Your choice of surfboard makes a huge impact on your surfing experience, especially when learning how to surf. But what are the best surfboards for beginners?
Equipment matters. You can attest to this especially if you are new to surfing. When you have the right ride, you will have more opportunities to learn the techniques you need to learn to progress. You’ll feel more secure in testing your capacities. And you’ll be able to reduce errors and accidents, allowing you to progress and diligently hone your skills until you feel more comfortable in the water.
While there is no one single surfboard that will be right for all beginners, there are basic and common qualities of a surfboard that you should look for when you’re just starting out. What you will want to look for is a durable and broad board that is easy to paddle and will offer you stability during the ride.
For those with little or no experience, longer boards are often recommended – those small, stylish boards you see on magazines and films are for experienced riders or pros. A longboard or a mini-mal surfboard is your friend at this time. These styles of boards are wide, stable and will take keep you afloat longer as you learn the basic moves, build your surfing fitness and get to know the ocean.
The soft surfboard is also a popular option for beginners and is actually used by many surf schools. Made of soft, buoyant foam (that’s why they are also commonly referred to as “foamies”), the material and the dimensions of soft boards are designed to make it easier for you to catch waves and to stand up while manoeuvring the board. Even the fins of this type of surfboard are made of softer material, minimising injuries that you may acquire during practice.
If you go to the beach regularly and you’re diligent with practice, your soft board may not last long and you’ll grow out of it in a short time.
Your next option could be a ‘pop-out’ surfboard. Lovingly referred to as a ‘pop-out’ because they are mass produced by way of an assembly line process versus shaped from scratch. Made of more durable materials, you will still be able to use this board as you progress to intermediate level. Usually made of foam enveloped with fibreglass, pop-out boards are incredibly sturdy, but also very heavy. As a result, you will need more effort in controlling the board, but its weight is also advantageous to those who are still polishing surfing skills because it provides a steadier ride.
You could also pick a funboard, which is described as a hybrid between a shortboard and a longboard. You’ll like it because its weight and shape makes it more portable; it’s also made for easy paddling.
Another tip for learners is to look for second-hand surfboards. It may be tempting to buy those great-looking surfboards displayed at the shops, but you’ll find a better deal when you browse through the pre-loved surfboards. The board you’ll be using when learning to surf will get used up and bruised up anyway. A used board that can still offer a decent performance while you are still going through the early phase can be a practical choice.
Respected surf filmmaker Jack McCoy once said that “your surfboard is your magical connection to riding waves.” It’s important to take your time and get to know more about choosing the right board – you need to find a board that is not just for right beginners, but also specifically suitable for you.