Top 6 Best Swallow Tail Surfboards | 2021 Reviews (Rock-It)

You may have noticed that surfboards don’t only come in various lengths and styles, but they also have assorted tail shapes.

For instance, we have the square tail, which is considered as the father of all surfboard styles. Some of the common tails include the squash tail, pin tail, rounded pin tail, swallow tail, and fish tail.

Of course, we also have the rarer tails like the diamond tail, bat tail, and moon tail.

In this post, we’ll zoom in on the swallow tail shape. Then, we’ll talk about some of the best swallow tail surfboards that you can find online.

What are Swallow Tail Surfboards (and who are they good for)?

The swallow tail surfboard looks exactly what it sounds like. Design-wise, it resembles a swallow bird’s tail, with an inverted V leading to its two corners.

How Important is a Surfboard’s Tail Shape?

In the same way that board types are suited for different surfers and wave situations, each tail shape is made for a particular purpose.

See, a surfboard’s tail directly affects key factors in surfing. This includes stability, buoyancy, maneuverability, speed, control, drive, hold, and acceleration.

As a general rule, rounder tail shapes translate to more stability, while angular tails like the swallow tail give a more “skatey” feel.

Who Should Ride a Swallow Tail Surfboard?

Man holding a swallow tail surfboard

The swallow tail is primarily designed to help surfers make sharp turns and generate enough speed in small, mushy, and lackluster waves. The V shape also gives surfers an easier time maneuvering the board and riding it through choppy waves.

For context, “small waves” are anything from ankle-high to waist-high, or “1 ft.” to “3 ft.” in surfer lingo.

Since boards with swallow tail are packed with more foam than usual, this means that it is more buoyant. This makes it easy to catch waves and to paddle, which is especially helpful for advanced beginners who are just transitioning to smaller boards.

Overall, when looking at the best swallow tail surfboards, rather than simply asking “who” should ride it, it’s more important to consider: what is the current skill level of the rider? We discuss this in more detail in our “Frequently asked questions” section.

Additionally, you’ll need to ask “where” the board will be taken, and “what” type of waves are present in the area that you’re heading to.

Are Swallow Tail & Fish Tail the Same Thing?

The swallow tail is commonly confused with a fish tail since it does look pretty similar at first glance. Purpose-wise, it is somehow alike, but it still has subtle differences.

For instance, the V of a fish tail is curvier — quite literally like a fish’s tail. The angle of the V is also narrower, and it cuts deeper into the board.

The swallow tail, on the other hand, is usually shaped like a very wide V, with the cut appearing closer to the board’s edge.

In many cases, people use “swallow tail” and “fish tail” to refer to the same thing because they are often the tails of fish surfboards.

A fish is a surfboard that generally has the same length as a shortboard, but has a wider width from rail to rail. The added width and thickness make it more stable than your typical shortboard.

Top 6 Swallow Tail Surfboards

Surfers in small waves

Now that we know a little more about the swallow tail, check out our short list of the best swallow tail surfboards for beginners and advanced surfers alike:

  1. Wave Bandit 6’6” Ben Gravy Performer – Our Top Pick!
  2. Rock-It ALBERT – Best Budget
  3. South Bay Board Co. 6’6” Fish Beef Pro – Versatile Wave Catcher
  4. StormBlade 6’ Swallow Tail Surfboard – Great for All-Day Surfing
  5. Odysea 5’6” Skipper Quad – Great for Shredding
  6. South Bay Board Co. 8’4” Magic Carpet – Amazing Summer Funboard

#1: Wave Bandit 6’6” Ben Gravy Performer – Our Top Pick!

Wave Bandit 6’6” Ben Gravy Performer

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Specifications

  • Board Dimensions: 6’6” x 22” x 3.125”
  • Volume: 55L
  • Material: EPS core with soft top
  • Accessories Included: 4.5” removable tri fin set
  • Skill Level: Intermediate – Experienced
  • Other Sizes: 5’6”, 6’0”
  • Other Features: Double maple wood stringers, fish shape, endorsed by Ben Gravy

Wave Bandit is a name that’s known for their fun, versatile, and bright neon surfboards. It’s a surfboard line within the bigger Catch Surf brand that caters mostly to beginners.

But who’s to say that experienced surfers can’t have fun with it? Not Ben Gravy, who has a Wave Bandit collection dedicated to him!

If you’re into the funky colorways of the Wave Bandit surfboards, you’d probably also like Ben Gravy’s signature boards. The deck may be a “boring” white, but the bottom is patterned with his pineapple head logo on a lime green background.

Of course, when it comes to performance, the Wave Bandit 6’6” Ben Gravy Performer pretty much lives up to its name.

