Surfboard Tails Explained

The back end of your surfboard, often called the “tail,” is key to how responsive your board is. This is because water flows last along the tail and affects how your board behaves in moving water.

The flatter and bulkier your tail is, the more stable your board will be. Smaller tails will sink a bit lower into the water, allowing you greater traction on large waves.

The small tail of a six-foot board digs into the wave, making it easier to maneuver. Apart from size, your board’s tail will affect how it rides. Water may easily slide down the sides of a sharply angled, square tail.

Curved tails, like pin tails or round tails, grip the water better than other tail shapes and will make it easier to change direction while surfing.

This provides you with more steadiness and power. There are numerous types of tail shapes, but they mostly fall into one of these categories.

Squash or Square Tails

The squash (or square) tail is the most prevalent tail shape on modern performance surfboards. Their rounded corners provide grip in waves, while still maintaining some angle for enhanced maneuverability. Squash tails are popular among professional surfers because they enable quick turns and movements.

Squash tails, though all shaped relatively similarly, come in varying sizes. The larger and wider your squash tail is, the looser your surfboard will feel; however, small and narrow squash tails sink into the water just enough to give surfers a lot of control over their board while in waves.

Squash tails are versatile and can be used in a variety of conditions, from medium-large surf to smaller waves.


  • Very Repsonsive
  • Turns Well
  • Super Versatile


  • Not as much traction as round tail

Pin Tail

Pin tails are meant for big wave surfing only. This type of narrow tail shape gives the rider more traction and control. The narrower the shape, the easier it is to sink into water, meaning that surfers can dig their boards into whatever waves they’re riding better. When conditions are tough and waves are high, this tail shape provides what’s needed most-control.


  • Big waves present big problems, but we have the perfect solution.
  • Absolute control and traction.


  • Low maneuverability

Round Tail

Halfway between a pin tail and squash tail lies the round tail. Usually, round tails have more volume than their pin-tailed counterparts, making them easier to turn when doing sweeping motions. Nevertheless, because they do not dig as much into the wave, round tails are not fit for sharp or quick turns.

The water around a round tail also is supports the surfer, who then has an increased grip on the wave. In addition, more volume creates more speed for the board, which can be beneficial for surfers catching weaker parts of a wave. Although not as widespread in use as squash tails, round tails are just as versatile and useful to non-competitve surfers.


  • Good speed
  • Good traction


  • Not ideal for sharp turns

Swallow or Fish Tail

The swallow tail is designed for smaller waves, as it provides a wide area of volume and speed. Nevertheless, due to its distinct shape, the swallow tail also offers good stability when making turning movements on steeper waves. It gets its name from being two pin tails that are connected in the middle on a single board; thus allowing you to maintain high speeds without losing traction.


  • Lots of control
  • Lots of speed


  • Less speed than the more popular squash tail