What’s The Correct Surfboard Volume for Beginner Surfer?

What is Surfboard Volume?

Volume is how much foam a surfboard has and it affects how well it floats. A surfboard with more buoyancy paddles faster and catches waves more easily because it keeps the rider and board higher on the water, cutting down on drag.

Different surfboard makers have their ways of figuring out the volume, but they usually do it from the percentage of the surfer’s weight.

Here are some recommended volume ranges in litres for beginners based on weight categories. For exact recommendations for your weight, check out the manufacturer’s website.

Surfer’s weightFirewireLostPyzelJS industry
50kg / 110 lbs39L25L30.8L34.2L
55kg / 121 lbs41.45L26.8L32.5L35.8L
60kg / 132 lbs42.55L30L34L37.5L
65kg / 143 lbs46.14L32.5L36L39.2L
70kg / 154 lbs49.32L35L38.4L40.8L
75kg / 165 lbs52.5L37L41L42.5L
80kg / 176 lbs56L40L43.8L44.2L
85kg / 187 lbs59L43L46.8L46.3L
90kg / 198 lbs63L45L49.2L48L
95kg / 209 lbs66L47L52L49.7L
100kg / 220 lbs72L50L55.5L51.3L
Volume recommendation for different surfboard brands.

As you can see, the recommended volume differs significantly between brands. The biggest difference between the smallest and largest is more than 14 litres, a significant variance that even beginner surfers can notice.

There are several reasons for these differing volume recommendations.

Firstly, defining beginner surfers is challenging. While some consider beginner surfers as those who can catch unbroken waves and stand up, others define them as those who only ride the whitewash. The disparity between these two types of surfers is significant.

Secondly, the volume recommendation for a surfboard depends on other dimensions and characteristics.

For instance, consider two boards with the same volume but one with an exaggerated rocker and the other with a flat rocker.

A flatter rocker surfboard will sit higher in the water, creating less drag, whereas a rockered board will sink deeper. Consequently, the flatter rocker will paddle much faster and catch waves better. Therefore, even the same brand will recommend different volumes for different boards.

If you want to dive into the different aspects of a surfboard’s dimensions like rocker, length, width, and thickness, and how they impact performance, I’ve covered that extensively in this resource.

Lastly, the recommended volume can vary for different purposes. If you aim to maximize wave catching and trimming on a small wave, merely opting for a larger volume will achieve that. However, if you desire the board to turn and generate speed, opting for a larger volume will be counterproductive.

Furthermore, the volume calculator does not account for the types of waves you seek, your fitness level, crowd conditions, or your wetsuit weight. Therefore, the volume calculator serves only as a starting guide.

The most cost-effective way to determine your suitable volume is to purchase a second-hand surfboard with a known volume. If you would like useful tips on purchasing second-hand surfboards, read here.

Can you tell the difference in volume in the water?

This depends on the surfer and their sensitivity. Some experienced surfers report they can detect as little as 0.2 litres of volume. Rusty Surfboard’s founder stated that professionals may be able to detect half a litre.

Detecting volume is tricky because of other variables. Here are some reasons:

  1. Glassing: Thicker glassing increases weight and sinks more.
  2. Foam Materials: EPS (Epoxy) floats better than a PU board.
  3. Your weight fluctuates during the day. Eating a large meal affects flotation.
  4. Different oceans have varying saltiness levels: The saltier the ocean, the more the body floats. Think of the Dead Sea where people can read a newspaper while floating. The open ocean’s saltiness varies depending on rainfall and evaporation.

Detecting differences also depends on the volume’s size. For Minimal or longboards, 1-2 liters of volume are less influential compared to shortboards.

This concept is known as the minimum detectable difference. For example, when someone picks up a 50kg weight, the difference between 49kg and 50kg won’t be much. However, in the 2-3kg range, a 1kg difference is noticeable.

Therefore, don’t fixate too much on volume when purchasing a beginner surfboard like a minimal or longboard. If interested, I’ve written a detailed article on what kinds of longboards beginners should get here.

An important factor about volume when purchasing shortboards: Don’t expect the board to perform if you buy an oversized surfboard to compensate for your lack of skill. The board is designed for rail-to-rail surfing.


My name is James, the person behind SurifngHeadquaters.com. With 15 years of experience in surfing, I am excited to help you on the journey to becoming a competent surfer.

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