There are several different types of surfboards. The surfboard you use will depend on your surfing ability, the location you'll be surfing at and other factors. The different types of surfboards are designated by the size and shape of the board. Most surfboards can fit into one of the following categories, however there are a few more custom styles with smaller followings.
- Shortboard – These are high performance surfboards that are highly maneuverable and great for fast, steep waves in the one to eight foot range. Shortboards are generally 5'6" and 6'4" long and between 16" and 19" wide. They usually have a rounded square tail, a sharp nose, thin rails and three or four fins. These boards are most suitable for advanced surfers and are the most common board used for shredding and contest surfing.
- Longboard – This surfboard is used by surfers of all sizes and abilities. It is the oldest and most traditional type of surfboard. It is typically between eight and twelve feet in length, two and one half inches thick and twenty inches wide. Longboards are much easier to paddle and catch waves on than shortboards, so they are good for beginner surfers. While the longboard doesn't have near the maneuverability as the shortboard, there are some tricks that can be done on the longboard that cannot be done on the shortboard. These include hang fives or tens, drop-knee turns, cross-stepping along the deck of the board and tandem surfing.
- Funboard – This surfboard combines the best of the shortboard and the longboard. It's usually between 6'6" and 8'0" in length and 20" to 22" wide. It has the paddling power of the longboard, while maintaining the turning ability of the shortboard. The funboards perform well in most all conditions and are fine for surfers with little experience.
- Fish – This surfboard is short like the shortboard, but wider. It has sort of a stubby appearance. The fish boards are generally between 5'2" and 6'4" long and between 18" and 22" wide. The width makes wave catching easier, while keeping it's speed and maneuvering ability. They are best for small to medium sized waves.
- Gun - This surfboard is made for huge waves. The gun board typically six to ten feet in length. It is designed for big drops and handling very high speeds with good control. This board is long, narrow and pointy at the nose and tail for maximum rail contact. They are also known as the 'elephant gun.' These surfboards are meant for advanced surfers in some big surf.