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Surfboards come in an array of different sizes, shapes, and designs. When you look at surfboard popularity in the present day, the types at the top of the list include mostly shortboards and hybrids. While there is a reason for innovation, the most prominent being the fact that these boards give you the best of different designs in one, there is something special about getting back to surf roots.
We’re talking about retro surfboards.
Come with us as we go through some of the best retro surfboard designs and why you need to get your hands on these classic boards.
Malibu surfboards have been around for quite some time now. Many surfers tend to confuse them with longboards because of the similar shape. If you ever need to distinguish a Malibu from a traditional longboard, just look at the noses. Unlike the rounded noses on longboards, Malibu noses are narrower and pulled.
The name comes from the fact that these boards were originally created to surf Malibu’s right hand breaks. With their 9’0”+ length and narrow designs, they provide the perfect balance of longboard cool and maneuverability. If Malibu boards are a bit too big for your style, you can even check out their younger brother, the Mini-Mal.
Fish surfboards are a bit of a hybrid between longboard and shortboards with the fatness of a longboard and the length/nose of a shortboard. These surfboards, created by San Diego kneeboarder Steve Lis in 1967, were originally made to kneeboard the hollow reef breaks found around the county.
Built anywhere from 5’4” to 6’10”, with tick rails, flat rockers, and wide surface areas, these boards are excellent for hitting smaller and choppier waves when riding them on your feet. The distinguishing factor is the swallowtail, which gives the boards its “fishy” character. There are a wide variety of fish surfboards out these days, meaning you have options when looking for your perfect match.
Egg surfboards were created in 1971 by G&S Surfboards, who were at the time, one of the largest shapers in So Cal. One of their lead shapers, Skip Frye, decided to create a small egg-shaped board that could provide balance and speed, while still retaining the maneuverability of a shortboard.
Egg surfboards are distinguished by their round, egg-like shape. You’ll find them in sizes ranging from around 6’ to 8’5” with thick, rounded rails and wide surface areas. Classic riders love these boards, as they supply a ride that is similar to that of a longboard without the extra mass.
Longboards are the oldest surfboards in history, dating all the way back to the ancient Polynesians. These boards provide a deep, traditional connection with the waves, the polar opposite that you get with a shortboard these days. Longboards are typically any boards above 8’0” in length, either narrow or wide depending on the type you get, and come with little rocker for smooth riding.
There’s truly nothing like confidently rocking a classic board out in the ocean. Even if after all of this you steel feel most comfortable on your modern hybrid, at least you now know a bit more about the roots of surfing and where some of our favorite board styles have come from.
If you’re looking to try something new, we highly recommend adding one of these retro boards to your quiver!