Tail Shapes…… What do they all mean?

Tail shapes have evolved hugely with the growth of surfing worldwide. They have been developed from the square and rounded tail shapes. Below is a description of the most commonly seen shapes and what conditions they suit. It is by no means exhaustive but is designed to give a good understanding of what it all means.

Squashtail The Squashtail is the most common tail shape. This tail design gives a stable ride but allows the board to stay loose. The squashtail is a great tail shape for any type of surfer and can be used in small and overhead waves. The squashtail has evolved from the Squaretail, which is a more severely angled tail shape that is not used commonly anymore.
rounded tail Rounded tails of varying degree have no hard edges that you find in the squash and squaretails. The widest is the “Thumbnail”, basically a rounded off squashtail which is great for rail-to-rail surfing and big turns. It is most effective in medium to very large surf. Next comes the “Rounded Pintail”, similar to the thumbnail but more ‘pinched’ and is popular in single-fin boards in powerful, hollow surf. The narrowest, sharpest round tail is the “Pintail”. This tail comes to a much sharper, thinner point and is the ideal tail shape for large, powerful waves and tube riding.
swallow tail Swallow Tails are almost a hybrid tail which combines the rail drive of the squaretail and the responsiveness of the pintail. This is the tail shape most commonly used on Fish Boards. The wider tail gives better paddling power and increased drive in smaller waves. This illustration also has “wings” where the board steps in to become narrower towards the tail. This is more a rail design then tail design. The tail is still a “swallow tail”.

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