Surfboard Volume Debunked: What It Is, What It Isn’t, How To Get It Right

Surfing enthusiasts and novices alike often find themselves tangled in discussions about one of the sport’s most crucial but misunderstood aspects: surfboard volume.

The concept has become a central point of discussion, and yet, it carries with it a load of myths and misconceptions.

This article aims to unravel the intricacies of surfboard volume, debunking the myths and providing clarity on what it actually means, what it doesn’t, and how you can determine the perfect volume for your surfboard to hit that ‘sweet spot’ in your surfing experience.

The Essence of Surfboard Volume

At its core, surfboard volume refers to the amount of space a surfboard occupies, essentially how much water it would displace if submerged.

This parameter is critical for surfers because it significantly affects two pivotal aspects of surfing: the ease of catching waves and the potential speed achievable on a wave.

A surfboard’s volume can make or break your experience in the water, influencing how effortlessly you paddle into waves and how swiftly you glide across them.

The Misconceptions Around Surfboard Volume

Despite its importance, surfboard volume isn’t the be-all and end-all of surfboard design. A common fallacy is to obsess over achieving a precise volume down to the decimal point for every surfboard in your quiver.

However, the volume should be seen as a starting point—a reference that suggests a board’s suitability for you based on your style and the waves you aim to tackle.

Surfboard Volume

Beyond Volume: Understanding Surfboard Design

Volume doesn’t operate in isolation. It’s part of a symbiotic relationship with other design elements like rocker (the curve of the surfboard from nose to tail) and foil (the distribution of foam across the board).

These factors are equally crucial in determining how a board performs in terms of paddling ease and speed generation. A board with optimal rocker and foil can perform exceptionally well, even with less volume, highlighting the importance of considering these aspects in tandem with volume.

The discussion around surfboard volume has been influenced by some of the most respected names in surfboard shaping. Figures like Matt Biolos, Darren Hanley, and others have emphasized that while volume is a valuable metric, it’s the harmony between all design elements that truly defines a board’s performance.

This collective wisdom underscores the notion that surfboard design is an intricate art form, with volume being just one piece of the puzzle.

Finding Your Surfboard Volume ‘Sweet Spot’

Determining the right surfboard volume is a highly personal journey. What works for one surfer might not work for another, making it essential to approach volume with a sense of experimentation and openness.

Factors such as weight, skill level, and the types of waves you frequent play a significant role in finding your volume ‘sweet spot.’

A Guide to Surfboard Sizing

While online calculators and sizing guides can provide a ballpark figure, nothing beats personal experience. Trying different boards and volumes is crucial in understanding what works best for you.

This process helps identify a range of volumes that suit various conditions, from small wave grovelers to high-performance shortboards for powerful waves.

Embracing Trial and Error

The journey to finding your perfect surfboard volume involves a lot of trial and error. It’s about discovering a balance that allows you to catch waves with ease, generate speed efficiently, and execute maneuvers with precision.

This exploration is a fundamental part of the surfing experience, allowing you to fine-tune your preferences and enhance your performance in the water.


While often shrouded in myths and misconceptions, surfboard volume is a cornerstone of surfboard design that significantly impacts your surfing experience. Understanding what volume is, what it isn’t, and how it interacts with other design elements can transform how you approach surfing.

By embracing a mindset of exploration and experimentation, you can uncover the volume ‘sweet spot’ that elevates your surfing, ensuring that you catch more waves, enjoy more incredible speed, and, ultimately, have more fun in the water. Remember, the perfect volume is out there—it’s just a matter of finding it.

Thank you for diving into the world of surfboard volume with us. We hope this guide has illuminated the path toward finding your ideal surfboard volume.


1. What is surfboard volume?

Surfboard volume refers to the amount of space a surfboard occupies, measured in liters. It represents the total space within the board. It is crucial because it determines how buoyant the board will be in the water, affecting how easily a surfer can paddle into waves and maintain speed.

2. Why is surfboard volume essential?

Volume is significant because it directly influences a board’s buoyancy and performance. A board with the right volume for your weight, skill level, and wave conditions will help you catch waves more easily, paddle efficiently, and maintain stability and speed on the water.

3. Can you have too much volume on a surfboard?

Yes, a board with too much volume can feel bulky or boat-like, making it difficult to maneuver and control. It might be easier to paddle and catch waves with a high-volume board, but the extra bulk can hinder your ability to perform turns and ride waves dynamically.

4. Is surfboard volume the only thing to consider when choosing a board?

No, while volume is a critical factor, it’s not the only one to consider. Other design elements like the shape, rocker, and foil (the distribution of foam) also play significant roles in how a board performs. The interplay between these factors determines the board’s overall behavior in the water.

5. How do I find my ideal surfboard volume?

Finding your ideal volume involves considering your weight, skill level, and the types of waves you’ll be surfing. Many surfers find their ‘sweet spot’ through trial and error, experimenting with different volumes and shapes. Online volume calculators and sizing guides can offer a starting point, but personal experience is vital.

6. Does surfboard volume matter for all types of surfboards?

Yes, volume matters across all types of surfboards, from shortboards to longboards and everything in between. However, the ideal volume varies significantly depending on the board type and intended use. For example, a groveler for small waves will generally have more volume than a high-performance shortboard.

David is the visionary founder of, a dedicated surfer with over a decade of experience riding waves across the globe. With an unwavering passion for the sport and a deep understanding of what makes a great surfboard, David created to guide fellow surfers through the complex world of surfboards.

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