By Graham Swindell
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It is easy to forget one of the most important factors in surfboards. This being the board’s tail shape,width,and thickness. They play a crucial role in a board’s preformance and it will differ from wave to wave. Here is a list of the most commonly used tails in surfing:
Rounded Pin = Similar to the thumbtail and perhaps one of my favorites in big surf. A little more pinched towards the tail the rounded pin is great for medium to overhead hollow surf. Excellent choice for Ostional and Marbella or any wave that is fast with shape.
Squash Tail = Most common tail, offers a stable ride but enables the surfboard to remain loose. Squash tails are better suited for bigger, good form, and stronger waves. Not really ideal for Playa Guiones but more suitable for surrounding faster breaks such as Marbella and Avellanas.
Thumbtail = The design results in more stability without the hard edges. Great tail for rail to rail surfing and big turns, while also preforming excellent in the “pocket” (tube). Make the tail wider in slower, mushier waves such as Playa Guiones and its a perfect all around tail for any wave. I have had my best sessions in Guiones with wide thumb tails.
Bat Tail = performs like the swallow. The two outer pivot points along with the center point provide great stability. Another great choice for Playa Guiones. Add another wing to the rail to get even more preformance. Today’s hybrid boards seem to be getting smaller, with fuller noses, and using this tail combined with the thumb tail.
Swallow Tail = combines the rail drive of the square tail (similar to squash) with the sensitiviy of the pin tail. Most commonly used on “Fish” surfboards. Offers better paddling power and increased drive in smaller waves. A perfect choice for Playa Guiones in both thrusters and quads. Increase the tails width and thickness on twin fins to have the perfect board for dry season’s offshore small days.