The 5 Main Surfboard Tails and What They Do

As surfboards have progressed, the tail design has gotten a bit more complex and the number of variations has risen. You may have wondered why surfboards have different tails and what they do? Even with a wide spectrum of different shapes these are the main surfboard tails that you will come across. In this post you’ll gather a better understanding of the differences so that you can choose the right tail on the right board.  


1. Pin Tail

  • Narrowest width of all tails
  • Most traction of any tails due to less surface area which results in the back of the board sinking more and holding in
  • Can be hard to maneuver and is not suited for small waves
  • Normally found on Guns, where traction at high speed is more important than maneuverability.

2. Swallow Tail

  • Gives the board more hold and traction
  • Upside down 'V' in the tail gives control and bite in and out of the turns.
  • More surface area in the tail, giving it the ability to maintain speeds through fatter/softer sections of the wave.
  • Wider and more pronounced tail is often found on a fish (surfboard) and is suited to smaller waves.
  • Our Retro Fish Surfboard features a swallow tail.

3. Round Tail

  • The round is a similar shape to the pin but has been widened to a variations of widths.
  • Gives more surface area and bounce
  • Does well in small waves as it moves fast through the water
  • Versatile tail and does well in hollow waves and drawn out turns better than a square tail.
  • Our The Hidden Surfboard features a round tail.

4. Squash Tail

  • Most common tail among short boards, it is a variation of the square tail.
  • Its edgier tail allows for quick release in pivot turns.
  • Looser feel and very responsive
  • Designed for both control in steep waves as well as softer waves
  • Our Baked Bean Surfboard features a squash tail.

5. Square Tail

  • Earliest tail design
  • Helps with stability when catching waves
  • Is good in the pivotal turns
  So there you have the 5 main surfboard tails and a little more information on how they differ. The tail of the surfboard is a good thing to consider when purchasing a new board. Buyers should consider the type of wave they will be surfing, their skill level, and weight, among other things. A surfboard is a complex piece of equipment. We are always willing to assist you with your decision at our showroom in Bondi or online at Both of which allow you to design your very own custom surfboard!
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