Types of Surfboards and what they are used for (Materials and Measurements)

There are many different types of surfboards, sizes and equipmentfor every need or skill level. Every self-respecting surfer should understand when to use each one and know how to differentiate one from the other, this is something that we are going to teach you in our surf school in Lanzarote, but if you are looking for more information, we have prepared a complete guide for you to enjoy and you can access it whenever you want.

No matter if you are a beginner or more experienced, to succeed in the art of catching waves, you must choose a good board. This choice is not as simple as saying: “this one” and that’s it-…. There are different sizes, equipmentand measurements available and it is not always clear what criteria to adopt to avoid making mistakes.

That’s why we’ve put together a guide to surfboard types for beginners to help you make the right choice.

Let’s get started!

Types of surfboards 🏄

Surfboards literally come in all shapes and sizes. There are many different categories of surfboards and if you want you can divide them into as many different subcategories as you like. However, there are five main types of surfboards: Shortboard, Fish, Funboard, Longboard and Gun. We are going to talk about these and others a little more specific that could be classified within the five main categories, but are worth knowing about.

    • Funboard

    • Evolution

    • Fish

    • Mini Malibu

    • Longboard

    • Shortboard

    • Gun

    • Performance

    • Stand Up Paddle Board

Now we are going to see each one of the types of surfboards, sizes and equipment and which ones are more suitable for beginners, as well as the uses that each one of them has.


funboard surfboard

Funboards are 7 to 8 foot long surfboards that have a wide nose, relaxed rocker and foil, and are designed for easy riding in a wide range of conditions. They are commonly known as “eggs” or “midlengths”.

A funboard can also have any fin configuration, but they work best when built with a fin and tail configuration that would be seen on a shortboard. Because these boards have extra stability and work in many different waves, they are good for beginners, but a well-designed board can work for someone at an advanced level as well. Depending on the configuration of the rocker and fins, a Funboard can work in waves larger than those usually taken by beginners.


evolution surfboard

Evolution surfboards are a “more professional” version of the funboard but are also suitable for beginners as they are stable and easy to turn.

They are a middle ground between the short board and the mini Malibu, with a backside like a short board and a front side like a mini Malibu, they are stable and easy to handle.

Compared to other types of surfboards, evolution surfboards offer more buoyancy and stability. Its rounded tip favors paddling.

Although suitable for beginners, evolution boards can also be a good option for more advanced surfers who like to turn on the waves.


surfboard fish

Some of the first “shortboards” were knee boards that surfers decided to stand up on and many of these boards share characteristics of the “fish” format. A Fish is a surfboard that is generally less than 6 feet long with a lot of volume inside.

It is characterized by a broad nose, a broad tail with a deep swallow cut and a flat rocker. A Fish may be double-keeled or four-finned and because of its shape, it often protrudes into the waves. The main characteristic of surfing with a fish is the speed and fluidity they allow. A fish board has more body than a short board and for this reason it is easier to level the weight in adverse conditions. Fish work best in waves that go from thigh to head, although we can sometimes see experienced surfers taking much bigger waves with this type of board.

Mini Malibu

mini malibu surfboard

For those who like longboarding, but would like to have more ease in maneuvering, the mini Malibu is a great option.

In addition to the ease of standing, the shorter size (between 7 and 8 feet) of the mini Malibu aids in mobility and facilitates transport out of the water.


longboard surfboard

A longboard is a surfboard that is 2.5 meters long and is designed for maximum stability. This board should have a wide nose, a lot of volume, and should be single-fin or 2+1. Longboards are the original surfboards of the surfing world, but they have not escaped evolution over the years.

There are longboards that are designed for high performance, as well as the more traditional noseriding and cruising. A single fin requires less friction (more sliding), while a 2+1 configuration gives more grip with a consequent loss of fluidity due to more wear.

When the waves are affordable, nothing works as well as a longboard. Longboards are the perfect type of surfboard for beginners to learn on, but they are difficult to handle in more demanding conditions. This type of board is manageable in small waves, but if you want to tackle a wilder wave, you will need to be experienced as it is not easy to tame in adverse conditions.


shortboard for surfing

Do you know what type of surfboards are the most common and the most used? Yes, the shortboard.

Shortboards are boards designed for fast maneuvers. With a design considered as the most evolved, they are versatile boards suitable for all wave conditions, because they offer a good balance between speed and maneuverability.

Do you want to know who they are suitable for? Being a short board, it is the most technical type of surfboard, which requires an intermediate level of surfing to be able to enjoy all its possibilities.

Although it offers more room for maneuver, it is unstable and has a lower fluctuation rate. Therefore, it is not a type of board recommended for beginners.

The short board length is 5 to 6.5 feet, with a pointed, low-volume nozzle.


surfboard gun

Not for the inexperienced, a gun is a specialized surfboard designed for professional waves to challenge the most experienced surfers. The dimensions can be very close to those of a longboard (although they can also be as short as about 7 feet) but no one would confuse a gun board with a longboard. A gun has a pointed nose and tail and can have any type of fin configuration. These are the most specialized surfboards available because they are designed for risky waves, where the surfer’s life is literally in danger. The fins are for waves with double height.

