Shapers – Get A Gun: How To Order A Board For Bigger Surf

Winter is approaching, so it’s time to grab the bull by the horns and push yourself over the ledge into some big waves. While not everybody will be tackling monster Mavericks and maxed-out Sunset, it’s a fundamental aspiration of surfing to ride bigger waves. Whether it be your local beachbreak on the biggest day of the year or a trip to the North Shore, your 6’0″ potato chip squash-tail ain’t gonna cut it. TransWorld SURF consulted North Shore shaper Jeff Bushman to help answer some questions about getting a board that you probably won’t ride very often, but when you do, it’ll be a very memorable experience.

TransWorld SURF: Why doesn’t a shortboard work in bigger waves?

Jeff Bushman: With a short board you don’t have enough volume to paddle into larger waves. Shortboards are meant for high- performance surfing—you want them to generate speed, whereas a gun is designed to contain speed. You want to be in control so you feel safe.

What are the most important things to remember when ordering a board for bigger waves?


Be realistic in the size of waves you’re going to ride. Don’t order a six-six thinking you’re going to be able to ride eight-to-ten- foot Hawai’ian-style waves. You need to tell your shaper where the board is going to be ridden. All spots have unique design concepts. For instance, with a Sunset board you need more volume than you would for a Pipe or Backdoor board.

What are some new trends in gun design—surfboards 6’6″ and bigger?

Guys want to ride smaller boards in bigger surf, so we’re trying to find where that limit is. It’s definitely been influenced by tow-in surfing.

So there you go, now you have no excuse for not paddling out when the waves get overhead. Don’t be a bird in the lineup! Go to your favorite shaper, surf shop, Wal-Mart, or wherever you get your boards, and get yourself something to rip on.—J.C.