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Curt/Surfing Inspiration

by Tommy Barrels on July 6, 2015

Here is an inspiring video made by Brendan Hearne. 50 year old Curt Harper was diagnosed with Autism when he was two. Told that eventually he would have to be institutionalizes, Curt’s family wouldn’t have it. When he expressed and interest in surfing at a young age, his mother and father were more than encouraging. Since then he has found a better life, friends, added to his family and has become a staple in the surfing community all over Southern California. A life long grom with positivity and the pure love of surfing and purity in his heart. Take a look and think about what surfing has done for you…we take a lot of things for granted in this world, it is good to be reminded of why we do what we do.

Shaping for Golf

by Tommy Barrels on July 2, 2015

Here’s a short little clip of Nation Surfboards own Ryan Engle showing where his priorities lie. With planer skills as smooth as his golf swing, Ryan starts mowing some foam before hitting the links, all in style.
Check out the full line up of Nation Surfboards and custom order yourself a new quiver to help pay for this poor man’s green fee’s.

Popular Nation Models:
Pink Champagne on Ice
Los Dos
Hot Doggin Loggin
RicKane Pro

Breaking down SUPERbrand’s Fling

by Tommy Barrels on June 26, 2015

If you live in Southern California and you are a regular surfer, chances are you have a least a few small wave grovelers in your quiver. If you don’t own, or haven’t tried the Fling by SUPERbrand yet, you must!

SUPERbrand is a unique brand in that they have a collective of shapers that all bounce ideas and concepts off each other and seem to work well in unison. This is pretty hard to do in the surf industry, but SUPERbrand seem to have it nailed down. Here we have not just one, but two of the shapers from the SUPERbrand collective, California’s Jason Koons and Australia’s Adam “Sparrow” Fletcher, giving you the low-down on the Fling. Enjoy!

Other popular smaller wave boards

Surfboard Bottom Contours

by Boardcave on June 25, 2015

Concave’s, Flats and Vee’s and how they affect your surfboard

mark gnech with one of his vampirate surfboards creations
Mark Gnech working on a hand-shaped Vampirate Surfboards bottom.

The bottom contours of your surfboard and how they are blended together, play a big role in how that board is going to perform. The idea of using different bottom contours is to produce somewhat of a controlled lift and drag effect, playing in to how and why a board will interact with the wave.

Just to keep things simple for now, we will focus on the three main categories that your bottom contours will fall into; Flats, Concaves and Convex’s. All boards incorporate at least one of these, more than likely blending them with the others to help dictate how your board is intended to perform.

Once you establish what kind of bottom you are looking for, you can use the Board Engine to then compare similar surfboards to find the one that suits you best.

surfboard bottom contours
Different bottom contours. Any part of the bottom that lifts above the rail line is a concave. Any part that dips below the rail line is a vee or belly convex and flats stay around the same level as the rails.


Simply put, flats are just the flat sections of the bottom of your board.

Generally, flats are fast but they do not offer much in terms of adding to performance except speed. They plain on the water, but they do not provide added lift, and they don’t contribute to directing water flow or providing leverage when performing maneuvers.

They are often blending with concaves and convexes and are place strategically along the bottom of your board, giving you a section of your board that you can use for pure planing speed down the line.

stamps surfboards grinder x models ready to go
Just a few Grinder X models ready for their new homes with a grey Stamps Stubby sneaking in.


Concaves are the areas on the bottom that rise above the rail line.

Concave’s produce lift as well as laminar flow of the water under your board. They also slightly increase the overall surface area compared to a flat section, and can help get your rail to “bite” on the waves face.

water flow by bottom contour
The direct front to back flow of water in an Album Surfboards single concave model the Destroyer increases your speed. Next to the controlled release of water flow out the sides you get in a Polyphonic with single to double concave.

There are a number of different concaves. Single concave, double concave, tear-drop or spoon like concave (found on many nose rider longboards) to name a few.

