What's in a surfboard? Why are there so many styles and shapes? And most importantly, how do the different designs affect your manoeuvrability? These are all good questions. The answers will help you choose the precise board you need for the breaks you'll find while surfing in Fiji.
Surfboards vary in length and width. The ones you select should reflect your ability on the water as well as the waves you intend to tackle. We'll cover longboards, thrusters and guns below. Each one is designed to excel in different types of waves.
When To Choose A Longboard
Longboards are well-suited for beginners and those who enjoy surfing small waves. Measuring 9 feet and longer, their length makes it easier to stand up and balance. It also makes it easier to paddle, which in turn helps in catching waves. A longboard is a great choice if you're learning how to surf.
One of the downsides is that the board is difficult to submerge under the water. It can easily get caught in breaking waves that you're trying to paddle past. Longboards are also less agile than their shorter cousins. Their length and mass come at the cost of manoeuvrability.
When To Use A Thruster
Thrusters are shortboards, measuring under 7 feet. You'll often see them used in surfing competitions. They cut through the water easily, allowing the surfer to navigate agilely and perform flashy manoeuvres.
The name of the board comes from the arrangement of its fins. Three fins on the thruster's underside give the surfer increased momentum and stability. The fins are arranged near the tail to form a triangle; the bottommost fin is positioned a few inches from the end of the board. This set-up helps to stabilise the board during drops and drive it through barrels.
Thrusters are a good option if you're a skilled surfer. They're suitable for a variety of surf conditions, but perform especially well when exposed to large swells and powerful waves.
When You Need A Gun
Guns are the type of board you want to ride when tackling huge waves. They're long and slender, which makes fast paddling easier. They're also pointy, which allows them to slice through the water.
A gun is designed to take steep drops. Its long, thin frame can quickly recover in the chop, allowing the surfer to regain his (or her) balance and ride out the wave. If you're planning to visit Cloudbreak, Restaurants or Lighthouse when the swells are huge, take a gun with you.
Surfboard design involves much more than just style. The type of board you use should reflect your experience and objectives. Your decision to ride a longboard, thruster, gun or any other type of board will impact your performance on the water.
If possible, bring several different surfboards with you when you visit the Namotu Island Resort. That way, you'll have the board you need whether you choose to relax at Swimming Pools or tempt fate at Cloudbreak.