With a soft top, fish shape, plus a more traditional rocker that’s comparable to a shortboard, the Performer serves as a great transition board for surfers who want to level up from a longboard or a mini mal.

Even though the 6’6” Performer is mostly recommended for beginners due to its size, experienced surfers still enjoy it because it can turn like a classic shortboard, with nearly the same responsiveness. Its 55L volume also makes it easier to catch hard-to-get waves.

Construction-wise, the Performer is made of dual-composite core, marine-grade twin wood stringers, and ultra-durable high-density plastic for the bottom. These ensure the board’s strength and stiffness, making it capable of handling bigger waves.

If you’re looking for a fun swallow tail surfboard that wouldn’t break the bank, look no further than the Wave Bandit 6’6” Ben Gravy Performer. It looks cool, it’s good for surfers of all levels, and it’s endorsed by Ben Gravy himself!

ProsCons
Fun fish shape and high-performance rockerCan initially be challenging for beginners to maneuver
Can be used for bigger and heavier wavesTri-fin reduces speed
Appropriate for transitioning beginners
Has enough responsiveness
Buoyant and easy to paddle
Great for surfing barrels
Tri-fin increases control

#2: Rock-It ALBERT – Best Budget

Rock-It ALBERT

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Specifications

  • Board Dimensions: 6’0″ x 22.4” x 3.2”
  • Volume: 49L
  • Material: Recycled EPS foam with fiberglass cloth
  • Accessories Included: Removable performance fins
  • Skill Level: Beginner – Experienced
  • Other Features: Two nano-coated stringers, UV-resistant soft top, vacuum seal layers

The Rock-It ALBERT is Rock-It’s most popular board, and for good reason. While parents usually buy this board for their kids, they quickly find out that it’s a board that they can have fun with as well!

Even better, Rock-It just launched ALBERT’s 2021 redesign. It still maintains the same fish outline, but it now has a more pointed nose compared to the old ALBERT’s rounded nose.

Additionally, the redesign zooms in on durability with the help of environmentally-friendly materials and production methods.

The ALBERT is made of two epoxy nano-coated marine wooden stringers, plus a recycled EPS foam with UV-resistant and color-fast soft top layer on the deck. The soft top doesn’t really need any waxing, but you’re free to apply wax if you wish to improve the board’s grip.

Beneath the soft top, the board is glassed with a 6 oz. fiberglass cloth for added toughness. Even if you’re surfing on strong waves, you can be sure that the ALBERT will be able to withstand it.

Best of all, it’s one of the most affordable beginner-friendly swallow tail surfboards that you can find in the market. So, if you just want to literally test the waters with a swallow tail, the ALBERT can be a good introduction.

Now, some users have reported that the board is prone to bubbling. For this, Rock-It suggests to keep the board away from direct sunlight when not in use.

Overall, the Rock-It ALBERT is a very fun board that can be ridden by just about anyone. With it, catching waves won’t be a hassle, even on mushy surfs.

ProsCons
Comes with a 1-year warranty for manufacturing defectsStock fins aren’t very durable
Suitable length for kids, teens, and adults up to 175 lbs.Prone to bubbling
Made from environmentally-friendly materials
Easy to paddle and generate speed with
Very affordable

#3: South Bay Board Co. 6’6” Fish Beef Pro – Versatile Wave Catcher

South Bay Board Co. 6’6” Fish Beef Pro

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Specifications

  • Board Dimensions: 6’6” x 22.75” x 3”
  • Volume: 52L
  • Material: Lightweight closed-cell EPS foam core
  • Accessories Included: Future fins (quad set + center fin) and fin key, 6’ leash
  • Skill Level: Intermediate – Experienced
  • Other Features: CNC precision shaped, hand tapered rails, full-length I-Beam wood stringers, two layers of 6 oz. fiberglass on deck and bottom

The South Bay Board Co. boards on this list may be more expensive compared to the other boards, but we’ll quickly see that their price isn’t the only thing that makes them stand out.

The 6’6” Fish Beef Pro prides itself in being a wave-catching machine that allows surfers to make the most out of poor surfing conditions. Nature may slap you with some of the smallest waves on a sunny day, but with a Fish Beef Pro on your feet, that won’t even matter!

The board has a widened fish outline with thick rails for exceptional stability. This gives the surfer the necessary control and speed to easily cruise through fat and chunky waves.

While the Fish Beef Pro was mainly created for bigger surfers who wish to conquer smaller waves in a cooler way, it can pretty much turn the most boring of surf conditions into a whole day of fun!

After all, it is equipped with a 5-fin box system that allows you to play with different fin configurations. Depending on the waves, you can easily go for a dual or twin fin setup, a thruster fin setup, or a quad fin setup.

