Looking to find that magic surfboard for small, summery surf? You know, when it's a touch softer, warmer, kinda fun-er... so long as you're on the right board? 

You want a vehicle to keep your wave count and velocity high, but flap/bog/sink factor low. At the same time, you don't quite feel ready yet to 'give up on life' altogether and buy a mal?

Maybe you just never liked longboards? Drive a Smart Car? Have a phobia of surfcraft that don't duckdive? Got Hipsters Die tattoo'd on your forehead?

Above all, still feel like if you ain't trying to bust fins out the top of your reos, you're letting yourself - but most of all surfing - down?

You're probably after a shorter, wider high performance number, then.

Shorter n' wider gives you that volume, planing area and speed you'll need to make merry in mush. Dropping down has other advantages too. Carrying a log around all summer can lead to lower back pain, increased wax expenditure and feel a bit like unpaid work.

We've assembled a list of the ten best head high and under high performance shooters for summer/any time of year it's small, a collection of craft that'll willingly go as upside down as you can put em.

While you're at it, why not pair your summer stick with a fresh trunk, a new summer wetsuit or hey, full suit for the higher latitude summer surfer (i.e. folk that God hates). 

(Or, just fuck the whole crowded slop thing off, get a proper shortboard, and go Indo without further ado.)

 

 

Firewire Go Fish LFT

 “Board eat board” is the tag Rob himself gives the unique bottom contours, inspired by a George Greenough board he rode a few years back, and what’s not to love about that?

Firewire Go Fish

Dimensions: 5'11" x 20 3/4" x 2 7/8" / 35 L
Set-up: Twin
Shaper: Rob Machado
Materials: LFT (EPS/epoxy)
Price: £640

Firewire

Essentially, a deep concave runs through the middle (either side of the Springer… more on that in a minute), while side panels go from concave to flat to vee.

Yep, they’ve had a bit of fun with the panels, haven’t they?

Think the velocity of a fish with serious tuned-up performance tweaks. And that’s before we even get into the construction. Linear Flex Technology (LFT) involves the use of a Springer HD (as opposed to ‘stringer’... can you see what they’ve done?) to control flex patterns through manoeuvres, and throughout the life of the board. Read the full review

 

Chilli Miami Spice 

Because even small waves have have steep sections, even underwhelming swells have sneaker sets, and we all want to be able to spank summer’s bum, so to speak.

Chilli Miami Spice

Dimensions: 5’5” x 20 ½” x 2 5/16” / 28.6L
Materials: 50/50 EPS carbon Epoxy, with Innegra fibre
Shaper: James Cheal
Price: £565 / €625

Chilli Surfboards

Any bums that present themselves really, surfing is an opportunistic means of self-pleasure.

Chilli’s highly popular Miami Spice model is aimed at exactly that range of surf conditions: small/weak to a bit bigger and better. Carbon/EPS/Epoxy construction gives a lightness and liveliness so sought after in small clean surf, an extra bit of lube for heightened sensations.

Aside from the outline, a shallow single concave to vee, through a 5-fin convertable fin set-up keeps control and sensitivity at a premium. Read the full review

 

Catch Surf Odysea Noa Deane Pro Stump 

There are many fun ways to 'fuck the WSL', to blow ciggy smoke in the face of the Man and his cynical, profit-driven interpretation of our beautiful subculture.

Catch Surf Odysea Noa Deane Pro Stump

Dimensions: 5’0” x 21.5” x 2.5” // 36L
Set-up: Thruster
Construction: PU with triple stringer and slick high-density PE bottom
Price: €340 / £300

Catch Surf

But the funnest surely is atop a Noa Deane Pro Stump model, acid-dropping off cliffs onto 2ft peaks, tweaking straight airs in the shorey, attempting inadvisable floaters, sticking both middle-fingers up at uncooperative sections, and generally being the sickest of cunts.

It’s soft on the top, harder but not too hard on the bottom, and generally primed for carefree summer shred. In other words, it’s all filler (foam), no killer (fibreglass), in a good way. Read the full review 

 

 

Super The Fling GT  

We won’t use the word groveller. Grovelling involves sacrificing your dignity, prostrating yourself at the feet of some smirking overlord in exchange for a meagre concession. It doesn’t make us want to go surfing or buy a surfboard.

Super The Fling GT

Dimensions: 5’5" x 20 ⅛" x 2 ½" / 30L
Shaper: Adam "Sparrow" Fletcher
Set-up: Thruster/Quad
Materials: PU/PE
Price: £520

Super

The Fling GT on the other hand, rather than cowed in submission, is spritely and proactive. If you’ve got an aerial or two in your locker, or reckon you might but can never find the key, the Fling will help you unlock them. It flies down the line, pops and fizzes above the lip.

You’ll probably want to go 5 to 7 inches shorter, and 2 or 3 litres more voluminous than your go-to shortboard with the Fling GT. That will give you some crucial extra float, but be careful not to overdo it or it’ll feel cumbersome, too big and buoyant to put on rail, which would kind of defeat the object. Read the full review

  

Rusty Chew Toy

The 90's are hotter than July right now, in hair, in trouser, in surf craft. And yet for how unsavoury the 90's aesthetic appears from afar, upon closer inspection, some 90's stuff had certain redeeming features. Gladiators had Jet, for example. 5ive had Jason… oh never mind.

