Ultimate Modern Guide to Surfboard Shapes (Funboards, Gun)

Flo Farmer
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The Difference Between Surfboard Shapes

Deciding on the right surfboard shape for your individual surfing needs and abilities doesn’t have to be confusing. You could simply ask yourself a few questions. First, ask yourself what kind of riding you would prefer, or whether you prefer to ride a board that is mainly used for turning or those that are mainly used for gliding.

The answer will assist you in figuring out whether you should choose a shortboard, an egg-shaped board, or a funboard. Second, you have to decide if you are looking for a board that’s easy to paddle and turn, or if you want to glide through the water. Consider whether you want to make a surfing style statement when selecting your board.

Lastly, ask yourself the type of waves you like to ride. Tall whitewater or short, peaky waves? The answer will determine whether you should select a board that's single or double concave and whether you should get a board for small days or if you will try to catch bigger waves.

First, let's look at the short board. There are three types of short board as they are classified by their design – fish, pintail, and squash tail.


Surfboard Tails Rails and Noses

Surfboard tails and surfboard noses are the two ends of your surfboard. We often refer to surfboards by the number they have. A surfboard with a single tail is referred to as a thruster and a surfboard with two of each is called a quad. This is a factor of what kind of board it is. Gun, fish, diamond, etc, are all hybrids of these two types of surfboards and have their own unique shapes.

Really though, you need to understand that there are much more variations of surfboards than single fins, thrusters, gun, fish, doubles, diamonds and even quads.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that surfboards have transitions. These are the middle parts of the surfboard that flow from the top to the bottom.

There are four types of surfboards: the performance shortboard, the performance longboard, the all-around shortboard and the all-around longboard. I’ll take you through the difference between the different surfboards types and the shapes of each. Then, you’ll learn about the different options that are available for you when checking out surfboards.


The length of a surfboard is measured from the nose to the tail. Long boards are around 9 feet or more, while short boards usually measure 6 feet or less. The width of a surfboard is especially important for beginners and intermediate surfers, since this is the determinant of the ride comfort and its rudder-like handling. Expert surfers prefer short and wide boards, which provide them with an excellent stability and unparalleled performance in turns and maneuvers.

Most surfboard shapes are based on the length of the nose and the board’s width. This is why the nose and tail width are important factors to take into account when deciding on a particular surfboard. While nose width doesn’t have a lot of varieties, the tail can come in a few different forms.

In the case of a shortboard, tails may have vee, square and round, squash, or swallow shapes. Longboard surfboards usually have one or two flat tails, while Funboards usually need a heart shape or triangle to perform well.

Knowing the characteristics of each nose and tail width shape will give you an advantage when you’re making your decision.


Just as important as the width of the board is the shape of the rail from tail to nose. The rail will determine the shape of the board. When a new surfer first surfs a short board, it feels like the board is taking them where they want to go and doesn’t fight back. The reason for this is because the short board has more rail (fatter in the middle), which is more stable than a long board.

A longboard will actually catch and pull you under the water when you try to cut a wave off. Heavy rails in the nose with a thin rail line to the tail is the most efficient design for speed.


More emphasis on the tail and the tail block helps with maneuverability. Having a deep tail rocker also means you'll be able to get through a tighter section or rail out of a harder bottom turn.

Surfboard Shapes

Once you have a good understanding of the different types of surfboards, you can take a look at each different board shape and start to take the next step in building your surf skills. For example, if you want to improve your tube riding and wave-catching ability, you can look at the shortboard shapes in the section below.

The shape of a specific surfboard can also be the deciding factor in what type of performance levels you can expect.

Aboard a foam board that is unstable, rocker and length will come into play.

A longboard, however, is a lot more forgiving and low rocker is going to be helpful for heavier riders.

The important thing to remember is that the shape should match the characteristics you want to emphasize. Once you have your foam board, it shouldn’t be too hard to pick the right design for a specific application.

Shortboard Surfboards

Shortboards are the choice surfboard for footpegs and funboards. Today, these boards come in many shapes and sizes, including fish, longboard, and hybrid shapes. Each of these different styles has a specific purpose, usually based on the waves that break where you surf.

The longboard is a large board that's ridden a long distance from the front to the back of the wave. Shortboards are similar to longboards, but are much shorter. The length of the board is a bit more than that of a standard board, but it's still neither all that long nor all that wide.