It is also shaped with a classic swallow tail to make turns convenient and nearly effortless. Plus, with its two layers of 6 oz. fiberglass on the deck and on the bottom, you can take this board into most types of surfs without worrying about a single thing.

The Fish Beef Pro also presents itself as a great first fiberglass surfboard for advanced beginners who are ready to level up from a soft top board. So, if you’re at that point in your surfing journey, consider this as a sign to take the leap!

ProsCons
Provides maximum stability with controlled speed for gliding through fatter wavesNot suitable for total beginners
One of the easiest fiberglass surfboards to surf, especially in mediocre wavesRelatively expensive
Five fin boxes allow more fin customizations depending on the surf conditions
Recommended for those who already want to graduate from a soft top board
I-Beam stringer system and 6 oz. fiberglass make the board very durable
Capable of handling up to 240 lbs.

#4: StormBlade 6’ Swallow Tail Surfboard – Great for All-Day Surfing

StormBlade 6' Swallow Tail Surfboard

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Specifications

  • Board Dimensions: 6’0” x 22.36” x 3.14”
  • Volume: 49L
  • Material: Superior-grade EPS core
  • Accessories Included: 3 x 4.5” Bolt Thru Slot box fin set, Bolt Thru leash plug
  • Skill Level: Intermediate – Experienced
  • Other Sizes: 5’6”, 6’6”
  • Other Features: 5mm EBS™ Extruded Barrier Skin deck, triple marine-ply stringers, HDPE (high density polyethylene) high impact bottom, water resistant fin tubes

If you’re looking for a board that can handle your all-day surfing sessions, then the StormBlade 6’ Swallow Tail Surfboard may fit the bill.

With its superior-grade EPS core, extruded barrier skin deck, triple stringers, and high impact bottom, it’s definitely something that can withstand long hours of surfing practice. We all know how an hour can easily turn into two or more when you’re finally getting the hang of things!

This board has a thruster fin setup that you can easily remove and configure, thanks to the Bolt-Thru slot box. You’re free to use the fins that come with the package or use something else that’s compatible with the slots.

This is the perfect fin setup if you want to practice some new surfing tricks. Additionally, with its 6’ length, it’s also a great introduction to shortboard surfing.

Although the StormBlade 6’ Swallow Tail Surfboard is supposedly made for surfers of all levels, it may be better off in the company of advanced-level surfers. That’s because its lower volume may be a challenge to ride on, especially for those who haven’t perfected the basics yet.

Other than that, this board makes a perfect choice for experienced surfers or smaller riders who are ready to take their surfing to the next level!

ProsCons
Superior materials make it very tough and capable of handling different wave conditionsKids or lighter adults may have some difficulty riding the board due to the lower volume
Lower volume provides more maneuverability, allowing you to shred harderNot the best option for larger surfers
Thruster fin setup provides a good balance between turning and stability
Lightweight and easy to paddle

#5: Odysea 5’6” Skipper Quad – Great for Shredding

Odysea Skipper Quad

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Specifications

  • Board Dimensions: 5’6” x 21” x 2.875”
  • Volume: 42L
  • Material: Stiff dual composite core
  • Accessories Included: Hi-performance quad fins
  • Skill Level: Intermediate – Experienced
  • Other Sizes: 6’0”, 6’6”
  • Other Features: Durable HDPE graphic slick bottom, fish shape, PE deck, triple maple wood stringers

At first glance, the Odysea 5’6” Skipper Quad may remind you of the bright colors of Wave Bandit boards. That’s because they’re both owned by Catch Surf.

The Skipper is made with only one goal in mind: fun times! Whether you’re planning to shred all day long or you’re simply going for a quick surf session, the Skipper is a board that you’d love to take with you.

It comes with that signature Odysea float that has made wave-catching very easy for any rider. Plus, with its sleek fish shape and hi-performance fin system, you can expect to build up and maintain speed with more style.

While the Skipper also has a thruster fin version, the quad setup provides surfers with more drive in steeper waves and extra speed in tubes. This is especially true for the 5’6” version, which is handled well by pros in all kinds of waves.

Speaking of pros, the Skipper is endorsed by some big names in the surfing world, such as Jamie O’Brien, Tyler Stanaland, Sierra Lerback, and Taj Burrow. Not that their opinions are the end-all be-all of surfing, but it’s pretty much a statement when pros themselves enjoy riding a particular surfboard.

It’s no surprise then how this humble soft top board has made a name for itself even at Pipeline, which is the world’s most famous surf spot!

If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out this video where Jamie is making the most of his Skipper!

