Friday, December 27, 2013

Surfboard Tail Shapes: A Quick and Easy Guide

For those looking to catch their first wave, there is usually a lot of advice and guidance given to surfboard shapes and size. But what about the tails of the surfboard? What's the science behind it, and how would they affect performance. Here's a quick guide on basic tail shapes, to help you find exactly what you need for your next trip out to the waves.
Square Tail
Known as the parent to surfboard tail designs, the wide width of the square tail gives stability to a board. Longboards typically have this tail, since the corners of the tail help pivot the board by digging into the wave while turning. However, it's width will give less curve on the rails.
Pin Tail
Of all the tails, the pin tail has the narrowest width, perfect for maximum traction and control while surfing. You'll find this tail mostly on gun surfboards, made for riding big waves, because it will allow the board to track and maintain direction high speeds. Otherwise, pintails are difficult to maneuver in small waves.
Round Tail
In bigger, faster, hallow waves, you should look for a board with a round tail. Like a cross between a square and pin tail, the wider, curved, width of this shape add more lift than a pin, but better traction than a square tail. This gives more speed in slow spots, as well as providing smoother, rounder pivoting turns on a wave.
Squash Tail
A variation of the square tail, this is the most common tail found on shortboards. The tapered width (in comparison to the square) allows it to bite more into the wave, increasing control and tracking at a high speed. At the same time, its width makes it easier to plain and maintain speeds at the slower part of the wave. The versatility to the squash tail's design therefore helps riders make tricks and short cuts for experienced riders.
Swallow Tail
Identifiable by the upside-down "v" in the middle of what looks like two small pintails joined side-by-side. The cut out "v" allows for more bite and control during turns, while simultaneously giving a wider tail and more surface area to create lift and maintain speed. You'll find this tail on fish boards, a short board for riding small waves.
Asymmetrical Tail
Asymmetrical tails are really just a combination of two tails, in order for a rider to experience different frontside and backside surfing. For example, you might find a board with a left squash tail and a right fish tail, giving you two styles for your backhand and forehand.
When you think about buying your  first or next board, give the tails a second look. Think about what sort of stability you're looking for in your next surfboard (which you'll find in curved tails) or if you want quick changes in direction (a signal for a more angular tail). Also think about where you'll be surfing, and what kinds of waves you'll be on, when you decide. For a great collection of surfboards with tails to suit your needs, contact us.

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