Groveler surfboards have gone increasingly popular in modern-day surf culture. They help get you to have fun in tiny and weak swells. These fat and oblong shapes floating around are similar in shape to a shortboard but draw in elements to let them perform on small days.
It wasn’t until around 2010 when groveler surfboards hit mainstream culture, when FireWire released the Sweet Potato Board.
Some argue that the Mini Simmons conceptualized the idea of the first groveler in the 1950s. But, even then, it was just an underground and experimental idea that never really caught attention.
Since its rising popularity, other companies started to manufacture the groveler line under their brand. Some of the most popular brands are the Average Joe and Kono.
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In Review: The Best Groveler Surfboards
The huge amount of choices for groveler surfboards can be overwhelming. But, for you, we’ve narrowed down your choices to the best groveler surfboards that you can use to combat the incoming swell of waist-high weak waves.
- Razzo Hybrid Groveler Surfboard by South Bay Board Co.
- Beater 54” Lost Edition by Catch Surf
- Jersey Jack PU Groveler Surfboard by Kona Surf Co.
- Froth! Soft Top Groveler Surfboard by Boardworks
- Lemon Head PU Groveler Surfboard by Kona Surf Co.
- Sweet Potato Groveler by Firewire
#1. Razzo Hybrid Surfboard by South Bay Board Co. – Best Value for Your Money
- Materials: EPS core, slick HDPE & crosshatched mesh bottom
- Weight Range: 50 to 180 pounds
- Shape: Hybrid short board, tapered nose-rail-tail, rounded-point nose, squash tail
- Fin System: FCSII 3-fin thruster
- Board Weight: 8 pounds
- ‘Fingerprint’ Textured Wax-Free Board + Leash + Fins making it a wave ready setup
- Widened chest areas & squash tail for extra stability com
- Package includes:
- 1 Single FCS Fin
- 2 Proper Large FCS Thruster Fins
- 1 Fin Key
- 1 Competition Surfboard Leash
- Wax-Free Foam deck resin to the top deck
Living up to the meaning of its Italian name, Razzo – this hybrid surfboard by South Bay Board Co offers speed and maneuverability that makes riding fun. Without lacking any performance, this groveler is a beginner-friendly board in many ways. With squash tails, thin rails, and its slight nose-tail rocker, it performs close to how shortboards do.
Wave entry is a tad easier with the added volume on the board. It makes you fly down lines in no time. Made with real bamboo layers to increase durability, it is combined with resin, hard-bottom deck that comes complete with FCS fin boxes.
Grovelers cut through swells but Razzo cuts more than most with its rails that are hand-tapered. Such a design helps with maneuvering and turning with ease. The nose shape enables easier paddling to give you enough strength for pop-ups.
Altogether, this package comes with a thruster set of fins, 6-ft leash, a textured and wax-free deck that allows you to get into the water as soon as you lay your hands on it.
|Foam top deck that doesn’t need waxing||May surf too much like a shortboard for some
|Brings high performance to small conditions||Not the best in mushy waves|
|Comes with everything you need to surf
|Hand-tapered rails for better cut
#2. Beater 54” Lost Edition by Catch Surf – Best for Speed
- Length: 4ft 6in (54in)
- Construction: maple wood core, polyethylene, HDPE skin
- Profile: D-rails
- Nose: rounded
- Center: 20in
- All-purpose, customizable shred stick
- Tapered D-rails and twin-channel crescent tail for finless performance
- Old-School 8lb PE deck and impact resistant HDPE slick skin
- Soft pop-thru removable keel fins (twin fin model only)
- Light-weight and water-resistant core
Beater 54,” designed and manufactured by Catch Surf, was conceptualized to beat the blackball – that yellow flag raised by lifeguards during summer that means restricted surfing. This board can be used as a bodyboard, skimboard, and surfboard. That versatility makes surfers grab it and be back in the water in no time.
Aside from the three ways this groveler surfboard can be used in the water, riders can customize the board according to their taste by choosing one of the three fin setup options – finless, single fin, and twin fin. Take note that twin fins are available only in the Pro Version.
