If you have come to this page wondering which surfboard to get I want you to first read or at least skim over three articles on this website, that will give you a good idea of what kind of surfboard you want to buy:
- Surfboard types explained – shortboards to alaias and everything in between,
- Surfboard design – how different surfboard parts influence the way your board rides, and
- Surfboard construction – how surfboards are made.
But if you already know that and you’re just looking for some guidance when it comes to your boards volume, then read on.
What Kind of Volume do I Need?
Surfboards metrics used to be given in length, width, thickness, and maybe rocker. But few years ago volume started creeping into specifications. Which is a good thing, volume is the main thing that makes or breaks the decision if one particular board is right for you. That is because the required volume is directly connected to your actual abilities and physique. Not just your wishes and imagination.
Why do you want just the right volume?
- too little volume – catching waves will be hard and catching waves is the main purpose of surfing, isn’t it?:)
- too much volume – a surfboard will feel clumsy, and hard to turn once you are riding it.
Of course the volume goes hand in hand with boards shape and purpose. An example of two very different boards with similar volume:
Small Wave Surfboard Volume
Especially small wave boards (like Pier Pony above) are a bit of an exception when it comes to volume. Why? Small shitty waves require boards with lots of volume. So if your regular shortboard is around 26 liters, a small wave surfboard for sure needs more. Take that into consideration when the volume calculator spits out 26 liters as your ideal number.
Needed surfboard volume depends on:
- Your weight – the heavier you are the more volume you will need, this one is quite obvious.
- Your surfing level – better surfers need less volume. Why? Because better surfer paddles better and more efficiently, knows and predicts the waves better, has better positioning, and knows how to get more speed from the wave.
- Your fitness level – stronger surfers, people in good shape will paddle easier and faster, so they need less volume to help them.
- Age – this one is mostly related to the fitness level. When you get older and you have less time for yourself your fitness level drops. Because of the age it also get harder to maintain it. Otherwise it has no direct connection to the volume, just try telling Kelly Slater he should be riding more volume because of his age:).
One more thing before we go to calculators – most of the calculators online are made by surfboard manufacturers to help you choose their boards. But you shouldn’t let that bother you, given volume number can be used for any surfboard you are buying/ordering. Also for comparison try 2-3 different calculators.
5 Surfboard Volume Calculators
In no particular order with some comments from me:
- Firewire volume calc (has all 4 factors)
- Rusty volume calculator
- Boardcave surfboard selector (lots of factors, but it will insist on selling you their boards, you can see the recommended volume though)
- Pyzel volume calc
- Channel Islands board selector (it’s also very “buy our boards”)