Keep in mind that the ideal liter range can fluctuate based on the conditions, board type, and water temp.
It’s important to note that the best way to dial in your ideal surfboard volume is based on a range. In other words, volume should never be a hard line in the sand.
Knowing what works for you can take some time, but having a volume guide can be very helpful.
Here is how we calculate volume range based on skill level.
We basically take your weight and divide it by six.
For Pro-level surfers, this gives you an ideal volume.
For advanced surfers, you’ll want to add 1-2 liters, intermediate surfers will add 3-4 liters, and beginner surfers 5-6 liters.
In this calculator tool, we have used the high end of this calculation, so if you want to go a bit lower, negate a liter or a fraction of a liter accordingly.
Advanced: weight/6 +1-2
Intermediate: weight/6 +3-4
Beginner: weight/6+ 5-6
If you are leaning more towards the lower end of a skill level, you may want to go up in volume.
Similarly, if you are surfing in the winter and have a wetsuit on, you may want to add volume.
If you are using epoxy construction, you can actually go down in volume because those boards tend to be more buoyant than a traditional polyurethane (PU) board.
If you are surfing small waves where it is more difficult to create speed, you may consider going up slightly in volume. On the other end, if you are surfing more powerful waves, you don’t need the paddle power a more voluminous board affords, and therefore can go down in volume.
I am an intermediate surfer who weights ~163 pounds.
Using the calculator, this gives a recommendation of 31.17 liters. However, this is the high end of the volume spectrum and I know that I actually prefer boards in the 29 liter range.
This is likely due to my personal preference for slightly smaller boards and because I am above average height, 6’1″.
That said, I can go down in volume a couple of liters, especially if I am riding a EPS/epoxy board. For my daily small wave crafts, I am in the 29s, and for my step-up, I ride in the low 30s.
My small wave performance surfboard is epoxy and is just under 30 liters. The extra volume is nice because it allows me to paddle easier and get more speed on smaller waves. The epoxy is nice too because it sits higher on the water.
I also ride a fish in similar volume. This shape has a wide nose and wide tail so it actually floats pretty nicely as well, even though it is a poly board.
My step-up is a 6’0″ at just above 30 liters and is made of PU construction. If I were to get this board in epoxy, I could probably go down half a liter or so.
Anyhow, the point is there are lots of minor considerations to come into play but the basis of my surfboard buying is always steeped in volume as a primary consideration and then other factors like construction, shape, wave types, and what I’m looking to do on a surfboard that particular day.