An area of interest for me as a shaper lately is women’s surfing. Girls has been taking to the water in ever increasing numbers in recent years and I’ve been observing, analysing and listening to their requirements, and formulating a few design ideas specifically for women. I've learnt that there’s a lot more to designing for women than simply painting a pink flower on a guy’s surfboard.
Most women have a different body shape to the average male surfer. It’s also an unfortunate fact that most women surfers get their main board design input from their fathers (too much volume) or their boyfriends (too little volume).
Typically women have a lower centre of gravity, less paddle power and surf with less aggression than blokes. Most women don’t pump the surfboard like men; they traditionally want to get more flow going on a wave. To achieve this you need a simpler bottom shape and a more relaxed rocker, especially in the tail. Less tail rocker also makes it easier to pick up waves. This combination of design features translates into a board shape with more “Point and Go”.
I also tend to pull the volume in the board back for most girls, which gives a little less swing weight in the nose. I also keep the rails nice and full in the area you’re standing on, so the board is more gentle and forgiving in the turn. I usually glass a ladies board a little lighter too, but once again it’s up to the individual.
These are some of the variables I try and tweak depending on who I am shaping a board for, factoring in their ability, body weight and where they are going to be surfing. As always with surfboards, there are no absolutes, but we try and achieve the best compromise of all the requirements and different design options for each customer.