The ultimate guide to choosing your longboard.
Longboard surfing is more trendy than ever. Many surfers, both beginners and experienced, are seduced by this type of board that is accessible , fun and easy to use.
With the longboard , no more frustration of repeated falls on a shortboard when you're starting out! Make way for fun sessions, exceptional sliding sensations, and rapid progression.
In this complete 10-step guide, we will detail everything you need to know to choose THE longboard board of your dreams. Whatever your level or your objectives , you will find here valuable advice to find the model that suits you.
Ready to fall for a longboard ? Let's go !
Find our selection of our longboard on our online store
1. Why take up longboarding?
Before going into detail about the criteria for choosing a longboard , let's start with a quick reminder of the many advantages of this type of shape:
A shape accessible to beginners
Unlike short boards like the shortboard , which are known to be difficult to master for novices , the longboard surf is aimed at all levels of practice. Its great length provides stability and buoyancy , allowing gentle learning to surf. Even with little or no experience, it is entirely possible to stand on a longboard and quickly experience exhilarating sliding sensations . It's THE board par excellence for getting started and progressing quickly.
Exceptional sliding sensations
Sliding is the very essence of surfing. However, few boards offer a sensation of floating as pleasant as a longboard . The lengthening of the board literally allows you to “ fly ” on the wave, with a very fluid feeling. The slightest wave movement is felt, for maximum pleasure with minimum effort. Pure sensations guaranteed!
Speed and control
Longboards often develop good speed , while remaining perfectly maneuverable. Where the shortboard requires anticipation and commitment , the longboard offers total control , allowing you to adjust your trajectory at will. The great stability also allows simple but very enjoyable tricks, such as walking or dancing on the board.
Suitable for most spots
You can literally surf most waves with a longboard , regardless of their type and power. High-volume longboards allow you to have fun even on small, soft waves that wouldn't carry with a short board. In terms of spots, they are suitable for most of the waves that we encounter in France and Europe.
A friendly surfing style
The longboard promotes fun and relaxed surfing. Its intuitive and accessible side facilitates progress. Surfing with friends or family becomes child's play. Enough to share memorable sessions!
With all these advantages, no wonder longboards are so popular. To choose the right one, you must now look at the different selection criteria.
2. Longboard VS Shortboard
First of all, it is important to understand what mainly distinguishes the longboard from the shortboard, these two large families of boards.
The longboard is characterized above all by its length, generally ranging from 8 to 10 feet (2.40 and 3m). This large dimension provides stability and buoyancy . The board can also be quite wide, with a high volume allowing it to float well, which is ideal for surfing small waves.
Conversely, the shortboard measures less than 7 feet (2.15m). Shorter, it will also be narrower and less thick. This makes it faster and more maneuverable , but also less accessible for beginners.
While the shortboard is designed for experienced surfers looking for thrills, the longboard offers control and balance, making it accessible to all levels. Its progressive learning avoids unpleasant surprises!
To summarize the essentials:
- Longboard : length 8-10 feet, great stability, accessible to beginners
- Shortboard : length < 7 feet, dynamic, demanding, thrills
Rather stability or thrills? This is what should guide your choice between longboard and shortboard !
3. The different types of Longboard
Longboards constitute a large family covering in reality boards with very distinct characteristics. We can schematically distinguish 3 main types of longboard:
The Mini Malibu or Mini Mal
The mini malibu (sometimes spelled mini-malibu) is an intermediate longboard measuring 7 to 8.6 feet. We can say that they are small versions of longboards . These shapes are long enough to remain stable and accessible, the mini malibu nonetheless remains maneuverable and versatile.
This is an excellent choice for those who are just starting out in surfing. The mini malibu also allows you to have fun on small summer waves. In short, it's an easy board for everyday use. This type of board, more compact , is also easier to transport.
The Classic Longboard (Noserider)
It is the traditional longboard par excellence. Its generous dimensions, with a length of more than 9 feet and a high volume, make it the ideal board for beginners . The noserider is also perfect for the vintage style of surfing, with all the classic figures on the front of the board. Stable and easy, it remains a little limited when it comes to moving on hollow and fast waves.
