Surfboard Science: Short And Fat Is Good

surfboard-science

Surfboard Science: Short And Fat Is Good

How to shrink your surfboard and make it better.

I have a new slogan: when in doubt, do what Dane does. I’m referring of course to Dane Reynolds and the fact that whatever he does is taken as gospel by minions of pros and bros alike. I recently got a secret viewing of Dane’s new movie, and all I can say is holy shit, Dane’s good. One thing I noticed while watching it was the fact that Dane rarely rides any boards that go past his chin—the chosen one is a fan of the short fatties, and if you ask me, we all should be.

When I say short and fat, I’m not talking about fishes (which still have a place in your quiver)—I’m talking about taking your average everyday surfboard, rethinking the volume, and making it shorter and fatter in all the right places. Your current shaper can do it for you, and most likely knows the formula, but you should too, so here’s your guide to chopping some length and adding some girth.

“Every board and every surfer is different,” says short/fatty-board master Matt Biolos of …Lost surfboards. “But, to put things simply, for every inch you go shorter, you should add a quarter-inch of width. So if you ride a 5’10” long by 18” wide, you’d go 5’8” by 18 1/2”—pretty basic stuff as far as length and width. The rocker gets trickier, as we like to keep it low since you don’t really need that extra kick on boards like this. Thickness is similar to the width, depending on what kind of rails you like, about an eighth of an inch thicker for every inch shorter works for us.”

“The best thing about these boards is the fact that you can ride one board for so many conditions,” says George Gall of Plus One Surfboards. “People are finding out that you can ride shorter, wider boards in bigger waves, and if the boards are holding. The reasons to go shorter and wider are endless. The fact that these boards stay under your feet better is the biggest advantage, plus they fit in the pocket, they have a tighter turning radius, and as you can see with guys like Dane Reynolds on his Dumpster Diver—shorter boards with less nose flip allow for so much more recovery from crazy turns.”

So the question is, if Dane Reynolds jumped off a cliff, would you? Maybe not, but if the best surfer of our time and all the top shapers recommend going shorter and wider with your boards, you listen. So shrink that board and beef it up, short and wide has never been so en vogue, go with it.—Chris Coté


Dane Reynolds the highly popular “Dumpster Diver” from Channel Islands Surfboards. The Dumpster Diver is a perfect example of a short and fat board that is perfect for a variety of conditions.