Short Boarding vs. Longboarding

surfing South Australia

Within the sport of surfing there are many different varieties you can partake in. These including; shortboarding, longboarding, stand up paddle (SUP) boarding, body boarding, knee boarding and goat (kayak) boating. Two of the most popular types of surfing are shortboarding and longboarding. Discussed below are both the definitions, along with the positives and negatives of these two surfing options.


The definition of a short board will change depending on who your talking to. Generally they are classified as a high performance fibreglass board with a pointed nose and thin rails, but can vary in length. Usually they are set up with a thruster (three fin) design.

Short boarding is a fast pace, highly competitive style of surfing. Due to the boards design and length it is more manoeuvrable. This makes is easier to gain speed and perform dynamic turns in the water.

However, shortboarding is often highly associated with aggression in the water. Surfers who ride short boards tend to get into more paddle battles and pay less attention to other surfers around them.

The boards themselves are also harder to paddle, as they have less foam. This also makes them harder to balance and stand on, making them harder for beginners to learn on. I suggest beginning with a longer foam surfboard, progressing down with size and switching to a fibreglass style as your surfing technique and confidence increases.


On the other hand long boards as the name suggests, are longer than their counterparts. They tend to have a rounded nose and thicker rails, and can be set up with a thruster design, or a single fin design.

Longboarding is generally a slower pace, more relaxed style of surfing. Instead of dynamic turns and fast speed, longboard surfing involves cross stepping (walking on the board) and nose riding. The extra length and foam allows for more balance when standing on the surf board. Also it makes paddling faster then shortboards, making it easier to catch waves.

However, these boards can be awkward to carry both in and out of the water as they are long and heavy. In the water they can be harder to surf in bigger waves because the extra length makes them more difficult to duck dive, in order to get out the back to the better waves. When on a wave they are also much slower and harder to turn. I suggest longboarding when the surf is smaller for a more relaxing surf session.

In summary if you love fast paced, adrenaline pumping sports; shortboarding is for you. Shortboarding will allow you to ride larger waves, ride faster, and perform bigger turns whilst surfing. On the other hand, if you love to relax and go with the flow; longboarding is the sport for you. Going out on smaller surf days with mates and cruising on your longboard is what its all about.

If you still cant decide, do both! Surfing is all about mixing things up, many surfers will ride their short board in larger conditions, and their longboard in smaller glassy conditions, making the best of both worlds.