Bottom Contours

I understand that this topic has probably been covered extensively in a range of other posts, but I just want to try and come up with some sort of a definitive answer.

With my bottom concave on a 7ft pig shape, I’ve been recommended a flat entry and slight vee in the tail. Its gonna be for small waves.

I’ve also read in another post however that small wave boards are best off with a flat bottom or concave as a vee or belly will bog down into the weak waves and instead I should be looking for more planing surface.

I do want to be able to turn the board, however I don’t want to bog in when the board is going to be mainly used on weaker days.


There is not definitive answer… Depend of all other shape factor and how you want to surf it… For boards on high volume high surface (wide) side with a flat rocker, surfed cool in mellow waves you can go with flat to light rolled vee front to vee at tail. With this kind of board the border between bog and glide of convex bottom is draw by rocker, go with a straight rocker. 

My preference in putting together a combination of attributes for a board is to start with conditions in which the board will most commonly be used, the manner in which the surfer will be surfing the board, and the surfer’s own physical stature and skill level as it relates to the board.   Is the surfer coming down from a traditional longboard (close, upright stance) or are they coming up from a shortboard (more spread out and lower in their stance).    I want to fit the board to the conditions AND the surfer.   

So for a small wave midlength I gotta ask: do these waves dump quickly and abruptly or do they break more slowly and weakly?  Long sections or short sections. Do we want the board to run as slow as the wave so that the rider doesn’t have to cut back as often to get back to the energy of the curl or do we want the board to outrun the wave so as to make the next section?    Do we want to surf the board more passively in order to allow the board to do most of the work or do we want to surf it more actively where the rider is doing all the work and creating their own energy, above that supplied by the wave. 

These considerations and more go into putting a board together that will fill a specific hole in someone’s quiver.         

Thanks for that, I’m trying to fill a bit of a hole in the quiver with this one, I’ve just finished my second shortboard and I have made myself a 9ft longboard as well - it actually has a significant vee in the tail. I think I might just go with my gut cause why not, its all just learning at this stage. I definetly have more things to consider than I ever have really thought about. Cheers

If this is your third board, you are at the beginning of your “building or shaping” career. At that stage I wanted to include all kind of complications into my boards, I even built collapsible ones. But in retrospective this was a little error.

I strongly urge you to design the new board as simple as you can get it. Nothing else like a totally flat bottom! Why?

Because you will get a lot of experience out of it. It will be interesting to see, what a flat bottom can do for you. Basically it will do everything, because it is the most neutral bottom shape possible; maybe not specialized for anything, but useable for everything. 

And then compare it with your short and longboard and then you will start to recognize, what bottom shapes can do and what not! Your fourth board will be ideally the same length, outline and rocker like the third, but bottom contours. This would totally open your eyes!

Very good insight, throughout the above post, # 5.      Points given.