Shortboard normally refers to a High Performance shortboard, with drawn in nose and tail, that will get you surfing faster and doing big power moves, like the Pros
The term Shortboards generally refers to High Performance Shortboards. You may see the HP used in the context of a Shortboard – it refers to ‘High Performance’. While surfing is all relative, the length of your board being relative to your height, the term Shortboard doesn’t refer to any board that’s short or shorter than your height. For example a Fish can be shorter than your height. The term Shortboard refers to a board design that gives you your highest performance surfing in good day-to-day size waves.
How To Get a HP Shortboard?
Two HP Shortboard head to head. The ECS Cloud 9 on the left and Island Flick Knife on the right. Note the middle image of both boards shows the bottom of the board facing up highlighting the bottom curve or rocker. This is the most important part of the board for performance. Note also the Cloud 9 on the left has a little more curve in the outline while the Flick Knife on the right has more curve in the bottom of the board going out the tail. Minor detail makes a big difference in HP Shortboard performance
How do you get that high performance and Pro level surfing in your Shortboard? You can easily come in-store and pick one of our Pro model boards off the rack. Super light with tech construction it will even have the same decals and look as the Pro board. Will having that brand or that model give you what you’re after? What is high performance surfing and how does it differ from the surfing you do on other types of boards?
A High Performance Shortboard
A HP Shortboard can take your surfing places whether it’s surfing next level on a tropical trip or in onshore conditions at your local
When you think of a high performance board you’re likely thinking of one like the Pros ride. It gets you going super fast being able to do big turns and moves. Performance is relative to your body type and your ability. So if you get a HP Shortboard exactly the same as that ridden by a Pro surfer on the World Tour it may not give you high performance. Getting a HP Shortboard is all about matching the HP design to you, your physical Type and your ability.
To give you an example, on the World Tour Kelly Slater is 5’8 and has won events on his 5’8 long, 18 5/8″ wide and 2 3/16″ thick board. In comparison, Owen Wright is 6’3 and his event winning JS board is 6’4 1/2″ long, nearly 19 1/2″ wide and 2 1/2″ thick. The surfers and their board are both different body types. Both these surfers though have won events at the most elite level. So their High Performance Shortboards, the dimensions, volume, bottom shape and outline, are matched to their body Type and preference.
Where to Use Your HP Shortboard?
HP Shortboards are the only boards used on the World Tour. They don’t use Fishes, Twin Fins, Hybrids or Mid Lengths. This would indicate that to surf at your highest level like the Pros surf you need a HP Shortboard. Note also the World Tour events are only held at locations where perfect waves are known. There’s also waiting periods to ensure the Pros only use their HP Shortboards in as perfect conditions as possible. So HP Shortboard performance does have a preference to surf its best for you in good waves
Did you know that on the World Tour, where HP Shortboards are the only boards ridden, they only have events at locations where the waves are known to be great. They also have waiting periods so they don’t surf on days when the conditions are sub-optimal. So your HP Shortboard is designed to give you your best surfing in good waves. It can give you good surfing in sub-optimal conditions however it’s designed to surf in good waves. It’s not an all-round board.
There are other board types made for other conditions. A Fish is a board with more area and flatter rocker, to work best in full smaller waves allowing you to still do drawn out bottom and top turns where you otherwise would bog. Longboards tend to be for easier, longer running waves, getting you into the wave with their length, then giving you slow turns and cruising surfing. You can get high performance versions of these boards, like a HP Longboard. These HP versions can be made with high performance materials and be super light. However it’s the design of a HP Shortboard that makes it the ultimate high performance board. It’s that design and style of board that will to give you your highest performance surfing.
HP Shortboard Characteristics
HP Shortboards have specific design characteristics- drawn in nose and tail. There’s also material characteristics to make them as light as possible and give them special flex characteristics. The ECS Cloud 9 above uses EPS foam that is lighter and gives more buoyancy. So your board can be thinner with less volume. This means the rails also can be thinner and your whole board more responsive while still giving you the same floatation. The glassing specifies only a 4oz deck while most stock boards have 4oz + 4oz deck, some have a 6oz + 4oz deck. So the board has more flex
Even though HP Shortboards can come with different dimensions to match your body Type there’s general characteristics of their design. The nose and tail are drawn in. The nose can be needle like. The tail can have a slightly wider hip then narrow to one of a range of differing tail shapes. The widest point in the outline is not too wide.
The rocker or bottom curve of the board is perhaps the most important part of the design. Here the Pro surfers have their personal preference. Some have more curve and others are flatter. More curve will generally give more dynamic turns but be harder to keep going fast. A flatter rocker will give you speed but be harder to do big turns. Some Pros have the rocker in the front of the board then flatten it out from mid through the tail. Other Pros have a flatter front entry and more curve in the tail.
