Types of Surfboard Noses and Tails

In Surfing Theory by Rich BrownLeave a Comment

✏️   Updated on 14th September 2020🕓   5 min read


So guys, we’ve discussed the different surfboard types, now it’s time to go through the different types of surfboard noses and tails.

We’ll also go through the impacts each surfboard nose and tail types have to give you a full understanding of why each one is shaped the way it is.

Let’s get started!


Surfboard Nose Types and Their Impacts

Round Nose

The first surfboard nose type we’re going to look at is the round nose.

The round nose type is the widest and most rounded nose type and can be found on foamies, mini mals and longboards. The extra width gives the surfboard lots of stability. This stability is one of the reasons it features so heavily in beginner surfboards.

The width also allows for lots of buoyancy. The buoyancy helps the surfboard sit on top of the water rather then within it, making paddling and catching waves really easy.


Longboards can feature a higher than usual amount of volume in the nose. This extra volume enables riders to perform certain tricks on the nose of their surfboards whilst riding a wave. These tricks can include putting five or ten toes over the very edge of the nose and are known as ‘hang fives’ or ‘hang tens’.


Rounded Point Nose

The second nose type is the rounded point nose.

This is the nose type between the round nose and the pointed nose and is found on funboards, hybrids and some fish surfboards. The reduction in volume makes the surfboard more manoeuvrable. The reduction in width with the pointier nose also makes duck diving easier, something thats not really possible with a round nose surfboard.


Although there is a reduction in volume, surfboards with this nose type still have good levels of stability and wave catching ability.


Pointed Nose

The final surfboard nose type is the pointed nose.

This nose type holds the least amount of volume and is typically found on shortboards and gun surfboards. This is the highest performance nose type and provides the most grip on a waves face with its’ sharper edges (rails). These sharper rails also make it possible to perform very quick and aggressive turns. This nose type is also the easiest to duck dive under oncoming waves.


However, the small amount of volume means paddling is harder. But, surfboards with this nose type typically depend more on steep a drop-in to create speed.


Surfboard Tail Types and Their Impacts

So, onto the different surfboard tail types and the impact each one has on how a surfboard rides.

Just so everyone is on the same page the tail is the end closest to the surfboard fins. As before, we’ll start with the most round and move our way towards the not so round surfboard tail types.


Round Tail

So, starting with the round tail.

This tail type can not only be found on foamies, mini mals, longboards but also some funboards and hybrids. As the all-rounder of the tail types, the round tail performs well in a variety of conditions. This makes it ideal for beginner surfboards that will get used no matter the conditions.



One of the impacts of different surfboard tail types is the amount speed and manoeuvrability possible when turning. Expect smoother, more stable turns with the round tail type, great for beginners. The large amount of volume and width keeps the surfboard above the water making it easy to paddle.


Swallow and Fish Tails

Next are two tail types that often gets mixed up with each other, the swallow and fish tail.

Now, I think the mix up comes from fish surfboards having swallow tails and therefore so some people calling swallow tails fish tails. I have also definitely done this many times. But, in truth there’s only really one name for this tail shape and it’s the swallow tail.

This is a very different looking tail shape compared to the others as it has a triangular wedge cut out of the bottom. This new exciting shape has a couple of key characteristics that impact the way the surfboard rides. The first is due to having two pivot points at the tail instead of one. This gives the rider the flexibility and manoeuvrability to perform very sharp turns and cut backs in either direction. The second effect is that swallow tails are actually very wide until the triangular cut. This gives a surfboard with a swallow tail good stability, control and hold when transitioning from one rail to the other.

Swallow tails are great for those smaller, mushier conditions which is why fish surfboards are so popular on the off days.



Rounded Square and Squash Tails

The next two tail types are the rounded square and the squash tails.

Both of these have very similar features and both are direct descendants to the first ever tail type – the square tail. However, we’ve not discussed the original tail type as it’s not really used in modern day surfing.

So, both the rounded square and squash tail type dominate the shortboard market. The rounded square tail can also be found in some longboard designs.

Both of these surfboard tail types offer a great balance between stability, manoeuvrability and hold. With the fairly large surface areas both hold a good amount of volume meaning they can glide into waves easily.

The slight differences are in the width at the very end of the tails and the sharpness of the corners. The rounded square offers a more compact turning ability whilst the squash offers more hold on the face of a wave. These are both high performance designs so perform best in the more hollow, picturesque conditions.


Pin Tail

Last but not least is the pin tail type.

This surfboard tail type is only really reserved for the gun surfboards. It’s the narrowest of all the tail types and is designed to provide maximum speed and control on the most powerful waves.

The reduction in volume allows for more of the back of the board to sink into the water. This gives the rider the traction they need to stay in control on the bigger waves. Because there is such a small amount of surface area and volume with this tail type, it doesn’t perform well in small or mushy conditions.



Well guys those are the main types of surfboard noses and tails and their impacts. I hope you found it useful and has given you a better understanding of why a surfboard has what it has at each end.

Feel free to check out my other social media channels and let me know what you think!


Next read: ‘Types of Surfboards’


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