Best Fish Surfboards for Beginners (2021 Reviews)

Fish surfboards are shorter and thicker when compared to standard shortboards.

They are great for surfing smaller waves. What makes this type of board so unique and fun to ride is the fishtail.

It has more pronounced points that give superior bite and control in acute maneuvers.

However, choosing the best fish surfboard may not be an easy proposition for beginner surfers because there are some specific features one has to look for.

In our top selections, we have considered all the important features surfers would need a fish board to have for superior performance and durability.

Top Pick 

Paragon Retro Fish Surfboard is our top pick. The PU blank is light, strong, and durable. The stringer boosts stiffness and flexibility in and out of turns. Its generous volume of 36.5L improves buoyancy and floatation for superior performance even in the smallest waves.

Here are Our Best Fish Surfboard Reviews:

Paragon Retro Fish Surfboard 

This is the fishtail surfboard to look for when the waves are small. Its stylish, flat, fat, short construction is specifically engineered for speed.

Key Features

  • Retro fishtail design
  • Made of PU
  • Twin-fin system
  • Blue fabric inlay
  • Single to double concave bottom

When surfing the Paragon Retro’s polyurethane construction, you will feel the lightweight nature of the epoxy resins under your feet.

You are also going to feel the flex response and more energetic with your surfing. The epoxy resins add another level and another dimension to how this PU board would feel.

The board comes with a retro fishtail design, which is great because it bites the waves incredibly in and out of turns.

The fairly wide outlines of the board will help you produce high speeds through any wave. The v-type tail allows for smoother rail to rail turns.

The single to double bottom adds another whole dimension. The contour of the bottom ensures that it all fits in with the overall flow of the board’s shape.

The touring nose provides faster paddling speeds. The single stringer that runs from the nose to the tail’s v point improves the board rigidity and stiffness.

The dual-fin setup improves the board’s stability. The blue fabric inlay; on the other hand, add flare.

Pros 

  • The single to double bottom provides lift and control
  • The polyurethane construction is highly responsive and flexible
  • Dual-fin setup improves stability and maneuverability
  • The fishtail bites the waves for incredible control when turning
  • Heavy-duty stringer adds stiffness and rigidity to the core

Cons 

  • It may not come with additional accessories

Verdict 

Whatever your level of surfing is, Paragon Retro Fish Surfboard excels in all surfing conditions. You’ve also got blue and white carbon colors to choose from.

Kona Surf Co. Twinner Fish Surfboard 

This incredible model from Kona Surf Co. perfectly combines modernity with a good retro touch to provide you with superior water performance.

Key Features 

  • A flat rocker
  • A full, rounded nose
  • Wide tail stacked with volume
  • PU blank
  • Single stringer

The board has a full, rounded nose, which is great because it provides superior lift and buoyancy, making it easier for a surfer to stand in a forward position on the board.

This type of nose boosts surfing speed and allows for nose-riding.

A surfer can start riding a wave by pointing the nose of the board at the beach and then paddling to try to match the speed of the wave. The rush of the wave moves the board forward.

We truly like the low rocker, considering the floatation and planning surface it offers. The near-flat bottom design helps you glide smoothly on the surface of the water.

It boasts loads of speed, allowing you to catch plenty of waves. Water breaks off to a vee at the tail, allowing for easier rail to rail transitions.

The tucked in fishtail has a loose and fast feel. The innovatively designed tail gives a surfer the ultimate control and hold.

The tail shape does a great job of counterbalancing the difficulty of maneuverability. You’ve got a strong stringer for strengthening the core.

You also get a stainless steel double swivel, a durable ankle strap, and two heavy-duty fins in addition to the fishtail board.

Pros 

  • The rounded nose provides superior lift and buoyancy
  • Low rocker bottom improves planing and floatation
  • Vee design at the tail allows for easier rail to rail transitions
  • Tucked in fishtail offers ultimate hold and control
  • The PU blank is highly responsive

Cons 

  • The planing hull may not be the best choice for those used to touring designs

Verdict 

This high performing fish board is uniquely designed to maximize contact with the water for superior glide, speed, and maneuverability.

Catch Surf Wave Bandit Retro Fish Surfboard 

The Retro Fish from Catch Surf Wave Bandit is a classic, timeless fish surfboard that’s ideal for small summer surfing adventures on your favorite waters.

Key Features 

  • Swallow-tail design
  • High-density slick bottom
  • Twin wood stringers
  • Upgraded quad fin set-up
  • Medium rails

The first thing that we like about this fishtail surfboard is the high-density slick bottom. The HDPE is used on the bottom to strengthen the performance features of the board.

It adds strength and stability to improve maneuverability and speed.

The swallow tail design features a vee with two contact points on the water to improve stability, control, and maneuverability.

The fishtail design offers optimal performance at sharp turns, making this board great for surfing into slower waves without outrunning them.

It comes equipped with two wood stringers for reinforcing the core of the board.

When you compress into a turn, the stringers bend, and when you come out of your turn, they flex the board to project you out of turn.

So, they are great for strength as well as performance.

