Surf Longboards Buying Guide
Longboards - If your looking for a board to compliment your quiver on the small days or you’re a full time stylemaster, the long board is essential!
Longboards offer the most traditional style of surfing, starting a 9’ these are descent sized bits of kit, great for keeping that wave count up and perfect if you want to ooze graceful drop knee turns, perfect your cross step and hang five or even ten off the nose.
As with other boards there are a variety of different construction types to choose from, with certain Longboard shapes weight is less of an issue, so stronger heavy construction becomes more viable, here’s a few:
- Polyester – The most widely used, often the most cost effective, has a great flex pattern, easy to gain a great shape, but can be fragile
- Epoxy – Similar to Polyester, but more durable when considering day to day use, the blank is light, but fix straight after a ding as the blank will soak up water quick, they tend to be more expensive than Polyester
- Wood or wood veneer – classic look, durable, but can be heavy so better for the traditional shapes
- Sandwich construction – Epoxy and plastic rap around an EPS (expanded polystyrene core) These are light weight and durable, but can be costly and have very little flex pattern
There are many many different longboard shapes, so we’ll stick to the main ones. But its important to point out you can have hybrids that take into account factors from each.
- Performance – These are refined, thin, plenty of nose and tail rocker and sharp rails in the tail. The fin set up will be a 3 fin affair, sometimes the same as shortboard but also can be with a box fin. If you want to throw your longboard around with top turns and swooshing rail to rail cutbacks then this is the board for you. On the other hand you might be a bigger guy or gal and want all the float but still want to turn, then a performance longboard can also be good for you!
- Performance nose rider – So you want to be able to put your board on a rail and turn it tight, but you also want to hang the toes over the nose. These boards are very similar to the performance in that the tail is set up will be the same, the difference is in the nose. It has much less rocker and has a deep concave on the bottom, this means there is a lot of surface area under your feet when you have cross stepped your way up to a hand ten or hang five!
- Nose rider – As the name suggests, similar to the above, but more traditional, the rails will be fuller and less sharp around the tail, the board will have less rocker in the nose or tail and may even be a single fin. Choose this board if you want to surf less critically and glide with grace and get up on the nose!
- Traditional / Cruiser / Log – The names say it all really! Generally for smaller waves, these longboards are big! Usually a few inches longer and certainly fuller in the rails, the rails are rolled so no sharp edges, flat nose and tail rocker and more often than not are single fins. You simple set your line on take off and just cruise, subtly climbing and dropping on the wave. This is how surfing was for hundreds of years!
So there are the main shapes, some boards will mix and match between all the attributes. But there are still a few options within each model.
Tail shape, there are only really two used:
- Squash – this is the most common, it gives you volume under your back foot and two angles to pivot off
- Rounded pin – generally on the more performance boards, gives a drawn out edge for those tight and drawn out turns, with a nice pivot point on the end
Fin set up:
- Shortboard thruster – this will only be found on the performance longboard, choose this if you want to still throw some critical turns
- Fin box with side thrusters – This is the most common set up, the long fin in the centre means you still have a fin in the water when all your weight is on the nose hanging ten! The fin in the water helps you maintain direction
- Single fin – Usually the fin is the biggest in the surfing world! These are found on the big cruisers, making sure that you use the subtle curves of the rail to glide up and down the wave!