Tips for choosing the right surf equipment
Making sure you have the correct equipment for your level of surfing and the different conditions is essential to make sure you have a great time when out surfing. The best thing you can do when learning to surf is to simply take some surf lessons. Beginner coaches will talk you through the basic equipment and make sure you get the right size board and wetsuit (if needed) to suit your surfing ability and size. From these lessons you’ll be able to gain an understand of how beginner boards feel and you can get advice from the coach about what board size and shape will suit you best.
Try before you buy! Once you’ve given surfing a go and you think you’re ready to purchase your own equipment, before you go out and spend a bit of money, hire or borrow a friends, family or colleague's surf board to try out a few different boards. When looking to buy a surfboard you don’t need to buy the fanciest, newest board on the market. A second hand board from market place or your local surf store will do you fine. The truth is as you progress with your surfing you’ll outgrow your first board, therefore we suggest you don’t buy the most expensive board first.
Make sure when you’re looking for your first surfboard that it is around 7-9ft and has a lot of foam, volume and buoyancy with thick rails. This will ensure you’re able to easily catch waves, stand up and have the most fun! There’s no point trying to surf if you’re not having fun!
When choosing a leg rope for your surfboard, the general rule is to get a leg rope as long as your board. For example if you have a 6 ft board, you use a 6 ft leash. You may see some surfers (long-boarders) wear leg ropes up just below the knee. This is because it stops the leash from getting in the way when they are trying to cross step or nose ride, but whilst you’re learning to surf a leg rope that goes around your ankle is what you’re after.
Wetsuits are great to keep you warm on those colder days, and if you live in a colder climate you’ll be wearing one of these more often so making sure you have a good wetsuit is important. Sizing is very important to make sure the wetsuit does the job and also ensures you are comfortable. Head to your local surf store for assistance with sizing if you are in doubt. The staff are always well trained and can assist where you need.
Just remember trying a wetsuit on in store it is always tricky! You are putting a rubber suit on in a small changing room and it is going to be tight because it’s never been wet – patience is key. Once you’ve got the wetsuit on try moving your arms in circles and bending your legs to make sure it is flexible enough, keeping in mind once the wetsuit is wet it will be easier to move in.
Once you have your size, you can start to look at different thicknesses of wetsuits. When a wetsuit says it is a 4/3 (pronounced four-three) this means there is 4mm of rubber in the torso and 3mm in the legs and arms. This thickness would be suited for a very cold climate such as Victoria in the winter. On the opposite end of the scale you would have a 1mm spring suit for a warmer climate. In between these you have a 3/2 and 2/2 thickness.
If you are waxing your surfboard you want to make sure you have the correct wax for the water temperature that you're surfing in. On the wax packaging it will have different temperatures written on it, check what the water temperature is where you’re surfing and from there you can ensure you have the right wax for your climate.
If you’re interested in giving surfing a go, make sure you check out our Surf Clinics and Surf Tours. With different locations across Australia and the world, all our programs are run by women, for women.