Everything you Need to Know
What is a hybrid surfboard, and why are they a necessary addition to any surfers quiver?
If you're curious about the innovation that has led to the creation of this unique board shape, and if you want to know more about the personalities of hybrid surfboards and how they respond to varying wave conditions, we have the answers!
By the dictionary definition, a hybrid is 'a thing made by combining two different elements; a mixture'.
So, as the name 'hybrid surfboard' suggests, a hybrid board is a type of surfboard that has been shaped by combining the design concepts of two or more other types of surfboard shapes.
Usually, a hybrid board (also called an 'All Rounder') is a combination of a high-performance shortboard outline matched with either the characteristics of a fish surfboard or a funshape.
By taking specific design characteristics of each and combining them, the hybrid surfboard is a manifestation of the best of both worlds, a way to bring together and incorporate the favorite aspects of some of the most popular surfboard shapes into one fun, rippable, and versatile surfboard.
So even though, if you really want to get literal with things, any surfboard is technically a hybrid surfboard, as all surfboard design concepts are indeed inspired by other, already-existing surfboard shapes; hybrid surfboards, as a category, are much more intentional.
They are shaped with the simple purpose of combining subtle increases in volume to promote buoyancy, paddle ability, and stability, with the rippability of standard shortboards to create a surfboard that excels in sub-par conditions.
A hybrid surfboard is a broad term, and there are multiple variations of shapes and sizes that can all be considered a hybrid board.
To begin with, increased volume is a key aspect of a hybrid. Just as fish surfboards and fun shapes are designed to catch small waves and allow for slightly progressive maneuvers down the line, so are hybrid surfboards, except with a focus on more performance.
To do this, a hybrid surfboard will feature an increased length compared to fish and shortboard counterparts.
As well as length, the width of a hybrid surfboard is extended. Hybrid boards feature a wider outline, and the widest part of the surfboard is pushed further towards the nose. A slightly buffed-up thickness will also help complement the volume, thickest towards the surfer's chest when paddling. Still, the rails of a hybrid surfboard will remain modern and hard to help mimic shortboard performance and allow for release out of carves.
A hybrid surfboard isn't meant for steep, barreling waves and extremely aggressive off the lip hacks, and because of this, they are shaped with a mellower, flatter rocker than high-performance shortboards, much more similar to a fish. More surface area on the water due to less rocker will further promote easy paddling, speed, and drive down the line on lesser powerful waves.
Surfboard bottom contours are blended from the nose to the middle and at the board's tail. The different forms of contours are essentially hybrids themselves due to the possibility of multiple contour combinations in one board.
The bottom contours of a hybrid surfboard will vary. However, it is common for a hybrid board to feature a belly contour in the nose to help prevent pearling due to less rocker, a single concave in the middle to help with speed, and a vee out the tail for some performance flair.
And speaking of tails, hybrid surfboards don't discriminate. The tail shapes of a hybrid aren't always the same.
With that said, a hybrid fish surfboard is a popular and well-liked option, the tail acting as two pivot points to transform the benefits of added volume into aggressive turns. For even more float and stability, newer surfers might enjoy a more square-shaped tail.
To fully understand the contours and tail shapes of a hybrid board you have your eyes on, we suggest reading our guide to surfboard contours and our guide to surfboard tail shapes so that you can then understand how the specifics of a hybrid shape will affect how it feels on a wave.
The fin setups of a hybrid surfboard will also vary. A three-fin setup is common, but quads are great on a more fish-inspired hybrid shape. To switch between the two, five fin boxes allow for customizability depending on the conditions at hand.
It doesn't matter who you are or where you stand in your surfing journey- there's a hybrid out there for everyone.
The transition from longboard/funshape to shortboard is a tricky one. For an intermediate surfer ready to progress into a shortboard, a hybrid board provides yet another helpful stepping stone in this transition. These surfboards' added stability and overall functionality are perfect for helping someone get the hang of a little performance under their feet before stepping on a true performance shorty.
And for the rippers out there, never count a hybrid out! A hybrid surfboard is the ticket to a solid wave count when conditions are small and mushy, and can take non-shortboardable conditions and turn them into spray city. This is the best way to dial back your surfing and enjoy its simple purities, and also an excellent means to further perfect your keystone fundamentals, such as cutbacks and bottom turns.
When it comes to bigger conditions, a talented surfer might actually enjoy what to some may look as potential drawbacks of a hybrid in large surf.
Sure, less rocker might make some steep drop-ins kind of tricky, but to negate this, the extra buoyancy allows you to paddle in nice and early to avoid late drops and for pristine positioning.
And the truth is that there are simply some hybrid surfboards out there more suitable for larger conditions than others. These hybrids will lean more towards showcasing characteristics of their shortboard parent, and look for more performance-oriented contours, such as a vee out the back. Swallowtails and hybrid fish surfboards are a go-to choice for bigger waves, as the defined pivot points make up for some of the slowdowns of the other characteristics.
The best hybrid surfboard will be unique to you; your body size, power, surfing abilities, and the conditions you plan to ride.
Hybrid surfboards are generally meant for small to medium, mushy wave fun. If you want to speed right past your buddies who stubbornly won't put away their shorty, there's plenty of available high-performance hybrids that really just help to bridge the gap of making waves easier to catch and ride.
As two of our favorite overall hybrids, we love the Doinker Egg by Panda and the beefy tail and versatile shape of the Solution by Chemistry Surfboards.
Suppose you're looking for even more performance. In that case, the DHD Black Diamond is a true beast in throwing buckets out the back in gutless conditions, and the Haydenshapes Hypto Krypto, as well as the Psychedelic Germ, are absolute legends in the world of small wave performance.
For a little hybrid fish surfboard and swallowtail action, give The Wilderness and The Entity a well-deserved peek.
And for an even weirder and more alluring twist on a hybrid, why not feel out an asymmetrical hybrid shape with the Modtwin, Disasym, or Fascination, all by our favorite Album Surfboards.
And for those who want to effortlessly transition into shortboarding and who are still mastering some of the baseline essentials to surfing, check our entire line of hybrid surfboards below to find the magic stick. Once you find the one calling your name, utilize our patent-pending Board Engine to nail down the perfect dimensions and volume.
And then, all that's left to do is enjoy the benefits of this friendly surfboard that will help the learning curve to close full circle, and that will make you an inevitably better surfer. Just don't forget about your old hybrid pal a year later when you're smacking the lip with your new favorite shortboard!
Don't miss out on waves because you're skeptical of the abilities contained within the shape, design, and technology of a hybrid surfboard.
Instead of holding yourself back by sticking to the shorty when conditions get tough, progress yourself forward by having tons of fun ripping on a hybrid.
Not only do you get more surfing days under your belt, but these days are spent honing in on your surfing abilities no less than you would in epic conditions.
Surfing is an ecosystem of ever-changing waves, boards, and progressive possibilities on a face. A hybrid surfboard is simply the best way to ensure that you can capitalize on enjoying the entirety of this ecosystem, and that you are understanding and appreciating the core of surfing from its roots outward.