The Different Types of Windsurfing Boards

Windsurfing as a sport rapidly gained popularity in the 70's and 80's. The result was a high demand for windsurfing boards, and most households owned a few surfboards. Initially, most surfboards were made of a typical board that would cut through the waters making them slower and a wind sail mast. Evolution of the sport in the mid 90's has led to more research and development, focus being on the speed, maneuverability, and flexibility. This reasearch has resulted in the development of boards suitable for different conditions. Before getting a board, here is what you need to know: The length of the board determines stability; the longer, the more stable. Width is another aspect of the board that depicts a board's balance, the wider, the more stable and suited for tougher conditions. Finally, the volume of the board indicates how its floats, the lighter the board, the more it floats on the waves and achieves more speed. This article will review several different types of windsurfing boards.

Types of Windsurfing Boards

Soft Boards

These are the most common in surf schools and a newbie's favorite. They are light and made from foam. They are beginners favorite since they are more stable, lighter and float better on waves. Given that newbie's fall off frequently, "foamies," as they also go by this name, are a good choice since the surfer gets back on them with ease. The Soft boards help transition from body boarding.


These boards don't dent easily and thus last longer than their counterparts. Their soft material makes it safer for the surfer when they fall and get hit with the board as opposed to the hard boards.


This board can be large and can only be ferried by tying them to the car's roof. No big price difference with hard boards.

Gun Boards

Gun surfboard makes for high-speed performance needs. The gun surfboard has extra length and comes in 6", 6.6" and 10" sizes. Its tail and nose are pointy and long; this allows a surfer to paddle with adequate speed and catch the huge waves further ashore. It is designed for massive waves and has better control when surfing on steep waves. Big waves will have a lot of rockers on the board all the same; however, the board has four fins to help steady it. Despite being large, stable and durable, they are hard to maneuver.


Durable and do not snap, value for money, with little or no replacement of the boards. Perfect for huge waves.


Best used by pros since they are difficult to maneuver. Less than optimal performance in flat waves.

Fish Boards

Fish windsurfing boards are an evolution of the original knee boards of the 70's. It is shorter and wider with a rounder nose. The shallow tail design helps in steadying the board. It is convenient for flat and condensed waves. Fish boards are a safe bet when it comes to maneuverings and maintains good speed. The boards have a length ranging from 5'2 to 6'4 and a width of 18"-22". The wider midsection makes its steady to stand on and catch short waves.


Attains high speed. Easy to maneuver.


Fish boards have difficulty in achieving a vertical movement. Their extensive tails/ swallows make the boards so loose that it would be problematic for beginners trying to balance. The major drawback is, they cannot drop down on big waves.

Long Boards

Its' incredible length allows for many styles of surfing such as tens, drop knee turns, etc. They are 9" long, so long that they can accommodate tandem surfing. The boards have around the nose and are 20 inches wide with a 2.5 thickness. The length is ideal for paddling and catching waves faster. The "cruiser" is the most preferred long board by pros due to its glide. Longboards are perfect for all conditions.


These boards are a hit with newbie's since they are more stable than other surfboards.


Long boards are too heavy to carry and too difficult to turn on due to that extra length

Slalom Boards

Every pros dream board. These are high-speed performance boards used for competing. These surfboards are another version of the short board with unique designs for outlined courses. These boards are not easy to control and are unstable this requiring enormous strength to keep them steady during one straight sailing. They are light and stiff but not long lasting as compared to the free ride boards.


Light and floats well on top of waves. New technology for pro surfers.


Unstable and hard to control. Minimal maneuvers.

Fun Boards

Fun Boards come in a variety of shapes of the nose, mid section width, and tail. It is shorter than the long board but longer than the Short board. It has great paddling and turning power. It is ideal for all conditions of either large or small wave and is an excellent choice for novices or surfers transitioning from the long boards. It's a popular choice due to its combined features, and it's a giant surfboard ranging from 6" to 8" feet. Epoxy boards have a smoother finish, though more pricey it's the best bargain as compared to the polyester resin boards.


A good choice for average and harsh conditions. Friendlier for use by newbies.


Its broad nose prevents it from dipping into the water and throwing off the surfer and therefore best for beginners fewer maneuvers.

Short Boards

The short board is another pros choice that is less than three to four meters long. They are perfect for excellent conditions and match the need for high speed in competitions. Excellent for planning, this is when the surfboard glides over the water. They are light, ideal for aerial stunts and vertical maneuvers. However, they are not durable and can easily split into two on normal calm conditions. For optimal performance, surfing on the short board has t be rail to rail at most times. They have a length ranging between 5"-6" and 6'4 and are 18"-24" wide and are 1.75"-2.5" thick. Most Short boards have three fins referred to as thrusters.


Light and portable. Easy to achieve surfing tricks.


Throws off a surfer due to instability. Not good with small swells.


When it comes to selecting a board, the needs of the surfer such as speed, controls, durability and price will determine the type of board to choose. Consequently, it's important to understand each type of board before settling on one. It's tempting to select the surfing boards based on looks, but that would be a big mistake. Choose the board according to your level of skill.

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