The medium rails of the board improve speed as well as floatation, making this model great for different surfing levels.

They also give the board superior holding power to keep it from spinning out. This rail type tends to improve speed in steep waves.

Pros 

  • The high-density slick bottom enhances performance
  • Swallow-tail improves stability, control, and maneuverability
  • It is a great choice for surfing into slower waves
  • Twin stringers bend and flex to project you out of a turn
  • Medium rails improve floatation and holding power

Cons 

  • It may require surf wax for superior gripping on the deck

Verdict

This is a great board for the money with unique features tailored for performance and long-term durability.

Airhead PFISH Wakesurf Surfboard  

This innovatively designed fish surfboard from Airhead delivers decent performance and durability.

Key Features 

  • Skim style board
  • Compression-molded material
  • Fishtail design
  • Two directional fins
  • Extra thick grooved EVA deck

The core of the board is compression-molded, which is great because it has a higher core stiffness that directly improves the strength of the surfboard.

The outer skin is made from fiberglass, which offers strength and stiffness whilst the cured resin binds the fibers together and becomes waterproof.

The grooved EVA deck pad provides exceptional traction when doing fast speed maneuvers. The kicktail pad, on the other hand, keeps your back foot on the board.

The fishtail offers a larger surface area from rail to rail, which is great because it improves lift and planing speed.

The more pronounced points of the swallowtail give the surfboard more control and bite in critical maneuvers.

Pros 

  • The board has higher core stiffness for improved strength
  • Widened chest area improves volume and performance
  • The fish tail provides more control and bites for critical maneuvers
  • Grooved deck pad provides superior traction
  • The fins improve direction, control, and stability

Cons 

  • The board may not be a great choice for larger waves

Verdict 

The PFISH is designed to offer the best surfing performance in small waves. Its compression-molded construction gives it superior strength and rigidity.

Things to Consider When Looking for Fish Surfboard 

Here are the most important things to consider when looking for a high performing, highly durable fish surfboard.

Choose a Heavy-Duty Core 

Traditionally, surfboards were crafted out of timber, but nowadays they are made from PU foam.

Fish boards made from this construction are usually hand-shaped and laminated by hand with fiberglass and polyester resin.

PU fish tail boards sit a little bit lower in the water for better surfing. They are slightly heavier and convenient to surf choppy waters.

The other main material used instead of PU in blank construction includes expanded polystyrene (EPS).

Boards made from this material are more durable than the ones made from PU.

EPS surfboards are also laminated with epoxy resin, a versatile thermoset plastic that bonds well to the board.

Epoxy makes the surfboard stronger and more resistant to shrinkage as well as fatigue.

Consider Superior Rail Design 

The challenge of rail design is to create rails that will hold the fish surfboard in the face of the wave when required and to release when required. Rails can be hard or soft.

A swallowtail board with soft rails is usually rounded in shape. The board will reveal an oval-like shape if you view it from a side angle.

The soft curvature ensures more water wraps around the board to increase hold and stability.

This design provides increased rail volume for superior buoyancy and floatation.

A fish surfboard with hard rails; on the other hand, has edges with a curvature. The edges are basically sharper and more aggressive.

The distinct edge normally meets in a corner with the bottom of the surfboard.

Fish boards with hard rails are highly responsive, providing increased tunability, and superior control in large strong waves.

Bottom Contour 

This refers to the particular shaping of the bottom surface of a fish surfboard. It is the surface that the water flows through from the nose through the fins.

The contours can control the water flow direction at the bottom of the board.

This can contribute to more speed or more maneuverability depending on what you are trying to achieve.

Manufacturers can use a combination of flat, convex, and concave to produce an almost infinite number of variations. Let’s take a look at some of the most common contours.

Single Concave

The first one is the single concave, which produces a channel that runs along the length of the board between the nose and the tail.

It guides the water into a clean and direct flow. A single concave boosts speed, but sacrifices maneuverability.

This means turning the board from its course will need you to transfer more of your weight into the back foot.

A single concave also helps in producing grip from the rail when in trim mode.

Double Concave

The second one is the double concave bottom, which involves two side by side channels that can run the length of the surfboard.

The channels direct water from the nose to the tail to increase lift as well as thrust.

Compared to a single concave, a double concave doesn’t track with the same speed and security.

What a double concave does; however, is allow a better rail to rail response during a turn.

We urge you to look for fish surfboards with a single double concave, knowing those two concepts.

This variation will give you the best of both worlds in terms of speed, rail to rail response, and overall maneuverability.

Final Thoughts 

For this roundup, the winner is Paragon Retro Fish Surfboard. This innovatively designed board is available in two blue and white carbon colors for preference.

What makes this board stand out is the versatile design that’s perfectly suited for expert, intermediate, and beginner surfers who weigh up to one hundred and sixty pounds.

The PU blank is powerful, rigid, and durable for different wave conditions.

The heavy-duty stringer at the board’s center ensures the board doesn’t snap when getting in and out of turns.

The sharper and more aggressive edges make this model highly responsive when negotiating turns.

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