What is a Retro Surfboard?

Aloha surfers! Are you looking to catch some vintage vibes on your next surf session? Then you, my friend, might want to try riding a retro surfboard! But wait, what exactly is a retro surfboard? Don’t worry, we got you covered.

Thrown back to the 60s and 70s, retro surfboards are iconic surf crafts that have paved the way for modern designs. These boards showcase unique shapes and come in a variety of

What is a Retro Surfboard?

A retro surfboard is a vintage-style surfboard that incorporates the design and construction features of boards from the 1960s and 1970s. These boards have a unique shape, typically featuring a wider nose, narrower tail, and distinct curvature. Retro surfboards often provide a more classic surfing experience with a focus on style and maneuverability over speed and performance.

What is a Retro Surfboard?

Surfing can be traced back as far as the 18th century in Polynesian culture, and it has come a long way since then. Over the years, surfboard designs have evolved in countless ways, from big wave guns to shortboards and everything in between. However, retro surfboards are a unique type that stands out among the crowd. In this comprehensive guide, we will take a deep dive into the world of retro surfboards, discussing their history, design features, and what you need to know before buying one. Are you ready to ride the wave of nostalgia? Let’s dive in!

The history of retro surfboards

Retro surfboards are heavily influenced by the boards of the 1960s and 1970s, which were characterized by their unique shapes, designs, and construction techniques. These boards are often referred to as “vintage” or “old school” surfboards, and they have become increasingly popular in recent years. During the 60s and 70s, surf culture was at its peak, and surfboards were evolving at a lightning pace. Board shapers were experimenting with new designs, and the surf industry was booming. Many surfers of this era were looking for unique boards that could help them stand out and express their individuality. Retro surfboards were born out of this desire for individuality.

The boards of the 60s and 70s were groundbreaking in their design and construction, and they inspired countless generations of surfers. They were wide and thick, with a lot of volume, and they typically had a round nose and a wide tail. The boards were also heavily influenced by the longboard designs of the 1950s, with a focus on style and maneuverability rather than speed and performance.

Although the retro board designs of the 60s and 70s eventually fell out of fashion, many surfers have continued to ride them today, either for nostalgia or for their unique performance characteristics. Many surfers that grew up during this era have also rediscovered their love for the old boards, and they are responsible for bringing this classic design back to life.

Retro surfboard design features

Retro surfboards have many unique design features that set them apart from modern-day boards. Here are some of the most notable ones:

One fin setup

Most modern surfboards have a three-fin setup, but many retro boards only have one fin. This design feature provides a unique feel when surfing, and it is part of what makes these boards so special. A single fin provides extra stability and control, allowing the surfer to make tight turns and cutbacks with ease. The single fin also makes the board more suitable for long rides, making these boards a great choice for those looking to cruise on small waves.

Narrow, pointy tail

Unlike modern-day surfboards, which often have a wide tail, retro surfboards usually have a narrow, pointy tail. This feature allows the board to turn quickly and easily, making it ideal for making sharp cutbacks and flowing down the wave face. It also provides extra speed, making it easier to catch small waves and build up momentum.

Round nose

Another notable feature of retro surfboards is the round nose. This design feature helps to provide extra stability, making it easier to paddle and catch waves. It also allows the board to glide smoothly and effortlessly across the water, giving the surfer a classic surfing experience.

What to consider when buying a retro surfboard

If you’re thinking of buying a retro surfboard, there are a few things you should consider:

Your surfing ability

When choosing a retro surfboard, it’s important to take into account your skill level. These boards can be more difficult to ride than modern-day boards, and they may require extra balance and finesse. If you’re new to surfing, it may be best to start with a more forgiving board before transitioning to a retro board.

The wave conditions

You should also think about the types of waves you’ll be surfing. Retro surfboards are generally best suited for small to medium-sized waves, as they don’t have the speed and maneuverability of modern-day shortboards. If you plan on riding big waves, you might want to consider a different type of board.

Board size and shape

The size and shape of the board are also important considerations. Larger boards with more volume are generally more stable and easier to paddle, while smaller boards are more maneuverable and suitable for taking sharp turns. You also need to consider the board’s width and thickness, as these factors can affect the board’s stability, speed, and ability to catch waves.

Where to find retro surfboards for sale

Finally, if you’re interested in buying a retro surfboard, there are many places where you can find them for sale. One of the best places to look is your local surf shop, where you can see and handle the boards before buying. There are also numerous online retailers and auction sites where you can find vintage surfboards for sale.

However, it’s important to be cautious when buying used surfboards for sale, especially when buying online. Make sure you thoroughly inspect the board for any damage or defects, and ask the seller for any information they have on the board’s history and previous owners. It’s also important to make sure you’re buying from a reputable seller with a good track record.


