There are many important aspects that go into creating a surfboard. However, one of the first and most valuable steps is the outline of the board. The outline is a schematic drawing on the board that has its entire plan. The outline, or template, is the lines drawn on the blank that encompass the surfboard’s dimensions. The outline also shows how the board will perform. For example, if the board has a rounder outline it will perform rounder, tighter turns. However, if the board has longer straighter curves it will perform longer more drawn out turns. The outline of a surfboard is a crucial part of the board that plans the nose width, wide point, and tail width along with shaping the type of curve throughout the board.
The nose width of the board is key to what type of board you want to ride on what type of day. The nose width is measured about one foot from the tip of the board. A wide nose is typically easier to paddle and catch waves. As a result, it is often ideal in small surf. However, a wide nose can be very fun if the surfer is someone who likes to make long, drawn out turns. The wide nose is good for this because it has more surface area of the rail in the water at all times. The issue with a wide nose tends to appear in large surf. On large, hollow waves a board with a wide nose tends to catch on the upper rail. As a result, wider noses are typically found on fishes, funboards, retro boards, and shortboards made for small mushy waves. A board with a thin nose has a more curved outline. This means that the board can perform tighter turns. It also means that they can handle steeper, later take offs and tend not to catch in large, hollow waves. However, the downside is that they are harder to paddle and catch waves.
The wide point of the board is the widest point on the outline. Although it is the widest point it is not always in the direct center of the board. It is the pivot point on which the board turns. A forward wide point puts more rail in the water during turns. As a result, it causes longer, more drawn out turns while maintaining speed. These type of boards are usually surfed with weight concentrated on the front foot. A forward wide point allows for more paddling power and can get on waves earlier. They are used with retro boards, fishes, and guns. Boards with behind center wide points are usually surfed off the back foot. Because there is less rail in the water, they can perform quicker and snappier turns.
The tail width is measured about 1 foot from the back of the board. The tail width is not the tail shape. However, the shape can influence the width. Wide tails are generally for smaller and weaker waves. A wide tail generates more speed and is more maneuverable. It doesn’t dig or bite at the wave as much as on a narrow tail. But that means it has less hold on steeper waves. A narrow tail has more hold on steep, hollow, and powerful waves because it can still dig and bite at the water. However, it has less turning ability and are slower than wide tail boards.
The lines between those three points of the board are also very important to the type of board desires. Parallel outlines run almost parallel to the stringer of the board. The outline of the board will have almost straight curves. These cause more surface area up and down the board. This results in long drawn out turns and a fast surfboard. Parallel lines are not desired in a board if the rider wants to do snappy turns. Extended parallel lines are used on classic longboards. They promote nose riding and down the line riding by extending the amount of rail in the water. Continuous curve outlines reduce the amount of rail in contact with the water. This promotes a more rail-to-rail style of surfing and is common on modern shortboards.
The outline of a surfboard is like the blueprints to a building. It is the initial plan on exactly what kind of board a rider wants. The combination of each type of nose, tail, and wide point width along with the general curvature of the board is crucial to what type of wave the board should be surfed on. The outline should include every detail and dimension of the board so that the best possible board can be made for the intended type of wave and person.