Traditional Surfboard Tail Patterns and What They Do



These days there are so many different types of surfboard tail patterns but the ones mentioned below are what we’ve tested and the most common. Every tail pattern does different things from stability to maneuverability. Match the one that fits your style of riding.

The Squash Tail

The Squash Tail is one of the most common among all surfboards. The tail itself will provide the surfer good hold because there is a little more drag on the tail. Generally, speaking people do start with this tail pattern and shift or test other pattern that defines their ride style. If not sure about what tail pattern to go with, then we would recommend the squash tail because it handles well in all kinds of conditions and progress from there.

The Swallow Tail

From our experience the Swallow Tail does provide the surfer good hold but, the shortboards we generally rode were fast when it was a swallow tail. Trying this tail for the first time can take a bit to get use to as cause of the skatie feeling we go from the boards we tested. These tail patterns are usually on high performance boards. A good example is Mick Fanning riding a DHD swallow tail.

The Pin Tail

A lot of surfers usually select the Pin Tail because less drag on the tail so these tails are usually used for bigger waves to generate enough speed to get in and out of the waves without getting clobbered. It’s not unusual to surf these in smaller waves but, most big wave surfers will use a pin tail.

The Fish Tail

Fish surfboards usually have a lot of volume for smaller waves. These boards are great for bigger wider turns like how you would ride a longboard. The fish surfboards are really fun and one of the popular fish these days would be a Mini Simmons.

The Round Tail

The Round Tail is a little looser as the tail is smooth and there are no hard points. It can feel a little skatie and some times does take time to get use to. With that said, surfers like these because of the maneuverability of this tail and performance is great for more advance surfers.

The Bat Tail

The Bat Tail does have a wider tail and rounded with points so we’ve seen good transition with hold. We’ve seen most of these boards as a quad fin setup and can be surfed in various conditions.


There are many more shapes and sizes but these are the most common. We’ve test multiple shortboards with these shapes and the outcome are listed above.

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