Which Surfboard Shape is Right for You

by Erika Togashi September 19, 2023 2 min read

Swimsuits and surfboards have a lot in common, where even the prettiest surfboard, one-piece, or surf bikini should be designed with function first. Your surfboard should be versatile and perform in a range of conditions, much like our multi-use 'swim to gym' design philosophy.

So, with that in mind let's talk about the different designs of longboards, and how you can choose the right board for you, with a certain emphasis on the center of style; noseriding. 

  Erika and Anna Surfboards

 Erika and Anna with their surf quiver for the Mentawais


To set the scene, let’s understand the physics going on under our feet. For a nose ride to function, we need two things; a wide nose providing lift up front, along with the surfboard rail engaged in the wave face for grip and hold, and finally whitewater on the tail countering your weight upfront. We don’t really know how much of each is required, but some of each or a lot of one will often suffice.

The longer the board, likely the more encouraging it will be. So anything 9ft plus will give you the rail length required. Smaller than 9ft boards would work too, but longer just makes it easier.


Lola on longboard


There are three common outlines in longboarding and they’re each described by where the widest point of the board is located; wide point forward, wide point center, and wide point back.


A wide point forward board is going to be your most nose ride friendly; especially if you’re learning. Having a big wide nose on the board is going to provide a tonne of hydrodynamic lift helping to counter your weight upfront; allowing you to make more errors in your nose ride timing, positioning or being heavy-footed without the board giving up on you right away. A wide nose will also support you more at slower speeds, like on softer waves. So if you surf mushy waves then this board will also help.


Level: Beginner nose rider-friendly
Example: Wingnut Nose rider


Woman falling off her surfboard wearing the mason surf bikini top and kennedy surf bikini bottom



A wide point center or parallel railed longboard as it's sometimes referred gives strong rail engagement, as the majority of the board's length is parallel to the wave face we’re trying to engage into. This particularly helps on steeper or faster waves where we might need some speed and grip whilst nose riding.


Level: Beginner - Intermediate nose rider
Example: Bing Levitator


Woman surfing down the line in a rash guard and surf bikini bottom in army green


Woman doing a cheater five on the nose of her surfboard wearing a rash guard and surf bikini bottom in army green



A wide point back longboard is the culturally purest outline. A narrower nose won’t provide as much lift, but it will allow the board to fit in a much steeper and tighter wave. The wide point through the tail creates an almost teardrop shape providing a bulbous wider tail that is often rounded. With less weight up front and a rounded rear outline lets the rider pivot the board with a faster and smoother response, helping a more critical setup for nose riding.

Level: Intermediate to Expert nose rider
Example: Thomas Surfboards Harrison


Woman doing a cheater five on her surfboard wearing the mason surf bikini top and kennedy surf bikini bottom in rose


Woman wearing the mason surf bikini top and kennedy surf bikini bottom doing a carving turn on her surf board.  

Thanks for reading, the rest is up to you! 

Feel free to message us with any questions at info@septembertheline.com

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