You see them riding the same waves with you – long and narrow boards with parallel outlines. All seemingly appearing straight out of Thomas Campbell’s early surf films “The Seedling.” They are longer than longboards and are a lot thinner, too.
Gliders – the extraneous-seeming lengthy surfboards are making their own noise and are slowly gaining popularity among riders. Perhaps because their awkward and peculiar shape and cumbersome personality not only attracts other riders but adds superiority in riding experience, too.
But, what are glider surfboards, and how are they different from the standard surfboards? This article will open up the world of these sticks, including five of the best glider surfboards you can add to your quiver.
- What is a glider surfboard
- What makes a well-made glider surfboard
- Tips for finding the best glider surfboard
Top 5 Best Glider Surfboards Reviewed
Since Glider Surfboards haven’t gone as mainstream as the traditional surfboards, we have in the market, finding the right one is a lot more challenging. Their components, like outlines, stiffness, rails, etc., differ from the surfboards we usually use.
To give you an idea, here are five of the best glider surfboards you can check out to understand them better.
- Josh Hall Surfboards “The Eagle”
- Prince Kūhiō (DT glider)
- Arenal Gliders
- Haze Surfboards Glider
- Electro Fish Surfboards Glider Surfboard
1. Josh Hall Surfboards “The Eagle”
- Fins: Single box or 2 plus 1
- 10’ x 22.5” x 3”
- 10’6” x 22.75” x 3.12”
- 11’ x 22.87” x 3.75”
- 11’6” x 23” x 3.37”
- Type of waves: Optimal in shoulder to slightly overhead reefs far from crowds
The Eagle is Josh Hall’s glider surfboard patterned after a rounded pin outline. A forgiving shaped big board, the Eagle, is usually what the experts suggest you should try first before any other shapes and tail types.
The origins of this big board design run deep and date all the way back to 1991 when Skip Frye got jazzed on riding boards that draw out the spirit of ancient Hawaiian trims. Compared to other glider surfboard designs, the Eagle leans more on minimalism.
The Eagle aims just to let the rider feel the ultimate glide bleed through the surfboard and into your feet. You can only imagine just how nothing can compare to such a sensation.
This glider surfboard comes in 4 different sizes – all commanding a lot of respect as they can be pretty challenging to ride. Clearly, this big board is recommended for riders with advanced skill levels who can take on a big challenge.
2. Prince Kūhiō (DT glider)
- Fins: – 2+1 FCS w/ 7.5″ or 8″ finger fin
- Sizes: 11’1” x 24.25 x 4”
- Type of waves: Small days or long paddles
Named after a prince of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi, you would expect many big things from this glider surfboard. The best by far from Donald Takayama, this big board’s characteristics stems from the reefs of the South Shore of Oahu – the territory of Hawaii where the prince took his final breath.
This glider surfboard comes with a patented 60 – 40 rail under its edge that aids in effortless turning. Experienced surfers admire how it doesn’t provide the dragging feeling even when taking on tighter turns.
The Prince Kūhiō features a DT-1 rocker that offers ease in paddling. You will be amazed at how despite how long this big board is, it remains user-friendly and glides really smoothly. Overall, its features are favorable for a glider surfboard, even for riders who are relatively new to this kind of board.
Available in a 2+1 fin setup, this glider surfboard can ride either the single fin or 2+1 depending on the surfer’s preference. This stick is a must for everyone’s quiver.
3. Arenal Gliders
- Nose: Single fin
- Sizes: 10’6” x 23.25” x 3.5”
- Type of waves: Flat to whatever you dare
Tap into another world of surfing dimension while smoothly trimming down any wave you ride with the Arenal Glider. This glider surfboard has an outline heavily pulled in in its nose and tail. Plus, its rails are folded and slightly turned down, too.
The big board’s rocker is minimal, excelling down the line speed and trim. This design works neatly with its bottom contour with convex entry rolling down to vee through its last 1/3 part of the glider surfboard.
The design of the Arenal Glider hints at a “cross-country” approach to surfing. But, some may agree that it also insinuates ancient Hawaiians, depending on how you look at it. This glider surfboard gives you a sort of split experience of paddling. How? That’s something for you to describe once you experience it.
Slow down and feel the surrounding with the Arenal Gliders and take yourself back to your early thoughts about learning how to surf – to enjoy the waters and be one with it. Ride it during flat days or take on the biggest waves you dare; this big board will indeed serve.
4. Haze Surfboards Glider
- Fins: single fin
- 10’0″ x 23.25″ x 3.25″
- 10’2″ x 23.3″ x 3.25″
- 10’4″ x 23.3″ x 3.3″
- 10’6″ x 23.4″ x 3.3″
- 10’8″ x 23.4″ x 3.35″
- 10’10” x 23.5″ x 3.35″
- 11′ x 23.5″ x 3.4″
- Type of waves: Shin-slapper days to overhead days
Haze Surfboards’ line of Glider Surfboards features a staggered-tri and single fin option for you to glide easily and have a nose ride enjoyment. It promises to trim, slide, and float like no other surfboards. With this big board, you can paddle far outside and catch unbroken waves while making multiple zig-zags before even hitting the break zone.
