Choosing a surf board

Introduction : -
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.

Essential Info About Surfboards:-

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;

Length : -
The length is the most influential aspect of a board´s design and is a good place to start when considering what dimensions your first surfboard should be. For beginners looking to learn as quickly and as easily as possible, bigger usually means better. A longer board will offer easier paddling and more stability under it´s rider´s feet. Many first time surfboard buyer´s, will find a board that is 18-24 inches taller than it´s rider to be the easiest to learn on. However this may vary, depending on the weight of the surfer too.

Width : -
The width of your first surfboard will determine how stable it feels, and how easy it is to control. A wider board will offer beginning surfers a definite advantage in smaller conditions, and is best for learning on. For this reason the width of a first board should be at least 19 inches or greater.

Thickness : -
The thickness of a surfboard directly affects how well it floats. More floatation means a smoother ride once standing and less fatigue from paddling. For most surfers a thickness of 2.5 inches is sufficient in a first board. However, since the proper thickness is mostly determined by the surfer´s weight heavier surfers may benefit from a thicker board.

Template : -
The term template refers to a board´s overall outline. A board with a template that is wide throughout the nose, center, and tail of the board is best for the beginner. This will offer the rider a more forgiving feel and better overall balance. A fuller template will also make paddling much less difficult.

Choosing the Surfboard you want:-


Surfboards for Beginners

Here is a look at what the essential parts of a surfboard are called.


The Shortboard:-

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 Longboard or Malibu:-

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:-

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:-

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.


Surfboards For The Beginner:-

The Softboard:-

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.


The Pop-Out:-

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.


The Pop-Out is a popular choice as a beginners board. They offer more for the average surfer than the soft surfboards, because they have a longer time span where they are still of use as a board to learn to surf on. Another great thing about the Pop-Out is that they are in demand and always have a good resale value. When you have learned to surf on them and are looking to buy a board more suitable to your surfing ability - try finding a second hand one.

Surfboards for Beginners Summary:-

Surfboard Size : -
> No matter what type of board you buy it should be at least 6´´ longer than your own height.
> The wider the board, the more stable on the waves
> The thicker the board the more buoyant it will be, making it easier to paddle and catch waves
> An ultra thin, light shortboard will make learning to surf harder

Type : -
> The best type of beginners surfboard depends on different factors.
> How often you will be surfing, your fitness levels, whether you need to look cool etc.
> Soft boards, longboards, minimals and pop-outs are all great beginners boards
> Shortboards are not such a great beginner board for the average surfer.

New or Old : -
> This depends on a number of factors including budget and availability of boards
> Buying a new soft surfboard is a good idea if you have children or you do not intend to go surfing regularly.
> If you progress quickly in your surfing you will soon need another board more suited to your ability.
> Soft surfboards are for the novice only.
> Good second hand surfboards can be hard to find, take a look at the surfboard buying guide
> With a beginners board you will have to replace it soon, you need a board that you can resell

How Often You Surf : -
> If you surf intermittently go for either a pop-out, mini-mal or malibu
> If you surf 3-4 times a week you can pretty much start on any board you like.
> Surfing this regularly should see you quickly out of the ´novice surfer´ stage

Ding Repair:-

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.

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