Welcome to Board Auctions Surfboard guide. The following has been put together to assist you with selecting a suitable surfboard. Below you will find five of the most common board types available with some information about the characteristics of each.
Shortboards are designed for high performance surfing and are the most common style of board used today. Traditionally they consist of three fins (also known as a Thruster) with a narrow body which makes turning and rail to rail manoeuvring faster and more accurate. Although three fin configurations are the most common, quad and twin fin boards are also available. Each of these variations has a fairly significant effect on the performance of a shortboard. Sizes for shortboards range from 5' 5" to a maximum of about 7". Due to their narrow dimensions and lack of buoyancy stability these boards are difficult to learn on and are not recommended for anyone just starting out.
The Mini Mal (short for Malibu) is a shortened version of the original Malibu Surfboard that began the surfing revolution all those years ago. It is wider, longer and generally thicker than performance shortboards and therefore it is stable, buoyant and paddles much more easily. It is this combination makes it a good choice for learners. Mini Mal's have a number of fin configurations however a three fin setup is very common on modern boards. Made from the same materials as regular shordboards, mini mal's offer strength and a degree of manoeuvrability without being too heavy. Many shortboard riders also have a Mini Mal stashed away for those days (or weeks) of very small swell. Due to their size and ability to speedily glide across the waters surface, they are great for catching smaller and weaker waves. They are also able to catch a building wave well before a shortboard can and as a result you often see Mini Mal riders sitting slightly further out than other surfers.
The retro Fish you see in the water these days was originally conceived back in the early 60's and 70's. It originated as a kneeboard and due to its popularity in the 70's soon became the stand-up surfboard of choice for many surfers. The fish boards have kept their popularity today due to their unique ability to manoeuvre extremely well in small to medium waves.
One aspect of the fish which has not changed much since they were created is the fish-like shape. With a sharp nose and swallow tail the overall look is almost identical to its 70's relative. These boards are usually a little shorter and wider than fibreglass or epoxy shortboards, and like any shortboard they are really made for surfers with an intermediate to advanced skill level. Beginners should not try to learn how to surf with a fish board. With their shortened design, these boards have a tendency to ride flat on the wave and don't make it easy to surf vertically. That makes the fish surfboard a board for more advanced surfers who have the basics of surfing mastered.
Fish surfboards are about 5 1/2 feet in length, and 18.5 inches wide with slight variations in size, depending on the maker and how you want to use the board. The retro fish boards of the 60's had two fins, while contemporary fish boards usually have three fins. The simple design of the fish board provides awesome drive and lift, which generates large amounts of speed in a short time. So you can zip around those small or even medium-sized waves with fast response and manoeuvrability on a fish board. Their short length and width is what gives them their manoeuvrability, so if you have the skills, a fish surfboard is a great board to have in your quiver.
As the name suggests this board is a hybrid of sorts between the shortboard and the fish. It retains the wider body of the fish however it's shape, length and rocker (rocker is the curve the runs from nose to tail in a surfboard) are more similar to that found in a shortboard. These are an excellent choice of board for those who have outgrown the Mini Mal that they learnt on. The semi-fish is highly manoeuvrable and is easier to paddle than a performance thruster. It works well in small to medium beach breaks and has terrific speed off the takeoff. A good semi-fish can be an unbelievably fun experience.
Used by surf schools all over the world as the quintessential beginners boards. Soft boards are constructed of soft foam with a slick base not unlike that found on a body board. They are available in most sizes and have a high degree of stability and buoyancy. Unlike fibreglass boards that can really cause some damage when they get some momentum behind them, softboards are lighter and minimise injuries. Even the fins on these boards are often relatively soft. If you're a beginner and you’re looking for a board, a Mini Mal sized softboard is a highly recommended choice. They are also quite cheap by comparison to other boards.