design forum


Breaking down the elements of an ideal pointbreak surfboard

| posted on December 19, 2013
Photo: Green

Make sure you have the perfect pointbreak board for the next time you happen upon the perfect pointbreak. Photo: Green

OPT FOR A ROUNDED TAIL: A rounded tail will help draw out the shape of the board, keeping more of the rail in the water. At J-Bay, a point known for its blisteringly fast sections, a rounded tail is a necessity. “When Supers starts firing at 4- to 8-foot, we’ve found that rounded pins are the go-to tail,” says Jon Pyzel, shaper for John Florence,  among others. “You’ll need that drive they create to keep pace with the wave. Rounded pins give you a bit more flow while also increasing your ability to connect your turns. Having that little bit of extra rail makes a big difference when you’re racing past a section.”

STICK WITH A THRUSTER: While the last few years have seen quad setups grow in popularity, Santa Barbara shaper Jason Feist still believes that standard thrusters are superior for pointbreaks. “I’d say that 80 to 90 percent of my customers are still sticking with thruster setups when they get boards for Rincon. I think that’s a solid choice. For that one-in-a-million-wave where it’s hollow from the takeoff point all the way through the rest of the wave, you can ride a quad to get that extra speed you need, but for the vast majority of points, a thruster setup is what you want. It’ll offer you a little more connection to the wave and will help you link your turns together a little easier, which is exactly what you want.”

THE DIFFERENCE OF A FEW INCHES: “I see a lot of guys on shorter boards not making the sections and doing small turns that are lost on the long walls of J-Bay,” says Andrew Carter, a South African shaper who’s shaped more than his fair share of boards for Jeffreys Bay. “When it comes to surfing a solid pointbreak that’s really standing up, you can go a little bit bigger than your standard shortboard,” agrees Feist. “An inch or so should do it. It’ll give you a little more rail that you can really use to your benefit.”

NARROW YOUR OUTLINE: “You don’t want to do anything too drastic,” says Pyzel, “but if the wave is at all powerful and not burgering out, you can go a little more narrow. This’ll make it easier for you to transition from one rail to the other, give you a quicker reaction time, and help you link your turns together faster.”

ADD SOME VOLUME: Typically when you’re surfing a point, you’ll be doing a lot more paddling than you would at your standard beachbreak. You’ll likely appreciate a little extra foam after riding a leg-burner and staring down 150-yard paddle. “We like to go about 1/8 or 1/4 inch thicker than your standard shortboard,” says Thys Strydom of J-Bay’s Rebel Surfboards. “When the waves are good and the wind is really blowing, that extra bit of thickness really helps with paddling into a set and back out to the lineup.”

BUY LOCAL: “If you can, I’d definitely recommend ordering a board from a shaper that knows the point you’re looking to surf,” says Pyzel. “Take advantage of their local knowledge. They’ll know the wave—and what boards will work best—better than anyone.”

  • Miki Dora

    Amazing the ingnorance around board design and fin set-ups. This info only relates to people ridding standard short boards. I’ve surfed JBay on a 6’0″ Mini Simmons quad with a 12″ square tail and I was killing it! Quads are better in hollow waves, better in mushy waves… you just need the proper fin set-up for the conditions. Most surfers have one set of fins for their board and that’s just stupid. But you wanna be a sheep and keep riding skinny thin little thrusters like people did in the 90’s go ahead.

    • Kooks McGee

      I’m sure you were killing it on a 6’0″ mini simmons.

    • Jamie

      “…and I was killing it!” If I do say so myself.

    • Dora is Gone

      Please…I’m sure shapers that specialize in making boards for Rincon and J-Bay have no idea what they are talking about. By the way, we will continue to ride boards that work insane. Thank you.

    • My first hat

      A 6’0″ Mini simmons is a MASSIVE board. Unless you way 250+ that thing is wayyyyy to big.

  • Bruno

    Slim Down vs Add Some Volume?

    Isn’t this a bit contraditory? it’s either one or the other, or can I go slimmer and still add some foam?

    • David Scales

      Add thickness, not width. “We like to go about 1/8 or 1/4 inch thicker than your standard shortboard,” says Thys Strydom of J-Bay’s Rebel Surfboards. ‘When the waves are good and the wind is really blowing, that extra bit of thickness. . .'”

    • Dora is Gone

      You can, and the extended version is called ‘a gun’….

      • 20ftat20seconds

        True, but to go-off on a tangent; guns are getting much wider in this modern big wave era. None of my guns over 7’11” are under 21″ wide and my biggest gun is scaled up to over 23.5″ in width. -That board is a magic carpet that will take-off on anything the open ocean throws at it. Mostly gone are the days of the 10 ft guns that are 19″ wide.

    • Samo

      Narrowing for better rail to rail transition and adding volume through thicker foam are NOT the same thing.

  • Hello from the future

    …or just get a Bonzer.

  • Todos The Homie

    Fins, fin placement, width and the aspect angle the rails make with each other count as well. check slide 8 on this archive – that’s a 5’6″ twin that holds just as good as a semi-gun:

    • grammar corrupt

      Holds just as WELL as the semi gun

  • jowudgo

    hay stop that Miki knows best he was killing it…classic…

  • dickhaloren

    7ft. single fin at 7ft J-bay.

  • You suck

    This makes no sense

  • tom

    Know style on paper=know style in the water!!

  • Keith Wright

    Skip Frye Double Eagle or Hynson HYII has always done the trick for me. Plenty of copy cat shapers out trying to emulate them nowadays! Buy Local that’s probably the best advise on here!

  • bishop05

    I’m Newbie to surfing but have been enjoying quite well thanks to my girlfriend. I also have the robertos boards. She tells me it’s one of the best boards around. She’s a big Sally F. fan, She uses the board on
    I kind like it.
    Are these made for girls only. Typically I do too much pedaling when using mine.