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Whether you are an amateur trying to find a surfboard to rent or an intermediate to advanced surfer looking to buy one, choosing the right surfboard is vital. Do not merely go for the flashiest brand and forget about the fundamentals that can make or break your surfing experience.
Factors to consider while choosing a Surfboard
You can’t just head over to the seller or website without a bit of background as to what you should be looking for in a surfboard. A seller’s instinct is to push a product at you because they must make ends meet. Some are genuinely rooting for you but not all of them will have your interests at heart.Looking for the surfboard for small waves, we have a post on that here.
So, let’s walk you through the most important considerations in choosing a surfboard:
The type of wave:
Surfing is a thrilling experience partly because no two waves are similar. There is always an element of unpredictability especially if you are new to it. However, each area has some characteristic wave patterns that it is known for.
Wave properties like wavelength, frequency, and height are usually factored into surfboard design. For instance, fish surfboards are suited to smaller waves while shortboards do well with bigger waves.
So, you have to consider local conditions where you expect to catch waves. If you are not familiar with the local wave patterns, you can consult local surfing enthusiasts or check forecasts and swellnet reports.
Your skill level:
How good at surfing are you? Are you a beginner, intermediate, or advanced?
This classification certainly helps because some boards are designed for new surfers and others are meant for advanced surfers. Your skill level will determine your ideal surfboard volume. If you are an older surfer then check out our post on the best surfboards for older surfers.
For example, as you learn the ropes, you should go for higher volume boards for better stability and slower speeds. Then as you become more skillful, you can ditch them for lower volume surfboards to catch waves at higher speeds and with greater control.
For a second opinion, ask your friends or relatives to honestly rate your surfing skills to avoid judging yourself incorrectly and deluding yourself into buying the wrong board.
Usually displayed in liters, surfboard volume is nothing more than a calculation of length by width by height. Volume has a part to play in selecting boards because it affects things like drag, speed, stability, buoyancy, balance, just to mention a few.
Volume is factored in along with your skill level, height, and weight in picking the ideal surfboard for you. Most retailers will have a chart that calculates your surfboard volume.
When you are starting out, there is no harm in buying a board that is higher than your recommended volume because it will give you more stability although it will be slower. Pros typically go for boards that are lower volume.
While surfboard volume is more accurate for picking a surfboard when you are buying yourself one, the length will come in handy when you are buying it for someone else. Do check out the best surfboard for big guys post to get familiar with once for big guys.
Number of times you expect to surf per week
You can think of this as the frequency at which you will use the board. For instance, if you expect to go out more frequently, you can buy a board meant for someone at a higher skill level than you because your frequent practice will take you there.
If you have surfing experience, you should know a bit about your preferred fin configuration. It affects stability and speed.
It goes without saying that the price should be affordable.
The surfboard should be sturdy enough to support your weight. Most boards sold these days are foam-made. Wooden boards are more dated but they are durable. The obvious downside is that they are heavier than newer varieties.
Wavestorm 8ft Classic Pinline Surfboard
Wave Storm is one of the most recognizable surfboard brands and this 8 footer is one of their most popular products. It EPS core and marine ply stringers provide for a stable support structure.
The top deck is made using soft foam and the surface of the board is textured for better grip. It also features an HDPE bottom that is slick enough for a smooth surf while it also provides a degree of stiffness to maintain the board’s shape in turbulent waters.
It has a length of 8 feet, a width of 22.5 inches, and a thickness of 3.25 inches. The volume is 86 liters and the weight 11.5 pounds.
It is suited to surfers of all skill levels and it carries a recommended weight capacity of 200 pounds. It comes with removable fins and an ankle leash traction pad
It is suited to riders of all skill levels; beginner to advanced
It comes with a leash
It has removable fins to afford you the flexibility to choose your fin orientation
It is relatively light
Restricted to 1-3 fins configurations
Advanced surfers will feel relatively limited in terms of maneuverability
Looks generic; if you want something flashy that stands out from the crowd, this board will disappoint
Giantex 6' Surfboard Surfing Surf Beach Ocean Body Foamie Board
If you want to introduce your kids to surfing, this longboard suited to beginners will do. Known for its stability, new surfers will have an easier time mastering the skill.
