Surfboard Design Components
Length – This is the measurement of a surfboard from nose to tail. A longer surfboard will offer more paddling power and stability . The large surface area allows the surfer to paddle faster and get into larger waves.
Width – This is the measurement of a surfboard at its widest point. A wider shape will allow the surfer to eliminate a few inches of length without sacrificing paddling or planing speed. The location of the surfboard’s wide point deserves careful consideration as it will affect riding style and turning radius.
Nose – This is the front tip of the surfboard. The shape will affect entry into the wave, paddling ability, and noseriding.
Tail – The surfboard tail is the back end of the surfboard. Its design significantly affects the performance of the finished product. It has various shapes, performance characteristics, and rockers. Some examples are: square, pin, swallow, diamond and squash.
Rocker – This is the curvature of the surfboard profile. The foam blank comes with a particular rocker that the shaper can alter a bit, but not drastically. A more dramatic rocker will make it easier to handle steep drops, facilitate tighter turns, but also slow the board down if it is heading in a straight line.
Rails – These are the outer edges of the surfboard. They impact tube riding, planing speed, and turning.
Fins – Surfboard fins are the engines that make sure your board moves forward. They dictate turning radius, drive, hold in a wave’s face, drag vs. speed, and overall performance. Typical setups are single fin, twin fin, tri fin (thruster), quad fin, and the rarely seen five-fin setup.
Bottom Contour – The surfboard bottom contour contributes to the speed, turning ability, and style of ride. A convex bottom, sometimes called a hull, will sit low in the wave, move slowly, and offer the surfer a smooth ride. A concave bottom will skip on top of the water, creating lift and shooting water out the back of the board toward the fins. This makes for a very fast and maneuverable ride. Concave designs will vary.
Foil – Foil refers to the distribution of surfboard foam from nose to tail. The thickness of the nose, middle, and tail weigh heavily in the overall performance of the surfboard.
Deck – The deck is the top of the surfboard. The surfboard rails often impact the deck design. The most common are domed, flat, and step decks.