Catch Surf also offers conversion kits for single or twin fin setup. Beater board comes in 4 versions, and with its vivid colors, it would be hard to imagine it could lose sight of it.
Beater 54” Lost Edition by Catch Surf is ideal for fun-loving surfers who have an adventurous outlook about surfing. Riders who are keen on experimenting with different surfing styles to balance and expand the way they ride should have this board on their line-up.
While it can be for beginners and professionals, we wouldn’t advise you of getting it if you don’t have the surfing basics and fundamental maneuvers down.
|Unique, high-performance customizable fin system||Needs waxing|
|Trendy, custom colors and graphics||Too slippery|
|Hard-wearing maple-ply stringers
#3. Jersey Jack PU Groveler Surfboard by Kona Surf Co. – Best Groveler Surfboard for Stability
- Core: PU (Polyurethane)
- Construction: Epoxy
- Glass: 6 x 6/6
- Finish: Sanded
- Fin Setup: Up to 5
- Wide point is pushed forward for stable performance
- Slight single concave improves performance without sacrificing stability
- PU blank and Epoxy resin construction with cutting edge materials and laminating techniques to produce a strong, reliable surfboard
- Comes with:
- 1 Jersey Jack board
- 3 Kona Two-Tab Nylon Fins
- 1 Leash that features a double-padded ankle strap and a durable, stainless steel double swivel
- Contoured tail for a great balance between speed and hold
Backed with knowledge in surfing and a bachelor’s degree in Economics, Mike Sciarra founded the Kona Surf Co. that we know today. His vision of creating a brand with a positive vibe offered premium products at affordable prices for surfers both young and old, newbie or professional.
From renting a tiny store to shape boards, he eventually moved and expanded the business to a bigger location to keep up with the growing number of orders.
True to its vision, Kona came up with one of the best groveler surfboards in the market today. Their Jersey Jack PU Groveler Surfboard is easy, fast and fun and is great for any kind of surfing conditions as well as skill level.
If you are seeking for stability, this groveler surfboard is for you. Packed with tons of volume, it provides balance throughout your session. Its wide point on the board is specifically pushed forward to keep stabilization as the tail keeps anchoring the board to the face.
The unique contoured bottom includes single to double concave up to vee contour to the back. Its tail being a bit tucked in the back gets you far better performance without interfering with the board’s stability.
|Loaded with stability features with added volume||Extra volume makes the board less maneuverable
|Double swivel keeps leash safe from tangling||More expensive than most brands|
|Tucked tail for better performance
|Comes with nylon fins and leash|
#4. Froth! Soft Top Surfboard by Boardworks – Best Groveler Surfboard for Beginners
- Width: 21 ½ inch
- Thickness: 2 ½ inch
- Volume: 30.39 liters
- Fin setup: Thruster
- Weight Capacity: 190 pounds
- High-Quality fin boxes and fins
- Long-lasting construction’
- Full EVA (Ethylene-vinyl acetate) wrapped deck and rails for safety
- EPS foam core wrapped in fiberglass epoxy resin laminations
- Dual wood stringers for stiffness and strength
Boardworks has been offering the highest quality surf products in the market since its origins in the 1990s. They are continually evolving to become one of the top SUP (Stand Up Paddle) and surf companies globally.
After partnering with notable shapers in the SUP and surf business like Stewart, Ben Aipa, Bruce Jones, and Infinity Surfboards, they became part of the Confluence Outdoor family of brands. Confluence Outdoor is the biggest watersports company for almost 40 years.
With Confluence Outdoors’ decades of experience combined with Boardworks’ dedication and passion towards their craft, they lead the industry in getting more people excited about the waters.
One of the products they released is the Froth! Soft Top Surfboard. Constructed with the frames of a hard-top surfboard, wrapped in soft, foamie goodness, the Boardworks Froth! is the Michelin Man of surfboards.
Its construction works as if the board is being made into a more conventional epoxy hard top board, but then artfully and subtly adds high-density foam to the top, thus cheating the system. The result of this construction is both light and long-lasting stick that is safe for beginners.
