Why Are There Hybrid Surfboards?
Hybrid surfboards are the new sensation in the surfboard world where fish or groveler type boards meet performance boards. Learn what they are good for.
Needless to tell anyone who knows a thing or two about surfing, all we had once upon a time was the longboard. During the 1960s, though, the surfers couldn’t be satiated by riding the same waves on the same boards anymore.
Actually, they had always had a hunger for going bigger and more innovative, but the world of surfboard-shaping couldn’t accommodate their desires back then. In the 60s, thanks to the advance in technology and later, due to the prominence of digital shaping, all kinds of surfboards came to be designed.
Now, the market is full of variety. You have the fun board, the fish surfboard, the asymmetrical board, the high-performance shortboard, and so on. The latest sensation undoubtedly is the hybrid surfboard.
Of course, for the conservatives of the discipline, this variety is something to be frowned upon. Yet, you cannot deny the fact that hybrid surfboards, like all the other novel surfboard shapes, are capable of meeting the individual needs and skills of some surfers more than others. Moreover, as Ricky Bassnett also alludes to in his amazing interview with OMBE head coach Clayton Nienaber, if you want to test your skills and improve, you need to challenge yourself on as many boards as you can get.
Now, let’s see what a hybrid board is in detail and give you an idea about whether it’s suitable for your needs and wants by telling you what it’s good for.
What’s a Hybrid Surfboard?
As can be derived from the term hybrid, hybrid surfboards are those that entertain the characteristics of two or more types of surfboards in one. For example, one of the greatest beginner boards on the market, namely the South Bay Tortuga, is one of those hybrid surfboards that’s advertised as “the best of both worlds.” The Tortuga simply brings together the comfort and buoyancy of a longboard with the maneuverability of a shortboard.
However, despite the open-ended character of that definition, the most prominent blend in the world of hybrids is the “child” born after the congregation of a fish surfboard with a high-performance shortboard (HPSB). That blend is no different than the main features of the South Bay Tortuga. The best hybrid surfboards are the ones that have the stability, buoyancy, paddling power, and speed of fish surfboards with the responsiveness and maneuverability of high-performance surfboards.
Of course, such a blend carries along the specific design features of those boards that are brought together. Mostly, the hybrid board will inherit a flat rocker combined with a wide point pushed forward from the fish board. In addition, it will have a wider outline and thick chest area to ensure buoyancy and stability.
However, it will also have the modern-style rails and functional bottom contours of a shorter board that enable higher levels of maneuverability and flexibility, and in accordance with the performance level intended, it might feature elements like a performance shorty tail.
As a result, the hybrid surfboard shines when it comes to catching waves earlier than you would with a shortboard while also allowing you to enjoy the mobility and performance of one.
What Are the Best Surf Conditions for Hybrid Surfboards?
The hybridity of these boards makes them sound like you can surf them in any conditions, and yes, that’s the case, but only to a certain extent. Primarily, why try to fit the characteristics of a longboard like stability, buoyancy, and ability to catch waves effortlessly into a shortboard? Well, probably to perform well on small and mushy waves.
And that’s the ideal surf condition for hybrid surfboards. You’ll have speed down the line, pull a couple of tricks to the awe of slow longboarders, and ultimately, have fun.
However, knee-high wave conditions aren’t their only home. There are also days when the surf conditions are good with head-high or even double overhead waves that aren’t as steep and have many slow sections. In such cases, a hybrid surfboard is likely to perform better than an HPSB.
Can you ride a hybrid on sizable surf as well? You can, thanks to its well-designed rails and performance-oriented tail design. Yet, as we said above, the rocker of a hybrid board is rather a flat one, and a flat rocker isn’t really compatible with high-performance surf on green waves.
The Best Hybrid Board Brands
As exemplified by the Tortuga above, South Bay Board Co. has a nice catalog of hybrid surfboards in their quiver. Whether you’re a novice surfer looking for a board that’ll accompany you throughout your progress, or you’re an advanced surfer in search of a board that you can have fun with in less ideal conditions, South Bay can satisfy you.
If you’re looking for hybrids designed and approved by pro surfers, Softech has a number of them. Their boards, designed with the help of legends like Filipe Toledo and Mason Ho, provide both performance and fun, which makes them great for both small and big waves and for both beginner and advanced surfers.
Channel Islands, a company that’s been at the locus of surfboard innovation witnessed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, also has quite a number of hybrids up its sleeve. As they’re one of the most dependable surfboard companies on Earth, you know you can trust them to deliver what you need.
The most world-renowned hybrid model, however, belongs to Haydenshapes with the wonderfully-named Hypto Krypto. Its popularity is due to its ability to entertain everyday surfers and pros alike, and we can wholeheartedly tell you that it's a well-deserved one.
For some, navigating through the diversity of surfboard shapes might be difficult. However, once you get the surfboard that’s most suitable to your needs, aspirations, and skills as a surfer, you’ll see that you’ll flourish in that diversity, and your progress will be founded on much more solid grounds.
To make sure you always get the right surfboard, you can enroll in our acclaimed program: Get the Right Board. Don’t forget that no matter how many questions you have, we always have an answer for you, as long as they’re related to surfing, of course.