One of the perks of the surfboard is that it has helped popularize surfing in many communities. The price for these boards has become much more affordable over time, so many people have them. Shorter versions of these boards are commonly used in surfing lessons that allow younger children to learn how to surf easily on the water. Kids and teens can surf on these boards. Despite these benefits, many people will utilize the surfboard when it's time to find a fun activity.

Fish Surfboards

The Fish surfboard is what most of us think when we hear the word surfboard. It is a great option for beginners, those who surf small waves, and most surfers looking for a classic surfboard design. It’s the most popular surfboard shape in the world and a perfect all-round board for most situations.

They generally have a wider nose and flatter rocker compared to a performance board. Because of this, they are faster than a performance board and slower than a bottom turn board making them great for almost everything.

The Fish design is the most versatile and is suitable for a variety of different conditions. They will hold a longer rail line, delivering speed and responsive turning.

The Fish Surfboard is the most popular surfboard shape in the world and a classic surfboard design. It’s a great option for beginners, as well as most surfers looking for a classic surfboard design.

They also fish surfboards are great for generally lighter surf, as you can just duck dive the smaller waves. What this also means is that they are not as maneuverable, you will need to turn a little harder in the foam.

Due to all of these factors, the Fish Can be a great all around board in small-medium sized surf.


An In-Between of Funboards and Surfboards

It is no mystery that surfboards have evolved dramatically in the past few decades. There’s a board for almost any purpose and wave condition … something you want to be able to execute your move with confidence. However, it is perhaps the hybrid boards that have come closest to the versatility of surfboards.

Also referred to as mid-length boards, hybrid boards straddle the line between a shortboard and a longboard. It can provide you with a little more glide and control than a traditional shortboard. It can also give you the ability to shape your turns with a little more curve and staying power from a traditional longboard. Basically, it is the best of both worlds.

Hybrid boards are sometimes confused with a grom board, which usually refers to a short board fit for a younger surfer. The primary difference between the two is grater in length, with a hybrid board having a length between 6 feet to 8 feet.

There are two common types of hybrid boards: the fish and the hybrid gun. You should choose the one that is best suited to your wave size, wave type, and wave conditions.

Using the right hybrid board will make your surf a lot easier and will even allow you to try boards that you couldn’t try before.


These boards are typically larger than most traditional surfboards and usually between 7-10” shorter. They are predominantly used by beginners, although many surfers will use a funboard for their entire surfing career instead of moving up to a full size board. The wide shape makes it easier to catch waves and the softer foam used in their construction means they provide a smoother ride.

Funboards are also considered the most stable surfboard design. These boards are stable and easy to learn on, which makes them great for all levels of surfers. These boards utilize extra thick rails, instead of a raised nose, to give the board extra buoyancy. This helps beginners to catch waves and learn how to balance on a surfboard without having to worry about nose diving all the time.

When buying a funboard, you should look for one that is soft and flexible. This is mainly due to the foam used in its construction. A soft board is more forgiving and therefore, more user-friendly and forgiving when you are learning to surf. A good fun board is also typically slick and fast. These boards are great to keep up with the local crowd when there is only a foot of headroom (1-3ft) in the water.

A good fun board will be an all-rounder as I mentioned earlier, meaning that it will be able to handle a variety of different conditions. However, while fun boards are versatile, skill is still paramount.

Mini-Longboards (Mini-mal)

Mini-mal boards are designed for downhill, open-ocean riding, and general performance surfing. Their length and shape enable them to keep a high speed and turn quickly. Although they are no longer considered “new school” and are not the mass-market choice for beginners, a mini-mal is a versatile short board that will enable you to learn many different surfing styles and techniques.


Longboards are the oldest variant of surfboards. The first longboards were used during the Hawaiian era, but their popularity was really triggered in the late 1960s, when longboards started to be used for surfing purposes.

Surfing longboards are characterized by their length (10” to 15”, maximum). Longboards are usually produced in three to five fin configurations: 10 fin, 12 fin, and a few special 14 fin configurations.

These boards need a lot of paddle power and most of them are good for wave riding only. They are usually produced using a variety of hardwoods and since they are more difficult to maneuver, they are mostly constructed with round bottoms.

