Picking a surfboard for beginners

How To Pick A Surfboard For Beginners

Ready to start surfing? Ready to buy your first surfboard? In this blog post we are going to talk about what you should know when choosing your first surfboard. Probably one of the most common mistakes beginners make is trying to learn on a surfboard that is too small or moving down in surfboard size too soon before they have reached a certain level of success.

Beginner  Surfboard Characteristics

Now if your an intermediate or advanced surfer, you probably already have a good idea what kind of surfboard works for you. So this advice is primarily for the beginner or first time surfer.

The Bottom Line is beginners should start on bigger boards. We are talking primarily longboards, soft tops or funshape mini-mals.

Here is a rough guide for brand new surfers I like to go by based on body weight:

  • 85-110 lbs = 7,2 – 7,10
  • 115-130 = 8,0 – 8,4
  • 140-160 = 8,6 – 9,0
  • 170 – 185 = 9,2 – 9,6
  • 200 – 220 = 9,6 – 10,2
  • For kids under 85 lbs i normally use small light fun shapes or rounded nose fish

Keep in mind this is just a rough guide. Level of fitness & height can change the size board i would recommend for someone.

Are Your Catching Waves on Your Surfboard

The number one rule of thumb on board selection is, if your are not successfully catching waves and able to pop up consistently, then you should probably go up in board size until you start having success. Sometimes this only take a few sessions.

If you are uncertain if your have the right size board, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Can i easily catch a whitewater wave with only 4 paddles?
  2. Am i able to  catch at least 75%  of the waves that i go for or do i seem to miss a lot of good waves?
  3. When i pop up do i feel balanced and set in my stance or am i always off balance?
  4. Am i progressing and improving or does it seem like I’m not making much progress?
  5. Am I having fun?

If the answer is no to one ore more of these questions, then you could probably do better with a bigger board.

The second rule of thumb is, if you are determined to downsize to a much smaller board, do it in gradual increments as long as you are maintaining a good level of success each time you go down in size.

When Are You Ready To Surf A Smaller SurfBoard

Here is an example of board progression of an absolute beginner over one year.

Brand new surfer 150 lbs surfing about 3 times per week.

  • Month 1 – 9,0 Longboard
  • Month 2 & 3 – 8,4 Longboard
  • Month 4 & 5 – 8,0 Mini longboard
  • Month 6 & 7 – 7,8 Fun Shape
  • Month 8 & 9 – 6,10 Fun Shape
  • Month 10 & 11 – 6,6 Fish (begin duck diving)
  • Month 12 and beyond 6,2 Hybrid fish

Just keep one thing in mind, a bigger board doesn’t mean a beginner board. Some people surf big boards forever. It just happens to be that bigger boards are better for learning on.

Here is video we made showing the board progression of one of our students Megan. She started with a big board then eventually downsized to a short-board.


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