What is and can a river surfboard do?
River surfboards are available for a wide variety of uses. There are river boards for weak waves that need more volume and buoyancy, there are river boards for medium powerful waves that need less volume and more forgiving rails and there are surfboards for the river that develop their full performance in powerful standing waves, allow radical turns and are not as forgiving to surf, but are much faster and more agile. There are also real all-rounders that are a good alternative if you only want to or can only own one river surfboard.
There are river surfboards for:
- weak river waves
- medium standing waves
- powerful river waves
- radical turns
- basic manoeuvres
just to name the most important ones.
Riverboards range from 5'0" to a maximum of 6" feet long and the different shapes offer you different options. It is very important to choose the right surfboard for your skills, your weight and the standing wave you want to surf.
- Size: approx. 5" - 6 feet
- Waves: powerful / soft / medium firm / powerful
- Skill level: beginner / intermediate / professional
Riverboards are available with a wide variety of rocker, rail and tail contours. The volume of the board is usually very balanced and relatively low, so that the surfboard is easy to control. Most riverboards have a relatively flat rocker.
Tail shapes of a riverboard:
The tail shape has a serious impact on the surfing behaviour of a surfboard.
Rocker of a shortboard:
- flat rocker
- medium rocker
- curved rocker
- Tail Flip
- Nose Flip
- High Frontrocker
- High tail rocker
- Low Frontrocker
- Low Tailrocker
Rails of a river board:
- 40/60 - very forgiving
- 50/50 - forgiving
- 60/40 - radical and less forgiving
- 70/30 - radical
- Mixed forms in the board
- Special features like underedged etc.
In order to find the right river surfboard for your area of use, we would like to give you an important guideline. Buy a surfboard with a narrow tail for powerful waves and a wide tail for weaker standing waves.
These are the advantages of a river surfboard!
A river surfboard offers you many advantages when surfing on the river. We have listed them for you:
- perfectly designed for surfing on a standing wave
- from beginner to pro - the right surfboard for everyone
- surfing in the flow
- radical manoeuvres
- pure trick boards
The lower volume of pure river boards make the board run very smoothly on the wave and when surfing rail to rail it connected better with the wave.
Surfing on a pure river surfboard is very different from surfing on a normal surfboard. The surfing behaviour of a normal board does not come close to that of a special river board and also the volume is usually too high to get the best out of the surfboard on a standing wave.
Owning a suitable river surfboard is half the battle. The performance of a pure river board is significantly higher than that of a normal surfboard.
These are the disadvantages of a river surfboard.
Where there are advantages of a river surfboard, there are of course also disadvantages. Here we have compiled a list of them for you.
- Not enough volume to surf it in the sea
- A riverboard breaks more easily
- a riverboard does not last very long
A river surfboard is very susceptible to damage and a surfboard for the river has too little volume to be able to surf it in the sea.
Is a river surfboard suitable for beginners?
The answer to whether a river surfboard is suitable for beginners is a resounding yes. There are special surfboard shapes that are perfectly designed for standing waves and surfers who want to start river surfing. We at Surfganic.com are happy to help you with our professional buying advice.
Which river surfboard is suitable for beginners?
The perfect river surfboard for beginners should have a flatter rocker, more forgiving rails, a wider outline, a wider tail and a bit more volume. This will give you more floatation, which you will need when your turns and the figure eight you are trying to surf are executed even slower, giving you less floatation through the flow.
- flat rocker
- wider tail
- wider outline
- a little more volume
What you should look for when buying a riverboard!
If you want to buy a river surfboard, you should definitely pay attention to the good workmanship of the surfboard. You should not make any compromises here. Cheap surfboards break more quickly and the performance is also not the best. If you value an environmentally friendly finish, check if it is made with bio-based epoxy or at least with epoxy. Polyester resin is much more harmful to the environment.
Furthermore, you should be clear about the area of application for which you want to use your river board.
- Power of the standing wave
- for radical manoeuvres
- for tricks
- for beginners
- for advanced surfers
- for professionals
Every riverboard has its own characteristics.
Your height and weight is another very important factor in finding the perfect hybrid surfboard for you. A hybrid should be chosen in your height minus approx. 10cm. However, this is only a rough guide.
Here we would like to list the most important points in keywords:
- Which waves do you want to surf?
- How tall and how heavy are you?
- How is the River Surfboard made?
With riverboards, your body weight plays a bigger role than your height.
There are these different river surfboard shapes.
There are also different river surfboard shapes for different conditions and different manoeuvres.
There are shapes for beginners, these boards are more forgiving and offer you more lift due to the wide outline and tail.
Power turns and powerful spray can be achieved with narrow-cut high-performance riverboards. These have a flat middle rocker, a tail flip and a medium nose rocker.
There are river boards for tricks and surfing the flow of the wave. These boards have a medium outline and a slightly wider tail than a high performance riverboard.
Beginners surf a twin fin setup. Advanced river surfers prefer a twin fin setup with a small centre fin.
