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The tail of the surfboard is at the back of the board. A surfboards tail is extremely important and will dramatically change the way you surf. When choosing a tail design it really comes down to your individual choice and ability. When looking at tail shapes, remember that curves hold water flow whereas corners allow water flow to break away. The tail width is usually a more accurate indication of board performance than the tail design.

There are a wide range of tail shapes. At first they can seem a little confusing but a surfboard shaper will generally apply the best-suited tail for the particular board they create, making a better-suited design for their clients. Each different shape of tail will give your board a different performance.

The narrower and more pointed tail designs have a longer, more drawn out turning characteristic and are oriented for faster, larger surf. The minimal planing area is essential to control at high speeds but causes sluggish response, drags, and turns poorly in small or slow surf. A wide, full tail has a great deal of planing area, which suits it to small and slow surf. Greater tail area aids in paddling, planing, flotation, and wave catching ability. Wide tails will do sharper pivotal turns with very little projection. They are very loose because their great planing area keeps them from sinking and dragging.

At the tail of the board you will also find a 'leash plug' which is where you attach the leash to your surfboard by looping it through.

Pin Tail Pin Tail The pin tail is often seen on gun style surfboards for large, powerful, hollow waves. This is because it allows the surfer to get deep within the tube (of the wave) and the slightest movements become small smooth changes in direction. As you can imagine, the tube is not a place where you would want to catch your rail. The pin tail has a smooth rail to a pivotal point, which avoids nasty catches while giving a smooth yet effective ride.
Rounded Pintail Rounded Pintail The rounded pin tail design is a mix between the thumb tail and the pin tail. This design is often seen on older shortboard styles and offers the benefits of both the thumb and the pin. This tail was very popular in the single-fin days and is the tightest-holding rail. Like the thumbtail and the regular pintail, there is no interruption in the flow from the rail directly through to the tail. The rounded pintail is a great tail for medium to large waves and ideal for powerful hollow surf.
Round Tail Round Tail A very smooth turning tail that has a bit more area than the rounded pin. The extra area makes it more suitable for slower, smaller surf.
Thumb Tail Thumb Tail The thumb tail is a more rounded version of the squash tail and is often seen on surfboards like the Al Merrick Biscuits and more fun-shapes. The tail gives greater stability and a little drive to get you through those choppy slow sections. The rails on the tail are smooth allowing for rail-to-rail transitions and a smoother style. The best-suited waves for this tail are waist to head high or if the board has extra volume it could be ridden on smaller surf.
Squash Tail Squash Tail The squash tail is the most popular design on modern day shortboard surfboard. The squash tail is a great 'all-rounder' that offers easy turning, smoother lines and an increased stability with take offs. The tail is suited for pretty much all wave conditions from medium sized to overhead.
Rounded Square Tail Rounded Square Tail The rounded squaretail is a subdued version of the squaretail. It is somewhat less responsive. The turn it carves is not quite as sharp and pivotal because of its rounded corners.
Square Tail Square Tail The squaretail is not as popular as it once was and has seen a decline in numbers over the years. The main reason for this is that the square tail is made for a very specific style of surfing and offers fast drive when surfing. It's really the pre-runner to the squashtail and is not so common on new boards these days. The sharp edge to the tail allows for quick and sharp rail-to-rail transitions and quick snaps whilst surfing. It's best used in small to head high waves.
Diamond Tail Diamond Tail The corners of the diamond tail makes its turning characteristics a bit more pivotal and sharper than the rounded pin.
Rounded Diamond Tail Rounded Diamond Tail A diamond tail with rounded corners that is very similar to a rounded pintail or round tail in design and performance.
Bat Tail or Star Tail Bat Tail or Star Tail The bat tail or star tail design is like a small double swallow tail that channels water through the tail. This allows for greater stability and hold while you're surfing. The bat tail is good in small to medium sized surf, but may struggle in larger surf due to its rail-to-rail transition. It is regarded as one of the more modern surfboard tail designs.
Swallow Tail Swallow Tail The swallow tail design is often seen on fish style shortboards and is suitable in a variety of conditions, but will excel in choppy smaller surf. The wide tail will allow for a more stable and smooth ride while giving more volume to create a board that is easier to paddle and catch waves with.
Baby Swallow Tail Baby Swallow Tail The baby swallow tail combines the advantages of the swallow tail and the pin tail design. The surfboard tail often has medium rails to allow for quick but yet smooth directional changes. The narrow tail makes it perfect for tube positioning while the swallow allows for a smoother ride in choppy surf.
Fish Tail Fish Tail
Asymetric Tail Asymmetrical Tail Most surfers draw different lines when surfing backside than they do frontside. Their frontside style may be more driving and down the line. At the same time their backside style or the wave they usually surf backside may demand a more vertical up and down attack with lots of cutbacks. The asymmetrical tail allows the surfer to choose the type of tail most suited to his front and backside styles and the types of waves he rides most often.


The wing is really not a tail shape but more of a rail shape. It can be seen as the bump in the rails just in front of the front fins. Don't be confused and think that this is a different tail shape.

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