Choosing a surf board
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You can learn to surf on any board you like, however some surfboards are more appropriate than others. To maximize the rate your surfing progresses, you need to get started on the right board.
Your first surfboard is just that that... a board that will get you into the waves, and easily help you master the basics of paddling, getting into the waves, standing up and getting down the line. A mistake many beginners make is to want the same board the local ripper is using, or their friend that has surfed for some time.
It helps to remember your first board is to learn how to surf a wave rather than look cool. Use it until you feel ready to move on to a board that will give you more performance.
The modern surfboard is hand shaped by professional shapers out of foam, and finished with a fibreglass coat. They are light and strong. The leading edge of surfboard design changes quickly. Here are the basic elements you will need to know;
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Here is a look at what the essential parts of a surfboard are called.
There are basically four types of surfboard design, plus beginners boards. The first is the Shortboard, also known as the Thruster. This is the type of board that is pictured above. It is a board used to perform quick manoeuvres and is the most popular type of surfboard design. The size of these Shortboards is generally from around 5´8´´ to 6´10´´.
The main difference in design from a shortboard is that the nose of the Longboard is rounded. Other than that there is no real difference, Shortboards tend to have 3 fins and Longboards tend to have a single fin. (Surfboards can have as many fins as they like, it is not a standard thing). Mini Malibus range from the 7´2´´-9´0´´ and Malibus are 9´0´´ and upwards in length.
The Fish is very similar to a Shortboard but is smaller in length. The lack of length is made up by an increase in the width of the board, giving it a slightly more rounded shape. Fish are generally between 4´8´´ and 6´0´´.
The Gun is a bigger version of the Shortboard and is used in the big wave arena. The increased length of the board makes it possible to paddle into bigger waves. The Gun can be anywhere from 7´2´´ in length to over 12´ for the really big waves.
The best surfboard for a beginner is a Malibu. The bigger, thicker Mals are easier to catch waves with and are more stable to stand up on The ideal board should be at least 9´ long and be made of foam. Foamies as they are called are the ideal board to start on because the soft foam construction means the boards are incredibly buoyant, enabling the beginner to catch waves easily. Their dimensions ensure that they are very stable in the water - making it easier for the novice to stand up.
A Pop-Out is a surfboard that is made on a production line and is a cheap alternative to a custom made fibreglass surfboard. The Pop-Out is made of foam covered with thick fibreglass and is practically indestructible! As a result of their construction the pop-out is heavier than a softboard or a custom board of equal size, which is good from a learners point of view, because the board is much steadier in the water. The Pop-Out is a good beginners choice because of their cost and the fact that they float really well.
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Sooner or later you are going to ding your prized possesion. If you don´t know what you are doing and want to keep the trade in value of your board high and the board looking and working correctly... BRING IT IN TO GET IT FIXED! If you insist on repairing dings yourself, various websites cover this in detail, and ready-to-go repair-kits are available for purchase.