Certain Immutable Laws of Surfboard Design and Building

Or maybe guidelines?

1.  Per Lawless: As with everything in surfboards, you have to think in complete terms of the board and how the whole package works together. It usually doesn’t work out too well if you try and throw one element in without adjusting others accordingly.

  1. You can shape better in boardies, flip flops and an old surf Tee. It’s been researched and proven.

  2. Per GL: Twin fins are going to need a little vee in the tail for rail to rail.

  3. Garage guys should just slow down and do it right.  You aren’t a production guy and it isn’t a race.

5.  Cloth laid in three axis arrangement will be more snap resistant that 2 axis.

  1. Per JP:  A poor man can’t afford cheap tools.


  1. The Mrs. is going to call me to supper right as I pick up the planner
  1. Stiffer tails are faster

9.  A wide tail will plane faster and likely catch waves better for that reason.

10.  Any surfboard will function better in perfect uncrowded waves.

  1. Per Greg Tate, not making fins is a project in itself.

4a, No garage glass job is complete until a gnat or other no-see-um makes a 3-point landing in it.  

  1.  A good surfer in good waves can ride just about anything.

  2.  The stupider the board model name the more of them the surf shops will put on the racks.

haha love this, was going to call my next planned shape “the knob jockey” do think other guys would want to ride it?

Maybe what JC sez, turn your back on it and take a quick look.

1.good racks

  1. good lighting

  2. take your time

  3. measure twice

  4. learn to do the whole process

  5. you don’t need power tools better to learn without them

  6. you hands will tell you what your eyes can’t see, shaping is about using your hands


Some one will disagree with you/your design…

8b. Looser tails are looser

From my years working for a boatbuilder- “You’re not making a piano!”

From my years working for a furniture maker- “The better it is…the better it is.”   “Lose your line and you lose control.”

From my years working for a contractor (known as P.M. Bob)-  “How about breakfast (at 9 am)?  How about lunch (about 11:30 am)?”



  1. The surf will suck for a few weeks after you finish that new board. 

don’t find yourself yelling ‘crap, I’ve cut it twice now and it’s still too damn short’

If it doesn’t float you, you won’t be able to surf it.

Don’t wimp out thin’ll win! (oh advanced talent that can paddle)


I used to work for a contractor and our crew motto was “It ain’t the Pope’s piano!”

Somewhat related:

Why do noobs think that buying another, more expensive board will make them learn faster?

I know a guy who owns three or four different boards and he still cannot turn, at all. When he got his second one, I asked why he bought it and he said he thought the other board wasn’t good enough and it was “holding him back”. He went from a Surftech Soft Top to an NSP.

The reality is that he only gets in the water about ten times in the Summer. That’s what’s “holding him back”.