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As a surfer, there is a possibility that you ‘might have been riding’ the wrong board all your life. “Impossible! I am a pro rider,” you might be thinking. But the thing is, you just perfected riding the wrong board. I can’t blame you. I am a victim too. I started out with a standard thruster and everything was fun until it wasn’t. Surfing become boring. I was of the school of thought that “if it is not broken, then don’t replace it.” One day, my friends dragged me to the beach. One of them allowed me to borrow their board, and my surfing life was never the same again. It was small and thick, it had all this custom design on it and it felt completely different from what I was used to. It is like I had traded my scooter for a Ducati Panigale. I realized what I had been missing all my life. My surfing experience was reborn… and so will yours.
Lime themed shortboard
The big shortboard reveal
My introduction was rather liberal. I didn’t want to scare anyone away. Well, I am not here to encourage you to try your luck on different boards. Today, I am going to specifically encourage you to try shortboards. Whether you are a pro or beginner, there is a shortboard for you that will fit your abilities and conditions and give you success out there and more so, mad fun! Before I proceed any further, let me define what board is a shortboard. You can feel free to skip the next two paragraphs if you have already read the articles History Of Surfing Innovation Part 5: The Shortboard Revolution and Transitioning from a Longboard to a Shortboard. It is not about the length anymore.
The modern shortboard is any high performance surfboard. Typically, they rock 3 fins though you will find several with four fins and a few with two fins. The major factor leading to a board being called a shortboard has everything to do with how it gets its power. Shortboard have a significant amount of rocker, they are generally thin and they slow down when going straight and thus the rider must pump them rail to rail, applying pressure on the fins and flex pattern.
After the pressure build up, you release the pressure by straightening out into the next manoeuvre.
Shortboard; the superstar board
In case you are thinking of leaving, I have reason for you to stay. According to a study done by company X (that will be me) most of the surfers you see in magazines will be riding shortboards. Unless, of course, the article is about another type of board. The shortboard has a lot of strengths and this is why you should consider it when making your next board decision.
Magazine covers featuring shortboards
- Its 6 feet and fast
When you have to ride in steep, fast and powerful wave conditions, you will want to be riding a shortboard. The shortboard is fast and easy to manoeuvre and this is exactly what superfast waves need. Given that the waves are huge, you need less paddling power to catch them and thus a shortboard can suffice. All the same, you should ensure you have adequate rocker to avoid pearling in such conditions.
The shortboard with its big rocker, dwarf size and curved rail works wonders in such conditions.
- Born for the barrel
- Dance to the tune: Great manoeuvrability
- Lighter and smaller
- Perks of being small
Outside the waters, the shortboard is easier to transport and carry. You can squeeze most shortboards in the boot (read trunk) of your car. If you own longboards, you understand that it is not easy to store or transport 2 or 3 of them especially if you live in an apartment and drive a hot hatch.
Another perk of being small, is the cost. You can get a nice shortboard for $500 whereas the same quality longboard will cost you in excess of $900. Best of luck getting a promotional longboard because that is the only longboard you can buy with your $500 budget. When all is said and done, you should not let people’s opinion overshadow your personal tastes and preferences.
If you enjoy surfing longboards, enjoy your surfing. But you don’t know what you are missing. If you are already using a shortboard, you are smart!