2010 Surfboard Buyer's Guide - The Terms

Blank —

Rough molded foam core that comes in different basic designs and rockers depending on the length and type of surfboard being shaped.

Concave —

The main purpose of the concave is to channel the water flow down the length of the surfboard. By channeling the water through the center and filtering it out through the tail, the board becomes more responsive. Concaves are a very important design feature and cause a board to track swiftly and improve tail sensitivity for critical turns.

Epoxy —

A type of plastic resin used by some manufacturers as a substitute for polyester resin. Usually an epoxy user also uses a polystyrene blank, which can be adversely affected by polyester resins. Epoxy is known for its durability.

EPS Expanded Polystyrene —

A type of foam also known as styrofoam or bead foam. Polystyrene beads are expanded to their desired density by using steam and a variable quantity of beads in a mold.

Fins —

Single-fin: Where it all began. Single-fins make for tighter boards that perform well in larger surf.
Twin-fin: Among the loosest of fin configurations, twin-fins are a popular choice on fish templates.
Thruster: The thruster (or tri-fin) has become the default fin configuration for shortboards. Invented by Simon Anderson, the thruster combines the stability of the trailer fin with the maneuverability of the twin-fin, making for a user-friendly setup.
Quad: Quads add an element of stability to the loose feel of a twin-fin, creating a ride more forgiving than the thruster, yet speedier than the twin.
Bonzer: Available with either three or five fins, and born from the Campbell brothers in the 1970s, the Bonzer essentially serves as an enhanced single fin.

Polyurethane (or PU) —

A type of plastic foam—the most common type used in surfboard manufacturing, usually employed together with polyester resin.

Rails —

The perimeter of the surfboard. There are several primary types of rails that produce different results.
Round Rails: A rail that is almost a complete semi-circle.
Down Rails: (Also known as down-turned rails.) A rail coming to an edge at the bottom of the board.
Rolled Rails: Down rails that are rolled under the board.
50/50: A proportional description of a rail shape, where the widest point of the rail is at the mid-point of the rail.
60/40: A proportional description of a rail where the widest point is toward the bottom.

Tails —

Tails are crucial in determining how a surfboard will function. Wider tails are generally responsive and maneuverable in smaller conditions, while narrower tails are more capable of executing turns at high speeds.
Swallow Tail: Swallow tails are marked by a vee cut into the stringer, leaving what looks like a fish mouth for a tail. The swallow tail offers maximum drive combined with maneuverability.
Rounded Pintail: Rounded pintails are optimal for rail surfing and can hold in bigger conditions.
Pintail: As the name suggests, this tail converges into a sharp, pinpoint and functions optimally in large waves due to its minimal surface area.
Round Tail: With a bit more surface area than the rounded pin, the round tail performs best in mid-range surf, allowing for smooth turns.
Square Tail: Features sharp, rectangular edges and allows for speedy, angular surfing.
Squash Tail: The squash is a square tail with rounded edges, which softens the feel and lessens responsiveness. The squash has become a staple of shortboards.

Rocker —

Rocker is the curve of your surfboard from nose to tail. It is the single most important aspect of your surfboard.
Nose Rocker: The upward curve of the front third of your surfboard. A pronounced curvature will minimize the risk of pearling on steeper waves, but too much nose rocker can slow the board down.
Tail Rocker: The upward curve of the back third of your surfboard. A pronounced curvature results in greater maneuverability.

Vee —

The opposite of concave, vee is used to loosen up the tail at high speeds by increasing the rocker at the rail line, making it easier to lean on edge and turn.