What Is A Mid-Length Surfboard & Why You Need One

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The mid-length surfboard has a growing following in the surfing community and while it also has plenty of detractors, it’s a surfboard that most people are getting behind.

Known as a “one-surfboard quiver” due to its versatility, the mid-length can handle any type of wave and there are a few different styles to explore.

Mid-length surfboards have been described as being akin to a lighter longboard that you can turn around with ease.

They’re great fun and while you won’t get the high performance of a shortboard, you will have a lot of fun riding small waves and you can will be able to make your fair share of turns.

How Long is a Mid-Length Surfboard?

Mid-lengths are the Goldilocks of surfboard sizes, as they’re not too big and not too small.

Also known as “Mini Mals” which is short for “Mini Malibu”, mid-length surfboards typically fall between 7 and 8 feet, with a full nose, a medium volume, and a low to medium rocker.

What Waves Are Mid-Length Surfboards Best For?

Mid-length boards are best suited for small to medium sized waves, in the 1 foot to 6 foot wave range at beach breaks and point breaks, but this is going to depend on the specific mid-length you buy and the waves you surf.

Some surfers use a mid-length as their step up surfboard because it has a little more paddle power then their everyday shortboard.

Some surfers prefer to surf smaller waves with their mid-length.

It depends.

Talk to a local shaper before you buy your mid-length so you can dial it in for your home surf break.

best Mid-Length Surfboards

Not sure where to start? Here are 5 of the best mid-length surfboards to choose from.

Channel Islands’ CI Mid

The CI Mid is a high-performance mid-length board that was created in collaboration with Devon Howard, a Californian surfer who has spent many years riding mid-length boards.

The CI Mid is a three-fin set with an adjustable middle fin. You could surf it as a single fin and play with the fin placement.

You can check out the CI Mid on the CI website.

The Raven by Bing

Between 6’6″ and 8’6″, the Raven is as good as it gets and has been ridden and approved by many top surfers.

The Raven is a single-fin set up and is a great small-to-medium surfboard and can handle bigger surf.

The Raven is the second surfboard ridden in the above video starting at the 1:15 mark.

You can check it out on the Bing site here.

El Dub by Noll

The El Dub by Noll has a lot of width in the nose which will get you into waves earlier than most mid-length surfboards.

It performs best in medium-sized surf in the 4 to 8 feet range and shines in hollow waves with its pulled in tail.

The El Dub has a three-fin set up with an adjustable center fin.

Contact Noll Surfboards to find out more.

Gary McNeill’s Single Fin

With a name like “Single Fin” you can take guess at the fin set up.

This mid-length has a wider tail than some of the other surfboards highlighted here like the Raven and the CI Mid, so your turns are going to be a little wider than those two boards.

The board performs well in knee high to a little over head surf, which is a little smaller than what the Raven and the CI Mid are designed to handle.

Still, it’s a great mid-length and will bring a ton of fun. Check out the Single Fin by Gary McNeill.

Solution by Chemistry

The Solution may be true to its name.

This mid-length is suitable for beginners in larger sized shapes and is more suitable for experienced surfers in smaller sizes.

The lengths in-between strike a great balance between the two.

The Solution mid-length ranges from 5’2″ to 8’0″ and begins at around $675.

This mid-length can be ordered with:

  • Squash, swallow or a thumb tail
  • Thruster, quad or a five-fin set up
  • 2, 4 or 6 channels or no channels
  • Carbon fiber tail patch

Yup, “solution” indeed. You can check out the Solution by Chemistry here.

Mid-Length Surfboard FAQs

Still got a few questions about mid-length surfboards? Take a look at these FAQs.

What Is The Best Fin For Mid Length Surfboards

A thruster is usually a good starting option and one that features on a huge number of boards.

You could step up to a quad as well, although many seem better suited to tri-fin and 2+1 fin setups.

For mid-lengths with an adjustable middle fin you can start with a fin that is as many inches as the board is long.

So a 7 inch fin for a 7 foot board.

If you plan on riding your mid-length surfboard in bigger surf you may want to get a fin that is 1 to 2 inches bigger to help you keep that tail in the water when bottom turning.

Again, ask your shaper so they can help you dial in the best fin for your board, the waves you surf, your style of surfing and your body weight.

How Long Is A Mid-Length Surfboard?

A mid-length board is usually between 7 and 8 feet, but the term has also been used to describe boards up to 8’6″.

At this length, you have a decent amount of control and a lot of buoyancy.

It’s also great for paddling, although it obviously lacks the power, drive, and control of a performance shortboard.

Where Can You Get a Mid Length Surfboard?

You can buy these boards from any major retailer, but if you want to support the surf industry, buy from an independent shop or look for a local shaper.

How Much Do Mid-Length Cost?

You can get a very good mid-length surfboard for less than $800.

Should I Get a Mid-Length Board as My First Board?

You will be much better off with a longboard if you’re new to surfing.

Look for a cheap longboard or foamy, as a shorter board may prove too challenging.

Can You Duck Dive A Mid-Length?

You can duck dive a mid-length surfboard depending on your weight and upper body strength.

You won’t be able to push it under the wave like a shortboard, but you don’t need to turtle roll it like a longboard.

Can You Nose Ride A Mid-Length?

Sort of. You can give your mid-length your best cheater five. You aren’t going to be able to hang ten toes off of it like you can a longboard.

What Size Mid-Length Surfboard Should I Get?

It depends on what you are going for. If you want a mid-length surfboard that can turn a bit better in smaller surf, you will want to go shorter.

If you are more interested in getting into bigger waves sooner, going faster and setting up a bigger turn, you will want to go a little longer.

Are Mid-Length Surfboard For Beach Breaks

You can surf mid-length surfboards at beach breaks and reef breaks.

Summary: Mid-length Surfboards versus Shortboards and Longboards

Mid lengths are more suited to surfers with some degree of experience.

It is a surfboard that deserves a place in the quiver of any average surfer.

If you’re a complete beginner, you may be better off with a longboard; if you’re a pro seeking the best performance, opt for a Shortboard.

A mid-length is not about getting the best performance or teaching you how to ride the waves.

It’s about having fun on the waves and being able to enjoy messy, choppy, and otherwise disappointing surf.