The two main styles of riding are skim style and surf style. Skim style boards are characterized with being under an inch thick, having a flat/smooth bottom, having a sharp 90 degree edge, and having short fins. Skim style boards are built this way to give the rider a looser feel in the water, making spins easier. Skim style boards come in either a single fin or tri-fin setup along with having a pointed tip/tail or snub tip/tail. As you can imagine, a single fin is naturally going to give the board a looser feel in the water whereas having three fins gives the board more traction and stability. Similarly, a pointed tip/tail gives a skim board a loose feeling for effortless spins whereas a snub tip/tail will give the board more stability and push down the wake. TheRonix Flyweight Skimmer is an example of a traditional skim board. Having a pointed tip/tail and a single fin setup, this board is designed to be loose and fast responding in the water. TheHyperlite HIFI is a board that has the pointed tip/tail and tri-fin setup. By offering the board as a tri-fin setup, the rider can choose to run one fin for a loose ride or put all three fins in for more traction. ThePhase 5 Hammerhead is a great example of a snub tip/tail skim board. The Hammerhead is a single fin board, so it’s super loose in the water, but the extra wide tip and tail give the board a little extra stability and forgiveness when landing tricks.
Surf style boards are the complete opposite of skim style boards. They are over an inch thick, have a soft rounded edge, and have long fins. Surf style boards are inspired by traditional ocean surfers. Carving up and down the wake, big bottom turns, and popping air of the top of the lip are just a few of the actions best suited for a surf style board. Surf style boards will either have a snub nose or a pointed nose design. TheHyperlite Automatic andRonix Bat Tail Thruster are examples of pointed nose surf boards. The pointed tip design allows the board to get more tucked into the face of the wake for added speed and acceleration. TheHyperlite Quad andPhase 5 Swell both have the snub nose design. This design has two main benefits: it helps prevent nose diving caused by leaning too far forward and it helps with stability when riding revert after performing a 180. The tail of a surf style board is going to be either a squash style or a variation of a swallow tail. A squash tail is characterized as being a wide and relatively flat back end of the board. TheHyperlite Satellite andPhase 5 Phantom both show the squash tail design. A squash tail surfer is creating maximum surface area at the back end of the surfboard. This extra surface area puts more energy of the wake under the board for more of a natural push from the wave. A swallow tail is characterized as having two symmetrical peaks at the back end of the board. TheRonix Koal Classic Fish and Liquid Force Space Pod are great examples illustrating the swallow tail design. That notch in the tail creates a board that is smoother when carving and transitioning from heelside to toeside. Surf style boards typically come with either a quad fin setup or a tri fin setup. Both fin setups cater to different riding styles. TheHyperlite Time Machine andPhase 5 Wahoo both offer the quad fin setup. The quad fin allows the rider to run all four fins for a locked in feel, or run the two big outside fins for easier 90 degree turning. TheRonix Crossover andByerly Buzz offer the tri fin setup. This setup is the most versatile with offering three different configurations. The rider can run all three fins for more grip and traction, run just the two outside fins for sharper carving, or run just the one back fin for long sweeping turns.
The first question we always get is “Which style is easier to learn on?” Everyone has their own opinion as to how to answer that question. From our opinion, surf style boards seem to be the easiest to learn for a few different reasons. One reason being the rocker of the nose. Surf style boards tend to point the tip of the board upward which helps with preventing nose diving. Another reason is the rounded edge. The round edge on surf style boards allows the board to sit deeper in the water, essentially allowing the water to hug the slightly hug the outside of the board. This gives the board more stability and forgiveness as people are learning proper foot placement. The final reason is the fins. Surf style boards come with bigger fins that sit deeper into the water. These fins give the board more traction for riding straight which is essential when people are learning how to accelerate and brake.