Shortboards are the most common surfboard that lets you progress your game and take your routine to the next level. These are lean and mean shredding machines. They are the boards you ride for that wild, aggressive, and superior style of surfing.
It was in the 1960s when the optimum formulation of urethane foam made up most of the common surfboards. Its variety ran lengths between 6 to 7 ft with pointed noses and rounded or squarish tails. They usually had three fins, but some also had as little as two and as many as 5.
What shortboards lack in terms of flotation and catching waves, they make up with easy maneuvering. This is the reason that most surfers prefer them over the other types.
Top 5 Best Shortboard Surfboards Reviewed
It can be overwhelming to pick a shortboard with all the factors you need to consider. But it is just appropriate to be careful in choosing one. After all, it is what you are going to put yourself into as you let yourself glide into the waters. Here’s narrowing down the choices for you with some of the most recommended shortboards in the market.
- South Bay Board Co. 7’ Ruccus
- Rock-It 5’8″ Albert Surfboard
- BIC Sport G-Board EVO Soft Surfboard
- Liquid Shredder Fish Foam Surfboard
- California Board Company Fish, 5’8 Beginner Surfboard
#1. South Bay Board Co. 7’ Ruccus – Best for Performance Surfing
The 7’ Ruccus by South Bay Board Co. is designed and tested for perfection with an incredibly fun experience considered. It focuses on performance riding as noticed on the unique shape combined with features that make it more durable. This epic foamie makes surfing sessions exciting on all levels.
The 7 ft by 22 inches surfboard is designed with slim pinched squash tail with rubber bumpers intended for sharper turns and safe vertical storage. Its compressed fingerprint textured IXPE foam deck leaves for no waxing needed. The hand tapered rails, beginner-friendly nose help keep nose-diving.
Its double concave bottom added with cross-hatch impact threading aids in absorbing direct impacts and disperse them evenly. 3 stringers are made of 2 full length hand-resin wooden stringers and 1 2/3 length fiberglass center rod. Added to these features is the hands-free heat release valve and PVC line fin holes to keep unwanted water from penetrating the board.
Best for novice to experienced surfers from 50 to 200 pound with skills from beginners to wave rippers.
|Heat release valve to keep from delamination and bubbling||Poorly packaged|
|Rubber bumpers that protect the board during storage||Not wide enough|
|Easy connect screw-in fins|
#2. Rock-It 5’8″ Albert Surfboard – Budget Pick for Both Kids and Adults
Rock-It 5’8″ by Albert Surfboard effortlessly supports up to 175 pounds of weight. Its core made of recycled EPS foam covered in a fiberglass cloth makes it strong and durable. The twin-fin design complements the style while enhancing the total speed of the surfboard.
This shortboard is considered a budget pick with its affordable price tag. But, do not take this shortboard lightly. Rock-It 5’8″ Albert Surfboard has two stringers that strengthen and support the surfing board shortboard in its build.
Rock-It 5’8″ Albert Surfboard is an ideal starting surfboard because of its user-friendly design which applies for kids to adults of up to 175 pounds in weight. Its construction is stiff and durable and can be very competitive. Its toughness can last you a lot of heavy conditions as you surf.
|Enhanced durability while using recycled materials||May bubble up when exposed under the sun|
|More affordable than other shortboards||Screws for fins may come loose in waters|
#3. BIC Sport G-Board EVO Soft Surfboard – Best Shortboard with Triple-fin System
G-Board EVO is one of the classics that is tried and tested amongst BIC Soft to Surfboard series. Yes, its construction is very soft but its durability is not compromised. Its assembly considers your safety and performance while giving you the best shortboard experience that needs no waxing. It lives up to the name of its series as a surfboard that is smooth to touch and feel.
This beast ranges from 5’6 to 8’0 with a construction composed of PE closed-cell foam, EVA deck, a couple of reinforced stringers, and a thruster fin set-up. Its performance, in general, is uncompromised with the stiffness from the core that helps it from snapping easily.