These are the most important riverboard shapes:
- for beginners (wider outline, wider tail, little rocker, 50/50 rails)
- Performance River Board (narrow outline, nose rocker and tail flip, 60/40 rails).
- Riverboards for flow riders (medium outline, slightly wider tail, nose flip, possibly tail flip)
- as Twin Fin (good for beginners)
- as Twin Fin with small centre fin (for advanced surfers upwards)
- as a thruster (takes away some of the turnability)
To protect your river surfboard better at the rails, use a special rail tape. This will make your surfboard last much longer.
The length of a river surfboard is very important when deciding what to buy.
When buying a river surfboard, you should definitely pay attention to the length and volume.
A river board should not be longer than a maximum of 5'8'', but it should not be too short either, because otherwise you will restrict yourself too much during turns and block yourself. Much more important is the right volume for your body weight and the standing wave you want to surf with it.
Use our Surfganic.com buying guide to find the right surfboard for you.
- If your hybrid board is too short, you will restrict your movements and block yourself.
- If the board is too long, it will point into the front of the wave.
- If the volume is too high, precise turns are not possible (connected not with the wave).
- If the volume is too low, the surfboard will not carry you and you will not get enough speed for radical turns.
Which fin setup should I choose for a river surfboard?
There are three different fin set ups for river surfboards. Which fin setup you should choose depends on what kind of waves you want to surf and what manoeuvres you want to perform.
- Twin Fin: A riverboard with a twin fin setup is perfect for beginners and on weak to medium waves.
- Twin Fin with small centre fin: This is the most commonly used fin setup. This gives the riverboard a super drive and is surfed in strong waves.
- Thruster: You can also surf a thruster on a standing wave, but then you should only use fins of size XS.
- Quad Fin: A hybrid surfboard with a quad fin set up is mostly used in performance oriented surfboards and gives your surfboard more drive, speed and control at the same time.
In wave pools and waves with low water levels use soft fins. In the high performance sector use FCS 1 fins, these break faster and protect your fin boxes in the surfboard and you prevent expensive repairs.
What should I look out for in a riverboard for children?
These are the things you should look for in a riverboard for children:
- soft fins (minimises the risk of injury)
- use very small fins
- choose a very small board with little volume
- less tail volume (more control during turns)
- make sure you have an extremely short leash
- Adapt the shape to the wave and weight (as with adults)
How much does a river surfboard cost?
You can find a surfboard for the river starting at a price of €250. These surfboards are usually poorly made and their performance is also rather poor.
In the middle price segment of these shapes, around 400€, you will find quite decent river surfboards with solid workmanship and performance.
Above 500€ you get a very good quality with a good performance on the wave and guarantees you a lot of fun on the waves of this world.
- from 250€ - poor quality and average performance.
- around 400€ - solid quality and performance
- from 500€ Premium River Surfboards for real pleasure
If you love this sport, you should definitely look in the highest price range for your river surfboard - It's worth it!
Which riverboards are suitable for artificial river waves?
A river board for artificial river waves should be designed to perform a steep face and in relatively high and constant water pressure. This means shorter river boards with a narrow tail and a slightly more pronounced rocker line. The stronger rocker line helps you to turn the surfboard even easier.
- stronger rocker
- narrow tail
Which riverboards are suitable for artificial wave pools?
A riverboard for artificial wave pools should be designed to perform a steep face and at relatively constant and high water pressure. This means use a shorter riverboard with a narrow tail and a slightly more pronounced rocker line. The stronger rocker line helps you to turn the surfboard more easily and that the nose does not point in.
- stronger rocker
- Narrow tail
Where are there already wavepools?
Artificial wave pools include Unit Parktech waves that are set up floating on a lake, such as Wakeparadise Milano or at the Wasserfunpark in Langenfeld. All stationary Citywave facilities, the Wellenwerk Berlin, as well as the Jochen Schweizer Arena, Urbansurf in Zurich, the Oana in Lucerne, the Multiplex Citywave in Vienna or the Haselwelle that was integrated into a department store in Osnabrück.
Which surfboards are suitable for the Eisbach?
Suitable surfboards for the Eisbach should have the following characteristics. Due to the high water pressure of the Eisbach, the outline should be a little wider and the tail rocker should be flatter than on artificial standing waves. The choice of board should definitely be adapted to the skillevel and the weight of the surfer. On the mother of all river waves, there are different sections that you and your river board have to master in symbiosis.
- flat tail rocker
- slightly wider outline
Which surfboards are suitable for river waves?
Suitable surfboards for river waves should have the following characteristics. Due to the very high water pressure, the outline should be a little wider and the tail rocker relatively flat, unlike artificial standing waves. The choice of board should be definitely adapted to the skillevel and the weight of the surfer.
- flat tail rocker
- slightly wider outline
Which river surfboard is suitable for weaker river waves?
A river surfboard should have these characteristics for weaker river waves.
The surfboard needs more volume, a wider tail and a flat rocker. This gives the river board more buoyancy, as the water pressure is lower. The length should also be chosen a little longer to generate the same flow and speed as on more powerful waves.