This glider surfboard comes in 7 different sizes ranging from 10’ to 11’. Not only that, but you also get to choose from 13 different colors, with your choice of deck, deck and bottom, or bottom only. Finish it off with a glassing finish according to your preference, too. You can pick sanded, sanded gloss, or gloss and polish.
You can paddle smoothly with this big board. Its design aspires that the rider can go wave riding while understanding the ocean waves’ movements. With such experience, you can teach yourself about your wave-riding approach so that you can turn any slow days into happy party rides.
The Haze Surfboard Glider comes with a single fin box that comes standard with most gliders. Most experts recommend a 9.5” to 11” single fin to increase the rake and taper outline for a lengthy glider.
5. Electro Fish Surfboards Glider Surfboard
- Fins: single fin
- Sizes: 10’6” x 22.75” x 3.25”
- Type of waves: any wave size you want to take
Electro Fish’s Glider Surfboard is explicitly built for speed, trim, and smooth glide. It features a narrow outline, a low gentle rocker, and fluid continuous bottom contours. All to make the paddling and turning easy.
Its rails flow from upturned in the nose transitioning to a hard edge in the tail, giving control in steeper waves and the pocket. The extent allows you to collect and plane on even the smallest amount of wave energy.
You can ride this big board in smaller 1 to 4 ft surf, taking fast high lines in steeper surf. But, there is no reason you cannot ride it in more giant waves, too. This glider surfboard is inspired by a gun surfboard and can pick up high rollers with ease. You just have to make sure you know what you are doing.
The shaper made sure this glider surfboard’s design and shape are tuned perfectly, so there’s just minimal effort required from the rider to produce a lot of speed and glide. Moreover, its generous amount of rail locked into the wave makes you feel like there’s nothing that can compare to this board.
What Makes A Well-Made Glider Surfboard
The critical elements in the best glider surfboard are its parallel rails and right bottom contours. Moreover, this big board must have the right amount of Vee. It can also go single concave into a spiral Vee to get an additional lift.
Rail contours are also critical for glider surfboards. Generally, these boards are softer upfront and neutral in the middle, down to their tail. The rails enfold the wave’s energy – so whether it’s knee, chest, or overhead high, it can still pull you along.
Its tails contribute primarily to the big board’s performance, too. For instance, the Josh Hall Glider Surfboard is patterned after a rounded pin outline. So it can be either pintail or swallowtails. Josh Hall’s Eagle is forgiving and can be a glider surfboard you can quickly learn on with its rounded pin style.
Tips For Finding the Best Glider Surfboard
Glider surfboards are essentially longboards but – longer. And, while most suggest that beginners start with longboards, it is not the case for big boards. Having said that, glider surfboards are for advanced surfers who are looking for a different riding experience.
If you are that advanced surfer looking for the perfect glider surfboard to take on your next ride, here are some tips that may come in handy:
- Start with the minimum length. Go for 10’6” as there is no point in going any smaller. Some may say that they can go at least 10’ but, if you definitely want to experience what a big board can offer, then you might as well take the leap and go for something that will actually let you feel the difference in weight, volume, trim, and speed.
- Order glider surfboard from reputable shapers. Research about shapers that have experienced shaping and building these big boards. Find out about their products and see who’s riding them.
- Go for a forgiving shape. As much as possible, start with a rounded pin like the Eagle. For your second or third big board, you can transition to a swallowtail design. Rounded pin glider surfboards allow you to feel the waters first and learn from them. Swallowtail designs give you sensation and speeds that may be too much to handle for someone who is in the process of transitioning.
Glider surfboards are slowly showing the world how they take and turn every wave into something fun. It is far from how most people would assume them to be – that where you just kind of take-off and just stand on the glider surfboard.
You can noseride these big boards and actually use the whole extended surfboard. You can hang ten, do helicopters, or hang heels on them. Big boards are excellent fluid rockers where you can do all you dare to do but still maintain speed and trim.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: What is the biggest wave you can ride a glider surfboard in?
A: According to Josh Hall, the maker of The Eagle Glider Surfboard, some of those who have used his big boards could ride 11 and 12-footers as they can get in early with it. The glider surfboards also take the elevator drop out of the equation.
Q: How does it feel to ride a glider surfboard?
A: Riding a glider surfboard may make you feel like a beginner because it is a whole different surfboard.
Q: What fins are ideal for glider surfboards?
A: Most glider surfboards come with single fins. Some of them come with 2+1s. The length of these glider surfboards just feels right with single fins.