Ryan Burch Surfboards: Breaking Down Asymmetricals, Fishes, Longboards + More!

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Ryan Burch Surfboards: Breaking Down Asymmetricals, Fishes, Longboards + More!

Ryan Burch dives into his different types of surfboards, reasoning for asymmetrical shapes, and more in this exclusive interview with San Diego surfer and surfboard shaper

From surfing to shaping to creating his own clothing collection for Volcom, Ryan Burch has been a very busy man. He just got done touring the West Coast with Ozzie Wright for the Volcom Road Rager Surf Tour, which included a Ryan Burch Surfboard demo, and pumping out a bunch of fresh new Ryan Burch surfboards (learn about these below).

enter the ryan burch sweepstakesShaping his boards for several years now, Burch has found a handful of designs he truly can get behind. Soon after his much-watched surfing part in the 2015 surf film Psychic Migrations where he's seen shaping his own surfboard, then riding it beautifully in flawless surf, surfers and artists began to take notice of the different kinds of boards he was riding and the unique approaches he was taking to riding waves. Suddenly, surfers from all over world cluttered Burch's DMs with customer order requests, and a business was spontaneously formed.

We found some time with Ryan Burch during the Road Rager Surf Tour to give us an in-depth look into his different shapes, what's the deal with asymmetrical surfboards, his (+ Ozzie's) thoughts on competitive surfing, his favorite boards to shape, and more. Keep scrolling!

Ryan Burch Surfboards:

Asymmetricals

  • What is an asymmetrical surfboard, and how do asymmetrical surfboards work? These boards can come in a variety of sizes and shapes, just as long as both sides are not identical, you're good. The asymmetrical boards Burch has built were conceptualized to enhance high performance surfing. The long, straight toe-side rail has a single fin, and reacts similarly to the fast-planing skatiness of a fish surfboard. Opposite, on the heel side, he typically includes two fins with a pulled-in round tail which allows for additional predictability and a bit tighter turn off the heel. At the nose, he sets up the rider for a tighter bottom turn with a pulled-in toe-side curve. With the heel side nose, he includes a straighter rail to grant you a spot when you need to deliver all your speed.
    • Burch Rides:
    • Shortboard: 5'7
    • Step Up: 6'2" x 18" x 2.5"
    • Burch Human Dimensions: 6'2" x 169lbs

    Why asymmetrical surfboards?
    Burch: Because you surf with a staggered stance, so your leverage on your heals isn’t the same as your toes, and surfing is more of a traverse than it is just going straight.
    What is the most popular Ryan Burch Surfboard model?
    Burch: Definitely the Squid Fish. After Psychic Migrations, everyone wants that thing!

    Fishes

  • The Ryan Burch Fish is a classic. Burch notes that this was the first board he was able to power through like a thruster surfboard without losing glide and being able to still regain speed. Pretty much everyone can make a standard Fish surfboard these days, but the fish design that he follows is that of the knee board. These knee-board fishes were ridden in San Diego mostly during the 1970s and included upright, long-based keel fins, deep swallows, and straight curves following to the tail. This set up gives the board crazy amounts of speed and a unique personality, which is one of the reasons why Burch loves these boards. He started out making boards for himself that mirrored the antiquated knee boards from the '70s, but slightly modified. As an enhanced version for a modern surfer, he uses progressive rockers and tweaks the volumes to make them easier to control and maneuver. Recently, he's been shaping in a side-cut to put further pivotal curve into the classic proportions, while maintaining the unique design of its original shape.
    • Burch Rides: 5'3" x 20.5" x 2.25"
    • Burch Human Dimensions: 6'2" x 169lbs

    When did you learn to shape?
    Burch: When I was 20 years old.
    What are your thoughts on competitive surfing?
    Burch: It's good if you can win!
    Ozzie: Yeah, I agree, I like to try and be one of the best guys out there, but I don’t want to enter the contest because then eventually you go down. Keep it unofficial!

    Gliders

  • What is a Glider surfboard? Gliders are bigger boards built with speed as its main advantage. Burch typically makes them in the 11-foot range, which is great for a cross-country surfboard with its intended use for small and clean days. If you're not feeling confident with them, he wouldn't recommend getting one because they are hard to control once they gain some speed. The Glider's larger size offers an easy pick up and plane with the smallest push of a wave, making it one reason it's ideal when the swell is lacking. Burch loves these boards, and considers them a joy to ride while linking together sections from the outside all the way to the shorebreak. To ride a Glider surfboard is just as rewarding as ripping the lip off a Lower's left on a progressive shortboard!
    • Burch Rides: 11'3" x 23" x 3.5"
    • Burch Human Dimensions: 6'2" x 169lbs

    What is your favorite type of surfboard?
    Burch: A finless block of foam. The one that takes the least amount of work to make.
    What is your favorite board to shape?
    Burch: The Twin Fin Pickle Fork Asymmetrical.

    Longboards

  • Ryan Burch more than often longboards in smaller, slower surf, and prefers to ride big boards that you can cruise through any flat section on. He suggests the longboard surfboard for people who want to nose ride ("hang ten" for the newbies reading this) or capture the classic turns of your typical longboard. Burch's longboards are built to ride at a slower pace, but once one learns how to trim, the momentum of the board will gladly surprise you. His longboards are built with traditional design curves and lengths which sideline a classical longboard surfing style, including: trimming, nose riding, and drop-knee turns.
    • Burch Rides: 10'1" x 23.75" x 3.25"
    • Burch Human Dimensions: 6'2" x 169lbs

    What is the process from ordering a board to the final product?
    Burch: I get the blank, and I shape it, then I typically send all my customer orders off to get glassed by Alex Villalobos, and they glass and sand it, and put the fins on them and get them all ready. Then they’re ready for pick up!

    Mid-Lengths

  • Mid-length surfboards fill a much-needed void between the longboard and a shorter board. Compared to a standard longboard, the mid-length surfboards have a comparative feel, but easier to control and turn with a pulled-in tail and narrower nose. With these adjustments, this makes them very playful when the surf is too big or messy for a longboard. The mid-length surfboards paddle very easily and can be adapted for anyone at various skill levels and experiences. With its nimble maneuverability and hybrid nature, it's a great board to have in your quiver.

    • Burch Rides: 8'5" x 22" x 3"
    • Burch Human Dimensions: 6'2" x 169lbs

  • Where can you buy a Ryan Burch Surfboard?
    Burch: Go to RyanBurchSurfboards.com and there's a place to order your board. That’s the easiest way to do it.

    Experimental

  • Experimenting on shapes and designs is essentially how Ryan Burch learned to shape surfboards. Trying to develop something progressive and unique, while stepping outside of the box, fascinates him and is the reason why he rides these one-of-a-kind surfboards.
  • Watch Ryan Burch surfing his own shapes and hear what he has to say about surfing asymmetrical boards and self expression:

    Ryan Burch in "The Rush of the Continuous Rhythm"