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Shortboard Guide

Getting Started

Surfboard Volume: Is the amount of area (In litres) inside a surfboard, calculated by its overall length, width & thickness. Volume is becoming increasingly popular & can be found in the buyers chart section for each surfboard model.

Volume is a benefit of computer assisted shaping. Volume used in collaboration with, board type & dimensions will give you a very accurate picture of the boards performance characteristics.

Low Volume Boards: are more sensitive to the riders movements & requires an advance surfers to master. These boards need extra effort to generate speed as they sink deeper in the wave face creating extra drag.

The positive trade off is a highly sensitive rail & more power over the board. There is a fine line between a low volume board & an under volume board.

Draw backs of an under volume board; hard to paddle, unstable & sluggish board speed.

High Volume Boards: are more relaxed & easier to surf. All surfing levels can master a high volume board. They produce more speed without much effort & are very stable. The trade off for these benefits is a reduce performance level.

It’s up to the surfer to decide what style of surfing they prefer & tailor there buying decision accordingly.

Ideal Volume: Ideal volume is an in-depth figure generated by each surfer’s individual weight, ability, age, fitness & personal preference. Ideal volume is a very powerful tool as it considers multiple factors unique to each surfer & puts it into a simple figure that can be applied to the buying process.

How to use your Ideal Volume: Once you have worked out your Ideal Volume (Process below) you can then use it as a reference when selecting a new board. Example: If your Ideal Volume range is 27 to 28 ltrs you would then search for boards that are within that volume range.

Why is Ideal Volume Important: Your Ideal Volume is a guide to buying the right size surfboard no matter if the board is 7’0” or 5’0”. Knowing your Ideal Volume increases the chances of you buying a great board, positively effecting the following performance characteristics to your needs:

> Performance

> Paddle Power

> Stability

> Control

> Pivot

> Speed, Drive & Glide

If your riding a board that isn’t in your ideal volume range than these important characteristics are negatively effected.

Calculate your Ideal Volume

Follow the steps below to calculate your ideal volume:

Step 1:

Identify your surfing level, use the graphic below.

Skill Level Graph | Surfboard

Example: Advance + Surfing Level

Step 2:

This Ideal Volume table will assist you with your starting volume. Match your ability level with your weight. Use this figure with the next step

Short Board Buyers Guide (Ideal Volume) ltrs

Weight (Kg) Advance Intermediate Beginner
35 & Under 15.05 16.80 21.00
40 16.40 18.80 23.60
45 18.00 20.70 26.10
50 19.00 22.50 28.50
55 19.80 23.65 30.25
60 21.00 25.20 32.40
65 22.75 27.30 35.10
70 24.50 29.40 37.80
75 26.25 31.50 40.50
80 28.00 33.60 43.20
85 29.75 35.70 45.90
90 31.50 37.80 48.60
95 33.25 39.90 51.30
100 35.00 42.00 54.00
105 36.75 44.10 56.70
110 38.50 46.20 59.40

Example: 77kg + Advance + = 26.95 ltrs

Step 3:

Using your Ideal Volume figure from the table, multiple it by the appropriate age Factor.

Age Factor
0 – 30 Add 0% (0.00)
31 – 50 Add 8% (1.08)
51 – 60 Add 20% (1.20)
61+ Add 30% (1.30)

Example: Age under 31.  26.95 x 0.0 (0%) = 26.95 ltrs – Ideal Volume stays at 26.95 ltrs

Step 4:

Using your Ideal Volume Figure, multiple it by the appropriate fitness factor.

Fitness Factor (Averaged out over a month)

Fitness Factor
Excellent – Surfing 4 times per week or other training 4 times per week Add 0% (0.00)
Good – Surfing 3 times per week or other training 3 times per week Add 5% (1.05)
Average – Surfing 2 times per week or other training 2 times per week Add 10% (1.10)
Poor – Surfing 1 times per week or other training 1 times per week Add 20% (1.20)

Example: Fitness Good – 26.95 x 1.05 = 28.30 ltrs

Step 5:

Use your Ideal Volume figure to calculate your range 

This final figure can now be converted into a meaningful Ideal Volume Range.

> Performance Board Volume Range: Within 5% of your Ideal Volume

> Fish / Grovel Board Volume Range: Add 5% & then within 5% of this figure

The reason for a slightly different volume range for Fish / Grovel boards is you need extra float in sloppy wave conditions. Extra volume will help the board sit on top of the water. Therefore increase paddle power & it’s planning speed which is key when surfing sloppy weak wave conditions.


> Performance Board Volume Range: 26.95 to 29.75 ltrs  (Starting Volume 28.30 ltrs)

> Fish / Grovel Board Volume Range: 28.30 to 29.72 ltrs  (Starting volume 29.00 ltrs)

Step 6:

Personalising your Ideal Volume

The final Ideal Volume range will give you a great starting point to begin your personal board formula.

Everyone has a different body size (Weight & Height) & surfing ability so using your ideal volume is a great way to build a personal formula for choosing great boards.

Your ideal volume can only be judged by yourself (Or Coach) & your personal preferences.

Example of personalising your Ideal Volume: I’m on the low volume side for an advance + surfer of this weight but I prefer the extra performance a lower volume board gives me.

I also have chicken legs so a lower volume board is easier to bury into the wave face & man handle the board. The drawbacks are reduced paddle power & when I’m not to steady on my feet these boards aren’t very unforgiving (unstable).