These are the main characteristics of a gun board, as they can vary according to the owner’s taste. Many boards are customized, and many of the successes in the surfing world come from mixing characteristics of two different types of surfboards.

For example, in the early 1990s, the “Glass Slipper” shortboard became popular. Extreme thinness and extreme rocker characterized the “Glass Slipper”. These boards were great for people like Kelly Slater in good waves, but not at all the best choice for average surfers in medium waves. People then rediscovered the Fish design and Fish became popular once again. The new board designs began to mix the characteristics of the Fish with the shortboard design and thus a new board variation was born.

High Performance

types of high performance surfboards

These surfboards are used for small waves, both by professional surfers and by amateurs who already have a good physical preparation and greater agility.

For those who already have a good notion of surfing and want more agility and maneuverability, this is a good choice.

Stand Up Paddle Board

sup table

For those who want to practice Stand Up Paddle, there is another specific type of board. It may look like a normal surfboard, but it is not.

The Stand Up Paddle Board is the largest surfboard. It is of a size, width and thickness to support the stability of a person’s weight standing in all circumstances, whether on or off the wave.

In addition to the board, in Stand Up Paddle, the surfer carries a flexible paddle to propel and maneuver on the wave. It is a good option for days with small waves and little strength.

How to choose my first surfboard?

Surfing is a fascinating sport because, unlike other sports, it depends a lot on factors that you can and cannot control. Many, many times a good surf session is related to the type of wave you are breaking at that moment, the equipment you are wearing that day and yes, of course, your surfing skills.

Let’s talk a little bit about your first board… Choosing your first surfboard has an emotional appeal because it means that you have decided that you really want to invest and evolve in surfing.

The first board will give you incredible moments! Usually it is the board that gives you that almost indescribable feeling of sliding into the sea for the first time. It is also the one that will suffer the impacts of an inexperienced surfer. So you are not just choosing a board, you are about to meet your best friend in the water. This choice depends on a few things you need to consider.

Do you really need a board?

Okay, it’s great to start surfing and having your own board makes it that much better. But buying a new board requires a lot of research and knowledge if you want to be 100% satisfied with your choice.

So, you have to start with the question “Is this the right time to invest in my first board?”.

There is no rule but, ideally, you should invest in your first board after a few surf lessons. After those days of practice, if you are sure you like it and want to keep surfing, go ahead. This way you avoid making a pointless investment.

Also, let’s say you start surfing at a surf school, you end up trying the boards recommended by your teachers, you get to know the different types of surfing and you already understand better the impact of the different types of boards on the glide under the waves. It would be better to have this background to choose yours, right?

What board did you learn to surf with?

Let’s say you follow our advice and choose to buy your first board after 2 months of surf lessons, ok? Well, think now, what board have you been surfing with?

If you are satisfied with the board you use to learn and want to buy your first board to achieve independence and not have difficulties in the transition from school to surfing on your own, the ideal is to have the model you learned on as a reference.

On the other hand, if you want a different model of board because you already ride the wave, stand up, paddle and cut with the board, it is time to study the different models we have described in this article. For that, it is good to know what kind of surfing you want to do.

Attention! Keep in mind that the smaller and/or thinner the board you choose, the more difficult it will be to stand up and keep your balance. That means it may take you a little longer to get used to it and do what you did with the board you were using before.

How often do you surf?

Undoubtedly, practice leads to evolution. It is like this for everything in life. Surfing is a sport that requires balance, agility, strength, among other skills to be well done.

If you surf less than once a week

Standing is not one of the easiest tasks, but the ideal board will certainly make it easier. On second thought, if you have a few hours of surfing, you’ll need a board that will help you a lot in the process, and not make it difficult, right?

In addition, it is essential to remember that the goal of surfing is to have fun above all else. If you want to evolve with a small board, with a very low frequency of navigation you may end up leaving the water frustrated.

So if this is your case, the use of larger, wider and more edged boards is ideal. This combination will make it easier for you to paddle, stand up and balance to ride the wave.

If you surf more than once a week

The higher the frequency with which you will visit the water, the faster it tends to evolve. Therefore, it is worth considering the option of choosing a board that no matter how difficult it is to master the first few times. You will end up getting used to it.

Getting help from professionals

Talk to your surf instructor. If you have a professional who teaches you how to surf, his or her experience will undoubtedly be very important when choosing your first board. Ask him what he thinks of the board you use and what he thinks will be the best style of board for your knowledge.

Sign up with us to take a surf course in Lanzarote and learn all this knowledge in person.

It is essential that you know the structure, shapes and types of boards, because it will help you to feel secure and confident in making the right decision.

Now that you have your board you just need to try surfing in Lanzarote, we recommend you to come in the autumn months when we have the best weather and waves.

Since 1996, in Lanzarote we enjoy teaching the true art of surfing. We are located in the Natural Reserve of Famara, an idyllic landscape designed by nature and made for surfing lovers.

Take a look at our wide range of training programs. And if you still want more, what better way to complete your surf training than with SUP, Kitesurf, Yoga or Diving courses?

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