As compiled in collaboration with our Bennett shapers and the boss, Barry Bennett.
This information package is designed to give our customers a general guide to longboard designs – it does not give prejudice to any particular brands or models. We find the information package actually assists the customers in deciphering what is best for them – to be read at their leisure away from babbling surfboard salesmen quite often found in some stores. From my personal experience in buying cars, sound systems, fridges etc. the more salesman talk you talk to, the more confused we (the buyer) get. The aim of this guide is to take away the stress and confusion of purchasing a longboard, set out in an honest and easy to understand manner.
Our company can wherever possible arrange a “demo” board for customers to use at their leisure, this in partnership with our guide assists in taking the hassle out of their surfboard purchase. I believe there is no better way in buying a board than to “test” drive prior to purchase.
A smile, a hello and a little encouragement to our beginner surfers goes a long way. Remember at one stage you were a raw beginner yourself !
Share the waves with your fellow man and women and don’t forget to have fun!!
P.S If a customer wishes to surf at a competitive level (ie/ contests) he must look for a longboard with the following specifications:
Minimum 9’0” length x total of 53” which in simple terms is combined measurement of wide point, nose width and tail width taken 12” from nose across board and 12” from tail across board.
Eg: 9’1” x 22 ½ “ x 18” (nose) x 14” (tail) = 54 ½ “
Single fin and tri fins are both permitted.
A. Single Fin Longboards.
The modern day single fin has retained all the good points of the 1960’s shapes and culled the bad points. Making way for a board with added turning / trimming ability and less weight for further increases in performance. Wider nose templates permit more stable noseriding while in most cases the fin box has permitted the surfer to change fin shapes, lengths and profiles to best suit conditions, also an added bonus when travelling on planes etc. fin can be totally removed.
The single fin design is the easiest to surf and with less fin resistance than the more progressive 3 fin designs is actually quicker in trimming, also assisted by a usually flatter rocker or bottom curve than the three fin setup. If turned hard enough from the tail it may spin out.
The modern day single fin with its softer rails is directed towards surfers who want the most traditional characteristics out of a modern day board – typical lengths range from 9’1” through to 10’0” or so, occasionally even up to 11 and 12 feet!
B. Triple Fin Longboards or 2 plus 1.
This fin set up accounts for the majority of our sales, having a 10” centre fin box with medium depth centre fin and those lovely black or white plastic fin system side stabilizers or “side biters”.
This model gives the best of both worlds in the one board. The “2 plus 1” configuration combine to produce excellent turning characteristics with the added bonus of holding in to the wave face. Problems such as sideslip whilst noseriding very minimal. The concept of the “side biters” is to give added performance without the degree of drag sometimes experienced with the thruster set up – typical lengths 8’6” to 10’0”.
C. Thruster Type (3 fins all virtually same size).
This set up is best suited for deep, hard yet controllable turns, being great for cutbacks and running on the rail of the board. Usually made with three lovely detachable plastic fin system fins – ideal for the travelling surfer.
This model will take all sizes of waves with the rider (at most times) in total control with the exception to noseriding whereby fins may tend to sideslip due to lack of depth.
For the surfer who wants to surf hard and fast (with minimal noseriding) this is the model for you – typical lengths up to 9’1” but not such a big seller these days.
D. The Modern Mini Malibu
This model typically built from 7’0” to 7’6″ – emphasis being placed on a fun board for the surfer making the transition between short surfboard and longboard. Can also be termed “funboard”. Usually thruster set up (using fin system) it has a scaled down nose area which other than failure to noseride gives exceptional performance in all aspects of surfing. Very popular summertime board. Excellent size choice for female beginner surfers.
E. The Mid Length Longboard.
Small volume seller from 7’8” to 8’8” inclusive – can be either thruster or 2 plus 1. The mid length sized board has actually made quite a strong comeback, providing plenty of performance and relative ease of paddling, although not noted for its noseriding ability.
ASSOCIATED ALTERNATIVES IN ALL BOARD DESIGNS INCLUDE:
1. Concave Nose: Once popular back in the 80’s twin fin mid length designs (early modern longboards) concaves are now virtually common features in various degrees dependent on board length.
The art of riding the nose of the board is most exhilarating – the concave under the nose of board providing a cushion of water and air to maintain higher trim position in wave face while surfing on the nose. Concaves also provide added strength to nose area of board due to their curved nature.
2. Round Square Tails: Most popular tail shape, increased surface area leaving more tail area to pivot off – suited best for small to medium sized waves in standard width format / for larger waves decrease tail width. Likewise for the older surfer or the heavier surfer, we can tailor board dimensions all round to provide the surfer with the correct amount of stability for their surfing needs.
3. Area Pintails / Round Pintails: More suited for larger wave conditions, these boards are very quick in cutbacks, having reduced surface area as compared to round square tails. They tend to feel as if they are turning themselves and suffer from less drag than the round square tails.
4. Stringers; Multiple or Single: Three ply 3/16” suggested for up to 8’6”. From 8’8” to 9’6” suggest double 1/8” 3 ply butted (5 ply). From 9’7” to 10’0” double 3/16 butted. Over 10’0” triple or cedar best option.
We strongly advise the double butted 5 ply look stringer for boards approaching 9’0” and above. Single 3 ply stringers on boards around nine feet and over are nothing but a high risk. Ask for a minimum of 7.5mm stringer width – preferably 5 ply.
Stringers are most effective still possessing some “spring” but at the same time too much “spring” could mean a snapped board. The slightly wider 5 ply set up does add a little more weight to board obviously increasing the rigidity of the board but giving the owner added security in prolonging the life of his or her board. However, no guarantee against creasing, snapping or stressing of underside of your longboard can be implied due to the often rugged and unforgiving nature of the ocean.
5. Volan glassing, noseblocks, tailblocks, wooden fins, tints, opaque or marble effect laminates are still all available. We still can produce the style and soul of the 60’s if so desired by the customer.
Hoping I have assisted with making things a little clearer to our potential customer – should you have any further questions please don’t hesitate in asking, we’ll be happy to assist.
Yours in Surfing