The Performance Longboard (HPLB)
The high performance longboard or HPLB (High Performance Longboard) offers a completely different style of riding. Often shorter (8'-9'), its refined outline and angular rails make this shape a real rocket, faster and more responsive. The HPLB is aimed at experienced surfers looking for more sensations and radicality . On this type of board, it is possible to perform dynamic maneuvers and figures like on a shortboard. Be careful though, this gain in performance comes at the expense of accessibility and control .
To recap simply:
- Mini Malibu: handy and versatile, perfect for beginners
- Noserider: classic, stable, for a purer & vintage ride
- HPLB: fast , maneuvers , thrills
Depending on your goals, one of these 3 types of longboard will suit you best.
4. What length to choose?
Concerning the sizing of the board, the length is obviously the first criterion to consider carefully .
In longboarding, the length typically varies from 8 to 10 feet. To choose yours, here are some simple guidelines:
- 8'6'' (2.60m): recommended for the lightest surfers (- 60 kg)
- 9'0'' (2.75m): ideal for the majority of surfers (60-80kg)
- 9'6'' (2.90m): preferable for heavy surfers (+ 80kg)
These measurements remain indicative. Feel free to test boards close to these sizes to see what works best for you. On a longboard , you will still favor stability and glide over maneuverability. It is therefore better to remain cautious and go uphill.
To summarize, the lighter and more experienced you are, the more you can go down in size to gain dynamism . Conversely, if you are a beginner or are strong, focus on a good length for stability and control.
If you have already gained experience in surfing, our article “ Which surfboard for an intermediate level ” could help you narrow down your choice.
5. What width to choose?
In addition to length, width represents the second essential factor for the dimensions of the board. In longboarding, we generally consider an average width of 20 to 23 inches (50 to 58 cm).
The wider the board, the more stability and buoyancy you will benefit from. This is a definite advantage for beginners.
However, too much width will hinder speed and agility in turns. For maximum control, aim for a width of 20'' to 22'', depending on your size. Narrower longboards will be better suited to lighter surfers wanting to gain maneuverability.
6. What thickness to choose?
In addition to length and width, thickness completes the triptych dimensions to study on a longboard. In absolute terms, it varies from 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm).
Once again, the thicker the board, the more buoyancy, stability, and a significant Sweet Spot you will benefit from. A good point for beginners.
On the other hand, a reduced thickness will make it possible to lower the rails and gain conduction speed.
Concretely, for maximum versatility, aim for a thickness between 2''6 (6.5cm) and 3''1/2 (9cm). This will give you stability without making the board too heavy.
7. Outline and shape
Beyond simple dimensions, the general shape of the board will greatly influence its characteristics and performance. There are mainly two main types of shape:
Traditional noseriders have a large volume, a large width and rounded rails. Their flared outline gives them stability and buoyancy. The tail is often square, which increases the lift surface.
This classic shape clearly favors gliding and stylistic figures on the front of the board. It is the board par excellence for calm and fluid surfing.
The high-performance shape (HPLB)
Conversely, high-performance longboards rely on a narrower and tapered outline. They also have less volume at the back.
Their rails are more angular, for efficient water evacuation and ideal speed control.
Thanks to this specific design, the HPLBs are much faster and more maneuverable than the classic noseriders. They allow you to perform radical maneuvers and aerial figures. Strong sensations guaranteed!
To summarize, the choice of outline will depend above all on your objectives:
- Noserider > stability, gliding, classic figures
- HPLB > speed, handling, sensations
8. Number and types of fins
Another essential technical criterion: the choice of fins, also called fins. On longboards, we find different configurations:
1 fin (single fin)
The monofin is mainly fitted to traditional noseriders. Wider and deeper, this unique central fin optimizes stability while limiting speed. It's the perfect option for pure sliding and classic tricks.
2+1 fin configurations are frequently found on high-performance longboards. They consist of 2 side fins plus a smaller central fin. This compromise provides a good balance between conduction speed and stability.
3 fins (Tri fin)
The 3 aligned fins significantly increase stability and control compared to the 2+1. This configuration is well suited to longboards intended for beginners.
