size: From 4’8″ to 9′
Different Types of Foamboards: Long, beginners’ to fun hybrid and beater boards.
Fins: Twin, thruster, quad.

  • Affordable.
  • Fun onshore breaks.
  • Safe for beginners & other surfers around.
  • Won’t ding as easily.


  • Limited maneuverability.
  • Too much volume.
  • Not great for turns.
  • Not as durable.

7. Beater board

what is a beater surfboard

The Beater board is one of the hottest and most recent trends in the surfing world, born out of the No-Surf-Rule imposed on beaches displaying a yellow flag with a black dot. These flags indicate that no watercraft are allowed in the water alongside swimmers, but the foam construction of the Beater board allows it to circumvent these restrictions. In addition to its unique legal status, the Beater board is an excellent choice for surfers looking to tackle sketchy and gnarly shore break waves, without risking damage to their expensive PU or EPS surfboards. With its versatility and adaptability, the Beater board is suitable for surfers of all skill levels and can be used in a wide variety of wave types.

Riding Style: Fun, beach brakes.
Types of Waves: Shore breaks, sketchy waves.
Average Board Size: 4’8″ / 5’4″
Different Types of Beater Boards: Twin Fin / Finless.
Fins: Twin, quad.

  • Affordable.
  • Super fun on shore breaks and odd waves.
  • Small in size making it great to maneuver.


  • Hard to stand up for a beginner.
  • Limited stability & maneuverability.

8. Egg Surfboard

egg surfboard size chart

Egg surfboards are aptly named for their distinctive egg-like shape, which characterizes their design. Classified as funboards, these surfboards are typically short and thick, making them ideal for riding mellow waves in a relaxed, laid-back style. Like the fish and the beater board, egg surfboards offer a wealth of fun and excitement in conditions where traditional shortboards may struggle to gain traction. Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or just starting out, egg surfboards are an excellent choice for anyone looking to enjoy the waves in a unique and distinctive way.

Riding Style: Relaxed, fun.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced.
Types of Waves: Fat and slow.
Average Board Size: 6′ to 8′ long.
Different Types of Egg Surfboards: Mainly the same shape as shown in the image.
Fins: Twin.

  • A great alternative to foam & beater boards.
  • Can ride small waves and have tons of fun.


  • Not stable in fast & hollow conditions.

9. Midlength

best mid length surfboards

The mid-length surfboard is a versatile and adaptable option that shares many similarities with hybrids, funboards, mini-mals, and malibus. Equipped with a thruster set-up, this surfboard is an excellent all-rounder that can handle a wide variety of surf conditions. Unlike longboards, mid-length surfboards are easy to paddle and can be duck dived to some extent, making them a great alternative for surfers looking for a more agile and responsive board. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, a mid-length surfboard is a fantastic choice that will provide you with hours of fun and excitement out on the waves.

Riding Style: All-round riding.
Types of Waves: Small to large. 3ft to 7ft.
Average Board Size: 6’8″ to 8′
Different Types of Mid-lengths: Funboard, malibu.
Fins: Thruster, quad.

  • Great for the all-rounder.
  • Can be ridden in both small and big waves.
  • Plenty of volumes = early take-off.


  • Too much volume makes it hard to duck dive.
  • Hard to turn on fast waves.

10. Gun Surfboard

gun surfboard dimensions

The big wave gun surfboard is an elongated version of a shortboard, specifically designed to conquer massive waves. These boards boast a considerable volume-to-length ratio and a narrow outline, facilitating swift paddling and blazing-fast descents. To optimize stability and control, the gun surfboards are equipped with either a large single fin or a thruster set-up.

Riding Style: Performance.
Types of Waves: XL-XXXL waves.
Average Board Size: 7′ to 10′
Different Types of Guns: Standard, mini-gun.
Weaknesses: Work only on fast and follow waves, hard to turn.
Fins: Single, quad.

  • Great board for big waves


  • Can be ridden a certain wave-type only

11. Tow-In Surfboard

tow in surfboard designs

Crafted to conquer the fastest, biggest, and most cavernous waves imaginably, this type of surfboard is designed to take your skills to the next level. While both the tow-in and gun surfboards are suitable for tackling massive swells, the former is typically equipped with foot straps for enhanced stability. The fin set-up is predominantly a thruster, providing optimal control and maneuverability, while the unique moon-shaped tail and deep straight single concave at the board’s bottom enhance speed and responsiveness in the most challenging of conditions.

Riding Style: Fast & hollow.
Skill level: Advanced to professional.
Types of Waves: XL – XXXL waves.
Average Board Size: 6′ to 6’6″
Different Types of Guns: Mainly one type.
Weaknesses: Hard to turn.

  • One trick pony.


  • Can be ridden only with the assistance of a jetski.

