Here are some of the Common Surboard types you will see on Hawai'i Super Beaches:
Hawai'i Foamboard Surfboard
Known as 'softboards' or 'foamies'. They are designed for beginners, and are graciously made of foam. Foamboards are easier to catch small waves on, easier to stand up on, and much more stable in the water. Since they are foam they are less likely to hurt you or others around you (should and when you) fall off, and so are often a choice for Surf schools. The only down side of the Foamboard is that it can get tossed about in heavier surf.
Hawai'i Funboard Surfboard
Surfing Funboards range in length between 6'2" and 8'2" and are 20" to 22" wide. The Funboard combines the paddling power of a Surfing Longboard, with the turning ability similar to a Shortboard. Funboards perform well in most conditions, and are ideal for beginner and intermediate surfers.
Hawai'i Shortboard or 'Thruster' Surfboard
The Shortboard is most common Surf board used for shredding (cutting the waves) and contest-style and competitive surfing. It sacrifices paddling ease, for direct speed, power, and fin based control. They are generally around 5'4" to 6'5" long and between 16" and 19" wide, generally with a rounded but overall square tail. This surfboard is designed for the advanced surfers, requiring excellent balance and practice for excellence.
Hawai'i Fish Surfboard
The ‘Fish’ Surfboard differs from a Shortboard in that it has a wider, rounder nose, a wider mid-section width and a 'swallows tail'. They are generally between 5' and 6'4" long, and between 18" and 22" wide. ‘Fish’ Surfboards are designed to improve wave catching capability, while maintaining speed and maneuvering performance, ideal for small to medium sized waves. Generally considered for intermediate to advanced Surfing applications.
Hawai'i Longboard Surfboard
Otherwise known as a 'cruiser' or 'log' Surfboard. They are usually over 8' or 9' long, with a rounded nose. Longboards are much more stable in the water, they are easier to paddle and great for catching waves, making them ideal for learning on. However due to their size, they can be harder to get through the white water and oncoming sets to get 'out the back'. There is a great deal of style associated with riding a Longboard. Radical sharp turns and air based maneuvers possible with a Shortboard, are not possible on a Surf Longboard, other maneuvers are like hang tandem surfing, fives or tens, drop-knee turns, and even cross-stepping along the deck of the board are possible.
Hawai'i Mini-Mal or "Malibu"Surfboard
The Malibu board is similar to the longboard in its shape and riding characteristics, but it's slightly shorter length and slimmer width and tail allow for sharper turns. You may also hear the Malibu board referred to as a 'mini-mal', which is simply as it sounds, a slightly shorter Malibu. They either have one large fin or three smaller fins.
Hawai'i Gun Surfboard
The Gun Surfboard is a long, narrow and pointy at the nose and tail (pin tail) for maximum rail contact. They range from 6' to 10' plus. They are ideal for big wave surfing, or for powerful, steep waves. Because of their shape they are easier to paddle out further to the big waves and easier to control on the steeper waves. The name derives from the term 'elephant gun', and means the board is the surfers' gun for hunting down big/giant surf.
Hawai'i Surfboard Wax
Few topics are more personal to a Hawai'i surfer than surfboard wax. Since the water temperature is always over 75 dgrees here, you will want to stay with a tropical wax, and avoid the cooler water temperature waxes. Try to avoid waxes tha spoil, and go extra heavy on the base coat if you are getting your board fresh (unwaxed). A circular motion seems to work best on application, but personal preferences seem to govern this area as well.
(Back to Hawai'i Surfing Page)
SBHawaii.com Information on Surfing in Hawai'i:
• Hawai'i Surf Terms
• Hawai'i Surf Physics Explained
• Learning to Surf From Bruce "Snake" Gabrielson, PhD. "Complete Surfing Guide" Chapter 4
• Surfboard Repair and Maintenance From Bruce "Snake" Gabrielson, PhD. "Complete Surfing Guide" Chapter 7