4 fins: Quad
With 4 fins, also called quad, maneuverability and speed reach their peak. The conduction of rails is also improved. This radical option is definitely aimed at experienced surfers. This is a fairly rare configuration for a longboard.
In short, the higher the number of fins, the more maneuverability and top speed you gain. But, you will also lose stability. It's up to you to choose the configuration according to your level and your riding objectives.
9. Choice of materials and construction
Longboards mainly have two types of construction:
PU remains the historic construction of surfboards . Very durable, it provides excellent sensations thanks to its suppleness and flexibility. Its major drawback remains its fragility in the face of shocks. Prefer a board with fiberglass or carbon reinforcements to increase its resistance.
Epoxy technologies have become established more recently. Epoxy provides a lighter, stronger and much less fragile board. Its performance is no longer in doubt. Its disadvantage, a sensation considered a little “artificial” by purists.
Softboards represent an interesting alternative between the rigidity of PU/epoxy and the fragility of foam surfing. The foam construction is reinforced with a rigid shell, giving the board strength and durability .
Softboards like ours from Zeus are lighter than PU, while still maintaining good hold and feel. Their flexibility also makes them less dangerous in the event of an impact.
Perfect for beginners, Zeus softboards are an accessible and reassuring option. They combine correct performance and safety. To consider for leisure use or to improve your skills.
To choose between PU and epoxy, here are some key criteria to consider:
- Feels: PU better, Epoxy excellent
- Strength: fragile PU, almost indestructible epoxy
- Weight: Heavier PU, 30% lighter Epoxy
- Budget: PU more expensive, Epoxy more accessible
- Maintenance: Demanding PU, Easy Epoxy
Overall, the PU will delight purists looking for authenticity. But epoxy is often the best choice for a first board or occasional recreational use.
4 longboard models at Zeus
- Zeus 8'0 Temper : Versatile and efficient Mini Malibu. Ideal for surfers of all levels, from beginners to advanced. Count 345€ for the IXPE version
- Zeus Mielo 8'6 : Stable and comfortable longboard . Ideal for surfers of all levels, from beginners to advanced. Count 380€ for the EVA version
- Zeus Dolce 9'0 : Versatile and efficient longboard . Ideal for intermediate and advanced surfers. Count 450€
- Zeus Dolce 9'4 : Versatile and efficient longboard . Ideal for intermediate and advanced surfers. Count 460€
10. Where to test and buy your longboard?
Now that you know exactly what type of longboard suits you, all you have to do is find your rare gem!
For this, nothing beats full-scale tests. Many stores offer surfboard rentals for the day or half day. This is the perfect way to test different models before you decide.
Analyze the sensations provided carefully: speed, handling, stability, maneuverability...
Once you have found the model, compare prices between different physical resellers and e-commerce sites.
The main selection criteria:
- Sliding sensations
- Stability and control
- Maneuverability in turns
- Top speed
- Suitability for wave type
With these guidelines, you are ready to find the longboard of your dreams and become a fan of this accessible and so much fun sport!
If you are considering purchasing a used surfboard, consult our guide " Choosing a used surfboard: your complete guide " to help you in your choice.
In summary, how to choose the right longboard?
As you will have understood, selecting the right longboard adapted to your profile and your objectives requires analyzing multiple criteria.
To help you see more clearly and find that rare gem, here is a quick summary of the essential points:
- Define your priorities: stability or sensation? Casual or dynamic surfing?
- Choose the type of longboard: noserider, mini-malibu or high-performance longboard
- Take your weight into account for the length (8'6, 9'0 or 9'6)
- Opt for the width and thickness providing maximum buoyancy
- Analyze the shape: angular or rounded rails, square or tapered tail?
- Number of fins: 1 for stability, 2 to 4 for speed
- Consider the material: Foam, PU or epoxy depending on your budget and use
- Test in store and rent to find the ideal board
- Regularly inspect and protect your longboard to extend its life.
- To better understand surf conditions before choosing your board, consult “ The ultimate guide to taming surf weather ”
With all these keys, you now have everything you need to find the longboard of your dreams. The one that will give you years of pleasure and progress on the surface of the waves. So, it’s up to you!