You just had the time of your life learning how to surf in Hawaii, and now you want to keep feeling the wind in your hair while you glide on water! However, you do not know how to choose your first Surfboard?
Do not panic, we’ve got you!
It is really hard to choose a shape and size for your surfboard. Here is a simple guide of the surfboards with recommendations for beginners and intermediates.
Before getting started, make sure to always surf in conditions adapted to your level and accompanied with other surfers.
1-Choosing the size
Everyone will tell you which length to get, 7″ or 8″ or 9″.
Not only is it about the length, what really matters is the wideness and thickness of your surfboard.
A thick and wide surfboard will give you the volume and floatation you need to paddle easily and be stable.
Our size recommendation is a board 21″ wide or more, 2 3/4 inch thick or more.
The length from 7ft to 9ft can do depending how heavy and skilled you are.
If you cannot really choose a board, our suggestion is getting something around 8feet 22 inches wide and 3 inches thick- this is a good start for most adults.
For a younger kid- around 7 feet 21 inches and 2 1/2 is a great choice.
Remember to not make the mistake of getting a board too thin. You will end up frustrated struggling to catch waves and find your balance. Unless you are a born surfer!
A thinner / shorter board is easier to turn, but way more difficult to paddle and balance.
When starting to improve you can go shorter and thinner for more maneuverability.
2-What about the style?
You definitely do not have to try and surf like Kelly Slater with a tiny board! There are many other surfing styles!
You can dance by doing cross steps on a 10 foot surfboard. Or maybe you prefer to go fast and do smooth carves on a twin fin?
If you already know what type of surfer you want to become this will really help you choose!
If you are into walking to the nose, and hanging your toes than you need a nose rider! You can nose ride anything, but a bigger board around 9ft with a wide round shape on the nose will definitely make this task easier!
You are looking to surf bigger / steeper waves, and surf like pro? For this you are going to need a nose more pointy to avoid “nosediving”. 3 or 4 fins will help you get a good grip on the wave and stable turns. Remember, make sure not to buy a surfboard too small. That will frustrate you.
Maybe you are more into cruising and taking it easy? Get a “fish” or “Hybrid”, a wide board with plenty of volume for easy paddling and stability, but short enough (7ft or less) to turn fast! A “twin fin” setup (two fins) make the surfboard go faster and turn easier, but sometimes can be a bit slippery!
After all, it is up to you! If you are extremely passionate then you will want to try them all! Experimenting with new shapes and sizes is so much fun and will keep this sport entertaining forever!
To choose your first surfboard you will need to decide if you want a soft board or hard board
Softboards are extremely fun, even pro surfers are using them regularly.
They are much safer than a hardboard, we all end up hitting our board sometime, the softer the less painful!
Way stronger, not as easy to ding than a regular surfboard. No need to worry about making and fixing dings all the time.
Hardboards are obviously for high performance, faster and easier to turn. The downside is that they can be very fragile and constantly get dinged and need repairs.
If you are committed and are planning to surf a lot and improve, a hardboard is the way to go. You will need to learn how to take care of it, and eventually fix dings.
For a stronger and more durable board ask for a strong thick glass or epoxy resin surfboard.
4-Fins, leash and tail shape
There are endless combinations of fins, and shapes of tails. They change how fast, how much grip there is and how loose the board will be.
There is no bad choice, and once you start improving you can test out different surfboards and feel the difference.
We would recommend to avoid pointy tails like “swallow tails” simply because they very fragile. Square or round tails cause less problems!
As far as the leash goes, well that is very easy. You want it to be about the same length as your board 🙂
5-Where? And How Much?
A surf shop is the best place to get your first surfboard. The staff will help you make the right decision. You can expect to pay between 600USD to 1000USD .
If you are on a budget, Craiglist has many good deals waiting for you under 400USD.
Very tight budget? Don’t worry! For 180 USD you can get a 8 ft WaveStorm at CostCo that will do a great job!
Now it’s up to you! Choose your style and how much you want to sacrifice comfort / safety for performance!
We really hope this little article helps you choose your first surfboard! Don’t forget to get some organic surf wax at our shop