With high-quality fin boxes, it allows you to swap out your fins when you need to change up your game. These characteristics aim to please pro and beginners alike.
|Added volume for unquestionable stability||Poor packaging, fins get lost in transit|
|Superior manufacturing materials||Too slippery, even with wax
|Rigid and flexible at the same time|
|Lightweight and durable design
|Fun and maneuverable
#5. Lemon Head PU Groveler Surfboard by Kona Surf Co. – Best Groveler for The Smallest of Waves
- Core: PU (Polyurethane)
- Construction: PU
- Glass: 6 x 4 x 4 / 6 x 4
- Finish: Sanded
- Fin Setup: 4 Futures + 1 FCS 2
- Longboard shape on a fish scale
- Low rocker provides an easy ride
- Flat entry converts to a generous single concave through the front two-thirds of the board
- Tail connects with the wave and acts as a rail to rail transition
- Package includes:
- 1 Lemon Head board
- 3 Kona Nylon Futures Fins
- 1 Leash that features a double-padded ankle strap
- 1 durable, stainless steel double swivel
Lemon Head PU Groveler Surfboard by Kona Surf Co. tops the list of the best groveler surfboards when it comes to handling the smallest of waves. This is all because of the shape that makes it look like a telescoped longboard.
Its rounded nose and pressed forward wide point offers extreme stability. Paddling is easy too, with the low rocker profile. Controlling and maneuvering the board comes as a breeze with the help of its bat tail.
Kids and beginners will appreciate the low rounded nose as it helps reduce potential pearling on steeper waves. Its contours underneath are flat in the entry as it moves to a single concave. Such design is intended to send on the water better in a way that you get an enhanced lift from the wave energy.
The cutting-edge materials and laminating techniques resulted in reliable construction. The PU blank combined with Epoxy resin, all laminated with only the techniques Kona specializes with relieving your fear of breakage.
|Perfect for tighter turns and skateboards style speed||More expensive than most brands|
|Rounded nose for stability in small summer swells||Not very maneuverable
|Performs like a fish with just a little more hold
|Five fin set up with a ton of float
|Contour design welcomes lift|
#6. Sweet Potato Groveler by Firewire – Best Groveler Surfboard for Tiny and Weak Waves
- Tail: Round
- Fin Configuration: Tri-Quad. (Fins Not Included)
- Fins: Futures or FCSII
- Construction: Linear Flex Technology
- Radically shortboard
- Wide with a blocky rounded tail
- Full nose
- Domed deck
- Volume in the middle of the deck for added stability
FireWire’s Sweet Potato is a trendsetter in the mainstream explosion of groveler surfboards. It gets you up and going even in the tiniest and weakest water conditions.
Aside from Mini Simmons, FireWire is also one of the few boards you can pop up, set line and take off despite the wide and thick outline. The aggressive bottom contour makes a significant lift. Its deep, double concave, the rocker, and bottom on one side of the board allow it to get on a rail quickly.
The groveler that will bring the most fun in a ride, it devours and flies over insipid wave faces with just one pump. Its speed is perfect for laying down some spray while putting up on the foam.
The wide tails and fins far apart than you thought possible allows you to tear to shreds the waves that would cause most longboarders to back off. The tapered rails let a mountain of extra volume under your chest to aid catch an unexpected slow wave.
|Bottom contour lets the board perform at a higher level than its outline suggests||Rocker-less outline causes steep drops a challenge
|First ever commercial success towards oblong groveler shapes||Doesn't work in more solid surf|
|Catches wave easily and creates speed in tiny surf
Our Top Pick
Experienced surfers know that the selection to the surfboard you will ride depends on the conditions. Thus, groveler surfboards are just worthy to be in your collection. This allows you to maximize your chances to ride no matter what water conditions you will be faced with.
Groveler surfboards are perfect for getting you to ride the waves even when they are tiny and weak. These stubby little rockets made for fun are mostly used by pros when they aren’t riding for a competition. These are for when they just want to mess around the waters when the waves aren’t too solid.
