Innovation in Shaping Surfboards Since 1985

Best Step-Up Surfboard: Blackbird vs New Traveler

A question we often get is what the differences and similarities are between our two top selling Step-Ups; the Blackbird and the New Traveler. We created this breakdown and comparison to help you figure out which is the best Step-Up surfboard for you.


Blackbird & New Traveler

6'10 Blackbird and 7'0 New Traveler. 

Let's start with the conditions and waves you plan to ride your Step-Up... This will help determine which model you're after.

If you're traveling somewhere with shallow reefs, steep drops, and hollow barrels, your best bet is the New Traveler. If you're going somewhere with open water and racey waves, the Blackbird will best suit you.

New Traveler

The New Traveler is our updated version of the original Traveler. It's knifey, thin, and has a lot of rocker. All of these combined allow you to handle late, steep drops and navigate through tubes that pass over shallow reef. To put it in more simple terms, this is our step up with the highest performance. There's not a lot of volume in this board, so it suits more advanced surfers.


New Traveler

Jonathan Gubbins on his New Traveler. Photo: Renato Tinoco


The Blackbird is a more full Step-Up with less entry rocker rocker and a single concave starting under the nose to maximize paddle power and speed while adding a little more overall volume to the board. It's a fast board that's meant to battle currents and chase down peaks. It holds on rail really well, and still performs well top to bottom. This is most people's go-to step up for all skill levels and all conditions. Simply put, this is Rusty's version of an all-around step up.


 Letty Mortensen on his Blackbird. Photo: Guy Williment

Whether you're headed to cold water slabs or warm water reef passes, we've got you covered. The New Traveler and Blackbird are some of our best sellers during Winter and for people who prefer to travel to warmer waters. Order one now or check with your local shop to make sure you're prepared for the next swell.


The Best Step Up Surfboards: Blackbird vs New Traveler

NAME  Blackbird New Traveler
WAVE SIZE Head high to double overhead+ Head high to double overhead+
CONDITIONS Mushy-Steep Perfect
APPROACH Cruisy-High performance surfing High performance surfing
SKILL LEVEL Intermediate-Advanced Advanced
ROCKER Moderate Aggressive
CONCAVE Single to double to vee Single to double to vee


Shop all Step Up surfboards.