Symptoms Of A Sick Board

posted by / Blogs / November 28, 2013

John John Florence, fully cured. Photo: Jimmicane

Guy walks into a doctor’s office with a carrot up his nose and says, “Doc, what’s the matter with me?” The doctor takes a look and says, “You’re not eating properly.” Sometimes, shapers can be doctors. Because sometimes, we got a carrot up our nose, claiming the board’s a lemon, when we just needs bigger fins. Or a little more practice on our backhand. Or a board that’s a quarter-inch thicker. We asked a few major shapers their take on a few common ailments and here’s what they prescribed.
—Beau Flemister

Symptom // Treatment

Bogs on turns:
The first thing to do is look at the volume and make sure the surfer is on a board with the appropriate length and width. Then analyze your stance and foot placement. Also… work on your surfing.

Loses speed in flat spots on waves:
Again, volume is the biggest part of the equation here. More specifically, take a look at the rocker. A board with less rocker may help. And if that fails, then take a surf trip to waves without flat spots.

Too loose:
Check the fin placement and fin size. Generally, it’s too loose if the fins are too far up. Getting technical from there, you can look at the splay of the fins. If the fins get thinner towards the tip, the less drag/resistance, which will produce a looser feel. Also, look at what kind of waves are being ridden. If you’re at Pipe and the board feels loose, it could too much tail-width (go narrower). But if you’re at Lowers, focus more on the fins.

Too stiff:
Get a board with more rocker and/or get some smaller fins.

Goes better frontside than backside (and vice versa):
This is tricky, as 9 out of 10 times it’s a technique-based problem and not the board’s fault. A certain board will suit certain types of waves and certain types of curves better than others, and you can draw different lines on your backhand vs forehand. But technique should overcome any board difficulty.

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  • surfer

    so if changing my fin’s and board dim’s don’t work I just need to get better at surfing?

    what an enlightening read..

  • mark

    I recently dug up an old board and I have been surfing it daily for the last week in all kinds of waves. I remembered what I liked about it, but also what I didn’t. Every board I have has some drawbacks, even my favourite, but I think learning how to surf each board a little differently and compensating for those drawbacks is half the fun, plus it really makes you focus on technique. There seems to be so much emphasis on getting ‘the perfect board’, and frankly it seems a bit silly to me. I definitely enjoy getting a custom shaped board, and I definitely appreciate a ‘good’ board, but no amount of editorializing is going to convince me that 1/16th of an inch variance in one dimension or another or slightly different fins is going to make a tangible difference to anyone but a pro-level surfer. “Board bogs in turns?” Learn to carry speed and draw out your turns! “Board surfs better frontside than backside?” Unless you are riding an assymetrical shape, I think your issues could be solved with a little more practice. Surf the wave, not the board! I definitely think it’s funny when average surfers get obsessed with the finer points of board design, and then you see novelty footage of some pro absolutely shredding on a soft-top or something absurd like that. On a final note, maybe someone can tell me what dimensions or fin placement would get me more chicks at the beach :)

  • joe


  • Klonapin Keith

    I recently binged out for the last 3 months at the mcdonalds near my house and I hate my board now…