Describes the overall curve of the surfboard from nose to tail. On a modern surfboard, rocker can be broken down into two different sections: rail (which includes nose and tail curvature) and center (curvature of the middle of the board).
Increased nose rocker is usually attributed to boards shaped for bigger-wave surfing. More rocker in the nose allows for a shape that will not “pearl” or plunge into a large, steep wave face when you dropping in.
Increased tail rocker can be found in boards shaped for optimal maneuverability. A tail that bends off of the water’s surface provides more lift and sensitivity in the tail for driving through radical turns.
Generally speaking, on your standard surfboard, less overall center rocker means the board will glide and paddle better and be more suitable for beginners. More rocker will accommodate intermediate and experienced surfers looking to use every area of the board in order to generate speed and turning power. Aggressive surfers may seek more rocker in their bigger wave boards because the curvature of the nose allows for late drops on consequential waves.