Knowing how different surfboards perform and which surfboard would suit you can seem like a never-ending confusing topic with the various boards available to buy.
With the array of different shapes, lengths, volumes and styles available, figuring out the perfect board might seem like a challenge, but with a bit of knowledge, it is pretty straightforward.
Foam Top Beginner Surfboards
If you’ve never tried your hand at surfing, then a foam board in the mini-mal shape is your first port of call. Foam boards are ideal for learning on as they’re incredibly buoyant so that they can catch even the smallest waves with ease.
The most crucial part about surfing is your pop up; so, a foam board (or soft top) is the perfect board to practice on. The soft body and rubber fins are difficult to hurt yourself or others with, so when you inevitably fall off, they are the safest option. That is why surf schools and camps use these very forgiving boards.
There are also shorter style boards made with foam tops available on the market. This type of board isn’t ideal for first time learners but can be a great progression board. The shorter length and thinner rails allow the user to get to grips with performing sharp manoeuvres when riding a wave without compromising buoyancy.
The fantastic thing about longboards is that regardless of your surfing ability, they are a tremendous addition to any surfer’s quiver.
When taking the first step away from the learner boards, longboards are the perfect next board to progress to. Due to their length, they have a higher overall volume. This allows for more stability when standing up and requires less paddle power when catching waves or paddling out.
The high-performance longboard is exactly what it sounds like: a longboard designed to surf like a shortboard. This style of longboard usually has a little more rocker, more advanced rails and bottom contours, usually a 2+1 fin set up (single fin centre with side bites), and is glassed lighter than a traditional log.
Traditional Log Longboards
These traditional styles of boards have more weight, so they carry their own momentum through flat sections, as well as giving you a little more stability when surfing the board from the nose.
Usually consisting of full rails and a rolled belly like bottom, logs give you stability and make it a little easier to transition from rail to rail, making it perfect for when you want to walk the board a little.
Some of these boards even incorporate some concave up in the nose area, which helps create lift and add control when surfing from the nose.
The traditional log is perfect for long mellow point breaks or softer days.
You may have seen some longer boards (7ft and over) with the more traditional shorter board shaping, with a pointed nose and tail with a thinner width alternative fin set up.
These boards are specifically designed for big wave riding to perform under the pressure and velocity of the sea’s monstrous swells.
So, unless you are intending on paddling into a wave 20ft or over, these boards won’t perform their best.
Fun Fish Surfboards
The unique fish design with a wider, shorter and thicker anatomical structure provides more volume to keep you floating on top of the wave, making it easier for you to paddle and manoeuvre into the perfect position for the next wave.
The fish is a great transition board from a foamie and is a team favourite. The fish is great for beginners and also super fun for intermediate and advanced surfers for both smaller days and slightly larger swells, thus being coined a “fun” board. It keeps you floating on top of the water for an overall fun experience.
Shortboards range from about five to seven feet long and have an upturned tip (nose rocker). Usually, shortboards have two to four fins.
It is highly suggested that you progress your surfing through the beginner stages and into the basic skill set of the new intermediate surfer before taking on a shortboard. When it comes to picking out your first shortboard, you’re going to want to be pretty polished in a few crucial skills! Here’s what they are:
● You’re able to paddle out on the bigger days within your comfort zone.
● You are beginning to pick offset waves within your comfort zone.
● Your pop-ups are happening quickly on take-off, not late at the bottom of the wave.
● You can generate speed and navigate turns to keep moving with the open face of the wave.
If you feel you’ve got a foothold on these, you’re ready to start your transition from newbie to ripper.
Overall, the best way to figure out what board will suit you best is to get in the water and figure out exactly what it is you enjoy and how you want to progress, but most of all, it is important to go and have some fun!
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