The Big Collection of River Surfboards

As the sport evolves, river surfers are using a wider variety of river surfboards than ever before. Here, I’ll try to keep track of the ever-expanding list of boards I’ve seen on Colorado’s Front Range. Where I can, I’ll note some of the pros and cons even if I haven’t done a full review. And where I’ve written a full review, I’ll note that as well.

I have excluded from the list any SUPs besides those specifically designed for surfing. Though you certainly can surf something like an 8’6″ Hala Atcha without a paddle, it’s tough and it’s certainly not what the board was designed for.

I’ve also excluded any handbuilt boards from the fine folks at these companies, which all design and build river-specific surfboards. The all make great boards, but their changing catalogs and varying availability make direct comparisons pretty tough. So, for better or worse, we are just talking about mass-produced boards here.

If you’re regularly river surfing a board that isn’t on the list, email me and let me know how you like it.

BoardPrice (Est.)ProsConsReview?
Boardworks Flying Pig$300Hard-board performance at approaching a soft-board priceNot enough volume for slow waves; somewhat fragile Yes
Scott Burke 5'2" Fish $160Inexpensive way to get into high performance boards for high performance wavesSquishy fins, and you get what you pay forYes
Wavestorm Taquito$250Surfs nearly everything besides very fast, steep waves. Cheap.Cheap. Has gotten hard to find, though Wavestorm has some similar replacements.Yes
California Board Company 6'2" Fish$70Cheap entry level board; will surf a variety of river waves depending on rider weight. A favorite for PuebloDiscontinued; replaced by a 6' board that is about the same quality and twice the priceYes
Giantex 6' Surfboard$65Cheap. Not much else.Basically a toy. Not enough stiffness to surf most river waves without turning into a taco.No
O'Brien Alley Wakesurfer$250Inexpensive entry into the wakesurfer category of boards for steep, fast waves. Quick.Soft for a wakesurfer.No
Catch Surf Beater$190Fairly stiff for a soft board. Quick.Not much nose rocker, which can be a liability for steeper waves. Not enough volume for slow waves for most surfers.No
Bic Paint$210Quick from edge to edge, fun on fast waves.Not enough volume for slower waves. Not much nose rocker.No
Slingshot Alien Twister$350Very fast from edge to edge. Stiff. Loose. Only suitable for steep, fast waves. Out of production.No
Slingshot Ankle Biter$315Fairly quick though more mellow than the Twister. Fun on fast waves.Only suitable for fast waves. Can be hard to find.No
Sling Shot Gnarwhal$650Heir to the Alien Twister. Fast and fun.Expensive, and only suitable for fast waves.No
Sling Shot Space Pickle$350Heir to the Ankle Biter. Same pros apply.Heir to the Ankle Biter. Same cons apply.No
Glide Sesh$1,099Park and play paddleboard surfable without a paddle. Durable, high volume.Heavier than surfboards or wake surfers. Expensive.Yes
Badfish IRS$950SUP surfable without a paddle. Rocker and volume let it surf more waves than most boards. Very stable.Not particularly high performance once you're on the wave. Expensive.Yes
Lost Puddle Jumper$650High performance board on either the ocean or the river. Quick. Durable for a hard boardExpensive. Only suitable for fast river waves.No
Badfish SK8/I-SK8$800River-specific design, high volume, high performanceExpensive, somewhat hard to findNo
Softech Mystery Box$350Fairly quick and high volume. Can setup as a twin or quad. Some nose rocker.Not a ton of volume, though higher than some of the other softies.No
Softech Flash$300Quick on the wave with decent volume for its size. High performance for a soft topLower volume restricts it to fast waves for most surfersNo
Hala Peno$1300Surf-specific SUP short enough to surf without a paddle. High volume and will surf lots of things.Expensive. Not particularly high-performance once you're on the wave without a paddleNo
Lib Tech Air'n and Yacht Sea$700New boards, TBANew boards, TBANo
Channel Islands Average Joe$800Similar to the Puddle Jumper; fast from edge to edge and high performanceNeeds a fast wave to work given the relative lack of volumeNo
Softech Rocket$90Removable fins, enough rocker for steeper waves Small enough that only steep fast waves have enough speed for itNo
Softech Torpedo$280Removable fins, fair amount of volumePretty flat nose rocker, maybe out of production?No
Hala Milligram$1,000Small for a paddleboard and inflatable. Fits on a variety of waves.Big compared to shortboards and will be harder to turn/maneuver. ExpensiveNo
California Board Company 5'8" Fish$170Similar to the CBC 6'2" fish. But shorter. Maybe a better option for smaller riders.Similar to the CBC 6'2" fish. But shorter. Maybe a worse option for larger riders. Getting expensive for the quality.No
Formula Fun 5'3" Twin Fish$250Moderately priced fish, American MadeUnknownNo
California Board Company 6'2" Fish">CBC 6' Fish$140Decent size for a variety of waves, billed as a 6'2" Fish but really a 6' replacement for the old, cheap 6'2" FishTwice the price of the old 6'2" Fish, basically the same boardNo