People often talk about surf in general but the truth is there are different types of surfing and different types of boards. Beginners usually go for an intermediate board or evolutive and sizable called mini malibu (between 7 and 8 feet) to start and then move towards a shorter or longer board depending of their wish.
The shortboard is a small and sharpened board which came out in the 60’s as the surf revolution, it allows radical maneuvers in big and deep waves for a surfing centered on performance. With a size going from 5 to 7 feet it is a very maneuverable board addressed to surfers who show engagement in the water and are in search of thrills, it require a certain level though. It is the type of board rode by most of the surfing competitors, even though competition also exist for longboards they are rare and really less media-covered.
The longboard is a longer board (9 feet minimum) and bigger which can be declined in two categories, the “classic” and the “modern”. Classic or log is perfect for a gentle slide in long, small and soft waves, it is addressed to surfers who love cruising on the waves and are looking for noseride more than rollers or barrels. Modern longboards are sharper for a surf more aggressive and/or bigger and powerful waves. The longboard is more known for its graceful ride than the shortboard but both are ridden with talent by men and women.
You can find many boards said alternatives, like retro fishes, mini simmons, singles, eggs or guns. Those boards are very popular in free surfing, they allow a more expressive surf in almost every conditions. For exemple guns are made for big wave riding, eggs and retro fishes are thicker and wider than shortboards to surf small and soft waves while keeping a lot of maneuverability.
Tensions exist sometimes between shortboarders and longboarders (let’s not talk about Stand Up Paddle… the common enemy!) but everyone surfs his own way and for his own pleasure, whether your are more performance or cruising oriented there are waves for everybody. Apart from the respect of priorities, showing good manners and courtesy still the best way to avoid bad vibes in the water.
The boards you ride usually match with a lifestyle. It is up to you to define what you are looking for and what you really like in surfing, local shapers and small surf shops are usually good listeners and good advisors, do not hesitate to consult them.
For some people, a surfboard is more than a sport’s good, it is a piece of art, an expression medium. Shaping contest are sometimes organized and brands are doing collabs with artists more and more to create beautiful and unique boards. For exemple, Almonds Surfboards, a Californian surfboards brand just released a boards series made in collaboration with photographer Gray Malin, perfect to surf or decorate your living room !
Photos : Maxime Baziadoly / saltygrizzly.com