What Is a Gun Surfboard?

Learn about gun surfboards from Quiksilver's Michael Baron in this Howcast video about how to pick a surfboard.

If you’re going to choose a gun surfboard, you’re definitely an expert. Your gun surfboard is a much narrower surfboard. Big waves are going much faster than smaller waves, and they have a lot more power, so you’ve got to use less surface area in these boards because you’re going so much faster. And if you’re going fast, if you have too wide of a board, you’re going to skip out of the wave. You’re not going to be able to put that rail line into the wave. So that’s why you use a narrower board, a longer board, so you have a longer rail line. Once you drop into the wave, you want to make that long turn and get out of dodge. You basically, you can tell that the narrow nose of a gun has lots of curve, comes down into the wide point, and then goes back down into a round pintail. The round pintail is giving you a lot of control in bigger surf, being a narrower tail.

Now you’re paddling into these waves that are going 25, 30 miles an hour, and you’ve got to catch up to that wave and drop down over the lip into that wave. And that’s why you’ve got a thicker paddling here, because you want to get into that bigger wave earlier. And then once you drop into the wave, then you’ve got your rail line. Your rail line is a long rail line, and once you set your edge on a gun, it starts to take off immediately down the line. In your bottom contour on a gun it goes from a single concave into a V panel. Because you’re going so fast, V helps the board sit down into the wave.

I’ve worked a lot with Tom Carroll, two-time World Champ, for Pipeline and guns for Pipeline. And basically, we put a V panel in there because he wants to slow that board down and have it in total control in the big surf at Pipeline. So if you’re ready for a gun, you’re an adrenaline seeker. That is a gun.