Fun Board Surfing
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Fun Board Surfboards

What are fun boards? What makes them stand out and what are their differences in comparison to short boards, long boards, and the rest? In this article, you'll find out why you should get one.

Funboard surfboards are named quite promisingly and if there's only one type of surfboard worthy to be called "fun", it’s them.

They're one of the boards every surf guide considers as a must for their surf packing lists. Every surf coach urges you to have one in your quiver. Every professional wants to surf on one when the waves are not compatible with their advanced taste.

So, it's only natural that, no matter what your skill level is, you expect to have fun once you jump on them: riding the waves while crying out in joy, meriting all the effort you put into training and getting sunburned all these days, and winking buoyantly to your friends and fellow surfers once you return to the shore.

But, if it's main point is for you to have fun, isn't it possible you can call a board in your quiver that you're having the most fun with, i.e. a "fun board"? If not, why? What is it, really, and how does it differ from other surfboards with similar sizes and volume?

Below, we're going to explain what funboards are, how they are distinguished from others, and what you can expect from them depending on your surfing skills.

What Are Funboard Surfboards?

At this point, we need to reiterate a decades-old surf lesson.

Beginners start their journey with soft top foam longboards, which are ideal for paddling, learning how to achieve and maintain balance, and mastering the proper surfing technique overall. Advanced surfers, on the other hand, stick to shortboards because only on shortboards can you catch waves suited for pro surfing, do maneuvers like cutbacks and ride barrels, and most importantly, feel the energy of the ocean in its less mediated form (which is the whole point of advanced surfing).

What we call longboards are those that are longer than 8 feet. The shortboards are generally shorter than 6 feet. Funboards are mostly between 6 and 8 feet long, covering the midground and offering conciliation like an intermediary. They are not narrow but they are not exactly wide either. You can't call them thick, but saying that they're thin would also be unjust.

The space they occupy in between longboards and shortboards in terms of length, width, and thickness make funboard surfboards a surfboard for all seasons, all waves, and all surfers. Of course, an advanced surfer cannot expect the high performance their particular shortboard provides. Nor is it as easy for the beginner to learn the basics as they would on a longboard. In other words, it's not really ideal for anyone.

However, not being ideal for anyone is not actually a con in the case of funboards. On the contrary, it means that they're versatile and can satisfy anyone as long as you pick the right time to ride them - the right time being when you want to have, well, fun.

Ideal Conditions for Riding a Funboard Surfboard

There's a reason why funboards come up on every surf trip packing list. No matter where you are, what kind of waves you get, and what types of other boards you have, you'll be able to catch waves with them.

You packed only a longboard alongside your funboard for your surf trip, and you cannot enjoy yourself on the former in the face of head high waves? You need not worry because your funboard will cover you.

You have a shortboard but on the particular day you want to surf, there are only mushy waves on the ocean? Well, you can just jump on your funboard and make the most of the white foam. If nothing, it'll provide you with easy paddling.

You want to practice your duck dive on bigger waves as you make your progress from beginner to advanced? No matter your skill level, it'll be good practice.

Experienced surfers will find that it's as responsive as a shortboard, and novice surfers will realize that they can be comfortable on a shorter board, too, albeit it might sometimes be harder to paddle. So, we cannot really talk about ideal surf conditions for such a versatile board.

Of course, as we said before, they will be no match to shortboards when it comes to high performance on waves that are steeper than head high. Neither will it be ideal for beginners who haven't learned the basics yet. But, as a transitional surfboard, all surf conditions are ideal conditions for a funboard.

Comparing the Funboard

There are many types of surfboards, some of which have quite strange names: fish surfboard, step-up, mini Simmons, groveler, bonzer, gun, and so on. However, when design specifics are ignored and they're categorized only on the basis of length, we might narrow the variety down to three types: shortboard, funboard, and longboard.

We have already given enough information about how a funboard compares to the other two, but let's put them head-to-head and make a thorough comparison.

Funboard vs. Longboard

The main feature of longboards is that they're buoyant, they float, they mostly have soft foam tops, and they offer great stability as they hardly transfer the wave movement to the surfer. As a result, they are very easy to paddle, ideal for learning how to stand in balance, and great for learning how to generate speed in the correct way. All these make longboards perfect for beginners to ride small, mushy, foamy waves.

On the other hand, since they're quite long, thick, and wide, they're not really maneuverable. Moreover, the rocker of a longboard is mostly a flat one, which means you'll have a difficult time once you move onto bigger waves.

And, yes, you'll inevitably want to move onto bigger waves. There comes a time when the comfort provided by a longboard can no longer satisfy you, when you think you mastered the basics, and when you're officially ready for the next step toward intermediate levels.

Right then and there, funboards come to the rescue. They are a bit less comfortable than longboards as the soft foam on the top is replaced by fiberglass and the smaller size means less stability. But still, once you start enjoying their responsiveness and maneuverability, you'll start having more fun when surfing.

Funboard vs. Shortboard

Shortboard (or fish) surfers don't really need to paddle because once you are an experienced surfer, you realize that paddling too much is completely unnecessary and only tiresome when catching waves. You just need to know where to lie in wait for the wave, and that'll do the job. Therefore, shortboards lack the paddling power and buoyancy longboards and funboards offer.

There are also certain differences between a funboard and shortboard in terms of shape that reflect on the performance you'll get from them. For example, shortboards generally have a sharper nose, narrower body and tail, and thinner rails.

As a result of these differences, they're less stable and more difficult to control when compared to funboards. However, it means that they're also more responsive. Once you start learning how to ride and do turns on rail, how to glide in a wave during pop ups, and how to ride waves that are like double overhead, you'll look for that responsiveness.

Understandably, though, you cannot find those waves all year round. Sometimes, the surf conditions will not be ripe for you to unleash your shortboard (or, you know, leash it around your ankle), but the idea of having a surf-free day won't appeal to you either. Then, your funboard will come to your rescue.

Further Information About Funboard Surfboards

If you're indecisive whether to get a funboard or not, there are probably certain aspects you're wondering about. Like, yes, their length is 6-8 feet, but aren't there other features that distinguish them? In what shapes do they come? What are the basic materials they're made of? And so on.

In all honesty, it's kind of impossible to answer these questions. They come in many shapes with different tail, nose, and rocker designs, different width and thickness. There are even some hybrids that aim to bring together the best of shortboards and funboards in one surfboard.

Moreover, there are funboard types that are made of basic surfboard materials such as foam, fiberglass, and epoxy. If you want your board to be more buoyant and stable, one that's made of epoxy will be better for you. If you want the board to be more responsive, maneuverable, and classy, though, you may opt for a fiberglass funboard.

Wrapping Up...

So, should you get a funboard? The short answer is yes. For the long answer, keep on reading.

Once you've ridden one, you'll understand why they're called fun. When the ideal conditions for surfing on your shortboard or longboard seem a long way away, when you're bored of surfing with a purpose (whether it be training or competing), or when you just want to have some fun time in the ocean with your friends, your funboard will become the most precious item in your quiver.

That's not even all! Most beginner surfers find it difficult to make it to the intermediate stages of surfing due to the changes in waves they need to ride and subsequently, due to the new boards they need to adapt to. A funboard will ease that transition. Most of them are easy to paddle, comfortable, and buoyant, but they are also maneuverable, responsive, and good for beginner and intermediate surfers who want to catch bigger waves.

No matter what skill level you are, in the end, you'll be thankful that you got one.

Written by
Jeremy Dean
surf coaching