You can choose between the triple-fin or twin-fin system according to your preferences. These systems help with the thruster mechanism that lets you speed up on any course and situation while surfing. These fins are designed soft for added safety and easy gliding.
|Cushioned rails for impact resistance||Not enough room to knee paddle|
|Closed-cell watertight core|
|Short and wide board shapes|
|Comes in triple and twin-fins|
|Soft and flexible fins|
#4. Liquid Shredder Fish Foam Surfboard – Best Fish Foamie
For a foam model that performs like the real thing, LS Shredder Fish Foam Surfboard combines a retro-round nose and split tail. This style lets you shred nimbly into the water while remaining wide, like a longboard, to provide you the added stability. What’s more, is it gives in to your personalization needs with its wide variety of designs to choose from.
Made from high-density EPE material, it enables you to surf through the waters effortlessly. Its thickness and deck composition are intended for a more comfortable ride. With its measurement of 5 ft and 10 in, it offers a wide space that is just as friendly as the longboard is to a beginner.
LS Fish Foam Surfboard is powered by stringers made of superior quality wood that help the board from bending, snapping, or cracking on the long days or months of use. Its twin fins are conveniently designed to be removable so you can use them whenever you feel comfortable.
Worried about how much weight this board can take? 200 pounders or lighter ones are ok to ride LS Fish Foam Surfboard since it is durable and is backed by a 90-day warranty.
|Floats well even when burdened with too much weight||May require some expertise to use|
|Provides the right buoyancy||Leash sold separately|
|Very rigid construction|
#5. California Board Company Fish Beginner Surfboard – Best Shortboard for Kids
At 5 feet 8 inch length and 6.5 pounds in weight, California Board Company 5’ Fish is just the right size for kids. Enough to clutch them under their arms, run up the waves, paddle, control, and shred like adults. Leave no worries as the deck is stable due to its width, volume, and wide nose.
Groms will find California Board Company 5’ Fish easy to ride as it is too buoyant for a shortboard but more maneuverable. Kids won’t get hurt as even when they lose their balance and stumble, the soft top is forgiving.
As good as it is for kids, it is also ideal for petite beginners of up to 190 pounds. This is an additional training ground for them after learning how to stand up and trim on longboards. California Board Company 5’ Fish is made of hard foam plastic, is rigid, and offers months, if not years of enjoyment.
|A fish surfboard with an affordable price tag||Fins may be a little flimsy|
|Showcases both buoyancy and maneuverability||Not for adults’ use|
|A forgiving soft top that is safe for kids to ride|
|Well-liked by youthful surfers|
Our Top Pick
The chosen one is based not just on the ratings by consumers who left reviews but on the factors listed to consider in getting the best shortboard. Based on the design, fin, volume, dimensions, and construction, the Liquid Shredder Fish Foam Surfboard bested everyone on the list.
This beast takes extremely advanced technology and combines it with their superior expectations for highly maneuverable foam board. The fin set-up is just right for carving the waves at the same time the fishtail gives it more hold and traction.
Liquid Shredder Fish Foam Surfboard lets you go through slower sections of the wave while still maintaining control in and out of turns. Not to mention the stability it provides as you paddle. This board is perfect not just for beginners but for advanced riders too!
Why You Should Shortboard
Most professional surfers practically choose the shortboard as their stick of choice and there is a good reason for that. The shortboard offers various fortes that make it the famous board. It causes those who ride them the knack to push the boundaries of their stunt both on the face of the wave and just above the lip.
The shortboard’s design lets the spaces to be bigger and the turns to be more sweeping. The few characteristics that separate it from the other surfboards include crucial detail in rails, bottom contours, and rockers. These features let these boards be particularly sensitive under your feet.
Such factors also allow you to put it on the rails tougher, drive off the bottom more rapidly, increase airs, and react a lot better. This means you may react quicker to falling on a wave by letting you turn around faster and take off on the shoulder. You can also work out tricky maneuvers and handle situations way better than you can on bigger surfboards.
The late drops on steep waves and hard, tight turns that you can’t achieve with other sticks turn out to be easier and more controllable. Shortboards are supposed to be surfed hard. They create more power by being put on rail. As you put pressure on the board’s flex pattern and fins, it straightens out your next maneuver. This keeps you from lying in the sweet spot like most riders on longer boards depend on.
It is 5 ft+ and Riding
One of the best reasons to ride the shortboard is the wave conditions. Some waves are steep, fast, and powerful. They work best with a fast and maneuverable surfboard that can make use of the pocket and critical part of the wave.
