It seems like we’re seeing new types of surfboards on the waves every single year. Manufacturers are constantly seeking ways to adapt and improve, and surfers are looking for every edge that they can get.
The two board types that we’ll look at here are the fish surfboard and the hybrid surfboard. There are pros and cons to both, but which is more suitable for your skill level and riding style?
What is a Hybrid Surfboard?
“Hybrid surfboard” is a pretty loose definition, and technically includes any surfboard that includes elements from other boards. In that sense, it covers most types of modern surfboard.
However, most surfers and manufacturers use the term to describe a surfboard that blends elements of the fish board and the shortboard. The exact size and features of a hybrid surfboard can vary quite considerably, but they typically include:
- A size of between 5’2 and 7’2
- Thicker than a typical shortboard surfboard
- Rounded rails
- Wide profile
- Low rocker
Some of the best hybrid surfboards include the Hypto Krypto Futureflex from Haydenshapes and the Mahi Hybrid from Gold Coast Surfboards.
What Is A Hybrid Surfboard Good For?
Hybrid surfboards are great for the everyday surfer. They can tackle smaller waves and allow you to get into waves earlier and easier. It’s a high-performance board, more so than a fish, but it definitely has its limitations and lacks the sharpness and competitiveness of shortboards.
What is a Fish Surfboard?
The fish surfboard is also known as a swallowtail, in reference to its cutaway tail, which looks like fish tail. It’s a short board, but it has a lot of volume and width, and this allows for a great deal of stability and buoyancy.
- Lots of width and thickness to provide stability
- Flat rocker
- Works with many fin setups
Lib Tech has some good fish surfboards, as does Wave Bandit.
Is A Fish Surfboard Good For Beginners?
One of the biggest draws of the fish surfboard is that it’s suitable for all levels of surfer, from the complete beginner to the intermediate and even the advanced surfer.
It’s a good board to have in your quiver regardless of your skill level.
What Conditions Is A Fish Surfboard Good For?
The high volume of a fish surfboard makes it ideal for short and mushy waves but it’s also suitable for larger waves. It’s a good summer board and is a lot of fun to ride.
Fish and Hybrid Surfboards: What’s the Difference?
The hybrid surfboard and the fish are two very similar boards. The hybrid surfboard borrows many elements from the fish, including the width and thickness, and they are both fun and fast boards.
The tail shape and style are more varied on hybrid surfboards, but the main difference is that the hybrid board is better suited for high-level surfing. It’s not quite a high-performance shortboard, but it’s more adept at tackling bigger waves than the fish and it also has more maneuverability.
Summary: Fish Surfboards vs Hybrid Surfboards
As with all other types of surfboards, discovering whether the hybrid surfboard or the fish is right for you comes down to your weight, experience, and the type of waves you’ll be tackling.
The fish is stable, fun, and usually quite cheap. It’s a good board and it will suit all types of riders, regardless of skill level. It’s limited in performance and is more fun than functional at higher levels, but if you’re just getting started or you’re an intermediate, none of that matters.
If you’re looking for a surfboard that has a little more sharpness and style; a shorter board that benefits from the low rocker and wide profile but is more tailored to performance and a higher skill level, a hybrid may be better.