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The Surfboard The Surfboard is the essential piece of surfing equipment. Without it you ain't surfin'. The modern surfboard has come a long way in design and construction since the Hawaiians started surfing on wooden planks. The modern surfboard is hand shaped by professional shapers out of foam and finished with a fibreglass coat. They are light and strong, and the cutting edge of surfboard design changes as quickly as a cold surfer does on a windy day. Let's have a look at what the different bits of the surfboard are called so that you can sound knowledgeable when talking your mum into buying you a nice new board. Thinking of Buying a Surfboard? Surfboard Bits And Pieces The picture below shows a shortboard but the naming of the bits is the same whether your board is a Longboard, Gun or Fish (See below for more info on these boards) The first thing to note is that the Nose of the board is the bit that faces forwards. The Surfboard sits in the water with the fins facing down, bit less about all that as I am sure that you have already figured that out by looking at the Surfing Lessons. The Thruster, Malibu And Fish Thruster?, Malibu??, Fish??? For a moment there you could be fooled into thinking that we have strayed off the surfboard subject but you would be wrong. There are basically four types of surfboard design. The first is the Shortboard, also known as the Thruster. This is the type of board that is pictured above. It is a board used to perform quick manoeuvres on waves and is the most popular type of surfboard design. The size of these Shortboards is generally from around 5'8'' to 6'10''. The next type of board is the Longboard or Malibu. The main difference in design is that the nose of the Longboard is rounded. Other than that there is no real difference, other than Shortboards tend to have 3 fins and Longboards tend to have a single fin. Before we get lots of e-mails from twin fin and other surfers we should say that surfboards can have as many fins as they like, it is not a standard thing. Mini Mals range from the 7'2''-9'0'' and Mals are 9'0'' upwards in length. The Fish is the next type of board that we will look at. The Fish is very similar to a Shortboard but is smaller in length. The lack of length is made up by an increase in the width of the board, giving it a slightly more rounded shape. Fish are generally between 4'8'' and 6'0''. The Gun is a bigger version of the Shortboard and is used in the big wave arena. The increased length of the board makes it possible to paddle into bigger waves. The Gun can be anywhere from 7'2'' in length to over 12' for the really big waves. Surfboard For The Beginner The best Surfboard For The Beginner is a Malibu. Why?, because the bigger, thicker Mals are easier to catch waves with and are more stable to stand up on The ideal board should be at least 9' long and be made of foam. Foamies as they are called are the ideal board to start on and are used in surf schools to learn on. A Pop-Out is a surfboard that is made on a production line and is a cheap alternative to a custom made fibreglass surfboard. The Pop-Out is made of foam covered with thick fibreglass and are practically indestructible - great for running right up to the beach! The Pop-Out is a good beginners choice because of their cost and the fact that they float really well (they are a little more chunky that your average Thruster).