As these waves are sharp, riders don’t need too much paddling to catch them. But, plenty of rockers are needed as flatter boards are likely to pearl in such conditions. The perfect shortboard for such condition is the one that has its curved rail outline, a dramatic rocker, and a shorter length. These characteristics can help a rider drop a nice head high wave.
Barrels and Hollows
Shortboards are perfect inside the barrels. While you can do a head-dip on a longboard, tuck in on a fish, and get a riding break with a single fin, shortboards can get you deep into a long barrel. They make a home for you inside the water hollow. And, that is every surfer’s ideal view.
Boundless Range of Maneuvers
Each type of surfboard has a special spot on a wave that they can work best at. Shortboards function well on a large part of the wave. Therefore, they are quick enough to jet off to other sections of the wave and come back to their ideal position.
This adeptness makes it the ideal board to do an arsenal of stunts, tricks, and riding styles. Bust airs above the wave, surf with power, dig deep into the wave while sending spray everywhere, you name it, shortboards can do it.
Shortboarding is Ready for Action
The endless list of stunts that can be done on a shortboard is perhaps the main reason that the two best competitors, Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson, use shortboards. For most surfers, this no longer needs a reason to explain and mainly the reason they ride shortboards too!
Shortboards are Manageable
These surfboards are intended for high-performance riding therefore, they are built with being lightweight as consideration. Shortboards use less foam and less glass during the construction process. Less resin makes the board lighter that results in a ray of benefits to the rider.
Less foam allows you to push the board under easier. This move comes in handy for duck diving set waves. Surfing on closeouts is more exciting on a shortboard too. Whenever you feel like getting off the wave, all there is to do is grab the rail and lean into the wave. This will pull the board through the water with no trouble, which isn’t always an option on a bigger board.
Why You Should Not Shortboard
No, this is not to discourage you from enjoying your rides with a shortboard. Rather, this is to remind you that each type of surfboard has its type of rider.
Most surfers who are new with shortboards complain about how it limits them with the number of waves they catch. It all indeed depends on each surfer’s capability as well as the type of waves they have access to. However, some, especially the older surfers, still want to shred, but can’t fit in as much effort in “working” the board.
Some surfers may need some more effortless glide or trim speed rather than pumping the board to generate speed. Hybrid shapes are the brainchild of such scenarios. These shapes put in more volume, allow a wider variety of waves, while still being able to be surfed at a relatively high-level. Since shortboards seem like the “refined surfboards,” they usually have less body, which equates to having the rider paddle some more to catch a wave.
Shortboards could limit the type of waves you are interested to ride. This means that while this board is so much fun to ride in tall and perfectly shaped waves, they are difficult to ride in a small wash.
Being the high-performance surfboard that it is, they get dinged and break easily. The construction process that aimed for it to be lightweight, where it used less resin lets it get dinged more easily and snap instantly as well.
While a slightly thicker glass job resists dings, gashes, and possible breaks, it can make the board heavier. Remember that there is a volume to weight ratio. And, additional weight may just affect the buoyancy of the shortboard.
Shortboards vs Longboards
We have discussed longboards from our previous Longboard Surfboards post. And, now that we have started digging about the shortboards, it is just right to go through the difference of both surfboards.
Moreover, this is to find out which of the two will fit you.
Longboards are at least 9 ft in height. Therefore, anything below 9 ft is not considered as such. The boards that reach up only to 8 ft, best fall under the category of funboards and mid-length boards.
Rounder noses that are for riding on mellow waves are a common characteristic of a longboard. They have 1 to 3 stringers that run through the back to provide support so you can ensure that the long platform remains as a piece in the water. Some longboards are now stringer-less, but these are difficult to make and are prone to breakage.
The materials used for longboards have evolved over the years even when its general design stayed the same. Most beginners prefer longboards since its design offers enough stability because of the plenty of spaces that you can plant your feet on. If you are still trying to learn, it would be best to lay down on the board, paddle out, and hope for no big wave to break on top of you.
Shortboards are somewhat new, unlike longboards. Longboards have traced back to early Polynesians who use them for their cultural dances. Shortboards gained its popularity around the 1960s. These boards run lengths of up to 7 ft.
The shortboards are designed for more advanced riding since their length and shape are more suited for the rapid and strong waves. These also add up to their ability to easily duck dive, which is a popular technique of going beneath waves to reach the lineup.