They all produce lift and direct the flow of water under your board, allowing you to sit more on top of the wave. With a nice down rail, you can have lots of control on good days, helping to keep the rail in the water.

Asher Pacey on his DHD sweet spot 2.0
Asher Pacey stepping it up on his Sweet Spot 2.0.

Convex Contours

Convex contours, on the other hand, are any part of the bottom of your board that sits lower into the water than your rail.

Found on a lot of longboards, displacement hulls and sometimes hybrids, these help the the transition from rail to rail, and can provide some forgiving stability depending on the board.

Depending on the board, you may see convexes as: a smooth, rolled “belly”; hard angled Vee; or in various degrees of the two.

The rolled “belly” can be seen on a lot of longboards, and blending into some hybrid style shapes. It’s generally found around the nose and running down the length of the board until it is blended into another contour. This can help keep the rails of your nose above the water line, preventing you from pearling…which is especially handy when doing out of some turns.

Vees are usually found around the tail of any style of board, and help with control off your back foot, as well as assisting your rail to rail transition from the tail.

image of traditional longboard belly contour on the canvas surfboards pinata
The traditional longboard belly contour in the front, middle and tail shown on the Canvas Surfboards Pinata.

Blending your bottom contours:

The way your board is going to interact with the wave is going to be partly due to how these concave are blended together.

We will take a look a three basic examples of common combinations that you will find. (there are endless combinations, no one way is the “right” way, these are just examples).

some bottom contours
Some single concave transitions into doubles and vees.

Performance Shortboards

In many high performance shortboards, you may commonly find a somewhat flat section running through he nose, which many then blend into a deep single concave through he center of the board. This ay then blend into a double concave starting right around your fins, combined with a little Vee right off the end of your tail.

The flat section will help while your paddling into the wave, it gives you an even surface to plane on when lying down on your board and trying to paddle as fast as you can.

The single concave will help produce lift while you are up on your feet and riding the wave. It will also initially help set your rail into the face. This gives you both control and lift, keeping you on top of the wave while surfing.

The double concave around your fins will redirect the flow of water through your tail and around your fins. This also helps create some lift and control when you are surfing off your back foot. Blending into the Vee right out the back of the board will add to your control and allow you to snap from rail to rail a little easier.

nation surfboards model getting some air
Getting some air on a nice little Nation Surfboards model.


In something like a hybrid shape, you might have a little “belly” in the nose, blending to a single concave in the middle of your board, blending to flat to Vee in the tail.

The “belly” around your nose is going to displace the water while you are paddling into a wave, or when you are re-entering coming out of a turn. This helps keep the nose from pearling (going under the water) and is used on a lot of flat rocker boards.

The single concave, again, will produce lift and help generate the speed needed when up and flying down the line. Blending into the flat to Vee out the tail, where the flat will help keep your speed up and the Vee will make it a little easier to quickly transfer from rail to rail. Perfect combo for smaller days when you still want to rip.

the bottom of the experimental by chemistry surfboards
Close up of the bottom of the Experimental model by Chemistry Surfboards.


Last, we will look at a traditional nose riding log. In this style of board you may find tear drop shaped concave in the nose area of the board, blending to a nice rolled “belly” through the center and then Vee out the tail.

The tear drop concave in the nose will help create lift when you are perched up at the nose, as well as help with your control as it will allow you to use your rail a little easier when surfing the from this part of the board. The “belly” through the center of the board help give you some stability, and help provide smooth transitions from rail to rail. And once again the Vee coming out the tail help you pivot from rail to rail when trying to turn a little harder or re-direct the board.

view the boardcave board engine


Just like in every aspect with shaping surfboards, there is no set way to take when approaching the bottom.

There are endless possibilities and combinations that can be played with. Some are trusted and others might be best suited for specific style of boards.

How they play into your board’s rail, tail and nose is also important to understand. There are many variations and other types of bottom contours that we will go over later, like channels, panels, chines, etc. that all have functional purpose in their own way. They all help control the flow of water, and the drag and release that can play into how the shaper intends a surfboard to perform.

