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Hoax guide to... ordering a custom surfboard

Posted on June 16 2017

Ordering a new surfboard is one of the most exciting times for any surfer.
But how can you make sure you get the best board for you?

The benefits of ordering a custom board, rather than one off the rack, are huge. It gives you the opportunity to get a board specifically designed for you and your abilities. 

But ordering a custom board can be quite intimidating, so we’ve asked Hoax shaper and ambassador Ben Smith to make the process a bit clearer. 

Honest Assessment

Before the finer details of your custom board can be decided, you should honestly assess your current abilities and what it is that you want from your board. 

As Ben explains, this is often the first mistake people make when ordering a board:

“Make sure you are honest with your ability. For example, people often go for a board which may be too small or too skinny and are then left with a board which isn’t going to help them improve. Every board is different, and a custom board is unique to you, so make sure you only focus on yourself and think about what you really need from your board.”

Detail Details Details 

The more detail you can give to the surfboard shaper, the better idea they are going to have as to what you need. 

What is your surfing style? What types of waves do you normally surf? What is your current level of ability? What boards are you currently using/used in the past?

As Ben explains, there really isn’t such a thing as too much detail:

“The more honest information you can give to your shaper, the better the chances of you getting your perfect board. What types of waves are you riding? How many times a week do you go in? Where do you mainly surf? All these things will help a shaper to make a board as good as possible which is exactly what we want to do!” 

Trust the Expert

A surfboard shaper uses the details you have described up to this point and works out how this translates technically. From the basic dimensions of the board, to the more complicated rocker and concave. 

It’s important at this stage that you have a certain level of trust in your shaper and his experience. Of course it’s important that you keep a level of control over the board you are ordering, but you should allow the shaper to give their input. 

Ben explains that a lot of people try to stick to pre-conceptions they have, that may not help them get the right board: “People see the professionals riding a board and think that’s what they should be riding. But those boards might have a huge amount of rocker for the waves in Hawaii, or be a certain shape to suit a certain wave - for example, in this country you’ll need a board with a flatter rocker. A shaper will always listen to what you say, but we might sometimes offer suggestions which are designed to help you get your perfect board, not hinder!”  

Give and Take

In the same way that an architect and a client have to give and take in order to reach a plan for building a new house, so must you and your surfboard shaper. 

You will most likely go into the process with some idea about what board you are after. For example, you might think that you want your board to be 6 foot long and quite narrow whereas your shaper may believe you would be better with a board that is a bit smaller but wider. 

As Ben explains: “Similarly to the last point, there might be certain things that a shaper will recommend using their judgement and professional opinion. At the end of the day, a shaper will make whatever board the customer wants, but based on our experiences, we will have suggestions using the information a customer gives us.” 


A good custom surfboard comes from great communication between you and your shaper. You don’t have to know what goes in to making the perfect board, but if you explain exactly what it is you want from your board then your shaper will be able to make it happen. 

You don’t have to be an expert to be able to order a perfect custom surfboard. 

“Put your faith in the shaper, we’ve had the experience and got the know-how and we’re here to make you the best board possible - so don’t be afraid to get in touch at any point with your ideas or input!”

You can find out more about our Hoax surfboards here: or why not get in touch and talk with our shaper Ben Smith directly


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