Unraveling the Mystery of Rocker in Surf vs. Skim Style Boards
By Dakota S

Have you ever wondered why surf style boards boast a significant amount of rocker, while skim style boards remain almost flat? A visit to any board shop might leave you with the simple explanation that "it's just how they are." However, there's more to the story of your board's rocker than meets the eye.

Understanding Rocker: More Than Just a Curve

Let's demystify rocker first. Rocker refers to the curvature of your board when viewed from the side. It's not just an aesthetic feature; rocker plays two vital roles. It prevents the nose of your wakesurf board from submerging underwater and enhances lift during aerials off the wave's surface.

Wakesurf board rocker

A Dive into History: The Evolution of Rocker

The concept of rocker hails from the early days of surfing. Surfers discovered that a bit of curvature made wave-catching more efficient, preventing the dreaded nose-dive. This principle naturally transitioned into wakesurfing, especially for surf-style boards. These longer boards, prone to nose-dipping, benefit greatly from added rocker to stay afloat.

Contrastingly, skim style wakesurf boards drew inspiration from their seashore counterpart - the skimboard, known for minimal to zero rocker. Skimboards, designed for gliding over shallow shorebreaks, didn't require wave crest navigation, hence their flatter design.

Rocker's Role: Keeping the Nose Up and Lift

The primary function of rocker in surf style boards is to prevent the nose from submerging, especially crucial given their lengthier design compared to skim style boards.

Rocker isn't just about staying afloat. It significantly contributes to the board's ability to catch air. By maintaining prolonged contact with the water's surface as the board ascends a wave, the rider experiences enhanced lift, crucial for aerial tricks.

Skim Style and Minimal Rocker: A Design for Surface Tricks

The reduced rocker in skim style boards aligns with their purpose. These boards are shorter and less prone to nose-diving, ideal for executing surface tricks like 360s and shuv-its without the need for overcoming wave crests.


The variance in rocker between surf and skim style boards isn't arbitrary. It's a thoughtful adaptation to the specific needs and styles of wakesurfing. Whether you're carving through waves on a surf style board or executing slick surface tricks on a skim style board, understanding the role of rocker enhances your appreciation and mastery of the sport. Ultimately, it's about choosing the right tool for the wave you wish to conquer.