More and more each year we see hybrid surfboards out in the water.
The name can be a bit vague though, as hybrid can technically mean a number of things. If we were to make this as simple as possible, a hybrid surfboard is just a mixture of elements from different types of boards.
If we stopped right there you might ask, “Well isn’t every board a hybrid in that case?” Yes, technically you are right. That, however, is not as far as we need to go to understand them.
Hybrids, as the modern surfer understands them, are blends between shortboards and fish surfboards, bringing the best qualities of the both into one.
There are many reasons why we believe that everyone should have a hybrid in their quiver and that is why we are going to tell you about some of our favorite hybrids and what makes them so great to ride.
What Is A Hybrid Surfboard?
Here are the characteristics that hybrid boards have:
Top 5 Best Hybrid Surfboards
This board is easily one of our favorites in the lineup of Gold Coast Surfboards for so many reasons. This model is a soft-top deck that was made with performance in mind and was developed with the same strength and high quality as all other Gold Coast boards.
Keeping with the trend of hybrid boards, the Razzo has a thruster nose with a slight rocker that is also found in the tail. It features a classic single concave throughout the full bottom to a V-exit in the tail.
The board was built for anyone who wants to get into shortboard surfing, as well as those who just want a sweet soft-top board to add to their quiver. It truly brings high-performance surfing to smaller conditions where a shortboard might not do too well.
At 6’, you’d be surprised how easy it is to paddle! In Gold Coast Surfboards fashion, they have added a Go-Pro mount to the front on the nose just in case you want to get a video of you shredding fast down the line for the gram.
#2 - Gold Coast Surfboards - "The Mahi" Hybrid Soft Top - 5’8"
To begin, what makes The Mahi so different from the Razzo is that it is built with a classic fish tail rather than a squash tail. This means that you can easily draw out bigger turns and hold the line when compared to the Razzo. Besides that, there are many other reasons that we love this Mahi Soft-Top.
The foam deck on top, just like the Razzo, has a really nice feel to it and requires absolutely no wax! It also comes with the single concave throughout the full bottom the V-exit in the tail.
This is nice to give your turns a bit more release. The added volume makes paddling incredibly easy and drawing out lines with it is a ton of fun! We love how much it surfs like a classic fish. The board is made for a wide range of people, from groms to big adults, and surfs really well in all kinds of waves. If you have what it takes, try surfing it in a wake!
#3 - Catch Surf Beater
While the designs on the Catch Surf beater might be crazy, kooky, and over-the-top, you might be surprised by how legit these boards are. The Beater is really made to turn average, small wave days into crazy and wild surf days.
You can really carve and drive these boards out in smaller beach breaks. It has a very round nose up front and tapered D-rails that move to a beautiful twin channel crescent tail for some sweet, finless performance.
There’s a pretty solid amount of volume here to for the size, which can be a huge help when trying to paddle something of this size out mid-sized waves. We really dig the removable fin system that Catch Surf added which allows you to get creative with how much carve or drive you want.
Catch Surf has a great reputation overall and these boards are easily some of the most unique boards out on the market. They come in 48”-54” sizes so they are definitely on the small end yet can still support most riders up to 180lbs.
#4 - Liquid Shredder Ghost 5’5” Hybrid Soft Surfboard
The Liquid Shredder Ghost Hybrid is one of our favorite hybrid surfboards for beginners. It’s really proven itself to be an awesome board in the Liquid Shredder lineup and delivers a very easy-to-ride performance.
The mixture of the bat tail with the wide nose is just enough to separate it from a ton of hybrid boards that we are seeing nowadays. It’s a bold statement to soft-top surf. The short and wide shape makes it very easy to paddle and get early entry to waves, and also gives it the ability to surf nicely on smaller days when compared to high-performance shortboards.
With the tough vinyl skin and Liquid Shredder patented aluminum strings system, the board is incredibly durable all the while remaining lightweight. Travelling with this board won’t be a problem, especially for the young ones.
#5 - HaydenShapes Hypto Krypto V FutureFlex Board
It is no secret that the Hypto Krypto is one of the best and most sought after hybrid boards on the market. Hayden Cox designed one of the coolest and most well crafted boards that blend traditional design and modern performance. It is no wonder why these boards are just about everywhere you turn now.
It probably has to do with the fact that this board is great for everyone from the elite surfers to the few-times-a-week guys that are out in the water. Versatility is key.
