Updated: Aug 21, 2020
Choosing the right surfboard is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when you start your surfing journey. The right surfboard is crucial to ensuring you safely enjoy your surfing, whilst continuing to progress.
As much as you might not want to hear it, your first surfboard should always be a soft board (sometimes called foamies). Soft surfboards are recommended for beginners as they are more stable than fiberglass boards, have added buoyancy that makes paddling and catching a wave easier and are designed with soft rubber to ensure you don’t hurt yourself, or anyone else.
Whilst soft surfboards haven’t always been the most glamorous of boards, recently they’ve come a long way in both functionality and design. Todays’ boards come in all shapes, colours and sizes and can be ridden in all types of waves, from the safety of the whitewash, to unbroken waves where basic carving is introduced.
When purchasing a surfboard the length (feet) and volume (litres) of the board is determined on factors such as your experience, height and weight, fitness level, skill set and agility. To put it simply - if you’re an experienced surfer who is looking for speed and agility, you’ll need a smaller, thinner board, and if you’re a beginner surfer who’s looking for ease and stability, you’ll need a bigger, thicker board.
Surfboards are measured in not just length and volume, but also in width. When you’re purchasing your first board, you should definitely go for ones that are not just long and thick, but are also wider. A bigger board has a larger, more stable surface area and its easier to get on it and stay on it. As a general rule, we recommend adults who are starting out should buy at least an 8ft board, and a 7ft board for kids.
When it comes to how much you should spend on your new board, the price for a good soft board can range between $500 - $800, and around $200 second hand. Whilst second hand boards can be a cheap way to get into surfing, be mindful that you don’t end up with a board that is beyond your skill set or one that has been damaged and repaired incorrectly. Investing a good quality soft board in the first instance, will not only help you progress, but also provide you with more resale value when the time comes for you to progress to a hard board.
Trying before you buy is a great way to see what suits you best. Most Surf Board shops have staff to discuss your needs with you and will have a few boards you can try out before you buy. Otherwise join in on one of our surf school clinics or book a private surf lessons and our experienced coaches can talk you through the right sized board for your individual needs.
Good luck and we’ll see you in the waves soon!