There you have it – everything you need to know about retro surfboards! From their history to their unique design features and what to consider when buying one, we’ve covered it all. If you’re a surfer looking for a classic surfing experience, a retro surfboard might be just what you’re looking for. Just remember to take your surfing ability, the wave conditions, and the board’s size and shape into account before making your purchase. And always be careful when buying used surfboards for sale – a little extra caution can go a long way!

Retro surfboards versus modern surfboards

While retro surfboards are fun to ride, they do have some significant differences compared to modern surfboards. Retro surfboards have a wider nose, which makes them more stable and easier to paddle. However, this wider nose also makes the board slower and less maneuverable than modern boards. Retro surfboards also tend to have a flatter rocker than modern boards, which makes them faster on smaller waves and easier to paddle.

Modern boards, on the other hand, tend to have a more pointed nose and narrower tail, which makes them more maneuverable and faster. They are also often shorter and have a more pronounced rocker, which makes them better for catching larger waves and performing high-speed maneuvers. Modern boards are generally preferred by surfers who are looking to perform tricks and maneuvers beyond what is possible on a retro board.

Caring for your retro surfboard

Like any surfboard, retro surfboards require proper care and maintenance to keep them in top condition. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Store your board in a cool, dry place

It’s important to store your retro surfboard in a cool, dry place to prevent warping, delamination, and other damage. Avoid storing your board in direct sunlight or in a hot, humid environment, as this can cause the board to expand and contract, leading to cracking and other damage.

Rinse your board after each use

After surfing, be sure to rinse your retro surfboard thoroughly with fresh water to remove any salt, sand, or other debris. This will help prevent the board from corroding or developing any damage. You may also want to apply a protective coating to the board to help prevent scratches and other damage.

Check your board for any damage

Regularly inspect your retro surfboard for any damage, such as cracks, dings, or delamination. If you notice any damage, be sure to have it repaired as soon as possible. Ignoring damage can lead to more extensive repairs down the road.


Retro surfboards may have fallen out of fashion for a time, but they are now enjoying a resurgence in popularity. These unique and classic boards offer a different surfing experience than modern boards, with a focus on style, maneuverability, and cruising. Whether you’re a veteran surfer looking to recapture your youth or a new surfer looking for a forgiving board to learn on, a retro surfboard might be just what you need. So dust off that old board or find a used one for sale, and get ready to ride the waves with a little vintage flair!

FAQs about Retro Surfboards

Now that you know all about retro surfboards, let’s answer some common questions related to these unique boards:

What makes a retro surfboard different from a modern surfboard?

Retro surfboards are generally wider and thicker than modern surfboards, with a more rounded nose and a narrower tail. They also typically have a flatter rocker, which makes them more stable and easier to paddle than modern boards.

Are retro surfboards more difficult to ride than modern boards?

It depends on the surfer’s skill level and the type of waves they are riding. Retro surfboards can be more difficult to ride in larger waves due to their lack of maneuverability, but they are generally easier to ride in smaller waves. They can also be more challenging to maneuver and control than modern boards due to their wider shape and flat rocker.

Can retro surfboards handle big waves?

Retro surfboards can handle big waves, but they are generally not as equipped for it as modern boards. Their wider shape and flat rocker make them less maneuverable on larger waves, and they could be more difficult to control in rough seas.

What are some common retro surfboard brands?

Some common retro surfboard brands include Bing, Gordon & Smith, and Con Surfboards. However, many shapers and surfboard builders make retro-style boards, so there are countless options to choose from.

What is the average price for a retro surfboard?

The price of a retro surfboard can vary greatly depending on the brand, material, size, and condition of the board. On average, a used retro surfboard can cost anywhere from $300 to $1000 or more, depending on the factors mentioned above. However, some vintage boards can sell for tens of thousands of dollars or more in auction.

Where can I buy a retro surfboard?

Retro surfboards can be purchased online or in local surf shops. You can also find used surfboards for sale on online marketplaces such as Craigslist or eBay. If you’re looking for a custom retro surfboard, you can contact a surfboard shaper near you and have a board made to your specifications.

Can I surf a retro board if I have only surfed on modern boards before?

Yes, you can surf a retro board if you have only surfed on modern boards before. However, you may need to adjust your technique and riding style to accommodate the board’s unique shape and performance characteristics.

Are retro surfboards suitable for beginners?

While retro surfboards can be ridden by beginners, they are generally not recommended for absolute beginners who are just starting to learn how to surf. These boards require extra balance and finesse to ride, and they can be more challenging to control than modern beginner boards.

What should I look for when buying a used retro surfboard for sale?

When buying a used retro surfboard, it’s important to inspect the board for any damage or defects, such as dings, delamination, or cracks. You should also ask the seller