ProsCons
Quad fin setup makes it highly maneuverableQuad fin setup can be too loose for those trying it for the first time
Has a ton of funky designs to choose fromCan be more difficult to master than a classic hard top shortboard
Holds incredibly in steep surfs and tubes
Endorsed by seasoned surfing pros
Shreds remarkably well

#6: South Bay Board Co. 8’4” Magic Carpet – Amazing Summer Funboard

South Bay Board Co. 8’4” Magic Carpet

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Specifications

  • Board Dimensions: 8’4” x 23” x 2.75”
  • Volume: 58L
  • Material: Lightweight closed-cell EPS foam core
  • Accessories Included: 3 Future fins (thruster sets), fin key, 8’ leash
  • Skill Level: Beginner – Experienced
  • Other Features: CNC precision shaped, wax-free “fingerprint”-textured foam deck, hybrid construction (glassed bottom + foam soft top deck), double I-Beam stringer system, signature heat-release valve

Are you a beginner who’s not yet ready to dip your toes with shortboards and fishes? Or, are you an experienced surfer who’s looking for a reliable funboard?

If you’ve answered yes to either question, then the South Bay Board Co. 8’4” Magic Carpet fulfills both needs quite well.

At 8’4”, the Magic Carpet falls within the mini mal surfboard range, making it a great board even for total beginners. But, with its hybrid construction, 5-fin setup, wider chest, and pulled in swallow tail, this is a board that will provide countless hours of fun beyond the beginner stages.

In fact, it makes surfing so easy that it’s aptly nicknamed the “ultimate cheater board”. No wonder even experienced surfers are choosing to ride this when they’re just out to have fun!

Whether you’re a hobby surfer who’s not currently concerned about mastering flashy tricks or a pro who wants to chill on a hot summer day, the Magic Carpet is the perfect funboard for you.

If you need a bigger board where easy paddling and incredible float is preferred, the Magic Carpet certainly won’t let you down.

ProsCons
Equipped with five fin boxes that allows for various fin configurations (single fin, dual fin, quad fin, and 2+1)Relatively expensive
Considered as the “ultimate cheater board” because it makes surfing sessions so fun and easyNot built for speed
Highly recommended for those who want a mini mal-sized board
Easy to turn despite the relatively big size
Great funboard for surfers of all levels
Capable of handling up to 280 lbs.

That wraps up our short list of the best swallow tail surfboards! You may also want to check out our post about the best surfboard brands if you think another product is a better fit for you.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: What are the strengths & weaknesses of a swallow tail surfboard?

For those who are thinking of getting a swallow tail surfboard, here’s a short list of its strengths and weaknesses:

Strengths

  • Provides extra control, traction, and maneuverability
  • Good for small or mushy waves
  • Speedier than a classic pin tail
  • Very fun board to surf on
  • Easy to paddle with
  • High buoyancy

Weaknesses

  • Doesn’t have great hold when moving too fast due to thicker rails
  • Slower than shortboards due to higher buoyancy
  • Not too viable for steep waves
  • Not that stable for beginners

Is a swallow tail surfboard good for big waves?

Overall, swallow tail surfboards are best suited for smaller, gutless waves.

It does have its place on bigger waves, though. After all, if you look at the swallow tail’s history, it was originally made to rip through the large and hollow waves of San Diego.

Technically, it is pretty much usable on bigger waves — if the surfer is skilled enough for it!

Q: Is it recommended for beginners?

It depends on where you currently stand in your beginner surfer journey. For many people, surfing is a slow sport to master, especially if you don’t have regular access to wavy beaches.

Beginner surfers typically fall into three types:

  • Total beginners: Beginners who are totally new to surfing
  • Practicing beginners: Beginners who are still working on the basics of surfing and are regularly practicing it
  • Advanced beginners: Beginners who have already nailed down the basics but are still ultimately beginners in terms of overall skills

If you’re just getting into surfing, then a swallow tail surfboard isn’t the best board to start with. You’re better off grabbing a longboard or a mid-length board which matches your height, weight, fitness levels, and mental grit.

Once you’ve mastered all the basics, most likely, you’re better equipped to ride a swallow tail surfboard!

The thing is, most boards with swallow tail fall under the shortboard size, which is typically below 7 feet. If you’ve been using a longboard until now, the shorter swallow tails can feel too loose and fast when you first try it out.

The learning curve may not be too steep, but you’d still want to transition to the swallow tail as smoothly as possible. If you’re determined to grab a swallow tail surfboard as an advanced beginner, we have two suggestions:

  • Start with a hybrid or mini mal sized board like the South Bay Board Co. 8’4” Magic Carpet for balance and stability
  • Choose a foamie or soft top like the Wave Bandit 6’6″ Ben Gravy Performer for buoyancy and easier paddling

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