By understanding more about surfboard design, you can make a more informed decision about your next board.

el stumpo model by Carrozza Surfboards
A smooth little El Stumpo model by Carrozza Surfboards getting ready.

Have any questions? Ask us in the comments below or contact us at service@boardcave.com

Surfmobile: Van Conversion with Cyrus Stutton

by Tommy Barrels on June 25, 2015

A good set of wheels is essential as a surfer. They allow you the freedom to break away from your local beachie and reach out to other spots near or far. But, unless you own just one surfboard and don’t like to venture too far from home, you are going to need something more suitable to feeding your surfing addiction.

Vans are the best way to go…not only can you jam a ton of boards in the back, making sure you have whatever equipment you need for the variety of waves you may find, they are fairly easy to convert into a full blown “surfmobile” with the ability to take you away for the weekend or longer. Baja trips, the Pacific Northwest, or just posting up on PCH in Malibu when it’s firing, your “surfmobile” conversion van can be a safe place to store your belongings (including boards), provide you a warm bed, a roof over your head, and make a two day+ strike missions a breeze.

Here, Cyrus Sutton show you how to convert your van into the “surfmobile” of you dreams. PS, Cyruss recently had his custom “surfmobile” up for sale, while be builds his next, who will be the lucky owner?

All you need now is to browse through our selection of surfboards, build yourself a quiver and hit the road in style.

Mentawai Dreaming

by Tommy Barrels on June 22, 2015

9 of your best mates, 2 drones, 10 days in the Mentawai’s, epic sunsets, crystal clear water and perfect waves, what more could you ask for? If it’s fresh fish for dinner every night then you may have just peed your pants a little with excitement!

Drop everything, round up your mates, buy a ticket and get out of here! You know you want to!

Ozzie Wrong for Gorilla

by Tommy Barrels on June 22, 2015

Ozzie Wrong will never die!

Ozzie Wright better known as Ozzie Wrong, has made a name for himself from absolutely tearing waves till the bitter end, which is clearly evident in this new clip he’s released with Gorilla surf. This clip has everything from huge boosts to board slides and we wouldn’t have it any other way. As well as Gorilla, Ozzie has been on the Vampirates Surfboards roster for quite a few years working with Mark Gnech on weird and wonderful shapes, artwork is compulsory…

Hands on with Chemistry Surfboards

by Tommy Barrels on June 18, 2015

Here is an oldie but a goodie of a behind the scenes look into Chemistry Surfboards shaper/co-owner, and all-round surfboard craftsman Jason Bennett doing what he does best…creating a batch of custom surfboards for some lucky customers. Every board that Chemistry pops out is shaped by Jason, and if not glassed by him, glassed in house by a tight-knit team with exceptional attention to detail. Not only do these boys make amazing boards, they all rip too!

Popular models:
Wide J6
Flash Point

Tails Rails and Noses

by Boardcave on June 11, 2015

Surfboard Shapes:

How noses, rails and tails effect your surfing performance

rails tails and noses
Gavin Upson of 1-DA Shapes crafting rails.

There are plenty of factors including your own performance that help determine how a board will perform. Some of the biggest factors, however, are directly related to the outline of the surfboard. The Nose, Rails and Tails and how they are linked together are massive in creating a good board.

While individually these elements are going to give you certain outcomes, it’s how they relate to each other in combination that’s really going to make a magic board or a dud.

The Nose:

The first third of your board is known as the nose. When we talk about nose width, we take that measurements from 12 inches down from the tip.

The shape of the nose is a key element in how the board paddles and catches waves. The wider or rounder the shape of the nose the more boyent it is and therefore, the higher the front of your board will be in the water while you’re paddling. This is due to the increased surface area in the front.

This extra surface area works really well on small wave grovelers, long boards and mid length boards the help you get onto smaller/softer waves,and help to provide stability.

