Help with bottom contours for beginner

I’m shaping my wife’s first board and want it to be just right in ease and forgiveness.

what kind of bottom contours are y’all with beginner/non-agressive girls enjoying?

She’ll only be out there on mellow days. Think 2-3’. It’s Va Beach east coast beach break and Florida surf.

I was thinking ever so slight concave entry to belly to soft vee to flat. I shaped myself a similar longboard and love it, but I am a little concerned as it likes a little more juice in the wave. Was trying to think of a good way to introduce more planing surface for ease of catching waves but don’t want the full spiral vee etc thing going on. Maybe flat entry to belly to soft vee to flat? Or maybe remove the soft vee and transition to flat post belly? Thoughts??



    What size board are you considering for her?       Dimensions?       

Thanks Bill. 


it’s a mini mal style outline. She’s 5’11" @ 135lbs complete beginner. 


outline is 8’1" x 18.5 x 23 x 16 x 2.75ish. I wanted plenty of surface area and stability and something that caught small/soft waves easily. I doubt she gets out in anything over stomach high this summer (I doubt we get anything more than stomach high until this fall). 


She is not aggressive at all and thinks she simply wants to surf mellow - I plan on a single fin for her with this in mind. 


This is also why I was leaning towards flat to belly to flat. My thought is flat areas for surface area and belly for that nice subtle connection to the water, ease of roll in turn etc… minimal belly. 


but please weigh in as I’ve never shaped for this style/thought process

Oh yeah. WP is at 3.25" forward of center

Given the info provided, my Rx would be to ‘‘keep it simple.’’        At 8’1’’ x 23’‘, I’d make the nose no wider than 17’‘, and the widest point 5% behind center.     What will be most forgiving, for a beginner, will be a ‘‘modified’’ Pig design.    Natural rocker, 4’’ nose and 4’’ tail.       Soft 60/40 rails, slight domed deck, and relativly flat (rail to rail) bottom throughout.       You’ll end up with a real small wave machine.    

Thanks Bill. I have plenty of board there to cut another template. I’ll go visit CAD again and see what I come up with. 


it does seem relatively flat bottom is the way to go to keep it simple for her. 

Bill - so much thanks. Took your recommendations and man the outline looks so much better. 


ok off to start shaping! Thanks all

In general, a board that looks good, tends to ride good.    Do a progress report, eh?

What I recommended for you, is the refined version of the historic PIG,  from the mid-late '50’s.     I made and rode balsa Pigs for years, before making my first foam board, in 1960, when I was shaping for Velzy.      It’s a design that works well, from ‘‘ankle snappers’’ to DOH.      If you ‘‘test ride’’ her board, you may end up building one for yourself.

Thanks Bill. I’ve actually always wanted to give the wide point back boards a go, but had no starting/reference point and always ended up shaping something else. 


I think you’re right though and I’ll definitely be taking it for a spin. 


got the cut and rocker plus thickness planed out. Added 1/2" to the tail and kept the nose. Ended up being 3" TR and 4.25" NR. Started with a 8’4SP. 


Took the thickness down to 3" exactly so will probably end up with 2 7/8" thick once the top is planed. 


so where would one begin the soft vee ahead of fin on a board this style at 8’ long?



   NEVER put a vee on a board intended for smaller waves.      A vee ‘‘settles’’ the board into the water.      You want maximum planing efficiency, especially in smaller slower waves.     I’m not talking theory here, but in the water performance observations.      I’ve shaped thousands of surfboards, and ridden close to a hundred different boards, in an active surfing period of fifty plus years.      Please trust my experience, and advice.



thanks for that catch. I’m not sure why I was confused but I thought you said flat to vee in your original post. I will admit I was confused at that, but was going for it. 


good thing I stopped and asked asked the question cause I left it completely flat for the night! I’ll put a soft flat in it tomorrow and call it good!!


thanks again and I really do appreciate the advice/experience offered here

Aloha Curlz,

Glad to have been helpful.     I’m looking forward to hearing about your ‘‘test ride’’ experience/impressions, with a ‘‘piggy’’ design.



Thanks again Bill. Shaping is complete and I am completely stoked on this shape and design. 


I would’ve never done flat or WP back so thanks for encouraging me to branch out a little. Your suggestions were spot on. 


going to glassing this weekend. 


now - follow up questions for a shape like this. Single fin box only or are these better surfed 2+1 or would a 2+1 be more or giving on a complete beginner?


I personally don’t like 2+1 as I enjoy single fins or thrusters but I have no experience in a shape like this. 


the only reason I don’t want to put side boxes in if it doesn’t matter is to keep weight down in the back half and not put more holes in the board. I hate fin boxes as I think they take away from the beauty but they are a necessary evil. 


so convince me to put in side boxes or I’m rolling center fin box. 


last question. Fin recommended for piggy outline / beginner? Thanks!!

Per your question, I’d go with a 10.5 inch FU center box.     No side fins needed.       The real question is fin shape and placement, which impacts where you place your box.      I will send you a PM, to expand on that topic.

Awesome thanks!


single it is and I’ll be standing by for that PM

By the way, your bottom photo with the level, looks spot on.      Very well done.

Hi Bill,

Curiosity is getting the better of me… most gliders I have observed have vee, while maybe not made for small waves, are certainly ridden in small waves. Can you elaborate?

Common since the late 60’s thru current;  Semi flat or slightly rolled bottom thru the chest going to flat at the rear 1/3 thru 1/4 and a very “soft” V beginning 5 or 6" in front of the fin box and running thru the fin box.  Other than concave in the nose of a “Noserider” this set of bottom contours(with some minor deviation by individual shapers) was common for longboards and mid-length thru the years.

My biggest design fail to date was using a shortboard bottom on a midlength singlefin.   If there was some energy in the waves and I surfed it actively it was fast and lively but I don’t use boards like that for such conditions.   I wanted a smooth and more casual ride, which a dead-flat bottom definitely is not.   

But depending on a person’s style that board could work well for others.   If I added a pair of sidebites and ran the right fin combo that would be a good combo with that bottom and length.