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How to choose the best surfboard for your level

Whether it's time to get your very first board or if you want to expand your quiver with a new beauty, knowing which board to choose is important. This guide will help you to understand the surfboard size and volume, which type of surfboards to choose between and everything else you need to know to choose a surfboard for every level.

There are countless boards to choose between, whether you order one online, go to your local surf shop or buy a custom board directly from a shaper. Many advanced surfers have a good knowledge of which boards to get, while it can be a trickier process for beginners.

When picking a surfboard there are many factors that come into play and a bunch of questions may pop up. What size? Which type? And what about volume?

Let’s dive into that!

What you need to know when choosing a surfboard

There are many factors to take into consideration when choosing a board that's right for you. Here are four questions you should ask yourself to know which board to choose:

Question 1: What is your skill level?

It’s important that you choose a board that isn't too hard for you. So, which is your current surfing level? Beginner, intermediate or advanced? If you're not sure then you can ask an experienced friend or surf coach to watch you catch some waves and give their opinion. Put your ego to the side here, you don't want to buy a board that's too hard and just ends up collecting dust in your quiver. 

Question 2: What are your height and weight?

These are key factors in determining your board's size and volume, but we'll get back to that further down the post.

Question 3: What is your fitness level?

As you know, surfing is a physically challenging sport and requires a lot from the surfer. If your fitness level is on the weaker side, then a board with more volume will help to make the paddling easier. As you get stronger at paddling, you can advance to a smaller board.

Question 4: Which wave types do you want to catch?

What types of waves you want to surf should be taken into consideration when you choose aboard. What conditions do you enjoy surfing in? Relaxed cruising or fast rides? Bigger or smaller waves? Unfortunately, the perfect all-waves-and-condition-surfboard doesn't exist.

Thus, as you progress and want to surf different styles it could be a good idea to build a quiver with different boards.

Different types of surfboards – and when to use them

Your surfboard must match your needs. Since there isn't one surfboard that ticks all the boxes for what a perfect board should be, compromise is the keyword here. There are pros and cons with every kind of board on the market.

Some of the most common boards you’ll find in the surf shops are:

  • Fishes: These boards will give you a good deal of speed and flotation. The fish board works well on small to medium waves and will make riding weak waves enjoyable! A weakness with this board is that it’s harder to catch waves with it than it would be with a bigger board. It provides more manoeuvrability than the longer boards, but compared to a shortboard it's more limited.

  • Shortboards: This is the board for advanced riders who want a great performance board with top manoeuvrability. Clean and powerful conditions are ideal for this board. The shortboard is hard to paddle and it's more difficult to catch waves with a shortboard than with a bigger board. A common mistake among intermediate surfers is to switch up to a shortboard too soon and thereby slowing down their progress when they can’t ride it.

  • Funboards: If you are a beginner who wants to level up from a longboard, the funboard can be a good choice. This board can be described as somewhere in the middle of the fish and the longboard. From the longboard, it provides easy paddling and from the fish, it allows more manoeuvrability. Funboards are good for beginners and intermediate surfers in small swells. 

  • Longboards: as their name reveals, these boards are on the bigger side, often between 8-11 feet. The longboards can be used by beginners to advanced riders and work well in low waves. It's a great choice for all-year-around surfing. The longboard provides smooth rides with good flotation and stability. This type of board isn't made for quick turns and it can be quite hard to move it around due to its large size. 

Surfboards for beginners: As a beginner, you should start learning to surf on a foam board with lots of volume. The high volume surfboard will provide stability, control and make the board easy to paddle and catch waves with.

Here are a few standard charts that will guide you in choosing different types of boards. The measurements show the minimum sized board you should get. Keep in mind that this is just a guide, if you are unsure of what size board you need then ask a staff member in the surf shop. Some surf schools rent out surfboards in different sizes, it could be a good idea to try one out before you decide which one to buy. 

Choosing a shortboard size

For you who surf less than once per week:

Shortboard size chart

For you who surf once per week or more:

Shortboard size chart 2

Choosing a longboard size

For you who surf less than once per week:

Longboard size chart

For you who surf once per week or more:

Longboard size chart 2

So, what is the best size surfboard for me?

Alright, now you know the basics of what you should think of when choosing a surfboard. Don't buy the newest pro model for all your money, get one that works for you and your level.

If you are a beginner you should get a board with a lot of volume, if you are more experienced then there are more factors to it. It all comes down to your personal preferences, we suggest that you choose the one you have the most fun on and that allows you to catch the most waves!

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