Does Length Matter? Longboard Surfboard Design...

Posted by Gillian Grove on

I’ve had a few women reach out to me getting help to choose their next boards. I’ve really loved this journey into the second hand market.

I’ve also realised that the step after the foamie and the surf schools is often a little scary. We get enough information from surf schools on how to surf, surf etiquette and navigating the ocean safely, but our knowledge of boards is pretty much limited to length.

The surf coach looks you over and allocates you an 8ft or 9ft depending on your size. If you are really not getting the hang of things you might get upgraded in length to a larger board.

There’s certainly no conversations around other dimensions or dynamics, nor should there be. You dont want to get overwhelmed before you start and school foamies are designed for stability and easy paddling to get you standing as soon as possible.

I think this is why we have ended up with a generalised kind of thinking that longer boards are easier to paddle and ride when this isn’t really true.

So what does length do? Length gives you drive forward..

We were in the surf last week when there was zero swell and a few regulars were out having some fun. 2 guys stood out as having the most fun while the rest of had fun, but worked harder for our waves.

The first guy (looked like a short boarder the way he handled that board!) was on a big fat foamie and paddled onto everything doing 360’s and standing on his head. Fat/thick board = buoyancy = can paddle into anything!!!

The second guy was on an 11’2 - commonly called a ‘Glider’. It didn’t turn or do much,but 3 sweeps of his arm and he was on a wave. I can do that on my shorter boards, but the difference? That board rode a ripple all the way to the beach.

Broadly speaking, that’s what adding more drive to a board can do.

Is it necessary? No. It depends on the kind of surfer you are or are aspiring to be.

The guy on the foamie was surfing circles around the glider & joking with him. “Come on Mr Big Board” he would laugh as he zipped past, but gee did that 11’2 look stylish 👌

We like the look of the McTavish Gliders. Take a look!


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