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Hansen’s officially started making surfboards in 1960 when legendary founder, Don Hansen, began shaping under his name in a small Hawaiian shack on the North Shore. Prior to this, Don had been serving in the military and spending his weekends shaping in Santa Cruz, CA alongside wetsuit pioneer Jack O’Neill. Once Don completed his service, he pursued his dream to conquer the big waves of Hawaii, and well, the rest is history.
Since Don began shaping over 50 years ago, surfboard shapes and technology have come a long way. From the bulky single fins of the early 60s to the invention of the twin fin, all the way to modern day performance shortboards, the progression of equipment has allowed surfers to push the limits of the sport. Today, surfboards come in a variety of shapes and sizes designed to match wave conditions, experience level, and surfing style. There are general shape categories that we can group surfboards into including longboard, shortboard, hybrid, fish and guns. Let’s take a look at which may be right for you!
Size: 8-10 feet
Shape: Yep, the name is literal. The longboard is the most traditional surfboard shape with a typical length of 8-10 feet, rounded nose, and tapered tail. Fin setups are usually a single fin, 2+1, or in some cases a thruster.
Best for: Small, rolling waves. Longboards are very stable and provide a solid foundation for learning, but can also be ridden in a high performance manner.
Size: 5-6’6 feet
Shape: Pointed nose with varying tail shapes depending on wave type.
Best for: Waves up to a foot or two overhead. Shortboards’ high performance shape, length, and rocker allow for easy, high speed technical surfing in critical parts of the wave. Shortboards typically have 3 fins, but in some cases a quad setup is utilized.
Size: 5-6’6 feet
Shape: Hybrids are typically a blend of performance shortboards and wider fishy boards. By combining the general pointed nose and concave of a shortboard with the wide outline and tail of a fish, a hybrid can truly become a one board quiver.
Best for: Grovel conditions to head high perfection
Size: less than 5’-7’ feet
Shape: Fishes were usually reserved for smaller, subpar surf when catching waves could be an issue. Recently, however, a surge to ride fishes in large surf with an emphasis on style has been gaining popularity. A fish is characterized by a wide nose, swallow tail, and either 2 or 3 fins.
Best for: Catching small fast waves and easy paddling.
Size: 7-12 feet
Shape: Long, narrow, and usually has a pin tail.
Best for: Riding surf from 15-60ft. The long length of a gun allows the surfer to get enough speed while paddling to catch the larger, quick moving waves. Guns usually have a 3 or 4 fin setup, and a stringer much thicker than normal for added weight and strength.
As you can see, surfboard design has developed to satisfy the needs of surfers in all different types of waves and conditions. More information on surfboards can be found on our surfboard resource page! At Hansen’s Surf Shop, we are proud to stock a variety of shapes and models from today’s top manufacturers including our Hansen house brand, Channel Islands, ...Lost, Christensen, Xanadu, DHD, and many more! Not sure which board is right for you? Call in or stop by our shop and let our knowledgeable staff break it down and point you in the right direction. Everything from surfboards, to board bags, wetsuits, and surf accessories can be found at Hansen’s Surf Shop, your one stop go-to for all things surfing. See you in the water!