Whats the most important element in a small wave board?

I just think it would be cool if everyone would voice all their opinions about the most important element in a small mush wave surfboard, and if they could specify how to do it right.

ex…I think the most important part is bla bla bla and there should be more than this amount in the board.

Just an idea…

And this is kinda off topic, but what would happen if you glassed the bottom of your board, then flipped it over and stuck a bunch of little 1/8 inch holes down to the bottom glass, and then when you glass the deck you get like a little squirt bottle and fill those up, so your deck is sticking to the bottom of your board? would this work at all?

Just kinda popped into my head right now…

Planing at low speeds, no drag, paddle power to catch waves early, quick, sharp turning and acceleration with each turn.

Tieing the deck to the bottom does add weight. It’s up to you. Most delams are caused by extreme pressure from a bony part of your body, so won’t help there.

Compression between the “ties” will cause new delams, cracking the glass in muliple spots.

Most important element in a small wave board?

My take as a surfer, not shaper. If “small” means “really small” then for longboards, it’s volume. Which because we need to carry the things is usually added in length and thickness rather than width. For shortboards that still might behave a little like shortboards, then we can add the volume in the width and some thickness. And both boards can be as flat as practicle.

I ride a lot of longboards these days, but most are really rockered and have fairly narrow tails and aren’t all that thick either and are thrusters and need to be pumped. So they kind of suck for small waves. My best small wave board ever was a 6’2" x 20 1/4" x 2 7/8" twin fin. Would catch ankle high “waves” and just trim right along like a log, but then when waves got above the knees would turn into a reasonably high performance surfboard. I’m getting another one in the spring. (i’ve said that every year for the last five years but i’m serious this time: i’m sick of riding my ‘performance’ longboards in tiny surf).

What is the most important element in a small wave board? The attitude of the rider. I realize this is not “in” the board but definitely important; would you agree? For the boards themselves that I do, in general, I’d say extra tail width is a good starter.

…fun !

I can’t say or I will upset LeeDD.

Funny, McCoy’s concepts were exactly what I was thinking when I first read this post.

Since I hesitate to advocate any particular design, I didn’t post as such.

But that’s the one I"d choose!

Fin config is the only stumbling block tho’s, as I like quads set very straight for this application.



Needs to be able to catch waves easy enough, so again add volume in thickness and width(all depends on the surfer). As far as the bottom being as flat as possible, in a longboard it’s more practical because your trimming alot, but in a shortboard where u need to “pump” the wave you’re gonna need good concaves. I think outline and rocker are the most important aspects though.

so to sum everything up for now… Wider tail, early ability to catch waves, concaves for shortboards for good pumping ability, speed, the attitude of the rider, and really pump up the volume? I think its funny how you rarley see any shortboards that are claimed ‘small wave boards’ their are never really more than 2 3/8 thick. I was looking at a flyer, and I was thinking, no wonder it works so well, its got so much volume!

I was kinda aginst making a board above 2 1/2" thick and 19" because there wasn’t anything out like that currently, but I had also been thinking that that was only because its whats in style right now. My current project is going to be 2 3/4", and 19 1/2" wide, and its a 6’1".

Thanks for the input so far, anyone else want to correct me or keep adding?

Fish I rode last year was 5’6" x 22.5 and 2.70 thick.

Wave size, chest to headhigh, I’d thin the nose out lots, keep everything else the same, and increase fin sizing to full on 7" tall x 5.75 chord.

Don’t see need for concave it you have enough width and planing surface.

There are so many opinions as to what is “too wide”, “too thick”, “too long”, “too short”, “too many fins”, “not enough fins”, etc. that it’s hard to generalize.

I’ll stick my neck out anyway - for most any shape (long or short, wide or narrow, thick or thin) I’d have to say a proportionally wider tail with wide point farther behind center than you usually ride are but two of many factors to consider in a small wave board.

NEVER EVER overlook rocker (I’ve made the mistake too often).

For small wave mush, rocker, then width, makes the most difference…by far…all the other stuff is the last 20% fine tuning elements. Integrate all the small wave tuning tricks on a dogg’ed out banana rockered board and its still a dog.

I guess the rocker element is just played and boring…


I was messing with ya, we have had this discussion before. I love quads. I had one back a couple of years and had it not snapped, I would still have it. I like the quads set up like the quatro instead of rear fins out on rail behind forward fins.

Wide tails really help in small waves: By wide I mean any tail over 15’'.

Thick and width over 19.5. Nice rocker in the entry to slightly flatter towards the rear.

I think properly shaped; any fin configuration will work.

SoloS…do you think it’s possible to run a slightly thick tail along with the added width, or do you think the thickness should be keep relatively thin.

I’m an old fart, don’t surf more than once every two weeks, and surf places that are tough and long to paddle out to, with sidecurrents, rips. I don’t mind floating down to my sternum, but it would be nice if the tail picked up early and drove the nose down the face of the waves.

I’d also add additional V in the tail, and keep the rails not too sharp.

Oh, and I always use bigger fins than recommended.

What about least important element, waht should be paid the least attention to…

I’d say least important, besides big wave performance, is duck diving ability.

Go as thick as you want, since at those speeds, you won’t suffer loss of control due to hight center of gravity, and you can easily sink the rail at low speeds.

I have found to get the benifit out of the wide tail it’s best to leave it on the thicker side. I do think this can be a problem if there are a bunch of hard edges.

I used to try wide and thin, but I found it lost it’s wave catching advantage. I like to float up on top of the water instead of down in it, so it probably depends to some degree on your surfing style.


I’m a lightweight at 152 lbs., but always stomped on the back foot full time, so favored thicker tailed boards with big fins.

I’ve hated every thin tailed board I ever rode, as they seemed like I could sink/stall them too easily.

Time to start drawing some templates, to be scaled up to masonite…

I was wondering if rail shapes play a big part? What kind of rails would be best for knee high waves?