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Ultimate Guide to Longboard Surfboards

This one is for the good ol' days- a testament to the history of surfing, a beacon of style and wave-inspired creativity, a cheers to the rippers who spend their time perched on the nose and beginners fresh into their salty journey alike.

longboarding,noseriding The best place to be, toes on the nose . Photo: Izzy Hobbs.

A longboard surfboard is a necessary addition to any surfer's quiver.

Whether a way to keep you busy on those double-over-toe summer days, to appreciate the roots of surfing with classic drop-knee cutbacks and hang tens (by the way, if you need help with noseriding, we got ya covered), or a means to learn the basics of surfing- longboards do it all.

What is a Longboard Surfboard?

A longboard is a term to describe a specific type of surfboard. These surfboards generally measure at least three feet longer than the rider's height, anywhere from 8-11ft long, featuring big, rounded noses, wide decks, and a little extra thickness for increased volume.

Riding a longboard board is a unique, different, and more relaxed experience than standard performance shortboards and other fun shapes.

Although they are the surfboard style synonymous with the beginnings of surfing, some of the most classic outlines are still a favorite among avid longboarders today. But just as all surfboard technology has, longboards have come a hell of a long way in terms of design concepts and functionality.

longboard Waxing up a 9'4 Longboard can take a while. Photo: Izzy Hobbs.

The Different Styles of Longboard Surfboards

You can now find a longboard board to match multiple surfing styles, including noseriders, performance shapes, beginner longboards, and hybrid logs for the best of both worlds.

Classic Logs

A classic log is a go-to choice for surfers looking to capitalize on the wave-catching prowess and stylistic surfing associated with logging. From small to large, mushy waves alike, if you've seen rippers hanging 10 down the line with graceful balance and wish to do the same, a classic log should be on your radar.

Classic logs are usually retrospective of the golden eras from the 50's to the late 70's, and these boards are strictly Single Fin Surfboards. One large, single-fin digs deep into the water to provide hold, greatly influencing the board's lift, drag, and overall hydrodynamics. You need the perfect combination of lift in drag so that you can stay locked into the pocket without speeding past the section, and single-fins make this happen.

There are multiple variations of single fins, so to best learn which style is best for your longboard board and match how you wish to surf, visit our guide on longboard fins to learn more.

Traditional longboards were around long before shortboards, especially that of the thruster fin set up. A lot of professional longboarders choose a more performance refined shape for competitions, but there are still a lot of well-known surfers who prefer to pay homage to the traditional feel of surfboards, similar to those created in the 60's and 70's. Note: Some of these boards are created without modern shaping technologies and therefore take longer to complete.

The rounded noses of these surfboards provide stability when the surfer's weight reaches the top portion of the deck, and the lack of rocker helps with paddling into weak waves and with stability when cross-stepping.

The outline of a classic log is generally rounded out all the way to the tail, and wide, fat tails (such as a square tail or a squash tail) help control the water flow out the back of the board and keep the tail locked into the face.

Often, longboards are shaped with convex bottom contours to help to promote a rolling motion to the board that helps with trimming and mellow carves, leading out to rolled vee's for a touch of turning ability. Certain teardrop concaves near the nose help with lift when hanging ten while perched on the nose.

Classic, rounded 50/50 and 60/40 rails further compliment this rolling motion and are great for noseriding. However, when it comes to turns, you won't be digging 50/50 rails into the face, and you'll instead have to rely on drop-knee, pivot-based turns to control the direction and speed down the line.

Great for smaller days, peeling point breaks, and mushy beach breaks, our favorite classic longboard surfboards include the Standard by Chemistry Surfboards, the What I Ride by Robert August, and the Foreman by Noll.

Old and new What I Ride model on the left and Robert trimming in 1963

Performance Longboard Surfboards

Performance longboards are a more modern take on longboards. Although you can surely spend some time on the nose, a performance longboard will cater to more aggressive turns, a little more speed down the line, and are better for steeper, bigger waves due to a bit more rocker.

The nose of a performance log won't be quite as wide as a noserider, nor will the outline of the deck, leading all the way to the tail. This cuts down on the overall volume for more ability to control the surfboard's direction, and less width in the tail helps with maneuverability.

As well as this, performance logs won't be quite as thick, and the rails will be a little harder and more advanced to cater to the surfer's weight digging into the water when turning. Some high-performance longboards (HPLB) will have varying rail compositions from the nose down to the tail, helping with noseriding at the front of the board, and turns at the back.