It has a tough EPS core for support and a slick bottom made using high-quality HDPE to maximize speed. It has a soft top to cater for learners.
The bottom concave design is meant to increase speed (when compared to other longboards). It comes with three removable fins to allow you to choose your preferred fin configuration ranging from one to three. The removable fin design also makes it easier to transport.
This Giantex has the following dimensions: 6 feet (length) by 20 inches (width) by 7.5 inches (thickness). It weighs 10 pounds and can support a maximum of 200 pounds. Since it is relatively short, it is suited to smaller adult beginners and children.
It is relatively light and therefore easy to carry around.
It has a uniquely designed bottom that maximizes speed
It comes with a leash
It is easier to maneuver than other longboards
Having only three fins limits flexibility with the fin configuration.
Not suited for advanced surfers
Too short for tall adult beginners
SSBC Soft Top 8' Verve Surfboard
Designed for beginners, the 8-foot Verve soft top surfboard boasts a modern design that is optimized for better performance than other amateur boards. It has a rounded nose for better stability.
It is relatively light in weight because its core has 2 wooden stringers and a fiberglass rod for rigidity. This provides better maneuverability.
It comes with three removable fins for easier transportation. This also lets you experiment with different fin orientations (for example, you can use two fins in the outer slots and remove the middle fin)
Although meant for amateur surfers, you can still use it as an advance surfer for a bit of fun. It is not ideal for competitive surfing though. Its dimensions are 8 feet (height) by 23 inches (width) by 3 inches (thickness) with a volume of 74 liters.
It has a heat release valve to cool the core when you use it hot weather
It is relatively durable
It is suited to both beginner and advanced surfers
It is easy to carry it around because it is relatively light
Not ideal for competitive surfing
It is not meant for surfers who like broader boards.
THURSO SURF Lancer 5'10'' Fish Soft Top Surfboard
The Thurso surf lancer is a soft top, twin-fin board designed for maximum surfing fun. It has a fish-tail design which gives it a wider surface for better hold and traction. It also allows the rider to plan speed and lift.
It has an IXPE deck that is heat laminated to minimize delamination for a long-lasting glamorous look. It has a slick, heat-laminated HDPE bottom to glide over the waves at speed. The HDPE also adds a bit of stiffness.
Its EPS core is well known for its stiffness and better yet, it is light making the surfboard more buoyant. It has two wood stringers for more stiffness and longitudinal strength.
It comes with 6-foot double stainless steel swivels, an ankle leash, and a built-in non-slip deck grip.
Its dimensions are as follows: 5 foot 10 (height) by 20 inches (width) by 2.75 inches (thickness). It weighs 6 pounds and has a volume of 33.6 liters. It can support a maximum weight of 200 pounds.
It is lightweight
It is durable
It is relatively fast
Intermediate to advanced surfers will find it easier to control
It is not suitable for people who don’t have surfing experience
It has two fins thus restricting your freedom to choose diverse pin orientations.
There’s no individual surfboard suited to all surfing conditions and skill levels. Choosing the perfect surfboard involves knowing your needs and situation and matching those with the available options.
Obviously, going for big brands is a good idea because there’s a reason everyone is buying from them. But as you go with this approach, bear in mind that there are advantages and disadvantages to choosing big names over smaller manufacturers.
For example, big suppliers usually have engineering teams that pore over designs, run simulations, and only approve the optimal designs. But they can’t beat a local small-time manufacturer when it comes to intimately knowing the local wave conditions and fully adapting their designs to those conditions.
Choosing a surfboard is tough because the variety at your disposal is mind-blowing, but when you go through this guide, you will have a checklist of considerations that go beyond brand names to ascertain that you are buying the right surfboard.