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A surfboard is a board made of a buoyant material that is used as a sports device for surfing or, in conjunction with a sail, for windsurfing .


The core material in surfboards is hard foam. The coating is usually made of polyester or epoxy resin- soaked fiberglass fabric . Modern surfboards use a core that contains a helium-filled bladder in the middle, which further reduces the weight of the surfboards and increases buoyancy. Occasionally surfboards are also made from balsa wood . If additionally provided with a polystyrene core , these are lighter than conventionally manufactured boards. There are also surfboards made of wood that are hollow on the inside - comparable to an airplane wing in terms of their construction.

In order to ensure the longitudinal stability, a thin sheet of plywood is installed in the middle in the longitudinal direction , the stringer . It balances the load distribution so that the board does not break apart.

General information on designs

There are different designs depending on the application. These determine the turning behavior, buoyancy and manageability, and ultimately the use of the board.

The size of a surfboard is usually in Feet (ft) and inches indicated (inches), windsurfing and centimeters are common. A characteristic of windsurfing boards is the volume given in liters , which determines the static buoyancy .

The fin is screwed into the fin box in the rear of the board and is used for directional stability. There are different standards for the fin box in windsurfing: Powerbox, US-Box, Tuttle Box, deep Tuttle Box, Powertrim Box, Tiga Conic Box. Surfing and windsurfing wave boards often have two or three fins.

Longboard class windsurf boards and beginner boards have a moveable sword near the center of the board. A rail for attaching the mast foot is integrated into a windsurf board. This serves to hold the power joint and thus the mast base and can be adjusted lengthways depending on the size of the sail.

The foot straps on windsurfing boards, at least two at the front and one or two at the back, are adjustable for each foot size and can usually also be moved on the board.

Types of windsurfing

Windsurf boards are called after their different areas of application:

  • Wave : Wave boards are available in the range from approx. 65 to 95 liters. They are small, agile and usually do not offer enough static buoyancy to support the weight of the surfer and the rig ( sinker ). This lack of buoyancy is compensated for by the hydrodynamic buoyancy when driving, especially since wave boards require some experience in windsurfing. The high maneuverability is achieved, in addition to the low volume, by a pronounced bow and stern curvature (called scoop and rocker ) and a round outer shape ( outline ).
  • Freeride : Freeride boards are very popular with most casual and hobby surfers because they are easy to handle and easy to jibe . With board volumes between 90 and 150 liters, they cover the largest range of windsurfing boards and are used by surfers of all ages and weights. Their purpose is mainly "normal" driving, whether for relaxation or to experience the unique feeling of "gliding along".
  • Freestyle : These boards are characterized by high turning ability and maneuverability and are in the volume range from approx. 85 to 110 liters. They are mainly used to perform special maneuvers such as jumps, rotation tricks and sailing tricks.
  • Freemove : Boards in this category combine the properties of wave, freestyle and freeride boards and see themselves as a kind of "all-rounder". Their volumes are between around 85 and 120 liters.
  • Formula : Formula boards are wider and more voluminous compared to the board types mentioned above, are optimized for speed and "walking uphill" (driving towards windward ) and are more common in professional competitions than in the hobby area. Features of the board construction are high stability with relatively little friction: The surfer shifts the weight in such a way that only half of the board is in contact with water, thus reducing friction, and still being able to keep his balance easier when jibing and turning .
  • Speed : The special boards in this category are less popular in the hobby area and are mostly used by professionals (e.g. Finian Maynard , Bjørn Dunkerbeck ) to set new speed records. The boards are characterized by an extremely small width of approx. 25–35 cm, low volume (sinker) and a slight bow and stern curvature . These boards are also known as needles .
  • Beginner boards : These surfboards are characterized by their large volume (over 140 liters) and large width. Often they also have a sword in order to increase the stability and prevent the novice surfing from drifting away. In the past, these boards were also called longboards , like the large surf boards . Since the 2000s, the beginner's boards have become significantly shorter and much wider, as the length is more of a hindrance to handling, but the width ensures the necessary stability for beginners.
  • Tandem boards: These relatively little common boards have two rails to attach the mast base and thus enable two sails to be mounted . This requires the synchronous execution of both surfers, especially when turning maneuvers.

Types of surfacing

In contrast to windsurfing boards, surfboards for surfing do not have foot straps. To increase the stability on the wet surface, the market offers various surf waxes , which are applied to the surface of the surfboard. Depending on the water temperature, there are different types with the names Cold (up to 14 ° C), Cool (13 to 20 ° C), Warm (19 to 26 ° C) and Tropic (from 24 ° C water temperature).

When it comes to surfing, there are basically two different types of boards: the longboard and the shortboard .

Each type of board has special properties in terms of buoyancy, stability, maneuverability and speed of the surfboard. A longboard is used when the length exceeds 8 feet (about 2.44 meters). Shorter surfboards are known as shortboards.



