best small wave surfboards summer surfboard guide surfing midlength small wave performance

The Best Surfboards For Small Waves – Summer Surfboard Guide

On the hunt for the best surfboard for small waves and an epic summer surfboard? Here are 10 options that will up your wave count!

When it comes to finding the best surfboard for small waves it’s an often overlooked addition to any surfers quiver.

Lets face it – there are plenty of option out there for pumping waves, but 90% of the time, most surfers will be surfing in head high and under, so having an epic surfboard for small waves is a must!

Whether you’re looking for that perfect summer surfboard or  a small wave surfboard that is heaps of fun, here are 10 solid options to consider adding to your quiver…

The Best Surfboards For Small Waves – Summer Surfboard Guide

What To Look For In A Surfboard For Small Waves

When it comes to the characteristics of an epic small wave surfboard there is quite a bit of variety in surfboard outline, but there are 3 core things that will give the board some serious grovelling stoke:

Flatter Rocker

A flatter rocker (aka curve in the board from nose to tail) means ease of paddle power – allowing you to get up and riding quicker and make the most of smaller surf conditions.

Higher Volume

As the saying goes – foam is your friend! Most small waves surfboards work best with a few extra litres of foam compared to your performance shortboard and this extra float will certainly help you maximise smaller conditions.

Wide Point Further Forward

Alongside the higher volume, having the wide point a bit further forward compared to a performance board is really going to be a big plus. This means more foam under your chest, which increases paddle power too.


Another helpful feature is a bit of extra length, which is why longboards and midlengths are always heaps of fun in small surf. That being said though, there are some board types (especially fish boards) which opt for short and fat rather than longer – so don’t oversize them to get the length!



12 Of The Best Surfboards For Small Waves

There are heaps of epic surfboards out there designed for small wave performance and fun – but here are 10 of my personal favourites which are well worth checking out…

best small wave surfboards summer surfboards lost evil twinLost Evil Twin

Hands down my favourite board in my quiver at the moment – the Lost Evil Twin has been somewhat forgotten, having been launched a few years back. My 5’10 as a twin fin setup is an absolute small wave destroyer and never fails to leave me with a smile.

Opt for some of the longer models to optimise the single fin option, but for me the twin fin setup is the way to go.

DHD Mini Twin 2

The Mini Twin 2 pumped up the volume a bit form the original DHD Mini Twin, added some channels between those twin fins and moved the wide point a little further forward. The result is an epic small wave surfboard that grovels really well!



Firewire Seaside

Fat, fast and all round heaps of fun – the Firewire Seaside is a firm favourite of mine and works great in small, summer style waves. Suitable for a huge variety of surfers too – it’s also one that will handle the bigger stuff just as well.

lost puddle jumper hp review carbon wrap mayhem surfboards best all round surfboardLost Puddle Jumper HP

When it comes to performance grovellors the Lost Puddle Jumper HP should never be overlooked. Lots of paddle power, but also plenty of release it’s great fun to ride.

I prefer mine as a thruster, but also goes really well as a quad – although I do find it taps out when the surfs around head high.

Firewire Go Fish

One of the first twin fin boards I really connected with, the Firewire Go Fish is an older model in the Firewire range, but still a great option for some small wave fun. Plenty of foam under the chest make paddle into anything a breeze and team it up with the Machado Keels for the best experience.

Firewire Too Fish

firewire too fish rob machado twin fin surfboardAnd if you like the look of the Go Fish then the new Firewire Too Fish is also well worth checking out.

The evolution of the Go Fish, the Too Fish is another Machado creation that brings heaps of fun and flow to small surf, and bigger surf too!

Gone are the “board eat board” channels and instead a deep, single concave channels water through the board and it works beautiful teamed up with the new Too Fish Keel fins – which blend drive and speed of traditional keels, with more modern day performance. 

If you’re looking for some twin fin fish fun for your small wave board, this is one of my personal favourites at the moment!





DHD Phoenix

Mick Fannings small wave shortboard, the DHD Phoenix can handle a surprising range of waves. Under head high go with a twinny + trailer, anything over that size strap in your standard thruster set and you’re good to go.

Lost RNF ’96

The recently updated and re-released Lost round Nose Fish ’96 has heaps of volume under the chest but still has plenty of performance too. A great option for people looking for something which performs in bigger surf too.

review hypto krypto twin haydenshapes hk twin-2Hypto Krypto Twin

The follow up to the popular Hypto Krypto, the Hypto Krypto Twin (aka the HK Twin) is a solid contender for the small wave surfboard pick.

With a drivey keel fin setup it’s grovels really well, but also handles bigger conditions as well.



McTavish Butterball

A great option for the more experienced surfer, the McTavish Butterball is their take on the Mini Simmons – tweaked with a quad fin setup, super flat rocker and heaps of small wave fun. Short and high volume, it’s a great option for the quiver.

Most Midlengths!

When it comes to small wave surfboards, anything in the midlength surfboard category is also going to be a solid choice! Check out my full midlength surfboard guide for a more detailed breakdown and some seriously fun board options.

The Firewire Mashup

review firewire mashup rob machado dan mann-2I’m also going to add in the new Firewire Mashup into the mix as well. I’ve been testing it out since in launch in Jan 2022 and in terms of small wave performance it’s an incredible board to ride.

A combo of the Seaside and Dominator 2 – the Mashup has heaps of speed and drive, but turns super smoothly and feels like it really wants to be thrown around, so get your turns perfected on it!

Works from waist high upwards, but the sweet spot is chest to head high – and it’ll make even the most average surf conditions feel heaps fun!

Check out my full review here

What’s your go to surfboard for small waves?

Any others you’d recommend?




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