Thickness and rails normally also match the Pro’s preference. Their boards are thin and light, so the rails are generally fine and the board has little thickness. There’s less volume so whatever energy goes in, in terms of paddling and pumping, the board will maximise. Whatever power the wave has, the board will maximise. The board isn’t thick and bulky- which normally equates to sluggish performance.
A thin board means there’s not much under your feet so your smallest weight shifts will be directly transmitted into your board’s response. For example shifting forward will give you more speed, weighting and moving your back foot back powers you into turns. Pushing on the rail you get the board doing radical carving changes of direction. A thin board though has trade offs.
Can you tell the difference between these two HP Shortboards? These boards are fine tuned with slight differences in design and shape making a big difference to your surfing. Your HP Shortboard has to be just right. So come in-store and let us help you work through the fine detail and get your surfing progressing fast
The HP Shortboards are fine tuned. This means less volume, less floatation and harder paddling. They could also be described as twitchy, over responsive. Some feel slow as they require constant pumping. So the Pros have many boards that are fine tuned to their body Type and the conditions they will surf. So they may go a slightly wider board for smaller, slower waves. Or a board with more rocker for a steeper wave. A longer board to give more paddling to get into bigger waves. However they’re all still with a drawn in nose and tail and having the HP Shortboard charateristics.
Fun & Easy?
A HP Shortboard is a challenge. It’s not fun and easy. The Pro’s surf all day everyday and train in terms of fitness, diet and mental approach. All this is behind their performance on their HP Shortboard.
If you go for a pure Pro-Style HP Shortboard it will be hard to surf. First up it will be hard to paddle on, hard to catch waves on. Your timing will be completely different. You’ll have to change the way you catch waves to be right on the critical part of the wave to catch it.
On the wave you have to continually keep your board moving as if you slow down it will sink under you. You have to ride in the critical part of the wave where the wall is steepest and where there’s the most power. The slightest over balance and your board will catch and wipeout.
However once you start to get the hang of it, your HP Shortboard will deliver you incredible performance progressing you towards Pro-style surfing.
Instead of going straight to a Pro level HP Shortboard you can go part way. The board on the left is a Fish, designed with a wide nose to make wave catching easy. The wide tail though limits you to drawn out turns. The board on the right is like a HP Shortboard yet has a wider nose. This will give you easier and faster paddling. The tail though is like a HP Shortboard so as you step back you’ll get performance in your turns
If you have the option to get a few boards should you go for several HP Shortboards with fine tuning like the Pros? Or maybe not so fin tuned? Or should you go one board optimised for groveling small waves, another like a Fish, then another slightly longer Mid Length for bigger waves or cruisier surfing? And of course your all round daily performer?
It comes back to what your original objective is. If you want to surf like a Pro then you need a HP Shortboard. If that’s what you want to do then you have to start on the HP Shortboard path. Are there alternatives though to help you progress?
Incremental steps means making small steps in your board design to move towards ultimate high performance. For example you can get a board that has a wider nose with narrower tail and still has a bit of volume. This will give you easier paddling and wave catching, then once on the wave you’ll be able to put your weight back and to power carving turns on the tail that is very close to that of a HP Shortboard. This way you’ll be having fun surfing, will see results in your effort, and be moving closer to higher performance surfing.
The design described above, with a wider nose and narrow tail, is one that Kelly Slater used on the Pro tour. Taking a drawn in tail proven to give performance, Kelly added a wider Fish-style nose. This provided easier paddling so he could get into waves more easily. Once on the wave could still hold in the super sucky barrels and carve in critical sections.
Kelly Slater designed the above board called a Wizards Sleeve. He took a tail of a proven high performance board made for surfing bigger waves and put a full nose on it to make it easier to catch waves
Another option is to get a board with more rocker. Most boards sold have been ‘dumbed down’ for consumers. They’re flatter so they give you a feeling of going fast. The tradeoff is that they are hard to turn, or will most of the time push you into a straight line surfing on the wave. The more power in the wave the faster you go and the harder it is to do a turn. A board with rocker allows you to do more turns and this is what high performance surfing is all about.
A rockered board will, when compared to a flatter board, allow you to go to the bottom then carve straight to the lip. Smack the lip and repeat. This type of board will be harder to paddle and harder to keep going on the wave so will need a little more volume and more effort from you to compensate.
Another step you can take is to get your board with super light glassing. This means your board will not last as long. It will dent, maybe break. However while riding you’ll find it responsive and feeling super lively. It will be easier to throw into bigger turns, float across close out sections and help you go harder.
These are a few options to progress to high performance and still having fun.
We’ve Got It
Come in-store and see and feel our board range and the differences in the board types. A HP Shortboard is so fine tuned it’s good to have an expert guide you around the slight differences in the boards.
Your HP Shortboard is matched to you. Your body Type and your ability. We’ll take the time to work with you to get the optimal board for your surfing right now and to take you into your surfing future.