The era of having a quiver full of thrusters is over. This is why so many modern surfers are beginning to upgrade their quivers so they have a board for just about any condition. From a fish to a soft top to a groveler and beyond, having a wide variety of boards can help you to surf any time of year, no matter the waves. The beautiful thing is, we live in a time where surfboard design is at all-time high. While awesome, it can make building your quiver a difficult task. Whether you are trying to purchase one extra board to complement your workhorse or trying to add to your already vast collection, we have a few recommendations on some boards that we feel no quiver should go without.
Photo credit: Lucas Murnaghan
The fish was created back in 1967 by then 16-yeard old surfer Steve Lis. To this day, it is one of the most popular boards for going out in conditions where a thruster wouldn’t be suitable. With a nice stubby body, a wide build, and an extremely versatile shape overall, having a fish will allow you to make the most out of inadequate days. Fish surfboards are great for small waves, as they can help you pick up the same speed as a longboard without all of that extra bulk. The added volume gives the board more buoyancy, meaning it is much easier to paddle in smaller conditions. Besides the speed and paddling ability, you can even perform some tricks and maneuvers like you would on a thruster.
Photo credit: Fred Lum
There are many great reasons to have a soft-top surfboard in your quiver. For one, they are much more durable than glassed boards, meaning no worrying about dings or dents. They are much safer out in the water. If you’ve ever been nailed in the head with the hard rails of a surfboard then you definitely know. There are many different kinds of soft-top surfboards out there from longboard to shortboards to grovelers and beyond. The great thing about modern soft-top surfboards is that they don’t compromise performance like they used to. Companies like Catch Surf have begun making some seriously professionally shaped boards that are built to perform among the ranks of high-quality boards. With a ton of the same design characteristics like rails, shape, strength, and flex, modern soft-top boards are the new way to go.
Photo credit: Lucas Murnaghan
A midlength board has quite a lot of similarities to a shortboard, though is much better for easy surfing. The main difference that you’ll notice right off the bat is that a midlength (aka funboard) has a round, wide nose, similar to a longboard. This makes it much easier to ride without fear of getting your nose caught under the water. Like longboards, they are also much more buoyant, meaning they can stay afloat much more easily so that you can hit longer lines. Even with that, they share a similar maneuverability to shortboards. If you are constantly surfing in a spot that has small or medium waves, this is really where a midlength board can shine. Anything head high or higher and it becomes more difficult to maneuver, as midlengths aren’t typically designed for the intensity of big wave surfing.
Photo credit: Zorro
Another great surfboard for when the waves are pretty small, though have a little bit of power, is the groveler surfboard. If there were one board to rule them all in the world of tiny waves, the groveler would be it. Grovelers are pretty similar in terms of shape to shortboards, though draw in elements from other boards like fish boards so that they are able to perform well in these smaller conditions. Typically, you’ll find that grovelers have much wider tails and noses that shortboards. Grovelers also typically have concaved bottoms. This can help in making it easier to catch waves.
Photo credit: Robert Tewen
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s one thing I should look for when purchasing a new surfboard?
A surf quiver is supposed to function someone like a bag of golf clubs. For the small hits on the green, you have your putter, and for the large hits from the start of the hole, you have your driver. Besides that, you have everything in between. When beginning to build your quiver, the best thing that you can do is buy a board that is versatile. Try and think about the water conditions that are at your local break and decide while considering that. For example, a fish is a great choice if you’re looking for something versatile, while a gun is kind of a one-trick-pony.
Photo credit: Ryan Osman
Should my surfing ability affect my board buying decision?
One surfboard can better suit one level of surfer than another can. Beginner surfers should have a much different process when deciding on a new board than experts. For someone who is a beginner and is looking for a new board, you’ll want to find something with a lot of volume that is easy to paddle and catch waves with. Looking for soft-top longboards or fun boards should be the priority for beginner surfers. Those who are more advanced can start finding boards that are more wave-specific. Being honest about your surfing ability is the best way to begin adding to your quiver.
Photo credit: Alex Copp
Does size matter when looking for a new board?
Absolutely! The length, width, and thickness of a board, are very important factors to consider when checking out your board. Contrary to popular belief, these don’t always correlate to your height and weight, but more or less your experience. Different sized boards can work better on different waves than others. Before going out and purchasing a brand new board, see if your buddies can lend you one to try out. Alongside your experience, think about the type of waves you will be surfing. We can’t stress the importance of this. Mushier waves need a thicker board to be ridden while wall-like waves need a sharper and longer board.
Photo credit: Justin Ross
Should I buy my surfboard used?
Many people buy their surfboards used because, much of the time, you can get a great board for a lot less than you would spend on a new one. While that may sound great, there are some things you must watch out for. For starters, check to see if there are any dings on the board. If there are, were they repaired? If they were repaired, what is the quality of the repair? Check the stringer. Is it cracked? That can be an extremely expensive repair. How is the lamination? Is it yellowing or falling off? Check every inch of the surfboard and make sure to ask about any past damages or repairs so that you have all the information you need.
Photo credit: Antonio Lennert
What is the ideal number of boards to have in your quiver?
While every surfer is different, we truly believe you only need four surfboards in your quiver. These four boards include your daily driver, a board for when conditions are small, a board for when conditions are huge, and a daily driver backup. Your daily driver totally depends on your preferences, though it should be something that works well in about 80% of conditions.