If you're new to surfing or just never took too much notice about the evolution of surfboard design then its time to brush up on the basics. Although quite general, we've outlined the 7 most basics shapes to help you find a suitable surfboard for your needs. 

Types of surfboards

1) FUNBOARD/MINI MAL

Mini mal funboard
The funboard (aka min mal)

The funboard is a high volume, floaty surfboard that’s ideal for catching waves especially for those learning to surf.

Ability: Beginners
Size range: 7'0" - 8'4"

Pros

Ideal for learning to surf
Easily catches waves
Suitable for marginal/weak conditions
Wont easily breaker surf

Cons

Difficult to duck-dive
Not ideal for hollow or larger surf
Difficult to travel with

2) SHORTBOARD

Shortboard surfboard

The Shortboard (image: Captain Finn)

The shortboard, also known as a thruster, is a high-performance surfboard suitable for experienced riders only.

Ability: Intermediate-advanced surfers
Size range: 5'2" - 7'6"

Pros

Maneuverable
Easy to duck dive
Lightweight

Cons

Can be hard to generate speed in weaker waves
Harder to catch waves
Only suitable for intermediate to advanced surfers
Easier to snap than most other boards

3) Fish Surfboard

Fish Surfboard
The Fish (image: Deus Customs)

An ideal option for slow, small conditions, often found in the summer months. Choose a fish if you’re looking to surf average conditions where your standard shortboard doesn’t get going.

Ability: Intermediate-advanced surfers
Size range: 5'0" - 6'2"

Pros

Catch waves easily
Performs well in weak/small surf
Thick boards like a fish don't snap as easily 

Cons

Only suitable for intermediate+ surfers
Not suited for hollow or large waves
Not as performance orientated as a shortboard

4) HYBRID SURFBOARD

Hybrid surfboard
The Hybrid Surfboard (image Torq Surfboards)

Primarily a shortboard, this intermediate level board is mixed together with the characteristics of a minimal to provide the perfect bridge between a funboard and a shortboard.

Ability: Progressing beginners to intermediate-advanced riders
Size range: 6'6" - 8'4"

Pros

Suitable for larger surfers (intermediate-advanced riders)
Performs well in most conditions
Great alternative to a shortboard

Cons

Harder to duck dive due to the increased volume
Not ideal in hollow waves

5) LONGBOARD SURFBOARD

Longboard surfboard
The Longboard (Image: @lotta_and_the_waves)


Suitable for any level of surfer, at 9 feet or longer, there's clearly enough volume for almost anyone to stand up without the need of much more than a ripple of a wave.

Ability: Beginners - advanced
Size range: 9'0" - 12'0"

Pros

Ideal for learning
Easily catches waves
Performs well in weak, small surf
Wont snap as easily
Excellent re-sale value

Cons

Hard to duck-dive
Not suited for hollow surf
Difficult to travel with

6) GUN SURFBOARD

Gun Surfboard
The Gun (Photo: Gary Miyata)

Guns are designed specifically for surfing the oceans biggest waves and are the largest performance based surfboard designs on the market.

Ability: Advanced +
Size range: 7'0" - 12'0"

Pros

Ideal for catching huge waves

Cons

Difficult to duck dive
Difficult to travel with
Only suitable for huge waves

7“SUP” (STAND UP PADDLEBOARD)

Stand Up Paddleboard
Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP)

SUP's don’t require waves to have fun on. In fact, a piece of open water like a lake offers the perfect place to get the basics before taking to the surf.

Ability: Advanced +
Size range: 7'0" - 12'0"

Pros

Ideal for small conditions
Catch waves before any surfer

Cons

Impossible to duck dive
Hard to travel with