Volume: the amount of space a surfboard occupies, usually expressed in liters (i.e., 35L’s of volume). Loosely, a surfboards [length x width x thickness] will yield the volume of a surfboard. However, the key to the placement of that volume, the surfboard’s foil, affects the overall volume of a surfboard greatly.
Why is surfboard volume important?
Volume is fundamentally important in a world where surfboard shapes have become more and more diverse; a 6’6 good wave shortboard surfboard may easily have less volume than a 5’6 groveler surfboard. Knowing the right volume for you – a subjective combination of personal preference, body weight, experience, age, fitness, skill level, riding style, etc. – will ensure that you don’t buy a surfboard with too much or too little volume. Too little means you won’t catch as many waves and will have trouble generating speed. Too much means the board will feel bulky, hard to transition and turn. Here is a guide to help you choose a surfboard with the right volume for your weight and for the type of waves you will ride with the board. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to surfboard volume; board size and volume is highly personal and subjective. This is a guide only:
What is your volume sweet spot?
I’m an intermediate surfer and weigh 105 kg’s (230 lb’s). After trial & error, I have found that my volume sweet spot is ~36L’s for a good wave board, ~37-41L’s for an average wave board and 45L’s+ for a groveller surfboard in tiny, weak waves.
If you think you may be riding boards with too little volume, ask yourself these questions:
1.) Do I have trouble catching waves?
2.) Do I have trouble generating speed once I am up to my feet and riding?
If you answered ‘yes’ to either question, try riding a board with more volume, even if it feels strange at first. Rob Machado would be proud.