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It seems like there is a new surfboard design that’s sweeping the lineups every year though. Really though, ever since Simon Anderson revolutionized surfboards with his thruster design, we’ve been reaping the benefits.
The three fin, thruster setup is the standard fin set up for all kinds of boards. Since it’s so standard, it can be hard to find what makes one different from another. That’s where we come in.
We’ve looked at a bunch of boards to narrow them down to some of our favorites. These boards have the stability thrusters are known for but will still be able to turn when you want them to. Hopefully, with this guide, you can find the best thruster for you and go out there and get your stoke on.
Our Top Picks For Thruster Surfboards
South Bay Board Co. 7’ Ruckus
- Excellent for small waves
- Funboard shape
- Wax-free deck design
South Bay Board Co. 6’ Razzo
- Best for high-performance surfing
- Hybrid deck shape
- Waxless performance
- Best choice for beginners
- Longboard shape
- Include traction pad
Thurso Surf 7’ Aero
- Best for shortboard transitioning
- Unique egg shape
- Comes with a traction pad
South Bay Board Co. Guppy
- Best for smaller riders
- Fat and wide shape
- Comes with a thruster setup
- Best for blackball surfing
- Short fish shape
- More like a bodyboard than a surfboard
What Is A Thruster Surfboard?
Good question! A thruster surfboard has a thruster fin set up, which is a three fin set up. Each fin is equally sized. They are placed symmetrically around the center line of the board with one fin on each side that is in front of one in the back center. Thrusters have an ideal blend of stability, speed, and control making them an ideal fin set up for any board in any conditions.
Quad vs Thruster
Like its name suggests, a quad setup has four fins. The quad fin setup is a development of the original twin fin design which was incredibly fast and loose through turns. The additional two fins help the quad setup feel more stable when your riding while still minimizing drag and allowing you to harness your speed.
Quad fins are usually quicker than thrusters, but they feel less stable. Quads make sweeping turns better than thrusters which are better at pivot turns. This is the basic explanation of their differences, but you can read more here.
Thrusters are typically the most balanced of all the fin setups. They turn better then a single fin and have more control than twin fins or a quad making them a great surfboard type for all riders.
Thruster Surfboards: Our 6 Favorites
#1 South Bay Board Co. 7' Ruccus
The South Bay Board Co. Ruccus is designed for the beginner surfer, but still has enough going for it that surfers of any skill level will have a blast riding it. With thick rails, this board is easy to stand up on and ride down the line.
This board has a lot of volume so it will paddle easily. Due to its thruster fin setup and squared off tail, you’ll be able to maneuver this board with no problem and feel in control. So you won’t have to worry about plateauing your skill level at just going straight to the beach.
South Bay Board Co. is one of our favorite brands because they think of surfers when they design their boards. With rubber on the tail of this board, the Ruccus won’t get ruined from vertical storage. It also is wax-free so you’ll be ready to take it out and rip from the moment you get your hands on it.
#2 South Bay Board Co. 6' Razzo
The 6’ Razzo is much closer to a standard shortboard than many of the other options we’ve found. The outline, rocker, and FCS fin thruster setup make this a great board for any surfer who wants to advance to steeper waves or more radical maneuvers.
The outline of the Razzo is meant for turning on the wave face. The sharper nose will help you cut through chop on any waveface.
The narrow, squash tail makes it so that you will be able to drive through your turns while still maintaining grip on the wave.
The hybrid construction of soft foam on top and a bamboo deck on bottom make this board durable.
This is a board that you won’t have to worry about replacing every summer since it’ll stand up to wear and tear that comes from standing up and having waves crash on the board.
One nice thing about the Razzo is that it comes ready to go with all the accessories you’ll need. It has a short leash which is perfect for a board this size since you don’t need to walk the nose or keep a large piece of debris away from you. It also comes with FCS fins that you can upgrade as you develop your skills.
No guide would be complete without mentioning the Wavestorm.
There’s a lot that’s been said before about it, so I’ll stick to the main points.
The Rasta color options on the Wavestorm are classic. Not only do they look great, but, I’m also pretty sure, they help you rip.
The nice thing about the Wavestorm is that it’s 8’ long so it’s easy to paddle at a high speed.
Even though it paddles like a champ, you’ll find that it’s easy to link turns on the Wavestorm.
It’s surprisingly nimble for its size which makes it a solid option for any surfer from those catching their first wave to top level pros surfing waves of consequence.
#4 THURSO SURF 7' Aero
The 7’ Aero is a good option if you’re looking for something shorter than 8’ but aren’t quite ready for a shortboard yet. Made of EPS foam, this board is very light and easy to bring to the beach.
One feature that we like about the Aero is that it is designed with an emphasis on stability.
With a huge volume and a large amount of buoyancy, the Aero is great for any beginner. The thruster set up here really helps the board to feel stable when you’re standing up.
The downside of all of this stability is that the Aero can be difficult to turn on the wave. The fins sit a little farther forward than usual which means that the pivot point of the board is closer to the center.
This just means that turning off the bottom or cutting back will be more difficult for experienced surfers. For the beginner, there will be little noticeable difference.
#5 South Bay Board Co. 6’ Guppy
Guppies are small fish. The Guppy is a small board. Unlike the Razzo, the Guppy is less performance orientated.
It has a rounder outline in the nose and tail. It also has bolt through fins. All of these traits make the Guppy more suited for beginner surfers, especially smaller, younger beginners.
The Guppy is small and light because it is meant for smaller riders. Unlike other shorter boards that are meant for high performance surfing, the Guppy rides more like a longboard.
Meant for riders at or under 150lbs, the Guppy provides a lot of features to help riders get on their surfing journey. Besides having a high volume and buoyancy to size ratio, it also has a handle to help carry the board around.
The Guppy will feel stable due to its fins and wide outline. With a wide nose running to a wide tail, the Guppy will feel like a longboard and paddle like one as long as you are within the size limit of the board.
#6 Goplus 5'5"
The Gopluss 5’5” is on the borderline of what a surfboard can be.
This board is very small and standing on it can be very tricky unless you are little or very skilled in surfing.
The Gopluss falls under the category of board known as a beater since it has removable fins and can also be ridden like a bodyboard.
So it is like a board that can beat summertime blackball rules.
At its size, the Gopluss is also good for riding hollow shorebreak waves.
Since it is a soft top, it is very durable and its small size makes it ideal for squeezing into little barrels.
The main downside of the Goplus 5’5” is that it is made more like a bodyboard than a true surfboard. It even recommends a wrist leash instead of an ankle leash which makes it difficult to stand up on.
OUR #1 PICK - South Bay Board Co. 7' Ruccus