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Figuring out surf board VOLUME

In the past 2 decades with new technology in Computer Aided Design ( C.A.D. ) and the collapse of Clark Foam back in 2005,  the word VOLUME has been used a lot in choosing the right board for the surfer.  


With movies like "Blue Crush", surfers are dreaming of ripping big waves on their shortboards. 


But what is reality and being realistic ?  Do you ride waves that are high performance that matches the higher performing shortboard.   Would a longer board with more volume suit you and the wave better ? 


Going down in surf board size is like going up in C.C.s ( engine size ) for a motorcycle.  Can you handle the extra power ? Can you react more quicker ?   If you can't handle a 250cc., you shouldn't get a 1000cc. superbike.  If you can't turn a 7'6" fun board, you shouldn't buy a 6'2" shortboard.  


"But isn't a shorter board easier to turn ?"   No, like anything ( computers, bicycles, paint brush ), there is no potential on it's own, it needs the input of the rider.  Shortboards need to be ridden "On Rail",  not going straight in the whitewater. 


Less VOLUME means the rider needs to make and create speed, constantly moving from rail to rail.  A board with more volume has more float and easier for the beginner to stay on the wave.


To get stronger, you push yourself to lift a heavier weight.  In surfing,  you need to be able to turn a longer board with more VOLUME before moving down.    If you can't turn a 7'6", the answer IS NOT to get a 6'0".  Force yourself to ride ( and turn ) a 9'0" for a few weeks. Then later when you get back on the 7'6", you'll be able to turn it with ease.  


There are Advantages and Disadvantages to more volume.  A board with more volume can get on the wave earlier. A board with more volume can sit further out in the line up.  


The rider with the higher volume Fish/Hybrid got on the wave so early the shortboarders on the shoulder gave up paddling.  


Sometimes TOO MUCH VOLUME will hold you up on the face during take off.  Or if you don't have a good paddling and proper position at the peak.  


So how do we figure out VOLUME for a surf board ?  2 decades ago there wasn't Volume Calculators.  We got a board ( borrowed from the Uncle's on the beach ) and went for it.  As we learn to turn and ventured to different surf breaks, we went shorter and shorter.  


My advice is to forget VOLUME if you are not an Average / Advanced rider.   Go by LENGTH over your head.   

Learner/Newbie -  3 feet over your head  22-23" wide

Beginner / first board purchase -  two feet over your head  21-22" wide

Intermediate able to turn front and back side - foot to 1.5' over your head 20" wide

Average surfer in proper shortboarding waves - your height to little over.  19"+ wide


Once you start riding board the same height as you or shorter, you should already know what works for you.  VOLUME is a tool to fine tune your high level surfing technique.   Remember,  Ten different surfboard from Ten different shapers all with the exact same VOLUME, will all ride differently.   VOLUME is just one aspect.  Rail, Rocker, Outline, Tail design, Nose shape all affects how the board will respond......... not just VOLUME.  


Or you can figure out your board VOLUME this way.  Try different boards.  Take notes of what gets you on the wave, lets you turn and control the board from start to finish.  If the SOFTBALL setting was too easy and the FAST pitch setting was too frustrating , then stay where you are having fun on the SLOW pitch setting.  


If you can't get on to waves, drop is too scary, board is too squirrely to control,  maybe your board doesn't have enough VOLUME.   If you are having fun, catching waves enjoying the ride, your surfboard VOLUME should be just about right.  


please check out Matsunosuke Kugenuma and Philippine Surf Report on FB and to see more.  



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