If you’re new to surfing, and you’re unsure of the different names of all the parts of a surfboard then you’re in the right place.
In this post you’ll learn:
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SURFBOARD PARTS: THE COMPLETE LIST
We're going to be breaking each part of the surfboard down step by step, in detail below:
The front part of a surfboard is called the ‘Nose’, and its shape helps to determine the overall outline of the surfboard itself.
Surfboards with thinner, more pointy nose-shapes will tend to be for bigger waves and more advanced surfers (to a degree).
Surfboards with a wider, more rounded nose-shape will be more forgiving and are generally better suited to beginner surfers, or smaller waves.
The stringer on a surfboard is typically a thin layer of plywood that runs down the centre-line of a surfboard, binding together to two sides of the blank (the foam part of the board).
In recent times however, with the introduction of new advanced construction materials and methods, surfboards no longer stick to the traditional ply stringer at all times.
In fact, some surfboards have no stringers whatsoever, and some have stringers made from balsa wood running down the rails of the board too.
Regardless, the stringer has become synonymous with the centre-line of a surfboard, so whether it has one or not, you can still refer to the centreline as the stringer and get away with it.
The top of a surfboard is known as the deck, and this is where your feet will go.
There’s not too much to know about the deck of a surfboard as there are very few variables, however the one thing to look out for will be whether it’s really flat, or more curved.
Why is that important?
Well, the roll & shape of the deck will influence the surfboards volume overall, and the more advanced you get the more sensitive you’ll become to minor adjustments in shape like this.
The rails are the sides of the surfboard.
They help the surfboard to grip into the waves face as you ride along it, and they impact the way a surfboard turns.
Here are the different rail shapes to look out for:
You also get what's known as hard rails - where there is a hard sharp edge, and soft rails - where the rail is fully curved.
Although not a part of a surfboard's anatomy as such, with so many surfers choosing to use a traction pad I couldn’t avoid adding it to this list.
A traction pad is a foam-based pad that surfers attach to their surfboards for extra grip.
Most surfers will opt to ride with a Tail Pad (a pad just for their back foot), although it is possible to get full deck traction pads too.
A leash plug is an accessory that is inserted into a surfboard during the manufacturing process.
The plug serves the purpose of attaching a surfer to their board via a leash.
Insignificant at first glance, but an important part of a surfboard for sure.
A leash is a chord that attaches a surfer to their surfboard to stop it from floating away during a wipeout.
They come in different sizes and thicknesses depending upon the equipment you’re riding.
The tail is what surfers refer to as the very back of a surfboard, and they come in lots of different shapes and sizes - purpose built for a certain feel, or way of surfing.
The type of tail shape you choose to ride will vary depending upon your ability, and they type of waves you like to surf.
Here are the most popular:
Just like the humble leash plug above, fin plugs too are added to a surfboard during the construction phase.
In times gone by, surfers would have fixed un-removeable fins, fiberglassed onto their boards.
However in recent times - with advancements in technology - surfboards are almost exclusively made with removable fins today.
The two fin systems that have the monopoly of the market are: FCS & Future Fins.
Both have their pros and cons, but in all honesty they’re much of a muchness.
Fins attach to the bottom of a surfboard at the rear, inserted into the fin plugs.
They help a surfer to pivot and turn their boards, and to hold speed and drive through turning manoeuvres.
They come in a bunch of different shapes and sizes, and will vary depending upon your size, weight, and the type of surfing you’re looking to do.
Here’s what to look out for:
SURFBOARD FIN ATTRIBUTES
SURFBOARD FIN SETUPS
Concaves represent the contours that shapers craft into the base of a surfboard.
The ebbs, flows and different shapes effect the way water moves under a surfboard when riding a wave - having a surprisingly big impact on how a surfboard performs.
Here’s a list of the different types of concaves and what to look out for:
Rocker refers to the overall curve that a surfboard has from tail to nose.
The size of the rocker will impact the speed of a surfboard and its ability to turn.
Generally speaking, a surfboard will have a nose rocker, and a tail rocker, with a flat section in the middle to help the board plane.
As a quick rule of thumb:
Nose Rocker: Big = Slower, and more forgiving. Small = Faster, and less forgiving.
Tail Rocker: Big = Slower, more extreme turns. Small = Faster, less extreme turns.
EPOXY OR PU
Epoxy or Pu refer to the material construction of a surfboard.
Eash has their own pros and cons, and your choice will vary depending upon the type of surfing you want to perform, and your expectations.
Here’s a breakdown of each:
PU surfboards are made with a foam blank with a stringer that is shaped, then covered with fiberglass and polyester resin. This type of surfboard is popular because it is relatively inexpensive and easy to repair. PU has been the construction of choice for decades, up until recent advancements in Epoxy alternatives.
Epoxy surfboards are made with a lighter foam blank (with, or without a stringer) that is shaped, then covered with fiberglass and epoxy resin. The epoxy resin is stronger, lighter and more durable, although it does have some trade offs - notably in their ability to flex.
Because of the additional complexities of shaping epoxy surfboards they tend to be more expensive overall, however as mentioned above, they are far more durable.
This is a bit of weird one…
We have loads of flashy names for all the other parts of a surfboard, yet for the under side, we have none.
So, the bottom of a surfboard is called, well, the bottom.
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WRAPPING IT UP
If you’ve ever been unsure about the anatomy of a surfboard, what each part is called and what they do, hopefully this article has cleared all that up for you.
Moving forward you should be able to hold your own in any surf related conversation no matter how nerdy it gets.
You can thank me later…
Rowan is the technical nerd behind the scenes. A lover of everything entrepreneurial, and living a minimal, simple life.