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The surfboard industry continues to branch in a hundred different ways, from performance fish to traditional longboards and everything in between. This can make it hard to decide which board is right for you. Our answer? Pick two. We found a pair that were so good that we couldn’t choose a favorite. One’s a modern take on a classic and the other is as futuristic as you can get.
Lost Rad Ripper ($725 and up)
The Lost Rad Ripper is a shameless throwback to the eighties. Think: bright logos, thick rails, flat rocker, and a wide tail. Packed with foam—the stock 5’6″ we tested is a beefy 27.25 liters—this offering from master shaper Matt Biolos was designed for uninspiring waves. Testers found that the extra volume under the chest made the board extremely easy to paddle, yet the shallow single to double concave V bottom allowed for a great mix of speed and control. And it’s not just for groveling: pro Luke Davis rode four-to-six-foot tubes in Bali on this model and came home singing its praises. Ride the Rad Ripper at your height or two to four inches under.
Sharp Eye Inferno 72 in Dark Arts Technology ($1,305 and up)
On the other end of the spectrum, Sharp Eye’s Inferno 72 in Dark Arts Technology is on the cutting edge of performance and engineering. It starts with a stringerless, two-pound EPS core designed and shaped by Sharp Eye’s Marcio Zouvi. The foam is then sent to the Dark Arts factory, where it’s wrapped in carbon—instead of fiberglass—and vacuum bagged to remove all the excess resin. The result is stronger and lighter than your standard shortboard. It weighs just four pounds finished, but after six months of testing shows little sign of wear or tear. The board’s deep double concave creates lift, which, along with the construction, gives the sensation of floating above the water. And the unique flex of the carbon is like having a gas pedal under your front foot: the harder we pushed, the more speed and spring we felt in return. Designed for waist-to-head-high surf, this is a one-board quiver if there ever was one. Ride it an inch or two shorter than your standard shortboard.