Looking at the size of a surfboard, even a smaller surfboard is around 6 feet in length and longboards can reach as much as 12 feet in length. This is something you’ll have to carry in your arms to and from the beach and place into the car yourself, so it’s best to get something comfortable for you.
A common question people ask is how heavy surfboards are. Don’t be fooled by their size, surfboards are designed to be relatively lightweight so that you can carry it around and do tricks with it.
There are many factors that can affect a surfboard’s weight and size is only one factor. You also need to consider its volume, shape, what materials it’s made with, any accessories it comes with, and the surf conditions. This means that there can be a wide variance in a surfboard’s weight.
Typically, a regular shortboard surfboard will weigh about 6-7 pounds, whereas a longboard surfboard can weigh as much as 20 pounds. You might also find that the surfboard’s weight can change over time.
In this article, we will discuss how much various types of surfboards weigh and how the weight of the surfboard can affect you.
Why surfboard weight matters
Do you really need to consider how heavy your surfboard is? As long as you can pick it up, paddle with it, and ride the waves, does it really matter if your surfboard is 7 pounds or 17 pounds?
Depending on what you’re trying to accomplish and how much you want to optimize your surfing experience, even the difference between a pound or two can be very noticeable. For professional surfers, if a board is even off by a few ounces, they can feel the difference.
First off, weight affects your speed. The lighter the board, the faster you can go. This is why shortboards are generally faster than longboards.
Longboards are inherently heavier because they are at least a few feet longer than shortboards. However, their benefit is that they can support significantly more weight due to their larger volume, which is perfect for heavier surfers and beginners.
Since longboards are heavier, a larger portion will be underwater which causes it to have more drag. With increased drag, paddling and maneuvering become more difficult.
The opposite is true for shortboards. Because it’s much lighter, it’s more buoyant and sits higher atop the water. Therefore, everything you do in the water will have much less drag assuming that it can support your weight.
The reason why many surfers eventually transition to shortboards is that a lightweight board is easier to maneuver in waves. However, due to their lower volume, it’s much easier to sink and requires more skill to catch waves.
Types of surfboards and how much they weigh
As mentioned, surfboards come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The most common types of surfboards are the longboard, shortboard, fish, and funboard.
Of these four main types of surfboards, longboard surfboards are the longest, have the most volume, and are the heaviest with an average weight of about 20 pounds (9 kilograms).
The extra surface area makes them ideal for use in small waves because they can be pulled by the surface of the water. However, due to their weight, they are difficult to turn so it can be hard to avoid collisions.
Funboard surfboards are around 6-8 feet in length, which is slightly smaller than longboards, and have an average weight of around 15-16 pounds (6.8-7.3 kilograms).
They are also great for beginners to start out with for similar reasons as the longboard. Since they are not nearly as big and heavy, you begin to have more control over where you can turn.
At the smaller end of the scale are shortboards and fish, which are similar in length at around 5.5-6.5 feet, both with an average weight of about 6-7 pounds (2.7-3.2 kilograms).
Smaller boards excel in larger surf because they have less surface area and thus less pull from the water.
That said, they are harder to paddle and catch waves compared to their heavier counterparts, but allows for the most control over movement and turning on waves. Shortboards are the ideal option for intermediate to advanced surfers.
What factors affect surfboard weight?
How big or small your surfboard is affects its weight. The length, width, and height of a surfboard plays a major impact on how much the board weighs and how much volume it has.
Typically, longer, thicker, wider boards will be heavier assuming similar materials are used. With larger dimensions, a surfboard will have a larger core (the inside the surfboard).
Even if a surfboard is made with lightweight material but is ultimately bigger in dimension, it will be harder to maneuver with which still makes it more difficult to surf with if you care about speed and doing tricks.
Also, the bigger your surfboard is, the more of a hassle it is for you to carry it to and from the beach and even to load it on your car.
Size isn’t everything when it comes to weight. For example, if two surfboards have the same dimensions but one is made of wood whereas the other is made of soft foam, then the wooden surfboard will be significantly heavier.
The materials modern surfboards are made from are drastically different than what they used to be. Originally, surfboards were made of wood, and they could weigh up to a hundred pounds or more.
Thankfully, modern surfboards have transitioned to using lighter materials, typically expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) or prolapse styrene foam (PPS).
These two materials are lightweight and buoyant, allowing your surfboard to float. EPS is the lighter of the two which is why it is used in most surfboard construction.
There are, of course, more that goes on in the construction of the surfboard and many more materials are used to increase the comfort and durability of the surfboard. However, they have a negligible impact on the weight of the surfboard, so we won’t get into that here.
