Surfboard volume is simply the measure of how much space a surfboard takes up. It’s important to know the volume of your board so you can choose the right size bag and avoid over-filling baggage restrictions when traveling with your board.
You can find the volume listed on your surfboard’s packaging, or you can calculate it on your own!
Finding the right surfboard volume
When selecting a surfboard, one of the most important factors to consider is its volume. But what does that mean, and how do you figure out which volume is right for you?
Simply put, the volume of a surfboard is its displacement—the amount of water it displaces when floating.
This is determined by the board’s length, width and thickness. A bigger with more volume will displace more water than a lower volume board, meaning it will be harder to sink and easier to catch waves.
Volume is important because it affects how easily a board floats and how much weight it can support. A surfer needs enough floatation to keep them on top of the wave and enough weight capacity to paddle and stay on their feet.
A bigger, thicker board is necessary for beginner surfers to catch small waves, while a tiny board will work for high performance surfers on huge winter waves.
Surfboards are measured in liters (L). The most common sizes are shortboards that range from about 5-8 L and longboards that range from 9-15 L. Layouts vary depending on the style of surfing.
Some tips to consider when selecting a volume include:
Surfing skill level
You should know what type of waves you surf, how big your board is, and where you typically surf before making a purchase decision.
For beginners to intermediate-level riders, somewhere around 160L may be ideal for you because this will provide stability in waves up to head high or so which 99% of beginner levels can handle.
Advanced wave environments demand advanced skills meaning advanced volume selection.
Surfers body weight
The volume of the board will depend on these stats, which can vary drastically from person to person.
For example, if you weigh 300 pounds and are only 5 foot 4 inches tall, it could be recommended to purchase a bigger board (something above 130 liters) in comparison to someone who weighs 100 pounds but is 5’8″ or taller.
Selecting a surfboard should be determined by the size of your board. Selecting a volume that is too small or too large could have a major impact on your experience and performance in waves.
To calculate, take the length of your surfboard and multiply it by 5/8ths to get the volume measured in cubic feet (5/8 because only about 1/4th is hollow). However, this does not work for everyone.
For example: If you’re a heavier person or tend to ride bigger waves (over 6ft), you should add 2-4 inches of volume simply because the average surfer weighs more than 150lbs.
Another way to calculate your ideal volume is by using your weight and the dimensions of the board. Multiply your weight by 2x the length, then divide this number by 144.
This will give you the volume in Liters. Multiply this number by .75 to convert it into cubic feet which is more common when selecting a board online.
Novice surfers should ride around 28-32L of volume for optimal performance and comfort. If you ride extremely small surf waves (under 5ft), anywhere from 20L-26L should be sufficient. For bigger surf (over 6ft), 34L+ is recommended, but beginners should consider staying under 32L for stability purposes.
How to calculate surfboard volume?
1. Convert Surfboard Dimensions
When converting surfboard dimension from imperial to metric, you’ll need to use a few basic formulas. To convert length, multiply the length in inches by 2.54 to get the length in centimeters. To convert width, multiply the width in inches by 2.54 to get the width in centimeters. To convert thickness, multiply the thickness in inches by 0.4 to get the thickness in centimeters.
2. Multiply Length Width and Height
To calculate the surfboard’s volume, multiply the length times the width times the height(perfect cube). This will give you a five-digit number that is the surfboard’s volume.
3. Get 54–58% of the volume
When calculating the volume of your surfboard, you can use the following equation: V = (length x width x height)
54% – 56% for average surfboard
58% for heavier surfboard
Guild factor ratios:
New surfers (wearing thick wetsuits) – 0.40 – 0.50+ gf.
Weekend warrior surfers – 0.38 – 0.49 gf.