Longboards are generally heavier than planing type boards, but the weight doesn’t affect their performance when wave riding and performing sharp turns.

The control and performance offered by these boards have always made them the choice of professionals such as surfers Rob Machado, Tony Ray, Keoni Watson and many more.

These boards are still being produced and while their prices may be a bit too high for the newcomer, they are still a valuable investment for all those who take their surfing seriously.

SUP (Stand-Up Paddle) Boards

The traditional way that surfing was done, was to stand on the ocean surfboard and ride a wave by standing and moving your body against the wave's direction of momentum.

The disadvantage of this method was that you have to wait and sweep the wave from the shore. In fact, it is believed that the Native Hawaiians who surfed the big long boards, would paddle out to where the waves were coming in and stand up after the wave passed.

This becomes very difficult if there are a number of people in the water who "crash" the waves as they approach the shore.

Another disadvantage of surfing is that the board itself tends to be very big and it can be difficult to manage with strong surf and adverse sea conditions.

Gun Surfboard

A Gun really is the ultimate modern board shape, providing incredible ease of use and great benefit to any surfer.

These are the features of the Gun Surfboard:

{1}. It is FAST. The sheer length and width mean you get maximum board speed.
{2}. The amount of surface area on this board means it provides incredibly stable ride. This is even more accentuated through the round rails, which distribute weight more evenly upon the rails.
{3}. It is incredibly playful. By reducing the overall width of the board, it reduces drag upon the tail of the board. This means that you’re able to do incredible aerials and carve the waves with the board in a way that isn’t possible with other board shapes.
{4}. It provides incredible stability through the sweet spot. The rails are less steep than that of the Thruster surfboard, which improves the control and helps prevent you from slipping off the board. This is especially valuable for beginner surfers.
{5}. It works well in all conditions. Wind, current, tide, even swell direction, because the board simply is able to tackle so many different terrains.

There are four different styles of Gun Surfboards:

Egg Surfboard

The egg surfboard gets its name from the shape that resembles an egg or "Oval" body boardshort in size. The length to width ratio of egg surfboards ranges from 1-1.5/1. The wide tail combines with ¼ inch egg foam and a moderate rocker makes this board perfect for a beginner that is looking for additional buoyancy and a stable ride. The tip is often kept cut out in the egg surfboard design. They can be substantially shorter than their traditional counterpart and are often prone to less drag while riding. The added width makes a great beginner board and provides plenty of stability for any beginner to sit on. The EGG is the "Most Retro" of all surfboard models.


Surfing: The Secret To Riding Giant Waves

On Hawaii’s North Shore, a group of dedicated surfing fanatics decided to ride the gigantic waves at the northern tip of Oahu. Using Jet Ski’s, they would tow wave riders out into the massive surf.

Surfers and Oceanographers alike wondered if it was even possible to ride waves like that.

But necessity and power of the sea nurtured the right moment.

Therefore, in 1995 Jeff Clark doubled up on his wish and passion and dedicated himself to this extreme sport. Until then no one ever made use of surfboards while riding on a paddle-board and thus invented the concept of the “Wake Surfing”.

The idea of tow in surfing is fairly simple:

You grab hold of the waves while they're breaking and use the motor to propel you forward.

Back in 1995 then, Jeff Clark was an extreme-sport enthusiast. He was very into wake-surfing and already had the skills to pull off this unique style of riding. He then got the idea of setting the first wake-surfing record. He rode a wave with a 6 foot wave face, that’s 21 feet high.


Now that you have some understanding of how the dimensions of a shortboard compare to a longboard and a fish, you will be able to select the best surfboard for your surfing style. Pick your choices carefully as these boards give you the ride that you've been looking for.

The shape helps to determine how easy each board is to ride, how fast, how maneuverable, how lively, how forgiving, how loose and so on. Some shapes are better at different types of surfing.

Each surfboard type is clearly designed with a target in mind. So if you know what kind of surfer you are, you can actually buy a board that will enhance these abilities. If you want to learn to surf then longboards are usually the best to learn on.

The shape also determines the size of board you can get. As the board size has a relationship with the level of skill it can hold, there is an age/skill requirement for surfing your board effectively.

With these things in consideration, you will be well on your way to picking the best surfboard for your style. It is the most important part of the surfboard because it has a huge impact on your surfing experience.