Many surfers like to attach different accessories to their surfboard, whether it’s for practical purposes or simply for aesthetics.
Most of these accessories are lightweight and don’t make that much of an impact on the weight of the surfboard. As a result, we don’t really worry about it and might add more and more accessories.
However, have you ever considered how much the combined weight of all of these accessories add up to? The number might surprise you.
Some examples of common surfboard accessories include fins, leashes, traction pads, waterproof cameras and camera mounts, and so on. If you want your surfboard to remain lightweight, it’s best to get rid of most of these accessories.
How surfboards get heavier with time
You may have noticed that your once lightweight surfboard has gotten a bit heavier over time. The increase in weight may have been so gradual that you didn’t notice it, but it can happen and here are some of the reasons why.
Surfboards are designed to be watertight. If water manages to reach the inner core, it will add to the surfboard’s weight. Unfortunately, over time (and depending on how you used the board) it will lose its integrity. Even if you were careful, it’s likely that your board has developed cracks, dings, or otherwise has been damaged in some way over the years.
With the exterior damaged, protection against water is reduced, and water may seep inside and waterlog the board.
The foam in the inner core will absorb the water, retain it, and get heavier because now you have to factor in the weight of the extra water. Even if you try to dry the board, it’s really hard to dry the core and you may never be able to fully do so.
Wax is applied to the surface of surfboards to give you more grip. Its weight is negligible, but what about over time? After many years, it might start to make a difference.
Surfers wax their surfboards regularly, but not all surfers remove the previous layer(s) of wax before applying a new one. Thus, it’s possible a surfboard can have many years worth of wax layers which can contribute to a slight increase in weight.
As mentioned, surfboards will suffer wear and tear over the years which can cause it to be waterlogged.
In an effort to prevent this, surfers will want to get their surfboard patched up before the issue gets really bad.
Depending on how badly a board is damaged, it may require a significant amount of new material be added onto the board.
For instance, when repairing hard-shell cracks on a board, the cracks must be refilled with material.
If you’ve had a board for a long time and put her through many repairs, then these materials can contribute extra weight to the board over time.
What is the relation between surfboard weight and volume?
Two distinct terms that are closely related but not quite the same thing are weight and volume.
Volume refers to the volume of water that your surfboard can displace, i.e., how much buoyancy it can provide you. Generally, the bigger the surfboard, the more volume it has and thus the more weight it can support.
Weight refers to how heavy the surfboard is itself, not how much weight it can support. As mentioned, surfboards can weigh between 6-20 pounds.
Modern surfboards are designed with material that is lightweight and buoyant. Naturally, the bigger the board, the more buoyant material is used in its construction which means both its volume and weight will be higher than a smaller surfboard.
This seems counterintuitive at first, since you’d expect something that weighs more to be more likely to sink when you stand on it, however that’s not taking into account the volume (or buoyancy) of the material used.
To be fair, heavier boards are less buoyant because more of its material is submerged which creates more drag when surfing. However, they can still support more weight overall compared to a lighter surfboard.
What surfboard size is right for me?
Even a longboard has a modest weight of 20 pounds, which means even a petite woman could pick one up, admittedly with some difficulty due to its length, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good board for her.
There are more factors to consider other than your size (height and weight). You need to also consider your surfing experience and the types of waves you’ll be riding in.
For example, if you are an experienced surfer riding smaller waves, you might want to choose a hybrid board which is short like a shortboard but much wider which increases its surface area.
If you’re particularly tall (6 feet or more), you’ll want a board that’s longer whereas someone who’s only 5 feet tall might prefer a shorter board.
Without any prior experience, the best way to find the right size surfboard is to ask other surfers about their experiences or ask the employees at your local surf shop.
Surfboards come in a variety of sizes and shapes, and therefore various weights as well. On the smaller end, shortboards and fish weigh only about 6-7 pounds on average. Funboards are bigger and weigh 15-16 pounds. Longboards are the biggest and heaviest of the bunch, with an average weight of 20 pounds.
You should care about surfboard weight because it affects how much drag you experience. Drag will slow you down and make it harder for you to maneuver. The bigger the surfboard, the more drag and difficulty with maneuvering you will experience.
Another, more practical concern, is whether you can even carry your surfboard. Even though surfboards are made of lightweight material, longboards in particular can get quite large with a length of up to 12 feet. You may struggle to load it and unload it from the car, and to carry it to and from the beach.
Heavier (larger) surfboards are ideal for beginners and overweight people because of how much weight they can support and the stability they provide in the water. Shortboards are better suited for more experienced surfers who prefer speed and maneuverability over stability.