If it was only possible to have one board in your quiver, this is definitely the go to. There is tons of surface area on the board, which makes paddling out so incredibly easy. Combine that with the twin fin in the nose, tight pintail, and straight outline, you’ll be able to carve hard on the face of waves with an insane amount of speed. Unlike most of these hybrids, the rails are fairly thin.
This is great in that it really helps you dig into the wave to stay connected. It’s difficult not to go on and on about this board because it is such an instant classic, but we highly recommend you go check it out. This is not your beginner board.
Hybrid Surfboard Size Guide
Because Hybrid surfboards come in such a wide arrange of shapes and sizes, there truly is no way to judge what size is best for you. Take this sizing chart as a general reference when you go out looking for a board
6’0” – 6’4”
6’4” – 6’8”
6’2” – 6’6”
6’6” – 6’10”
6’4” – 6’8”
6’8” – 7’2”
Hybrid Surfboard VS Fish Surfboard
The hybrid surfboard and the fish surfboard actually have a lot in common.
The hybrid takes some of its main characteristics from fish boards. You’ll find that they pretty much share the same qualities in terms of length and thickness. They are both very fast, yet have much better stability than when compared to shortboards.
Generally, hybrids will also take advantage of fish tails, though this can change from board to board. The main difference between the two is that hybrid surfboards can perform better at higher levels. Shortboards take a lot from shortboards in terms of maneuverability.
Egg Surfboard VS Hybrid surfboard
The shape is what distinguishes an egg from a hybrid. The more noticeable differences between egg surfboards and hybrid surfboards are that egg surfboards offer more egg-shaped noses and rounder tails, hence the name. The egg boards don’t aim to take any elements of a fish, and rather are built as a mixture of longboards and shortboards.
That being said, they both have a fair amount of surface area under the chest, which makes paddling much easier, and they are also both thicker than shortboards. Egg surfboards run a bit longer than hybrid boards, typically anywhere from 6-feet to 8.5-feet.
They are more geared toward beginner and intermediate surfers, while hybrids are geared more towards intermediate to advanced surfers. Hybrids are much more suited for smaller conditions than eggs as well, and also offer more maneuverability.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you surf big waves with a hybrid?
The board can perform much like a shortboard if you treat it right. You’d be surprised with the kinds of waves that hybrids have the ability to take on. People sometimes fear that because the rockers on hybrids are typically lower profile, that it is more difficult to make steeper drops or really stick it to the face of the wave. Luckily, you don’t have to worry about that because a lot of these boards are made to help you get into waves earlier and minimize the need to drop in late. If you want to surf steeper waves try looking for a hybrid that has a vee in the nose. This helps keep the nose from digging under the water and you from pearling in. Wipeouts happen, but they can be prevented more than often if you know what you’re doing.
Are hybrid surfboards a new thing?
In our humble opinion, hybrid surfboards are the future of surfing. Why not take the best elements from your favorite surfboards and put them all together into a monstrous performance surfboard. It’s like a chef making fusion food or a guitarist putting his favorite parts together to create a Frankenstein Fender. It’s not only fun, it just makes sense. We’re in the era of experimentation. Most of the modern shortboards that we are seeing out in the water share a lot of the hybrid characteristics anyway. There is extra width and the rocker profiles are a lot lower than they used to be when the first big wave of shortboards hit. They truly work for all levels of surfing, and that is why they are here to stay.
What kinds of fins work best for hybrid surfboards?
Having different fins on your hybrid surfboard can make a huge difference. We would definitely recommend twins, thrusters, or quads.
Twins, while definitely not as popular as the other two for hybrid surfboards, can add a bit of a classic feel to your surf style. They are easily the most maneuverable fin setup that you can throw on a hybrid and can add a little bit of looseness if the build of your hybrid feels like it could use it.
Thrusters are our favorite type of setup for hybrid boards as it gives them a shortboard feel. Having thrusters on your board gives you a lot more control and will allow you to turn tighter and bust out tricks if you do so choose. Because hybrid surfboards are a little wider than shortboards, you can still retain that looseness as you pump down the line. The beautiful thing about thrusters on a hybrid is that they make the board stable without sacrificing speed.
If you really just want to go for speed over everything else, don’t look any further than quads. They bring out the speed in hybrid boards better than any other fin setup.
Why the small rocker?
The reason hybrid boards are able to go pretty fast without much work is that they are made with flatter rockers. When you have a more curved rocker, it can be easier to take on bigger waves because of the control and maneuverability that comes with it. Since these aren’t meant to be solely high-performance boards, hybrid shapers went with the fish shape and kept the rockers pretty low profile so that speed would triumph. This gives hybrid boards that ability to glide really nicely.