On the longboard, those under 9 feet (approx. 2.74 meters) are also often referred to as Malibu . Longboards are usually relatively thick and have a rounded tip, also called a nose . Beginners and slightly advanced riders should use the Malibu (Funboard), which is the easiest to “catch” the wave and maintain balance.

Historically, longboards were only surfed until the 1960s, which is why longboard surfing is considered old school and is usually done with a sense of style. The longboard's most popular trick is the hang ten , also known as the nose ride , with all ten toes sticking out over the top of the board. Well-known longboarders are Joel Tudor from the USA and Bonga Perkins from Hawaii .


Due to its relatively difficult handling, the shortboard is more suitable for the advanced surfer. Here, too, the different designs determine the different properties of the boards.

  • Mini-Malibuses are similar in shape to a longboard, but are shorter than 8 feet and therefore more manoeuvrable than actual Malibuses.
  • Evolution boards (also called funboards) are intended for beginners to make it easier to get started on shortboards. They are wider, longer and thicker than normal shortboards, but similar in shape with a pointed nose .
  • Standard shortboards have a length between 6 feet and 7 feet and are used depending on ability and experience, usually by advanced riders. Boards of this type are mainly used in competitions.
  • Even shorter surfboards are called Fish , Frog or Egg . A fishboard is mainly used in onshore wind (wind blows towards the coast ) and in small to head-high waves.


A special form of form boards category Gun ( gun ) having a length of 7 feet to about 12 feet. They are very slim and tapered at the front and are used for very large waves. The small width allows high speeds, and because of their length they are more stable in the water even at high speeds.


Bodyboarder in a tube

A bodyboard (or boogie board ) is a special type of surfboard for surfing. In contrast to the surfboard, which is used standing, you surf on a bodyboard lying down. With the drop knee variant, you kneel with one leg on the board while the other is upright. People rarely stand on the bodyboard entirely. The advantages of bodyboards are that they are easy to learn, easy to transport and the relatively low risk of injury from the board itself.

There are simple beginner boards for children through to professional boards that cost up to 400 euros. A bodyboard consists of foam or hard foam such as polyethylene or polypropylene . Depending on the version, a stringer made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic is inserted for reinforcement, similar to the surfboard . For beginners, a board is suitable that extends in length from the floor to just below the navel and, when held in the hand, fits comfortably under the crook of the arm. The board is connected to the body by means of a leash - a suspension line. The leash is usually attached to the forearm or upper arm with a Velcro fastener. For bodyboarding, you need special, short swim fins that are available in surf shops. These fins are moved with short, powerful strokes to reach the wave. Tennis socks that are worn in the foot section are an insider trick for the initially uncomfortable but indispensable swim fins for body surfing.

The bodyboard can be used in almost all waves from 0.5 to 8 meters. It is particularly suitable for steep beach and reef breaks with rapidly breaking waves, such as those found on B. occur in Puerto Escondido in Mexico . In Germany, the North Sea on Sylt near Westerland and Wenningstedt is best for bodyboarding. Bodyboard equipment is also available in Westerland. Other popular bodyboarding areas in Europe are Peniche and Ericeira in Portugal and the north coasts of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura , as well as the Atlantic coast of France . In Portugal and large parts of Latin America , the bodyboard is much more popular than the surfboard.

This board shape was invented by Tom Morey in the 1970s, who with his company morey-boogie had a patent on it for 25 years. There are now numerous other manufacturers on the market.

A well-known bodyboarding protagonist in the scene is the Hawaiian Mike Stewart, who lived in Tom Morey's neighborhood as a boy. He won a total of 11 world titles in bodyboarding. He was considered one of the best surfers in the early 1990s, regardless of equipment, and is still winning competitions today at the age of 42. A younger generation around the 2006 world champion, Jeff Hubbard, focuses on aerials (air jumps), with rotations of up to 720 degrees in the air.

Types of kitesurfing

When it comes to kitesurfing, a distinction is made between directional boards and bi-directional boards .

  • A directional board has two to three foot straps and can only be ridden in one direction. If you want to go in the other direction, you have to turn (jibe) the board, but this requires some skill. Alternatively, the journey must be interrupted and the board turned. The big advantage of this type is that it has more volume and therefore more buoyancy on the water and is therefore more suitable for beginners, as you do not go under immediately when you turn the steering. The larger fins also make driving easier and more forgiving.
  • A bi-directional board has two foot straps and is built almost symmetrically. It is therefore possible to drive in both directions without changing feet. Since this type has less volume and smaller fins, you have to drive faster and more over the edge than with directional boards. Advanced kite surfers almost exclusively use this design.
  • A wave board has as the Bi-Directional board two foot loops, but is made specifically for kitesurfing in waves. The advantage is that it can be screwed into the shaft more easily.

See also

Web links

Commons : Surfboard  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Surfboard  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Surfboard guide: How to find the right surfboard! In: . July 14, 2018 ( [accessed September 9, 2018]).