Different Types of Costa Rica Surf Boards and Which One is Best for You

Different Types of Costa Rica Surf Boards and Which One is Best for You

A narrow plank with fins, surf boards may look pretty similar, but not all surf boards are created equal. There are different boards for different needs, such as skill level and location – meaning the types of waves you will be surfing. We are taking a look at the different types of Costa Rica surf boards out there and which one is best for you.

There are six basic surf board types, including Longboard, Shortboard, Fish, Egg, Hybrid, and Fun boards. Surf boards can be hard top or soft top. Hard tops are more rigid, making them better suited for calmer waters where control is a priority over speed or stability. The soft top surf board, also known as a foam board or foamie, is lighter and more durable than hard tops. Typically made from foam, resin, or fiberglass, all are available surf board rentals in Tamarindo.

costa rica surf boards


Longboards are typically 8 to 12 feet long and have a rounded nose with a bit of a point and a tapered tail. Since longboards are usually a little wider and thicker than other boards, they are easy to paddle in small to medium waves, but can become unwieldy if the surf gets too big. This also makes it easier to catch waves in small to medium surf. Great for beginners to advanced surfers, longboards are versatile and easy to use, that’s why we almost always recommend our beginners start out on soft top longboards at Iguana Surf.


Shortboards are what you will see the pros using during surf competitions as they are built for high-performance speed and maneuverability. These boards are almost always under 7 feet long with sharp pointed noses and tapered tails. Short boards don’t float as well as others because they are smaller, which means they take a little more effort to paddle out. They are, however, easier to duck dive or turtle than a longboard. Shortboards are best for intermediate to advanced surfers.

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Fish Surf Board

The fish surf board is shorter and flatter than a shortboard and gets its name due to its split tail shapes. The distinct V notch in the back is sometimes called a swallowtail and comes in various sizes. This board is mainly used for surfing on smaller, mushier waves. The tail tends to allow for more surface area for better hold in the wave as you go from side to side. The fish surf board shape helps it paddle and maneuver well, making it a nice step for intermediate surfers looking to try out the shortboard.

Egg Surf Board

Egg surf boards are so named because their round noses tend to give them an egg shape. Categorized as fun boards, egg surf boards are generally short (6-8 feet) and thick in design to ride mellow waves in a laid-back style. Similar to the fish board, these boards offer lots of fun in waves you can’t paddle in with a shortboard.

Hybrid Surf Board

Hybrid boards combine some of the characteristics of the other styles of surf boards, like a short board with a fish tail, for example. Sometimes a hybrid board refers to multi-material boards such as a soft top with a slick bottom. These boards can be designed to specialize in certain conditions and for certain types of surfers. Hybrid boards are very popular Costa Rica surf boards but surfers must know what they want and what conditions and surfers they are best for before they choose a hybrid. 

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Fun Surf Board

The fun board is just a smaller version of the longboard, ranging in length from 6 to 8 feet. The smaller size makes for better maneuverability when paddling, not to mention carrying it to the beach! You may lose some of the ease of paddling you get with a longboard, however. Fun boards are great for smaller surfers like children and teens. They are also good for days when the surf isn’t very big. This is also a good transition board for someone who is looking to move down a size from a longboard, but isn’t quite ready for a shortboard. This shape is great for catching waves and simply getting out on the water and having fun!

Check out our Tamarindo Surf Board Rentals

There are a few different things to consider when looking at surf board rentals in Tamarindo Costa Rica.


If you are a beginner surfer, it is best to start on a soft top longboard. These types of boards are ideal for beginners because they are more stable and allow you to balance yourself more easily. They are also easier to paddle than other boards. These are the surf boards we recommend to all our beginners learning to surf. We also highly recommend taking a surf lesson if it is your first time going out on the waves, not just for safety reasons, but also to give you a better chance to increase your surfing success rate.

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Intermediate and experienced surfers have a much broader range to choose from including shortboards, fun boards, and fish surf boards. At this level, boards are typically chosen for conditions, and just plain preference.


Your height is a big factor in determining the length of the surf board you need. Typically, the taller you are, the longer the surfboard will need to be. A basic rule of thumb is to look for a surf board that is about one foot longer than your height, especially if you’re a beginner. A more experienced surfer can opt for a board that is only a few inches taller than them. Meanwhile, your weight helps determine the width and thickness of the surfboard you need. The heavier you are, the more buoyancy you will need in a board so your body weight produces less drag as you catch and ride the wave.

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Consistently small wave conditions are best suited for longboard riding as it will allow you to catch waves easier and ride small waves with minimal effort. Sloppy and mushy conditions are best surfed on a fish surf board. In large, powerful waves it is best to choose a surf board with some extra length and a pintail tail design.

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No matter what type of surf board you choose, make sure you have the right conditions, body type, and experience level to handle it. The best way to decide is by speaking to someone like a surf instructor with knowledge and experience to help you determine which is the right board for you. Having the right board will also ensure you have more fun out on the waves. At Iguana Surf, we have a wide selection of surf boards to choose from, including shortboards, hybrid boards, fun boards, and longboards. We have over 125 boards in total from 5-foot fish boards to 10-foot-long boards. Most of our Tamarindo surf rentals are epoxy or soft tops, which is great for all levels. We have soft tops in all sizes for our beginners – even for toddlers! And if you take a lesson with us, you will receive 50 percent off all of our Tamarindo surf board rentals for the rest of your vacation. Let the experts at Iguana Surf help you pick out the perfect board and get you up on the waves!


Written by Jennifer LaCharite


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