It’s obvious that surfing is a load of fun, but buying the right surfboard – well, that’s not as obvious. If you’re just getting into surfing, you may think that all surfboards look alike and function in the same way. Similar to cars, surfboards come in different shapes, curves, and sizes, all of which affect their performance. Also similar to cars, they are designed for specific conditions and are dependent on your level of expertise and experience.
Think about it this way; would you recommend a Ferarri or Lamborghini for a learner driver? Of course, you wouldn’t. That’s why surfboard designers shape boards differently for novices to those intended for professionals.
Here, then, are five secrets to buying a surfboard that you need to know prior to purchasing one.
1. Size Matters
The size of the surfboard definitely matters, especially when it comes to your physical body size. If you are petite (smaller frame and shorter arms), then a wide surfboard is not for you. Besides being difficult to carry to and from the beach, a wide-board will be harder to paddle since your elbows will just barely reach of the water. Besides your physical frame, there’s the question of skill – whether you’re a novice, intermediate or pro.
2. Level and Proficiency
A novice surfer will need a board that has sufficient volume to provide stability and manoeuvrability. Ideally, the board itself should be a ‘soft-top’ (aka foamy), which floats easily and catches wave thrust with ease. If you have a heavy physical frame, the beginner surfboard for big guys may need to be a thicker ‘foamy’ to support your weight.
3. Level of Fitness
Your level of fitness matters when purchasing a new surfboard. If your stamina is on the low side, then a board that is a little thicker but not too buoyant will be the optimum choice. Paddling a surfboard out to the backline is hard enough, but duck-diving under waves to get there is even more exhausting.
4. Types & Designs
As you may have noticed, there are different types of surfboards. Yet, even taking your fitness level and physical size into consideration, there are other factors that come into play – specifically the design. Some boards are designed to be a little shorter, which makes it more manoeuvrable, yet longer boards are more difficult to turn or thrash in and out of a wave. So finding the sweet spot that matches your stamina, proficiency, weight, and height means you’ve found a board that’s perfect for you.
5. Know your Wave
You may have found a board that matches your sweet spots, but you’ll still need to find a board that suits the surf conditions that you’re planning to ride. This gets a little more technical, but in simple terms, the longer the board, the easier it is to catch and ride a wave. So basically, if the waves are short, then you will need a ‘Longboard’; if they are medium, you’ll need a ‘Fish’; and if they are longer, then you will need a ‘Step Up’ which also vary depending on your size.
Buying a surfboard is no simple task. You need to list the aforementioned attributes about yourself as well as the tidal, beach contour, and surf conditions where you plan to surf. When you have got both covered, then all you have to do is choose a colour and graphic design to personalise your board, and you’re good to go.