For that, what qualifies as the best groveler surfboard is simple – a surfboard that gives enough stability and speed in waist-high conditions. Beater 54” Lost Edition by Catch Surf is all that and more.
Its versatility and reasonable price make it suitable for beginners as well as experienced. Its soft top allows easier control from lying flat, to kneeling to standing.
In addition, it also allows you to customize according to your preference with its conversion kit for single or twin fins.
Groveler Surfboards Pros and Cons
- Perfect for smaller conditions
- Extremely lightweight and very responsive when it comes to turns
- Very easy to transport because of weight and length
- Plane helps to keep speed continuous, even with rotations
- Great for getting speed
- Width makes it easier to paddle and balance on than your typical shortboard
- Most come with customizable fin systems
- Higher volume, makes sharp turns be more difficult
- Not the best for cutbacks and tricks
- Hard to catch overhead waves
- Have a hard time duck diving
- Difficult to do bottom turns
Why Should I Get A Groveler Surfboard?
It is not all year long that waves are of the best surfing conditions. Same as not every beach offers rideable swells. This is the main reason groveler surfboards have been shaped.
If you are in a place that has poor surfing conditions almost all the time, or if you want to ride even on lazy days where they are small, a groveler surfboard is a must-have to let you catch a nice line.
Aside from that, groveler surfboards are so much fun to ride. Surfing has become so competitive that it has turned to be all about tricks and craziest maneuvers. Groveler surfboards allow you to go back in time when surfing is fun when you don’t take it too seriously. Groveler surfboards allow you to enjoy your time out there.
Grovelers are your cure for summertime surf deprivation. Their deep concave and flat rockers create the speed, while a flip out of the tail improves maneuverability to make even the knee-high slop surf rip-able.
What is a Groveler?
Specifically designed to make the most out of weaker and smaller waves, those that stand up from the knee to shoulder high are groveler surfboards. Their distinctive characteristics allow riders to paddle and catch weak waves and create speed without any help from the wave itself.
Grovelers can also be loose enough to throw around in more decent sections of the wave, or if conditions improve.
A lot of experienced surfers prefer longboards for slow conditions, however, longboards are harder to turn to make the ride less fun. Shapers eventually worked out a crammed out shorter board that works. Grovel surfboards are packed with volume to guarantee they are easy to paddle.
The typical grovel surfboard is relatively short in length to aid in turning through weak waves. Its rocker line is mostly flat with a tad amount of nose and tail. Such design is intended to improve paddling ability as well as to help the board maintain speed through flatter parts of the wave.
To help with wave catching, the groveler’s wide point is designed to be fairly far forward. This is the opposite of a high-performance style of shortboards. They usually carry a considerable amount of concave on the underside.
This concave helps in generating a lift which in turn generates speed more simply, which is very essential in weak waves.
Fins are also important in groveler surfboards. Most of these come with a 5-fin set up so you can choose between thrusters or quad setup. Small waves work best with the quad as it generates more speed while loosening the board up a little. Quad makes it easy to turn and is especially helpful for a 40-liter 5’8” stick.
Softer fins also keep grovelers that lively feeling. Stiffer fins on grovelers make them feel like it just wants to go straight.
No longer will you feel frustrated on slow days. Grovelers, while are still in the experimental category is becoming more popular especially on days that are so mushy you thought you will never catch anything.
Buying Guide: Things to Consider in Getting the Best Groveler Surfboard
There are many great groveler surfboards from Kona, to FireWire, to Lost. Each of them has little tweaks to focus on various areas. Some do better in really weak waves while some concentrate on getting the most out of the upper end of a poor wave.
These criteria give you a better understanding of which Groveler to pick. But, as long as you have the groveler that fits your size and matches your ability and the waves, you will be on your way to surfing no matter what conditions the ocean brings.
Before picking, here are some features you will want to look at first. These are the determinants of whether they will match your body physique and your surfing style.
Remember that picking surfboards, groveler or any surfboard for that matter may lead to difficulties when it comes to keeping it on top of the board while surfing the waves.
