What is the Difference Between a Longboard and a Shortboard?

There are so many different variations of” surfboard” out there these days that the choices can be overwhelming if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, or you don’t know what the differences are between all the boards out there. If you are wavering about what kind of board to get, but you know you want to try out surfing this summer, then there are a couple major differences and even small ones to be aware of when you are looking at longboards and shortboards. I mean, the length is the obvious difference of course, but there are some other aspects that differentiate these boards from each other, including width, thickness, and maneuverability find more.

So you know that these boards are long and short respectively, but what does that surfboard lingo mean exactly? Longer or shorter than what? Well, generally the longer boards are between 8 feet and 12 feet in length, while shortboards are generally between 6 feet and 8 feet in length, however there are some even shorter than that under 5 feet. You will also notice that these boards vary in width and thickness, with longboard width running around 23-24 inches and thickness is usually between 3-4 inches and shortboard width running around 20-21 inches, with a width of 2-2 13/16 inches thick. You may be wondering, “Why do surfboards come in these different lengths, widths, and thicknesses?”

Longboards and shortboards offer very different performance and maneuverability, which is why they have different lengths, thicknesses and widths. A longer board will give you maximum stability and is the best surfboard for a beginner. The longer length, wider surface and thickness make the longer board very stable, but the surfing and trick maneuverability is much more limited on a longboard than a shortboard. Shortboards are known for their adept performance capabilities, but the tricks you can perform on a shortboard are not for beginners! Shortboards are an exclusively expert level board, because their very short length, thin design and narrower surface take much more surfing experience to balance on and maneuver, and a shortboard generally catches a wave break at the last minute as opposed to a longer board which you would line up well before the break.