The 4 Best Surfboards of Summer 2012

Walden CD Mega

The 5'10" Walden made even the smallest, scrappiest waves entertaining. At 23 inches across and 3.25 inches thick, with a single-to-double concave bottom, it paddled into waves as easily as a board twice its size. Once up and riding, though, the quad-fin setup and rounded V-shape tail enabled our testers to crank turns and carve waves. If you have room for only one board in your quiver, and you surf a wide range of conditions, this is it. 5'6"–6'6"

Third World Exotic Surfboards Ghostbuster

Among the most popular designs of the short-and-fat movement are Mini Simmons–style boards (named for the late surf visionary Bob Simmons) like the Ghostbuster. This model soups up the already superfast gravestone shape with high-performance rounded rails, a double wing tail, and quad fins for more maneuverability and control. Perfect for milking speed out of lackluster waves. 4’6"–6'8"

Lost Bottom Feeder

“I need this board!” exclaimed one of our testers after his first session on the 5'11" Bottom Feeder. Nearly 2.75 inches thick with a superflat bottom, it paddled fast enough to catch most waves but really excelled in small, punchy beach breaks. The extra-wide tail offered plenty of stability, while the quad fins kept the board loose and maneuverable. Ideal for surfers who regularly ride small waves but want high performance every time they paddle out. 5'4"–6'4"

Super Zen

The slenderest board in our lineup—20.75 inches wide and 2.75 inches thick, with a broad nose and tail—the Zen is still full-figured enough to get going in uninspiring surf. The very flat rocker and a single-to-double concave bottom made paddling and catching smallish waves easier, while the tri fins and aggressive tail rocker kept us in the pocket in bigger surf. For stomach- to chest-high waves and up, the Zen is your next board. 5'4"–6'6"

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