The surfboard volume calculator

Surfing
Surfboards: find the best volume for your weight and experience level | Photo: EthnoScape

The concept of surfboard volume is of increasingly popular interest, despite the fact that it has been used in windsurfing for a long time.

Buoyancy is, in fact, a critical factor when it comes to paddling and gliding.

For several decades, shapers wrote three main specs on the back of their surfboards - length, width, and thickness of the board.

Volume - in liters - was never considered as variable.

Recently, former pro surfer John Whitney Guild proposed the inclusion of the volume ratio to rider weight in our surfboard spec list, so that surfers could better choose the best surfboards for themselves.

Knowing that two surfers with the same weight but differing experience levels will paddle for a wave differently, it follows that the floatation needs for each situation should be adapted accordingly.

A beginner surfer should ride the equivalent of 100 percent of his or her body weight (in kilograms) in volume.

On the other hand, the intermediate/advanced surfer on a shortboard will require between 30-40 percent of his body weight in board volume.

Here's an example:

A novice surfer weighing 154 pounds (70 kilograms) should start off with a 70-liter board, while an advanced rider with the same weight could get a 24-liter surfboard.

Surfboard volume: an experienced surfer will require between 30-40 percent of his body weight in board volume | Photo: Shutterstock

The Surfboard Volume Chart

Beginners in the art of surfing will easily learn how to pop up on surfboards with higher flotation ratios.

This means that the most suitable surfboards for learning to surf generally have more volume in liters, and will be longer in length.

Discover the ideal surfboard volume (in liters) for your weight (kg/lb) and experience level.

Explore the following surfboard volume chart:

Weight (kg/lb) Beginner Begin/Intermed Intermediate Intermed/Adv Advanced
36.36-80 32.00 24.00 20.00 16.80 16.00
38.64-85 33.23 24.92 20.77 17.44 16.00
40.00-90 34.36 25.77 21.48 18.04 17.18
43.18-95 35.41 26.56 22.13 18.59 17.70
45.45-100 38.18 28.64 23.86 20.05 19.09
47.73-105 38.18 28.64 23.86 20.05 19.09
50.00-110 39.00 29.25 24.38 20.48 19.50
52.27-115 40.77 30.58 25.48 21.41 20.39
54.55-120 41.45 31.09 25.91 21.76 20.73
56.82-125 42.05 31.53 26.28 22.07 21.02
59.09-130 42.55 31.91 26.59 22.34 21.27
61.36-135 44.18 33.14 27.61 23.20 22.09
63.64-140 44.55 33.41 27.84 23.39 22.27
65.91-145 46.14 34.60 28.84 24.22 23.07
68.18-150 47.73 35.80 29.83 25.06 23.86
70.45-155 49.32 36.99 30.82 25.89 24.66
72.73-160 50.91 38.18 31.82 26.73 25.45
75.00-165 52.50 39.38 32.81 27.56 26.25
77.27-170 54.09 40.57 33.81 28.40 27.05
79.55-175 55.68 41.76 34.80 29.23 27.84
81.82-180 57.27 42.95 35.80 30.07 28.64
84.09-185 58.86 44.15 36.79 30.90 29.43
86.36-190 60.45 45.34 37.78 31.74 30.23
88.64-195 62.05 46.53 38.78 32.57 31.02
90.91-200 63.64 47.73 39.77 33.41 31.82
93.18-205 65.23 48.92 40.77 34.24 32.61
95.45-210 66.82 50.11 41.76 35.08 33.41
97.73-215 68.41 51.31 42.76 35.91 34.20
100.00-220 72.00 54.00 45.00 37.80 36.00
102.27-225 73.64 55.23 46.02 38.66 36.82
104.55-230 77.36 58.02 48.35 40.62 38.68
106.82-235 79.05 59.28 49.40 41.50 39.52
109.09-240 82.91 62.18 51.82 43.53 41.45

The Guild Factor Formula

One liter floats one kilogram of weight, and based on this knowledge, Whitney Guild has created a volumetric table system named the "Guild Factor."

This surfing scale allows surfers to pick the right surfboard for their skill level and accounts for wave conditions.

It can also be used for selecting longboards and stand up paddleboards.

And what are the most common "Guild Factor" ratios?

Advanced/Pro Surfers: 0.34-0.36 (GF)

Intermediate/Advanced Surfers: 0.36-0.38 (GF)

Intermediate/Older Surfers: 0.38-0.42 (GF)

Weekend Warriors/Casual Surfers: 0.43-0.49+ (GF)

Beginner Surfers: 0.50+ (GF)

For a more precise surfboard volume, enter your exact weight and skill level, and the recommended liters. Here's the formula:

Surfer's Weight in Kilograms (Kg) X Guild Factor (GF) Skill Level = Surfboard Volume (Liters)

Final Remarks

The "Guild Factor" formula is generally accurate for polyurethane (PU) blank-based shortboards and funboards.

Epoxy and expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam-based surfboards have considerably more buoyancy, which means that the ideal volume in liters should be dropped by around two or three liters.

Also, as a surfboard gets longer and becomes a high-performance shape, the volume should also drop.

These remarks are important to underline that surfboard volume is not a one-formula-fits-all concept.

It's a recommendation, suggestion, or guideline that should be adopted cautiously.

If you're still getting into surfing, ask your local shaper or surf shop about which size you best.

Remember that the surf industry is continuing to revise how the most appropriate volume range for a surfer is calculated.

Volume does not tell everything about a surfboard and how it will improve the wave riding experience. It's just a handy guideline or starting point.

For more in-depth information, take a look at our surfboard size chart, and learn the effects of surfboard design in wave performance.

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