The Surfboard Bottom and Bottom Contours
The surfboard bottom contours and bottom shapes are a very misunderstood and over looked surfboard design feature by many surfers today. I will try to demystify this surfboard concept because I believe this is one of the most import design features.
So why is the bottom of a surfboard so important?
Like any think that glides across water, be it a boat, ski or surfboard, the surfboard bottom is what is in contact with the wave at all times while surfing.
Improving the way water flows along the bottom of a surfboard can have a drastic affect on the performance of a surfboard and thus your surfing.
Many surfboard bottom contours have therefore been design to help improve the way a surfboard glides over the surface of the water depending on a surfer’s style of surfing and the type of waves he or she surfs.
The Flat Surfboard Bottom
The flat surfboard bottom is the original bottom design that all surfboard’s were manufacturer with.
As the name implies the bottom of the surfboard is completely flat with no contour making the surfboard extremely fast. This design is therefore often used in small wave surfboards like grovelers and fishes for when the waves are weak.
A flat surfboard however becomes more and more difficult to turn as the waves get bigger and is therefore not ideal for big wave surfing.
If you are a beginner surfer now starting out this is the best surfboard bottom design for you. Keep it simple!
The Single Concave Surfboard Bottom
A surfboard that features a single concave bottom will have a concave shape, curved towards the deck of the surfboard. This concave runs along the length of the surfboard.
What this does is it creates a channel through which water can flow. This pushes the water from the nose of the board down towards the surfboard’s fins expelling it from the back of the surfboard’s tail.
This surfboard bottom contour is very fast and is a favorite amongst backfoot surfers who like surfing in the pocket of the wave.
This surfboard contour however likes a clean wave face and will not perform well on those mushy days.
The Double Concave Surfboard Bottom
The double concave bottom design is ideally a single concave on either side of the surfboard rocker. What this does is creates two channels for water to flow down to the fins of the surfboard and out the back of the surfboard tail.
A double concave generally does not run the length of the surfboard is often found near the surfboard tail. This makes the surfboard looser and easier to maneuver.
The Single to Double Concave Surfboard Bottom
This is the most commonly found surfboard bottom contour on high performance shortboards. The top half of the surfboard bottom will have a single concave leading into a double concave in the bottom half of the surfboard down through the tail.
This creates a surfboard that is very fast under your front foot while still being easy to turn in the tail.
The Vee Surfboard Bottom
The V surfboard bottom as the name implies is shaped like a V with the stringer in the center of the surfboard being further in the water than the rest of the surfboard bottom.
As you can image what this does is it creates a pivot which the surfer can use as leverage to turn the surfboard.
This surfboard contour is almost always used at the very tip of the surfboard tail and is very commonly found on surfboards with a swallow tail to add stability to the surfboard.
A tail V bottom is also a common bottom design for guns to allow the surfer to make quick directional changes while ridding big, powerful waves.
Surfboard Bottom Channels
Some shapers have designed surfboards with multiple channels running through the tail of the surfboard bottom.
There can sometimes be as many as 8 channels found on the bottom of a surfboard and allows for the quick “channeling” of water through the tail. This can make a surfboard extremely fast.
This design however hasn’t been taken up by many professional surfers as they find that this greatly reduces the maneuverability of their surfboards.