What Surfboard Do You Ride In The UK?

JS Black box

Each country has its own variable conditions with different coastlines…with the changing seasons thrown into the mix having the right type of surfboard can make the difference, between having a fun surf and a frustrating one.

Can you really have a one-board quiver in the UK and surf 90% of the time?


Now I surf mainly around North Cornwall all year round and picking just one surfboard for all conditions is not an easy choice. Your standard of surfing, weight and style inevitably come into play – but for the average surfer who likes shorter boards I do think it is possible to buy one surfboard that you can surf most days.

Think about the typical surf conditions

If your thinking about a one board quiver, ponder on the typical surf conditions we get here in the UK.

In North Cornwall the surf is usually waist high up to 1-2ft overhead and the spots are mainly beach-breaks. Maybe once every 3-4weeks those waves will go super-clean, hollow and offshore but that is rare. So a bit more width and volume in a shortboard will help with those junky onshore days and allow you to surf more often.

So if you are not a pro who can bust airs on 5’11 blades but are of a reasonable standard – in that you can duck dive, surf down the line, do a few little turns and are happy to surf some overhead waves – then in my opinion you’d be wise to think about hybrid shortboards and fish surfboards.

Which shortboard or fish?

Now there are many boards that can fall into this criteria but if you consider a couple of factors such as volume and the ability to get out back and surf overhead waves you narrow things down a bit.

The small fish

I’d recommend making sure that a fish surfboard is small enough to be fast and that you can duck dive it easily on those overhead days – most fish surfboards I have tried over 6’4 are pretty difficult to duck dive in heavier surf.

The bigger shortboard

On the flipside make sure a shortboard is not too short so that you can still catch waves when the surf is small. As a rule of thumb go for more width on a shortboard if its under 6’2 or go for more length if its a narrower shortboard.

Suggested surfboards

Here are my suggestions from six manufacturers for surfboards that I believe should be good in 90% of the conditions we get in Cornwall for a surfer of average ability.

– Al Merrick: 6’3-6’4 Flyer, 6’0 Dumpster Diver
– JS: 6’0 Black Box, 6’0 Nitro, 6’4 – 6’6 Occy
– 7S: 6’0 Superfish
– JC: 6’4 Pete Mel Machine (Surftech), Flying Pig 6’2 Surfboard ( Surftech)
– Firewire: 6’2 – 6’4 Alternator, 5’10 – 6’0 Dominator/ Spitfire
– Santa Cruz: 6’0 Ozzie, 6’2 Pumpkin Seed, 6’0 Bertleman Twin Fin
– Rusty: 6’6 Rusty Predator
– Aloha: 6’6 AF2 Turbo Surfboard

* If you are under 10 1/2 stone in weight you can go a little smaller. If you weigh over 12 stone, then go a little bigger.

What do you think?

Are there any surfboards that should definitely be on this list? Let me know in the comments box below!

BTW – I’m not being paid to plug these boards 🙂


  1. I have a 5’10 Dominator and weigh 13 1/2 stone – great board getting a 6’4 Alternator as a step-up board for the winter

  2. Simon Anderson Mollusc… I am 5’11” -13 stone and ride a 6’2″… It goes in anything from knee high Polzeath dribble to overhead Indo barrels… Excellent allrounder!

  3. You can have a one board quiver, however it’s good to mix it up. I think Luke Young shapes are good, i’ve got a 6’2 Zero for overhead days, its good with onshore, offshore and kneehigh waves as well.

    Got a couple of Quiver’s 5’10 Dirty Truck and 6’0 Bumblebart, both of which also go well in anything.

    Wouldn’t mind a board that isn’t from a local shaper for a change. Like a JS, Al Merrick; Fred Rubble, Neckbeard or DD or Firewire Hell Razor. Hmm Dunno?

  4. Unreal, you name the best boards for North Cornwall and not one local shaper is named…

  5. Hi, what do you think about the Lost RV 5,5 with 29,41 Vol. I am 5’7. 132 lbs, intermediate level, 37 years old, only surf weekends. I am not that good for overhead, but I am trying : -)

    I did try 7S: 5’9 Superfish and it was good fun! same vol 29 L
    Are these boards strong?


  6. Hi. Its hard to say dude and I never ridden the board you refer to – but if you liked the superfish and its the same volume you will likely have fun on the Lost hey 🙂

  7. You make a fair point. However when I wrote this I wanted to talk about the common boards that were easily available for people to buy, and ones they would be able to see or get hold of easily. I do think there are great shapers in Cornwall, and I am more than happy for folks to make suggestions. For total beginners foam boards and epoxy boards can make sense. For more intermediate surfers local shapers can make sense, because by that stage you will have a better idea of what you want.

  8. Hi I ride a 6″1 4th speed fish when not on my long board .
    Light and easy to duck dive very fast down the line and nice easy paddler. Really good for a progressive beginner and those who like to come off a long board once in a while .

  9. Adrian Philips shapes brilliant boards. I have had many many boards from Adrian for the waves I surf around Wales and North Devon. I have also had many Channel Islands boards. Some were excellent. I particularly liked my DFR from CI. The whip was also excellent. I also regularly surf a friends Lost Puddle Jumper which is brilliant. However the best two boards I have ever had were from Adrian. It’s good to experiment. I used to believe there was an ultimate design. But through experimenting and experience I realise that the beauty of working with a shaper and experimenting is you can hone your weapon for a specific wave in specific conditions. I love working on a new board and starting with the wave – You cant buy that in any stock board. The finished quality of Adrians boards is also exceptional. I don’t think any other board I have bought represents performance and value like FJ boards

  10. So let’s go local shapers then. I’ve been riding zingers boards for years. Favourite 6’4” hybrid fish surged new Zealand through to indo snd Fiji with. Standard 6’6” shortboard (18 3/4, 2’3/8) step up. I now a 6’1” Beach Beat – Markie shaped me a hybrid shortboard little wider in nose and volume for north Cornwall winter goodness. Works in everything.

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