The other end of the spectrum is the pointier, narrower nose that’s more commonly found on higher performance boards.

While a narrower nose won’t help as much when paddling into waves – apart from when taking a late drop – it’s definitely going to help you with your performance surfing. With a pointier nose, you will get more curve in the overall rail line of your surfboard which helps you to fit into the pocket of hollower waves and helps stop you from pearling (when your nose sticks into the water) when coming out of big turns.

Duck diving is also easier with a pointier nose due to the less volume.

nose shapes and paddle power
From left to right: the Panda Doinker Egg, the Hypto Krypto by Haydenshapes and the Mad Cat by SUPERBrand showing how different nose shapes effect performance.

The Rails:

Your rails are also going to play a huge roll in how your board will surf.

Because the rails span from the tip to the tail of your board, they are going to require a lot of attention from your shaper when they’re creating your board.

There are many descriptive terms for rails, as well as an unlimited number of ways that they can be blended.

But basically, every surfboard is going to have either a Soft Rail or a Hard Rail. These can then also be either full or tapered.

This means you can end up with a ‘full soft rail’ a ‘tapered soft rail’ or a ‘full hard rail’ or a ‘tapered hard rail’.

Canvas Surfboards Ryan Engle shaping rails
Canvas Surfboards Ryan Engle working on some rails.

Generally, Soft Rails are going to perform better in smaller gutless surf conditions and on longboards, mid range boards and blended into fish and some small wave grovelers. Usually a rounder, more full rail with different foils.

Hard Rails, which are more commonly found on higher performance boards, have a more defined edge at a certain point around the curve of the rail towards the underside of the board.

This helps the rail to bite into the wave face a give you more hold in critical surf and helps you respond better through turns.

hard rails and soft rails in surfboards
Hard rails vs soft rails.

Whether you have a hard rail or a soft rail, the more full the rail is, the more buoyancy you will get, which relates to drive and projection when coming out of turns, as well as how stable the board feels and how easy it is to paddle.

With a more tapered rail, you are able to sink it into the water more easily, which gives you a nice quick feeling coming into turns as well as surfing rail to rail. You may find though, that these rails will lack drive coming out of turns.

The tapered rails are generally less forgiving, especially when you accidentally dip your rail into the wave when you didn’t mean to.

Finally, the general foil of your rail will make a difference in performance.

The exact foil of your rail can be different in each model, however there are a few trusted foils generally used, which are 50/50, 60/40 and 80/20. This relates to where the apex of the rail is around the curve.

A 50/50 foil is found in more soft rail options and traditionally on longboards.

A 60/40 rail is going to be turned down with the apex slightly under the middle of the curve of the rail.

This type of rail can be blended into both soft and hard rails and is also a great option on smaller wave grovelers, fish and fun boards options. They generally give you a good blend of maneuverability and stability.

The next style, the 80/20 rail, is when the apex is even closer to the bottom of the board.

These rails are commonly found on high performance boards and usually incorporate a hard edge – hard rail when getting closer to the tail. These are made for easy maneuvering and rail to rail surfing as well as performance through turns.

rail foils in surfboard shapes
Different foils help your rail bit into the wave for better performance.

These are just some general types of rails and there are plenty of variations for each board and throughout the length of the rail of the board depending on the intentions of the shaper. The shaper also has to consider the overall length of the rail line in the water as well.

With a longer, straighter rail line you are going to get more speed in a stright line, whereas when you have a curved rail, you will increase maneuverability.

It is finding the happy balance of all these factors that makes shaping the rail one of the most crucial elements in the shaping process. wide j 6 by chemistry surfboards rails
Rails and tails combining with a double wing on Chemistry Surfboard’s Wide J 6 model.

The Tail

Finally, rounding out the end of the article, and the board, is the tail of your surfboard.

As with everything else, the exact size, shape and volume of the tail is essentially endless. But let’s look at some of the basic fundamentals shapers will follow in most tails.

rails tails and noses
Different tail shapes from top down: DHD Surfboards the Joyride, the Twin Fin and the Pocket Knife.

