Looking to up your surfing game and shred the waves in style? Shortboard surfboards are great for experienced surfers who want to go faster and tackle more powerful waves. Shortboard surfing has to do not only with the length of the board, but also the shape of the board, size of the waves, and the size, style and ability level of the surfer. A beginner could start on a shortboard, but they are generally geared towards intermediate and advanced surfers. If you want to change up your surfing, we’ve created this list of the best shortboard surfboards so you can have the ultimate ride.
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What is a Shortboard?
For starters, shortboards are usually between 5 and 7 feet, but they can be bigger for larger people. Shortboards often have a pointed nose with a slight rocker in the tip. This means the tip is pointed upwards to create a slightly concave shape.
Shortboards are generally harder to ride because there is less surface area for the wave to catch the board, so you’ll have to go on bigger waves. It’s harder to control them when you’re riding, but they carve better and go faster. They’re the go-to board for aggressive style surfing on medium and large waves.
Best Shortboard Surfboards for Beginners
Type: Performance groveler
What we like: Good buoyancy for beginners, made from plant-based materials
The Lost Puddle Jumper is a performance groveler, which is a specific type of shortboard that is wider than most traditional ones. This model in particular has a rounder nose and tail that gives it an egg-like shape. A groveler is a great beginner shortboard because the wider shape makes it easier to catch waves and gives you increased stability while riding the waves. It’s also more buoyant so you’ll sink less into the water, allowing for more speed when paddling into the waves.
The company ‘Lost’ has been a staple in the surfing community since the 80s, and they have mastered the craft of well-designed surfboards. One awesome feature of Lost’s surfboards is that they’re made from plant-based products, so they’re more environmentally safe. The board’s technology has higher strength carbon to deter dents from rocks and reef, along with a hexylon thermo-fusion honeycomb power panel to reduce vibrations and provide a smoother ride. The Puddle Jumper ranges from 5’1’’ to 6’1’’ in length, so it will work for just about any size of rider.
What we like: Balance between speed and stability, thinner rails for maneuverability
Another great option for beginner shortboard riders is the Catch Surf Odysea x Lost RNF. It is a specific type of shortboard called a fishboard, which is perfect for new riders looking to hone their skills. However, surfers of all levels love having a fishboard in their collection. The most distinctive aspect of a fishboard is its tail, which is pointed in two triangle shapes known as a “swallow tail.” This extra point of contact on the water will give you a bit more control on the board, and it is designed with thinner rails for more speed and maneuverability.
The Odysea x Lost RNF is the all-time best seller when it comes to fishboards, and for good reason. It was shaped by surf legend Matt Biolos, and it comes in 5’5’’, 5’11’’ and 6’5’’ with a choice between midnight blue, black and gray. It is a soft top board, but don’t let that scare you. It’s a bit more tapered at the tail and has a less aggressive swallow tail, which gives it a good balance between aggressive fast riding and stability. It’s also equipped with a triple fin setup and a high performance, easy-to-remove fin and leash system. Another great feature is that it’s triple enforced with maple stringers, making it an extremely durable board.
Overall, it’s a great surfboard for those looking to downsize to a shortboard or for experienced riders that want something a bit more playful in their surfing kit.
Best Overall Shortboards
Type: Shortboard with squash tail
What we like: Extremely versatile, mix of stability and agility
The Monstah 6 Squash Tail is the result of years of designing, testing and surfing to create an incredibly adaptable board that both weekend warriors and surfing professionals love. It is a very versatile shortboard with the perfect balance of drive, release, and speed. Being the favorite of many world-class surfers, it has been used everywhere from average to elite surf competitions.
One of the main reasons this board is so versatile is its shape. It’s slightly rockered in the tip, and a bit more rockered in the tail which gives a great combination of drive and release. This means that the board will drive into waves fast, but release the speed when you’re in a good position. The board is also shaped with 3 concaves, one in the tip and a double in the tail. These concaves, along with the medium rails, will make the board nimble when you want it to be, but also stable on choppy or mushy waves.
Type: Performance shortboard
What we like: Completely customizable board, fast and powerful
For those who want cool new board features, the Sharp Eye Inferno is on the cutting edge of surf technology. It is an intermediate to advanced board that does well in 2-6’ conditions, whether it’s reef or point breaks. The board shape has a medium entry and exit rocker, allowing for hold/drive when surfing off your back foot and ease of speed generation. One of the best things about this board is that you can totally customize it through ordering. You have the option to choose the length, width, thickness, volume, tail shape, glassing, fin layout, logo placement/color, and carbon patch.
It was also the 2021 winner of the ‘Stab in the Dark’ contest, where Stab Magazine went on the hunt for the world’s best surfboard. It’s designed for everyday use and is loved by some of the world’s best surfers. The original design was made for Filipe Toledo, Brazilian 2022 World Champion surfer, back in 2020. Over time it has evolved into a fast, powerful board that can be reigned in when you need it to be.
Type: Performance shortboard
What we like: Sleek design for power, high-performance features
Another ‘Stab in the Dark’ winner, the Channel Islands Al Merrick Pro is one of the best shortboard surfboards available. It has been described as the best of the best when it comes to high performance surfing, so you know you’ll be in for a good ride. The CI Pro has a sleek design that is made to create power, but you can also control it when you need to.
It is a very aggressive board that is made for more advanced riders in everyday conditions and for any type of break. The main reason that it is so aggressive is because of the continuous rocker. It has a bold rocker in the tip and tail that goes throughout the board. This, paired with a slight concave in the tip, a double concave through the fins, and tucked rails, makes this board a slashing machine.
For this shortboard, you have the option to buy the recommended styles from 5’8’’ to 6’6’’, or you can go for a full out custom build, like the 72 Inferno. If you’re looking for a board that will charge hard through variable conditions, but cruise like a Cadillac when you want it to, look no further. The Channel Islands Pro will link surfer to wave and give you an awesome and intuitive ride.
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