12. Groveller Surfboard

best performance groveller surfboard

The Groveler surfboard is a perfect hybrid of a fish and a shortboard, designed to maximize the benefits of both types of boards. Similar to a fish board, a Groveler aims to pack as much volume as possible into a relatively small surfboard, making it an ideal choice for surfers looking for more agility and responsiveness in smaller waves. Thanks to their versatility, Grovelers are popular choices for surfers who travel frequently and want an all-round board that can handle a wide range of conditions.

Riding Style: Fun, laid back.
Skill Level: Intermediate-advanced.
Types of Waves: Small to medium, slow and fat, mushy.
Average Board Size: 5’2″ to 6’2″
Different Types of Grovellers: Anywhere near a fish, egg, and shortboard.
Fins: Quad, twin.

  • A great alternative to egg, or a soft-top beater board.
  • Easy to duck dive.


  • Rides great in fat & small waves only.
  • Limited maneuverability on fast waves.

13. Grom / Youth’s Surfboard

fountain of youth surfboard

Designed specifically for young surfers, Grom surfboards are high-performance shortboards that are carefully crafted to meet the unique needs of budding surfers. These boards are typically offered by large surfboard brands, who often create them based on their most popular shapes, ensuring that young surfers can experience the same level of quality and performance as their adult counterparts. Whether your child is a beginner or an experienced surfer, a Grom surfboard can help them hone their skills and take their surfing to the next level.

Riding Style: Intermediate, Advanced.
Skill Level: Intermediate, Advanced.
Types of Waves: Mid-high quality.
Average Board Size: Generally up to 6ft.
Different Types of Grom surfboards: Shortboard, hybrid.
Fins: Thruster, quad, 5-fin.

  • The choice for intermediate & advanced young surfers.


  • Expect an above-average physique to use this board daily.

14. All-Rounder Surfboard

best all round surfboard for intermediate

An all-rounder surfboard is a versatile and hybrid board that can be used across a wide range of wave conditions. These boards are designed to cater to surfers who are capable of riding different types of waves, from relaxed and mellow to more challenging and high-performance conditions. Slightly larger in volume than a typical performance shortboard, an all-rounder surfboard strikes the perfect balance between agility and stability, enabling surfers to ride with confidence and precision. With an all-rounder surfboard in your quiver, you can tackle any wave conditions that come your way with ease and style.

Riding Style: Relaxed to carving.
Skill Level: Intermediate, Advanced.
Types of Waves: From knee-high to fat & overhead.
Average Board Size: 5’8″ to 7′.
Different Types of Allrounders: Hybrids of most types, generally between a funboard/shortboard, or a fish.
Weaknesses: Not as good for fast waves.

  • Rides well in various conditions.
  • Plenty of volume under the chest making it easy to paddle.
  • Early & late take-offs.


  • Don’t know, add in the comments if you find any.

15. Step-Up Surfboard

step up surfboard fins

When the conditions of the ocean are above average and call for a more advanced board, a step-up surfboard is the go-to choice for many experienced surfers. These boards are specifically designed to cater to larger and faster waves, where a typical board would fall short. In addition to high-performance waves, step-up surfboards also excel in windier conditions where a larger and bulkier board would maintain a better line. With their advanced construction and specialized design, step-up surfboards are the perfect tool to take your surfing skills to the next level and conquer even the most challenging of conditions.

A step-up board can make all the difference when it comes to riding large waves that a typical shortboard would struggle to handle, thanks to its early paddle-in capabilities.

Riding Style: Performance.
Types of Waves: Large & fast.
Average Board Size: 6’4“
Different Types of Step-Up Surfboards: Gun, Mini Gun, Performance Shortboard, Tow-in Surfboard

16. Step-down Surfboard

what is a step down surfboard

When the waves are smaller and less powerful, a Step-Down surfboard is the perfect choice for surfers looking to hone their skills and improve their technique. Unlike Step-Up boards, which are designed for larger and more challenging conditions, Step-Down surfboards offer a smoother and more forgiving ride, making them ideal for transitioning from a shortboard to a hybrid or groveler surfboard in less-than-ideal surf conditions. With their versatility and superior performance, Step-Down surfboards are a must-have for any serious surfer looking to take their skills to the next level.

Riding Style: Relaxed.
Types of Waves: Below average.
Average Board Size: Thicker and more volume than average.
Different Types of Step-Down Surfboards: Hybrid, Groveler, Egg.
Weaknesses: Won’t work on increasing surf quality.


Choosing the right surfboard type is crucial for a fun and successful surfing experience. Each type of surfboard has its own unique features and benefits that cater to different skill levels, wave conditions, and riding styles. As a beginner, it’s best to start with a longboard or foam board to learn the basics, while intermediate and advanced surfers may opt for a shortboard or a fish board for more challenging waves. Whatever surfboard type you choose, remember to prioritize safety, have fun, and respect the ocean and its waves.

Happy surfing!

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Rose Frank

Rose Frank is a young enthusiastic girl who loves everything about fashion. She believes in expressing her passion in a language that everyone can connect with. She is part of the LooksGud team, which loves to reach out to maximum people and inspire them to express themselves through fashion.