There may or not be a stringer on a shortboard. What they are fortified with are carbon fiber rails to enhance durability. Shortboards are intended to be as light as possible to not impact the board’s controllability in any surfing conditions.
Shortboards have less foam, therefore making them hard to paddle. But their small size makes it easier for you to carry them around and transport.
Who Should Get a Longboard? A Shortboard?
Longboards are ideal for beginners and novice since it allows them enough buoyancy to get a lot of standing time. They are an any-type-of-waves surfboard. So, even the mellowest or peeling waves won’t stop you from hitting the waters.
Every surfer has their style and it may not be compatible with a longboard. But, if you are absorbed by cross-stepping and noseriding, a longboard is good for you.
Over the years, a more radical approach in longboarding has been popularized by Hawaiians and Japanese. This high-performance longboarding lets you surf as if the board you are on is a shortboard. However, it takes a donkey’s years of practice to master the skill.
If you don’t have a century to spend learning what Hawaiians and Japanese do, then you may perch on shortboards. Eventually, after learning how to balance and paddle on longboards, you will have to progress to shortboards. These boards are compact and lightweight therefore adding speed and help in controlling your ride.
Shortboards may be hard to balance at first but, as you get your center of gravity recognized, your in for any kinds of swells.
Paddling with a Shortboard or with a Longboard?
Shortboards are to be laid on and you use the front crawl stroke to boost your board around the line-up and into waves. Longboards can use the same technique but, there is also an offered alternative. With them, a rider can kneel on the board and use both arms simultaneously to thrust the board forward. This allows for maximum speed and spotting waves before anyone else in the line-up.
What Type of Waves Can I Surf with a Longboard? A Shortboard?
Besides the aesthetic differences, one significant dissimilarity between the longboard and the shortboard is the actual style of riding the wave as well as the type of waves they ride. Longboards can smoothly cruise along the waters and catch waves with less effort. Shortboards draw faster lines to drop into sharper waves and make radical stunts and turns.
No, longboards aren’t boring. They can be used on groundswells too, especially if you are a seasoned rider. Tricks can be done by walking up and down the board, walking right to the nose, and do hang fives or tens.
Longboards are more like for dancing while shortboards are for doing stunts.
Pros and Cons of Shortboards
- Longboards catch waves earlier than shortboards
- Longboards offer more space for cross-stepping and noseriding
- Longboards can deal with small waves way better than shortboards
- On the other hand, longboards are heavier, sturdier, and challenging to transport
- Longboards are tough to use in bigger waves
- Longboards are difficult to duck dive.
- Shortboards are pocket-sized and easy to carry
- Shortboards have different fin set-ups making it easy for surfers to dial in their ride
- Shortboards are best for fast and hollow swells
- But, are almost useless in mushy and mellow waves
- Shortboards aren’t recommended for beginners due to lack of stability
- Shortboards may tire you easily as they require more paddling and quicker pop-ups
When it comes to these two boards, it all boils down to the riding style you have as well as what you want to get out of your surfing experience. What longboards lack in maneuverability, they make up for stability. Shortboards make up for their buoyance by allowing you to be fast and agile.
Know from experience what it is that suits your surfing style. Won’t hurt to try both.
How to Choose the Best Shortboard
There are more than a few factors to consider in getting the right shortboard and we have listed them down for you to help you on your next surf shopping trip.
Design (Nose, Rails, Rocker, and Tails)
Admit it. That colorful print on that shortboard is tempting you to buy it. But, don’t fall for that. The very first thing you should consider is the design that keeps up with your surfing routine and the wave conditions you are going to ride it with.
Some of the elements of design are the nose, rails, rocker, and tails. The nose or the front part of the board affects paddling, your way into the wave, and maneuverability. Noses can be wide, narrow, flat, or curved. Wider and flatter lets you paddle and catch waves easily. Narrower ones with more rocker handle late drop better and are less likely to dig into the water.
The rocker follows the same principle of the nose. This curvature of the surfboard profile when flatter is better for level waves, aiding the board to keep the speed down the line. The more dramatic curves allow tight turns and help keep the board from pearling on hollow and sharper waves.