Wider tails offer more stability and float, and will give you a faster planing speed. Narrower tails are going to make rolling from rail to rail a little easier, and can also help with your hold on a steeper faced wave.

A tail that has rounder angles or no angles, is going to help you ‘hold’ the water for a little longer. This will translate into more control of the board.

When you get harder angles in the tail, more water will “release” and give you a looser, more snappy feel to the board. A rounder tail is better for a more open face wave with a little more size and carving potential.

In more punchy, shorter waves, a harder angled tail will help you get as many snaps as possible.

Basically there are around 5 or 6 major tail categories with an unlimited amount of variations in each, with some being blended together.

panda surfboards tail shape
An interesting tail option from Panda Surfboard with a some nice artwork.

The main surfboard tail types are the squash tail, the square tail, the pin tail, the round tail, the swallow tail and the asymmetric tail.

The squash tail is the most common found on surfboards. With a more square back end with rounded corners, you get the snappy feel of a hard-cornered square tail blended with a little more hold and release of water.

They also give you that extra width which helps with slower sections of the wave.

A square tail is similar in principle but with harder corners giving you a skatier feel with extra release.

Great for down the line speed in smaller conditions, the hard corners act as a pivot point for turning the board.

The square tail is a more traditional tail type that is less common these days as the squash tail gives a similar feel with more to it.

For slightly bigger days with open faces, a round tail is a great option. With a continuous curve to help your hold on the water, you can gain more control on bigger, more hollow surf.

The round tail is a great option for open face carving with plenty of width to give more lift when outside of the critical section of a wave.

tail shapes
Just a few of the common tail shape types – there are also variations on each of these.

The pin tail is a staple among many step up options and guns, where you may find yourself in the barrel or powering down the line in steeper, bigger waves. With less turning ability needed, these boards give you plenty of hold in bigger, more hollow surf.

And giving you a wider tail for increased planing speed, the swallow tail is a great small wave board option. Don’t count this option out when it is barreling though, it also gives you hold in steeper waves (like two pin tails) and can be a blast in steeper faced waves. Also a ton of fun when turning on the rail. It is however, harder to transition from rail to rail when trying to bust turns after turn.

Finally, we get to the asymmetrical tail.

The asymmetrical tail occurs when your board has one side with a longer rail line and different shape to the other side.

The idea behind the asymmetrical tail is to give you different performance dedicated to your toe side and your heel side separately.

This makes sense as you can’t perform the same way when surfing front side (toe) to backside (heel)

Asymmetrical surfboards have many characteristics to them, however, looking at the tail is definitely the most obvious feature.

Your entire rail line, your foil as well as the nose…essentially every factor of one side of the board over the other needs to be looked at for the difference in front side to back side surfing.

chemistry surfboards the experimental half crest moon tail
A nice little half-crest moon tail on a Chemistry Surfboards model in production, The Experimental.


Basically, all these features are interrelated when it comes to surfboard design.

Every surfboard model has a different blend of these factors and there are plenty of combinations to try out. The balance and interaction between each element is going to determine how your surfboard will perform.

While there are some tried and true design elements that can be commonly found in surfboards, it is the experimenting with different blends that bring about new developments and keeps surfing fun.

Have a look at a range of surfboards or use the Board Engine to find a combination that will work best for you and don’t forget to keep trying new things.

Share your thoughts and experiences about surfboard shaping in the comments below!
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Steph in Central America

by Tommy Barrels on June 10, 2015

Steph Gilmore has been at the top of the game in womens surfing for the last few years with 5 world titles under her belt! Steph is fortunate enough to have been blessed with one of those timeless styles which makes her surfing such a pleasure to watch. This clip from Morgan Maassen features Steph cruising on a super fun looking right in Central America on the DHD ducks nuts model and a sweet looking single fin. The wave at 2.50 will have you itching for your next session, trust me!