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  • Rory Russell

Picking The Right Board For The Right Wave

Updated: Sep 19, 2020

To the average person, a wave is a wave, same same but different. However, for a surfer, each wave is unique and every beach has its own style of wave. Even the same wave at the same spot will change hour by hour. Wind, tide, swell height and direction will all affect the wave quality of the surf. Here we will talk about the different styles of waves and the recommended surfboard for the most fun.

A surfers quiver is the mechanic's toolbox, you need the right board for the right job. Having the right tool for any job is make or break. Surfing is no different, having the right board for the given conditions and your abilities can be the difference in catching 0 waves or 20.

When choosing the right board volume is your friend. Volume is the measurement of how much floatation the board has. Especially when learning to surf, the more volume the better. It will make paddling easier and give you more stability when your riding the wave.

-Beginner Wave- DHD MINI Twin, DHD Pocket Knife, or Foam Soft top

A beginner wave is normally a slow breaking smaller wave. Any surf spot can be great for beginners. Most of the time you would want to surf the break on a high tide with a smaller swell, this will make it more fun and easier.

The MINI Twin and Pocket Knife both are higher volume boards, perfect for softer flatter waves. Twin fins offer a manoeuvrable and fast ride to surfers. Their quickness and ability to make sharp turns makes them a great choice for small conditions, but

they can also be used in medium-sized clean surf. The low rocker of the Pocket Knife creates speed in small conditions while maintaining manoeuvrability.


Best Beginner waves in Bali- Kuta Beach, Jimbaran, Old Mans, Padang Padang (Baby Padang),

-Point break- DHD Skeleton Key, Pyzel Pyzalien

Point breaks are known as some of the best waves on earth. A point break can work with a sand bottom or reef. Breaking along a headland or down a stretch of the beach instead of towards the beach. This leads to point breaks being the longest waves in the world. Point breaks can also be mellow and great for beginners or hollow dangerous waves over the shallow sharp reef. Some can even be both depending on the tide and size of the swell

The Skeleton Key is a great board for slightly bigger and faster waves. Also, it offers a 5 fin set up and gives you the option to switch between a quad fin set up and a traditional thruster. It carries more volume and width through the nose which gives you more speed and carries though the racy sections.

The Pyzalien can take the place of any high-performance shortboard. The Pyzalien is fast and easy to paddle while still being loose on the backfoot giving you the ability to perform tight turns in the pocket of the wave. The board has quick speed from take-off and great responsiveness. The outline has a fuller nose and wider tail which keeps the board very fast while increasing the control and allowing for easier rail to rail transitions at high speed.

Best Point Breaks in Bali- Medewi, Balian, Jaserie

-Big wave- Pyzel Padillac.

Big wave surfing is the next level of surfing. We are not talking about a 10-foot wave we are talking big! 20 feet and bigger, really big waves! For the average surfer, we don’t want anything to do with this. It’s more about survival than about surfing. Big wave surfing is a league all its own.

As the name implies, this board is built to paddle fast and easy, with extra thickness and a fuller outline than most standard guns so you can catch and ride bigger waves with confidence and ease. It has a clean, flowing rocker, and a light vee bottom with double concaves to give you speed and quick turning, while still maintaining control in heavy surf...It comes as a quad, for both speed and manoeuvrability, and can handle anything the ocean throws at you.

Best Big Waves In Bali- Impossibles, Uluwatu, Padang Padang,

-Beach Break- Pyzel Radius, DHD DNA.

Beach breaks are exactly what you would think, a wave that breaks over a sand bottom. Most of the time they are fast and hollow not leaving much room for error. Sand is always moving on the seabed, which means it is constantly changing. But a surfer can get lucky and the sandbanks can hang around producing fun playful surf before the currents change affecting where the sand rests.

Jordy Smith's choice for the best board in 2017's Stab In The Dark. The Radius is designed to be ridden fast and loose in above average to great surf, the Radius has a smooth, medium/high bottom rocker for easy turning and a single concave to add lift and drive. The gentle hip in the outline keeps it lively and sharp while adding drive. The Radius is as high performance as we go, so not the best choice for beginners, but if you are looking to elevate your surfing up another level this board will get you there.

DNA is Mick's go-to contest board, the board is the exact design of what he would use in a competition. The single to double concave allows better drive off the bottom

and down the line speed, the concave is used to channel water under the board towards the fins and this design allows for air to get under the board to increase sensitivity and speed. DNA has more rocker and as a result, it gives you more maneuvrability when needing to change direction on powerful waves. Its the perfect high-performance board for anyone looking to take things up a notch

Photo by Bali Surf Vision

Best Beach Breaks in Bali- Echo Beach, Kuta, Pererenan, Seminyak

-Reef break- Pyzel Ghost, DHD DX1 Phase 3.

Reef breaks are a favorite for most surfers. Most of the world’s best waves are reef breaks. At reef breaks the waves break over a reef shelf or a rock bottom. Having a permanent seafloor offers a more consistently shaped wave changing with swell direction, tide, and wind. But with the best waves also come the biggest dangers, reefs are hard, sharp, and very unforgiving when you come in contact after a wipeout.

Originally the Ghost was designed for performance in hollower, more powerful types of waves. The thickness is pushed forward, which helps with getting you into waves easily and kept the tail and rails thinned out to help hold through barrels and turns at speed. The rocker is med/low through the front half to get you into waves easily and pick up speed quickly. The rear end has plenty of rocker curve for turning control and snappy responsiveness. A single concave runs through the entire bottom, with a double concave set inside, which equals speed and lift both on a rail and over flat spots while allowing for quick rail-to-rail transitions. The Ghost's combination of rocker and concave makes for high performance handling through a healthy mix of sensitivity and control.

Alternatively, DX1 Phase 3 is an outstanding board that was evolved over the past 15 years and has now become the preferred shortboard for some of the best in the world. Crowned number 1 by Julian Wilson in the "Stab in The Dark" project 2016, the slightly lowered rocker and fairly straight rail outline gives the board endless speed for the Bukit barrels. The single concave contains more water or energy it creates more lift and frees the board up for when the waves are softer. Ideal wave size 1 -6ft

Best Reef Breaks in Bali- Uluwatu, Bingin, Padang Padang, Green Bowl, Kuta Reef, Airport Rights, Pandawa

Image by Rory Russell

-All around surfboard- Pyzel Shadow, Dhd Sweet Spot

In this article, we talked about the different types of waves and the recommended board for each wave. However, when travelling or when starting to surf owning 10 different boards doesn't make sense. Luckily there is one board that is almost perfect for all conditions and can handle everything you can throw at it.

The Shadow is designed to give all surfers the advantages of a wider, forward outlined type of board, but in a sleek, high-Performance package. It has a gentle hip for added sensitivity and looseness, and the squash tail is pulled in a touch to tighten the turning radius and improve vertical surfing capability. Tail rocker and bottom concave remain similar to the Phantom, already proven to work well in everyday conditions around the world.

If you are looking for a perfect all-rounder that can handle pumping home break but also a great travel companion then it has to be DHD Sweet Spot 3.0. Similar to the DNA, it has a single to double concave for sensibility and speed. Sweet Spot is close to the length of your normal shortboard but gives you extra paddling power, strength and hold that will keep you going on a surf trip. Perfect for 3 - 10ft waves.

Riding Sweet Spot 3.0 At Padang

Photo by Water Lens

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