When choosing what kind of board you are going to buy a question you are going to want to ask yourself is, “What kind of tail do I want on my board?”
Surfboards come with all kinds of tails. Square, Squash, Diamond, Fish, Swallow, Bat, Pin, Thumb, Moon, and the list goes on. These are the main types of tails you will see in a lineup but with innovation you might see tails you never imagined popping up anytime. So to help you better understand what kind of tail you should have on your next board we will cover the top 5 most common tails and what purpose they server.
Square tails were the most common type of tail you would find on a surfboard years ago. Square tails allow you to have more area in the back of your board which provides better stability and drive in your surfing.
A new trend in surfboards is to make them shorter, wider and thicker and a square tail allows you to put more foam in the back of your board. This also makes them great for smaller waves.
Squash tails are what you will find on most boards. They look just like their name. If you were to take a pin tail and squash it, you would end up with a squash tail, (don’t try squashing your pin tail to get a squash, that isn’t how it works, just how it looks).
Squash tails are very similar to square tails but allow you to have a little more release in your turns. Since the corners are rounded off you have less foam to push through the water as you turn. This is a very common shape for 3 fin shortboards and can be surfed in small – medium+ surf. If you are buying your first shortboard, a sqush tail is a great choice.
Round tails are the next step after squash. Pretty much if you took a square tail and sanded the corners you would get a squash tail. If you kept sanding you would get a round tail. With each step you get smoother, looser turns. Again the reason being you have less foam to push and throw around on the wave.
Rounded tails are a lot looser and can be wobbly for a beginner. A big advantage for round pins is staying in the pocket on hollow waves. These tails are found on boards used in more advanced surf.
Pin tails are used for big waves. These are the boards you see out at Waimea, Mavericks, Sunset and other big wave spots around the words.
Traditionally they had a single fin but they now make pin tail boards with 3 fins and even quads.
The narrow pin tail allows you to hold in the large waves.
Fish tail surfboards were a thing of the past but have take off again as of late. Fish tails are usually found on shorter, wider boards with a lot of foam and are a large cut up the middle making the tail look like that of a fish.
They are super fun in small waves. They have either a twin fin or quad fin setup. Swallow tails are similar but just don’t have as big of a cut up the middle of the board.
The cut is usually only an inch and this is again just another way to get rid of some foam in the tail allowing you to push through water easier.