Rusty Chew Toy

Dimensions: 5’10 x 20.12 x 2.38 / 30.8L
Designed by: Rusty Preisendorfer
Set up: Thruster/Quad
Materials: PU/carbon
Price: €700

Rusty Surfboards

Even Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves had saving graces. I watched it recently and while Costner made me cat-sick in my mouth every time he appeared, Alan Rickman saved the entire film with trademark awesome.

Other stuff from the 90s didn’t need redeeming features, but rather looked great from any angle. Like Rusty Surfboards, for example. Read the full review  

 

 

Rob Vaughan Keel Fish 

We chose the Keel Fish from Rob Vaughan's broad range of surf craft partly because our job — no, calling — as the media, ‘is to reflect back what’s really happening in society’ and partly because, well fuck, the board looks epic.

Rob Vaughan Keel Fish

Dimensions: 5’10" x 20 ¼" x 2 11/16”
Shaper: Rob Vaughan
Set up: Twin
Materials: PU
Price: €650

Atelier Billabong 

Rail panels and some carbon inlays around the stringer add modern updates to a classic concept, furthering the very chic now-tro vibes the Vaughan Keel Twin oozes.

You know what else is hot? Passive aggressive. And what better way to embody that in a surfboard than the twin fin’s unthreatening in the car park, lethal bizzle in the sea vibe.

Just another reason never to trust a hippy. Read the full review

 

Chipiron Bonite

Earlier this year, Cate Blanchett told Vogue Australia: “Sandy Bullock and I saw this facialist in New York, Georgia Louise, and she gives what we call the penis facial and it’s something – I don’t know what it is, or whether it’s just cause it smells a bit like sperm – there’s some enzyme in it so Sandy refers to it as the penis facial." 

Chipiron Bonite

Length: 5’4”
Shaper: Damien Marly
Set up: Twin
Materials: PU
Price: €650

Chipiron

We recently visited the Chipiron factory, which, whilst being located very near Carwyn Williams’ Surf House, doesn’t smell in any way of sperm; polyester resin was in fact the principle odour.

Lots of it. There is a microbrewery nearby too, which smelt of hops.

You can’t order a facial at Chipiron Surfboards, as far as we know, but you can get a mighty fine custom-order surfboard, as far as we know. Read the full review

 

 

Hurricane Lil Ninja Green Epoxy

A shining example of such is Hurricane’s Lil Ninja, which uses flax (yep, as in flaxseed, the stuff high in omega 3 that you sprinkle on your porridge).

Hurricane Lil Ninja Green EPS Epoxy

Dimensions: 5’8’’ x 19 1/4’’ x 2 3/8''
Shaper: Daniel Keggie
Set up: Thruster / Quad
Materials: Hemp cloth / EPS
Price: €685

Hurricane

The brus at Hurricane Surf have been working hard on the development of more sustainable and greener manufacturing alternatives, and came up with Green EPS Epoxy — a massive step in a greener direction without compromising on quality or performance.

The production of flax (which is used instead of traditional fibreglass) has a negative global warming indicator (as in, it takes carbon out of the atmosphere).

The use of epoxy resins with lower VOC’s (volatile organic compounds… pretty nasty), lightweight organic hemp linen, and recyclable EPS cores make this product less harmful both to the environment and the manufacturers. Read the full review

 

Wanted Supa Soap

And have you ever wondered why golf balls are dotted with hundreds of tiny, regularly spaced dimples? The thought had never occurred to me until I saw the Supa Soap by Portuguese board-makers Wanted Shapes. It made me feel that I'd been insufficiently curious about the world.

Wanted Shapes Supa Soap

Dimensions: 5’0” x 20” x 1 7/8” / 25.12L
Shaper: Lino Curado
Set-up: Thruster
Materials: EPS/epoxy with vacuum glassing and Flowtech bottom
Price: From €400

Wanted Shapes

“It is widely accepted by the scientific community,” says the brand’s website, “that a laminar flow generates more friction than a turbulent flow in aerodynamic and hydrodynamic movement. The golf ball’s surface is a perfect example of this theory.”

(The average golf ball has between 320 and 420 dimples, reckons Google. That has all the makings of an excellent pub-quiz question.)

Hence the Supa Soap and its Flowtech bottom, imprinted with row after row of barely thumb-size, perfectly round craters. These “symmetrical irregularities”, masterminded by Lino Curado, former pro skimboarder, supposedly make for a faster and more fluid movement across the wave face. Read the full review  

 

Arakawa Slingshot Fish

Versatility is often an uninspiring word, suggesting compromise and a lack of clear identity, but that’s hardly the case with the classic fish. Arguably the most adaptable of all surfboards, it also has character, class, and that magical, timeless look and feel we all know and love.

Arakawa Slingshot Fish

Dimensions: 5’10” x 21 ½” x 2 ⅝” / 38.4L
Shaper: Eric Arakawa
Set-up: Twin-fin
Materials: PU/PE with glass-on fins
Price: £600 / €700

Arakawa

Arakawa, who has shaped for the likes of Andy Irons, Occy, and the Ho brothers, is one of the North Shore’s — and therefore the world’s — most respected craftsmen.

He’s taken the iconic fish outline and blended it with a 21st-century bottom shape (deep single concave, slightly curvier tail rocker) for a faster, more manoeuvrable surfboard. Read the full review