How to decipher the dimensions written on a surfboard

Surfboards: shapers write the dimensions on the bottom, next to the stringer

What do the numbers written on the bottom of a surfboard mean? Learn how shapers note down a newly-shaped board's length, width, thickness, and volume.

Surfboards have different sizes, and their measurements are written in feet and inches on the board, alongside the shaper's name or signature.

Traditionally, the craftsman grabs a pencil and inscribes the dimensions on the bottom of the surfboard, next to the stringer - or even on the stringer - before the final glassing stage.

So, if you're planning to buy a new surfboard, you can know exactly how big it is.

Standard surfboards and longboards feature four fundamental measurements, and they are written down in this exact order:

  1. The length of the surfboard from nose to tail - for instance, a 5'10'';
  2. The width at the widest part - for example, 20'' 1/4;
  3. The thickness at the widest part - for instance, 2'' 1/2;
  4. The volume in liters - for example, 32 liters;

Surfboard dimensions: length, width, thickness, and volume

The Volume Variable

In the past, the overall volume measurement was not used or included in the surfboard dimension annotation.

The masters of foam and resin only introduced this new element around the first decade of the 21st century.

Surfboard volume allows users to compare the flotation and buoyancy of two different models and decide which one is suited for their weight and height, fitness level, and the average wave conditions they surf on.

For example, a 6'1'' shortboard with 25 liters of volume will be more unstable and difficult to paddle than a smaller 5'10'' twin-fin fish featuring 35 liters of volume.

Volume is basically the amount of space a surfboard occupies. If you need to catch waves easily, you should pick a board with more volume.

Nevertheless, volume is only a reference point - variables like the rocker, foil, tail shape, and fin setup have a substantial impact on surfboard performance and should not be neglected.

Discover our simple surfboard volume calculator and explore our surfboard size chart.

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