This week I had something different planned to write about. I was going to talk about turning and ways to progress your turns. But...That will be next week!

Last night was my friend Tim‘s pre-wedding celebration. Another friend of mine, Ryan G, and I started talking about the WSL finals event in San Clemente. The conversation progressed and we got into a DEEP conversation about SURFBOARD VOLUME. The little two-digit number that sits next to the letter L (Ie: 34L).

Surfboard volume... What actually is that?

Merriam – Webster defines VOLUME as:

the amount of space occupied by a three-dimensional object as measured in cubic units (such as quarts or liters).

This revolutionary guide to the dictionary was brought to me by a man named Mike Beauvais. A legend in the South-Bay (CA), who has been a Surfboard CNC machinist over the last 20+ years. An engineer by trade and surfboard machinist by passion, Mike gave me some framework on how to help gage volume for all types of boards and surfers.

He would further explain to me that the volume of your surfboard, expressed in Liters, is amount of space occupied between you and the water.

Let’s take me, for example:

Subjectively speaking: I’m in the “Experienced category.” I have surfed over 20 years, coached and trained to surf at a high-level and surfed some of the best waves in the world.

I am 6 foot tall 190 pounds.

For a high performance shortboard, I would take my 190 pounds, transfer that to 86.18 kg (in order to get to Liters) and finally multiply 34% which would equate to 29.3. AKA my SWEET spot for a performance shortboard.

To give further context, an 8’0 WAVESTORM from Costco is 86 L.

You might ask…”So what the HECK does that mean for me?” Well, below I’m going to give you a rough breakdown of how I look at my boards in percentages. Also, what I use for other surfers. Personally I don't surf in one category only. I can have fun in ALL depending on where and what types of waves I'm surfing. 

These formulas can translate to you wherever you're at:

Matt Pagan

6’0 at 190Lbs or 86.18Kgs

Experienced Category/High Performance Surfboard:

Multiply 34%-35%:


Advanced Category/Performance Alternative Surfboard:

Multiply 40%-42%:


Ie: For me this would be twin, single fin or quad I’d ride in softer waves.

Learning To Turn/Cruiser Surfboards:

Multiply 50%-55%


Ie: For me, this would be a board I would ride when the waves are barely breaking.

Soft Top Surfboard/Let’s Catch Everything Surfboard:



Ie: For me this would be an 8’0 WAVESTORM from Costco.

I know this might be alot of new information. I’m looking forward to having further conversations on this.

My goal is that this breakdown helps start the wheels turning of how to look at your surfboards and ultimately helps us all catch more waves and have more fun.

I found this Youtube Video from “Surf Simply” that does a good job of explaining some of the basics as well:


Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions.




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