The OMBE Guide to High Performance Longboard Surfing
You can improve your surfing by longboarding while also having lots of fun. Learn all about high-performance longboards below.
Longboards are generally identified with beginners since they check every box that can benefit a novice: they’re stable, buoyant, and they have quite the paddling power thanks to their high volume.
Yet, nowadays, longboards come in a wide range. There are more and more longboards that can appeal to advanced and pro surfers, too, like step-up paddleboards, noseriders, and high-performance longboards.
Although none of the boards in this category are exactly like the soft tops that beginners stroll on, they still serve different purposes. Some of them are quite obvious as well. Step-up paddleboards, for instance, provide fun when you’re bored of surfing, and noseriders are functional for the fun of nose-riding.
But what about high-performance longboards? What exactly are they? Well, let’s find out together.
What Is a High Performance Longboard?
Simply put, a high-performance longboard is a shortboard that somehow grew up.
See, the traditional soft top surfboards are made with foam, which increases their volume. However, if you want high performance from a board, you cannot have too much volume since it means that the board won’t be as responsive, and when a board doesn’t respond, you cannot reinterpret and rechannel the energy and power of the wave.
The main objective behind the existence of the high-performance longboard is to preserve the responsiveness and agility of a shortboard in a longboard. Of course, to that end, they need to have lighter weight and feel. Therefore, most of the high-performance longboards you see on the market are made of innovative combinations of epoxy and fiberglass. Also, that’s why they’re a bit on the expensive side.
That being said, entertaining a low volume isn’t the only merit of a high-performance longboard since the performance of a board is rarely about its volume. Rather, its maneuverability, agility, and thrust are at the forefront of its performance. These criteria can only be met with meticulous design on every front of the board.
For example, a high-performance longboard will have more rocker to enable you to perform surfing tricks such as cutbacks and off-the-lips. It’s going to have a more emphasized and advanced rail design and bottom contours, so rail-surfing isn’t only a dream for you.
Some of them even have a double concave design in their tail area, which adds to the board's maneuverability and the joy of your ride. Additionally, for extra glide and strength, high-performance longboards mostly have multiple-fin setups.
A beginner soft top longboard is good only when the waves are knee-high, but all the features we just mentioned make high-performance longboards suitable even for double overhead waves.
The Difference Between Noseriders and High Performance Longboards
Although noseriders are also performance-oriented boards that are meticulously designed, they aren’t considered as high performance. Why? Well, it totally depends on the wave conditions in which you can ride these different boards.
You want to surf head-high waves like a mini-submarine dodging torpedoes? You can do that with a high-performance longboard, but not with a noserider. Noseriders are designed for advanced surfers to enjoy small and mushy waves on lazy days. You can trim with them and stay in the pocket as long as you like with them, but you cannot perform tricks with them.
So, by now, you can guess how their design differs from that of high-performance longboards. They have a flatter bottom, less or no rocker at all, a more rounded rail better suited for flat surfing, and a wide nose area. In addition, they pack more volume since there’s more foam in their template as well.
For the quivers of those who are passionate about surfing, a high-performance longboard is almost like a must-have. A noserider, on the other hand, isn’t. If you want to have fun on a tranquil beach or point breaks, however, it might prove its worth.
3 Favorite High Performance Longboard Choices of the OMBE Crew
There are many great high-performance longboards on the market at the moment. However, our three picks below are the ultimate examples of this particular board shape.
Creative Army Five Sugars PU Longboard Surfboard
Who are you going to trust with your HPLB? A company whose owner(s) or founder(s) take some digging to the surface like a sunken expedition ship from the early 19th century? Or a company that’s the flagship of a longboard surfer who’s already proven their worth more than once?
Well, that might not be an easy question to answer because investigating ships that sank centuries ago is actually quite fun, but still, the logical answer should be the latter, right?
If you agree, then the Creative Army Five Sugars PU is the destination point of your search after the ultimate longboard, as the company founder is an Australian longboarder by the name of John Constable who’s been awarded many times for his exploits in the scene. The longboards in his catalog? They also deserve every award that might go their way.
Although there are a couple other praise-worthy boards in that catalog, the Five Sugars PU emerges as the most versatile option of the bunch. It has quite the rocker, and its rounded tail design is made for smoothening rail-to-rail transitions. And although it doesn’t have the wide nose of a classic noserider, you can still do some nose-riding with it as well.
Of course, as we said, HPLBs are a bit on the expensive side of the surfboard market. When it comes to such versatile and high-end boards, the price you need to pay understandably increases, but all the indications are that it’s a price worth paying.
Degree 33 8' Ultimate Longboard Surfboard
One thing we admire about Degree 33 as a company is that they’re sticking to the traditional methods of hand-shaping their boards, and in spite of the digital age we’re living in, they’re confident enough to produce the ultimate longboard. They might have done just that!
The Degree 33 Ultimate features fully tapered rails and a slight nose rocker that maximize your maneuverability during turns and tricks and 2+1 fin setup that’ll endow you with all the thrust you need on head-high waves.
Is there a cherry on top? Yes, there’s a cherry on top! This board is as eco-friendly as it gets since its extremely gripping top deck doesn’t require any petrochemical-based wax.
JJF by Pyzel: The Log
Two Hawaiian legends, one of which is an award-winning surfboard shaper, Jon Pyzel, and the other a well-rewarded champion of the Pipe, John John Florence, came together and developed a special board design called Funformance. The Log is a perfect example of how they deliver on the promise of that title: it’s fun and it performs amazingly.
On bad surfing days, when there are only knee-high waves, it’ll provide you with fun. You’re worried about its performance? Well, let us tell you that it was designed for surfing the North Shore, Hawaii, where surf conditions can be a bit more than unforgiving even for the best among us.
Yet, it’s also a board that can resist against dings that might be caused by dangerous Hawaiian reefs thanks to its sturdy construction thanks to its EPS core and epoxy/fiberglass layers.
Last but not least, you’ll be happy to know that it’s made of recycled materials. Not only does it make it an eco-friendly board but also an affordable one.
To conclude as concisely as possible, longboards are amazing. You can learn how to surf on them; you can even draw inspiration from longboarding to improve your turns once you move on to shorter, more performance-oriented boards. Ultimately, you can have fun with them, even when the wave conditions are subpar.