The rails affect tube riding, pace, and turns. Hard rails that are more defined have more hold, therefore, they are best for high-performance rides. Soft rails are extra rounded and lenient. It lets the board turn easier and are best for smaller and friendlier wave conditions.
The opposite end of the nose is just as relevant to its speed and maneuverability. There are different types of tails but the main types which are commonly used are pintail, round pin, squash tail, swallowtail, and square tail.
Surfboard’s fins are the stabilizing devices that keep the board from slipping sideways. They are sized according to the rider’s weight. Two of the most popular fin brands have their chart size as;
|Weight (in pounds)||Fin Size||Weight (in pounds)||Fin Size|
|< 120||XS||75 – 115||XS|
|120 – 155||S||105 – 15||S|
|140 – 175||M||145 – 195||M|
|165 – 190||L||> 180||L|
Once you get your size, think about the type of waves you will ride. Vertical leading edges perform well on tight turns. Rake fins are best for long, drawn-out fits. After figuring that out, consider what kind of surfer you see yourself as. Aggressive? Free-flowing? Carbon fiber’s stiffness is best for pushing through turns and powerful waves. Plastic and fiber glasses are more flexible making you just flow through waves.
The shortboard’s volume is the buoyancy of it and is usually measured by liters. This is the result of how much water the board will shift as it gets submerged. The right volume for your shortboard depends on your body weight, experience, and riding style.
The shortboard dimensions are its measurements of length, width, and thickness. Length is the measurement from nose to tail and is usually based on your height. Width is from one side (rail) to the other at its widest part and is beneficial for floating and stability.
The thickness, while most of the time overlooked is another important factor to consider. Thickness relates to the floatation of the board whereas, the right amount of thickness gives you more push. But, don’t get too far with thickness as it may result in the board that is hard to turn.
Construction and materials affect the power, stability, weight, and durability of the shortboard. As they are put together, they make a difference in the overall feel of the board as well as how it performs.
The basic construction of a shortboard includes; the core which is mostly made of a type of foam, shaped and covered by a harder layer. Through the core runs the stringer, which is usually a band of wood that adds rigidity.
There are three main types of foam used with surfboards; PU or polyurethane foam, EPS or expanded polystyrene, and PS or polystyrene. The widely used resins are polyester resin and epoxy resin. The comparison between these materials often is based on the weight of the shortboards.
Between a shortboard and a longboard, the choice is yours. Your pick should depend on your current wave riding skills, your surfing targets, and your physique. This guide was merely an overview for you to get an insight into shortboards and finding the right one according to your needs.
Keep in mind that not everyone is a good fit for a shortboard. If by reading this makes you afraid of stepping on the shortboard, then don’t. You won’t miss any fun by riding the surfboard that may not be as cool as a shortboard. Surfing is all about having fun so better to do it with the right surfboard.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):
Q: What are the benefits of riding shortboards?
A: Shortboards are perfect for steeper waves that longboards can’t ride. This is because shortboards can be easily maneuvered than longboards. Lately, more and more riders are switching to shortboards to challenge themselves and sometimes to even show off.
Q: How important are bottom shapes on a shortboard?
A: Shortboards have a variety of bottom shapes. They may be concave, channels, flat, vee, double concave, and more. These result in varied surfing feels as well as acceleration, speed, controllability, and the likes.
Q: When should I transition from longboard to shortboard?
A: It all depends on how fast you can adapt and learn the basics. Your comfortability in riding bigger waves is also another factor to look at. Know which waves you truly want to ride. If you are up for a mellow good time, stick with a longboard. If you’re the radical rider, learn how to ride the shortboard and shred that lip!
Q: Is paddling different on a shortboard?
A: Since shortboards are smaller, it is best to lie on them and use the front crawl stroke to move forward. This is different from a longboard, where you can paddle as you rest on your knees. You will need to get used to being flat as you paddle the volume of the shortboard can’t let you sit on them.
Q: Do I have to wax my shortboard?
A: It depends on the make and construction of your shortboard. Some are designed to be wax-free and non-skid while some still need you to do it.
Q: How do I pick the right leash?
A: Keep in mind that your leash should be at least the same length as your board. Shorter than your board may cause you and the board to collide with each other a lot and you don’t want to injure yourself. Make sure that the specified length is just that of the leash’s and doesn’t include the cuff and rail saver.