The concaves of a high-performance longboard will be more similar to a shortboard, and will often have a little more variety, such as a double concave that leads out to a vee.

Most HPLB are still ridden with a single fin, but the single fin will be a bit smaller than classic noserider to keep things loose and feature a 2+1 fin set up to add side-bytes to the board for even more performance.

Floaters, big carves, and even airs (call us crazy, but it's been done!) are all possible on a high-performance longboard surfboard.

Still excellent choices for small waves, but also suited for slightly steeper conditions. If you want a little flair to your longboarding in terms of turning and an easier time catching waves on the outside, consider a high-performance longboard.

Your modern choices are the pinnacle of what performance longboarders ride today and are a great choice for anyone wanting to go that extra bit radical with their longboard surfing.

High performance turn on a high performance board. Photo: @mikeitophoto

Hybrid Longboard Surfboards

Because hybrids are a mix of classic longboards and high-performance shapes, we can keep this simple.

A hybrid (also called all-rounder longboards) is, as the name suggests, a mix between the varying characteristics of classic logs and HPLBs. Blending the most common noses, tails, contours, rails, and rockers of each, a hybrid log will meet right in the middle for a mix of noseriding stability and the ability to surf slightly larger waves with more performance.

Hybrid logs are a favorite among surfers as they are the leading style of longboard surfboard in terms of versatility.

With 2+1 fin configurations, you can customize your setup depending on the conditions at hand and the surfing style you wish to go for on that particular day. Want to focus on noseriding? Go with a big single fin. A little more performance? Throw on those side bytes!

For longboards that can bottom turn just as well as they can keep your toes or heels perched on the nose, check out the Wingnutt II by Robert August.

Beginner Longboard Surfboards

When it comes to beginner logs, you have to keep a few things in mind.

A traditional log will help beginners to catch waves and ride the whitewash effortlessly, but they will be challenging to control. On the other hand, a performance longboard might feel a little too loose and really just a bit weird for a new surfer.

Hybrid longboards offer a nice in-between and are great because they can take a beginner surfer from the basics of catching waves to learning how to ride down the face, initiate turns, and even showcase a little cross-step action.

With that being said, these types of longboards might feel a little intimidating, as new surfers often fear being bonked in the head by their board and aren't the safest option for other surfers in the water. A new surfer might find a funshape a much more reliable option, and something like the Aloha Fun Division will have them ripping in no time.

For other funshapes, check out our entire collection, and read our article on how to choose the right surfboard for more helpful beginner surfer information.

And as always, make sure to utilize our Board Engine to nail down the absolute perfect dimensions.

mid length surfboard The Chilli Mid-Strength is a good alternative for a mid-length beginner board.

The Best Longboards Surfboards

If you're wondering what the best longboard surfboards are, then you must realize that no answer will be the same for everyone.

Focus more on the kind of waves you want to ride and how you want to ride them!

If you want to feel that classic, smooth and stylish approach to surfing that allows you to focus on nose time, then, of course, go for a noserider. If you really just want to mimic shortboarding as much as possible on smaller waves, then try your hand at a performance log. For those who want a little bit of both, now you know that a hybrid has you covered all year long.

To find the best longboard surfboards, watch some videos, try out your friend's boards, read the information regarding specific longboard shapes, and make a decision based on how you want to ride and what gaps you seek to fill that your other shapes cannot provide.

And with this, you are guaranteed to realize that a longboard surfboard should not only have a place in your quiver, but a rather special place indeed.

Longboard Surfboard Buying Guide

So you're thinking of a longboard?

If the suggestions above didn't quite do it for ya, see our range of longboards from the world's leading shapers to find the ultimate log for nose riding, sliding, or simply learning to surf. From High Performance Longboards, Retro Nose Riders, to leaner Malibu Surfboards, we will have the board for you.

Our leading longboard shapers like Stamps Surfboards and Robert August Surfboards have a great choice of longboards and malibu shapes for you to customize and order directly on Boardcave. Choose a shaper to order a custom longboard made for your ability and needs.

While you're at it, check out the line of Longboard Fins from some of the world's leading fin manufacturers such as FCS, Futures and True Ames.

Surfing is all about fun, and longboards embody this to the fullest extent.