Beginners are often advised to go for a board that has a huge as they are stable on the water. The board they should ride should have a soft top with a wider nose. This helps newbies in giving them an easy time to stand, balance, and surf.
Once your skill has leveled up, you can start trying out different boards, including fiber glasses.
Your physique and body-built play a big role too. Physically fit surfers can go with a long and narrow surfboard. If you are just starting, a wider board would be ideal for you to stay aboard longer while maintaining balance.
Your weight and height matter as well. The bulkier you are, the bigger the surfboard you need. This is so you can get a perfect balance and keep the surfboard in wave pockets.
The Waves You Surf On
The waves you usually ride have a huge factor in groveler surfboard picking. Waves change from time to time and from one ocean to another. Waves that are at least 3-ft to 6ft long calls for a high-performance shortboard.
Once you’ve accustomed yourself to the kind of waves you are commonly riding, you’ll find yourself the right surfboard.
You may either love or hate groveler surfboards. After all, many surfers can argue that you can just either use a longboard or a shortboard. But, want to put more emphasis on bringing back the fun to surfing and that is what groveler surfboards are all about. The moment you start asking questions and expect too much from groveler surfboards is when you ruin it for yourself.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: Is there a difference between a groveler surfboard and a hybrid surfboard?
A: Yes. While grovelers and hybrids are almost surfboard twins, they have some key differences that will arise as you start to look a little harder. Both have the usual concave bottom designs and wider bodies that make them perfect for catching waves and intensifying drive on smaller days.
The focus on hybrids is their typically wider fish tails that make the transition from rail to rail stiffer that groveler surfboards. Hybrids also derive more profoundly from the shortboard design.
Q: What is the difference between groveler surfboard and fish?
A: Right off the bat, you will notice that grovelers are way too smaller than fish surfboards. Fish surfboards usually run anywhere from 6-ft to 8-ft long. Another key difference is that fish surfboards come with swallowtails and shortboard style noses.
These draw quite a bit from shortboards like hybrid when it comes to design. This makes them excel a tad bit that groveler surfboards.
While both grovelers and fish give better speed and stability when measured up with shortboards, grovelers are far better for small and mushy conditions, while fish do best for knee-high to overhead swells.
Fish surfboards likewise cannot match groveler surfboard’s speed in whitewater either. This gives them less of that “small condition edge.”
Q: Can you take a groveler surfboard out in bigger waves?
A: Grovelers are specifically shaped for the 1-ft to 2-ft high surf. This means that when the waves are knee-high, that’s when you know you can take out your groveler surfboard. It is highly recommended to put them away when the waves get any bigger than that.
Groveler surfboards can sure surf a lot like longboards and can be a substitute for the latter on days that are pretty small. In the same way, they have no rocker that won’t provide you any way to catch a steep drop off a wave. This will just essentially send you tumbling into the gulf no matter how experienced you are.
Q: How many fins should my groveler surfboard have?
A: There is no specific number of the fin. No right or wrong answer. It is about experimenting with which setup will work for you. This is why most groveler surfboards allow you to customize the fin setup.
If fins were generalized with groveler surfboards, they will tend to work better with quad setups. Since they are short, wide, and fat, there no need for intensified acceleration like a thruster or a twin set would offer. Quad setup will make your groveler easier to turn on, something that most of their kind don’t lend naturally.
Q: Is it hard to ride a groveler?
A: Groveler surfboards can be surfed just like almost any boards. Although because of its shape, you may feel the wave entry more like you are boogie-boarding.
The only thing to avoid is to paddle a groveler with your feet dragging in the water. This stride will greatly reduce your speed and make wave entry far more difficult.
- Surfboard Brands
- Fish Surfboards
- Quad vs Thruster Fins
- Surfing Wetsuits
- Rash Guards for Surfing
- Wakesurf Boards
Torsten Bird is a talented and adventurous waterman from Western Australia, passionate about surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, hydrofoiling, skimboarding, snowboarding and skateboarding. Torsten has spent countless hours mastering his skills and his dream is to one day represent Australia as an Olympic athlete. Follow Torsten’s adventures on Instagram.