A Guide to Shortboard Surfboards

Shortboards are shorter, faster, and allow for more maneuverability than Longboards. They tend to be favored by professional surfers and may be too challenging for beginners and even those with a little experience behind them.

How Long Is A Shortboard Surfboard?

The term "Shortboard" is generally used to define surfboards between 5ft 5 inches and 6ft 5 inches. However, surfboards come in all shapes and sizes and you may find boards as short as 5'2" and as long as 7'4".

At the lower end of this limit, the board may be too small and too light for the average adult. It will be more suitable for children and smaller adults. At the upper limit, the board should be suitable for riders up to 200 lbs.

What Are Short Surfboards For?

Shortboards are often made out of expanded polystyrene foam (known as "EPS") and finished with a fiberglass or epoxy resin shell. This creates something that is strong and buoyant, while protecting against water absorption.

The reduced weight and shorter scale mean the boards are easier to maneuver and allow the surfer to reach higher speeds and ride bigger waves. The trade-off is that paddling is harder and there is less stability.

It's why these boards tend to be favored by experienced surfers.

Is It Harder To Surf On A Shortboard?

An advanced surfer shouldn't have an issue riding a Shortboard but the same can't be said for beginners. If you're only just finding your feet and are constantly bailing out of those big waves, you should invest in a bigger and more stable board, such as a Funboard or Longboard.

When Should You Get A Shorter Surfboard?

Your skill level will dictate when it's time to make the switch from a Longboard to a Shortboard. If you can ride the wave down the line and angle the board on take-off, you might be ready. If not, you should probably stick with your Longboard.

One of the best ways to determine whether it's time or not is to borrow a friend's board. You don't need to be an expert straight away, as you can adapt in time. But you should be able to handle yourself and control the board with relative ease. Once you can do that, then you're ready for a Shortboard.

The Best Shortboards on the Market

The following high-performance Shortboards provide the perfect blend of quality and affordability and can be purchased from most major online and offline retailers.

  • Sci-Fi by Slater Designs
  • DX1 Phase 3 by DHD
  • Blackbird by Rusty
  • The Haydenshapes Hypto Krypto
  • Lost Puddle Fish Surfboard by Lib Tech
  • Black and White by Channel Island
  • Thing V2 by Stretch

The cost of these boards varies from $500 to $1,500, but we're talking about high-quality boards designed with expert surfers in mind. If you're on a budget and want a board that can tackle a variety of waves, you may be better off with a used Shortboard. That way, you can aim for a higher-quality product while keeping the price within a reasonable range.

Summary: Shortboards versus Other Types of Surfboard

There are many different shapes and types to consider when purchasing a surfboard. Should you go long or short? What kind of fin setup do you need and where do you stand on soft tops versus hard tops? An experienced surfer, shaper, or surf shop retailer can help you with all of this, matching your experience to your board.

For the sake of simplicity, just remember that Shortboards are reserved for expert surfers and Longboards are targeted toward beginners, but the board won't do the work for you and you'll still need to learn how to tackle those waves.

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