Surfing might be a challenge to learn, but choosing the right surfboard can feel overwhelming. Everyone seems to have a custom board these days. Even small kids on the beach have boards painted with sea life shapes. Teens have wildly colored boards, each appealing to their personalities, and adults will often have unique boards that they’ve used for years. There’s much more to choosing a surfboard than picking the color you like, though. You need to consider what you’d like to be able to do with the board and your size when choosing the right surfboard to learn on.
If you’re enthusiastic about making rad moves in the waves and plan to learn to do more than the very basics, you’ll want a short surfboard that will allow for that more easily than most beginner boards. When you hold the board next to you on its end, it should be at least 6 inches taller than you, but not much more than about 10 inches taller. If you’re built bigger than the average person your height, you can go with a surfboard that’s slightly taller. You’ll want the board to be a wider and thicker than average board. You might even choose what’s known as a fish. A fish is wider than average and shorter, with a wider tail than a regular short board.
For someone who still wants to learn surfing moves but doesn’t have as much time to do so, then a surfboard of about 7 to 8 feet long will be good. You’ll want to look for a board called a fun board. Fun boards are more like the standard long boards, but they’re wider and thicker. They offer a beginner more stability. And for someone with less practice time, they’re a good option over the short boards or fish. It’s easier to learn on a fun board, though some exciting surfing moves are done easier on a shorter board. The choice between a fish or a fun board should really depend on how much time you’ll be in the water. If you’re going to surf daily or close to it, go ahead and get the shorter surfboard now.
Longboards are easier to learn with, and best for the very casual surfer. If you only plan to surf once in a while and would like to stay on the surfboard as much as possible during these few precious beach hours, then a long board is probably your best choice. Most long boards range from about 9 to 9-and-a-half feet. The biggest drawback to choosing a longboard over short boards, fun boards or fish is the price difference. Longboards are much more expensive than the other options. You can buy a used longboard for less, but modern used surfboards aren’t that much cheaper. Vintage longboards offer a less expensive option, but they’re more difficult to maneuver and harder to carry on the beach because they weight so much more than modern surfboards.