Buying Your First Surfboard
What is the best surfboard to buy for a beginner?
You have done a lesson, maybe a couple of lessons, possibly even a string of lessons and you want to buy your first surfboard. What is the best surfboard to buy for a beginner?
One of the most common questions we get asked at the surf school is “what is the best surfboard to buy for a beginner surfer?”
Often after having a lesson, a couple of lessons or maybe more, people are loving their surfing and they want to continue. The most logical step is to then purchase a surf board so that they can then continue on surfing by themsevles whenever they want without the extra expense of having to rent a board or the inconvenience of having to go to a shop, often waiting until it opens for those that want to get an early surf in, and then rent a board. If you have your own board, you have no restrictions on when you can surf, you go when you want and when you are able to!
Sadly this is though where a lot of people go wrong and then completely jeopardise their longevity in surfing and their enjoyment of the sport.
Too often, people get too excited and want to progress to a short board far too fast. They go from having a great time, loving their surfing, being successful in paddling the board, catching waves, doing correct technique, standing up, riding waves and having a heap of fun. Then they buy a board too small. They find it extremely difficult to paddle, they find it even harder to paddle onto and catch a wave and near impossible if they have paddled onto and caught a wave, to then be able to stand up and ride the wave. So after a couple of failed attempts, they become disheartened, the draw and pull of going to the beach to surf starts to dull and they stop altogether, where not long before hand, they were addicted to that thrill of surfing.
What is the best surf board for a beginner is therefore a hugely important question so the new surfer keeps surfing, keeps having fun, keeps feeling the high and adrenalin kick of being in the ocean and catching the waves and keeps loving the sport.
The ideal board for each person will depend on a number of factors including – age, size, weight, athleticism, success, fitness level, ocean experience, time they will have available to surf, how many times they are going to surf each week/month/year.
We will always generally recommend a bigger board and ideally a softboard. Continuing on a board similar to the one that was used in the lessons will allow the love and enjoyment to continue while skills, fitness and proficiency continues to develop and grow. This is especially so if someone is only going to occasionally get out in the water.
There will always be a place for that long softboard as well in a surfers quiver! As a surfer, you can never have enough boards!! When and where possible, it is the ideal dream of a surfer to have a board and equipment that will suit prevailing conditions. If it is small or if the tide is higher and waves fuller, there can always be a time when that initial learner big softboard can still be plenty of fun to take out for some waves, no matter how good and strong a surfer becomes.
If someone has been really successful in a lesson, lives on or close to the coast and is going to be surfing consistently and very regularly, then possibly, this person can consider getting a smaller board that we would generally recommend.
However, the surfer will have to realise and understand that it is going to be harder for them, they are going to struggle more and that they will have to be really committed to persevering and maintain their motivation when they find it so much harder in the beginning. If they are going to surf daily or at least multiple times a week then this can be okay, but it is just a lot more challenging.
If a surfer is desperate to get a smaller board, then they should still make sure it is suitable with good volume being thicker, wider and with a larger board outline. A beginner surf should definitely not be looking at a short, high performance shaped surfboard.
Often those working in a shop do not have a very good understanding of what boards are suitable for surfers at different levels. Surfers are much better to listen to their instructors and coaches when they are wondering what board to get and what is the best surfboarf for a beginner surfer when they decide they want to buy one.