Surfing is one of the most popular sports around the globe and there is a good reason why – it’s fun, exciting and great exercise! But, like getting into any sport, you need the right equipment to start.
Though it is mainly just a surfboard and wetsuit that you need, choosing the right board can be a time consuming and costly venture.
Whether you’re a complete beginner and want to start hitting the waves or you’ve been surfing for years and just want to upgrade your board, this article will take you through the best surfboards for both beginners and advanced surfers out there, to make that search for the perfect board, just that little bit easier on you.
A Buyer’s Guide – What To Look For In A Surfboard
There are a few very key components to look for when purchasing a surfboard. Getting these details just right will help give you the smoothest ride possible and can be the difference between a good board and the best board.
So, below you will find a couple of criteria to really watch out for when looking to buy a surfboard.
- Length – The length of your board will determine how easy it is to paddle, how quickly you can get up to speed in order to catch a wave and even helps with catching smaller waves, which are harder to follow.
- Thickness – The thickness of a board can really influence your experience. The thicker a surfboard is the more buoyancy it will have, allowing you to float easily on the water’s surface. This can be a great help to beginners, who might have trouble standing or stabilising themselves at first. A more seasoned surfer, however, might prefer a slightly thinner board as they cut through the water easily and are less bulky, making them easier to navigate.
- Width – The width of your board needs to be taken into consideration as a wider board is much easier to stand on, it provides the surfer with much more stability.
The Short Board
A ‘short board’ refers to a surfboard that is between 5 and 7 feet long. They tend to be low volume boards that have pointed noses and thin rails, which gives you better turning ability.
The short board is generally used by more seasoned surfers and mainly for stunts or tricks as they allow you to manoeuvre about the wave with more control than any other board.
There are some downsides to using a short board; they are hard to learn to surf on, so aren’t beginner friendly.
This is because the low volume, thin rails and pointed nose make it more difficult to paddle and balance, so short boards are more for intermediate or advanced surfers.
The Fish Board
While the aforementioned short board is great for fast and powerful waves, it doesn’t perform quite so well under bad weather or surf conditions. This is where the Fish board enters.
While fishboards are about the same length as a short board, they are wider and thicker for extra volume, this provides the surfer with much more stability and balance.
Fish boards are also far easier to paddle, so you don’t need to be as advanced to ride one, though they are still not the best choice for beginners!
Fish boards get their name from their fish-like, notched tail. These notches add some water resistance and help to stabilise the board better.
It should be noted that though short boards and fish boards differ in some respects, they are like cousins and both are usually best for slow, smaller waves. If you’re looking for a more relaxed ride on a smaller wave than the fish board would be perfect for you.
Longboards, as the name suggests, are significantly longer than the others previously mentioned, coming in at about 9 feet plus.
This higher volume and surface area allows you to catch waves earlier and ride them longer than on any other surfboard. Even if the waves are so small, they’re just above ankle height, you’ll be able to surf them on a longboard!
It is often said that every surfer should own a longboard because of how versatile and easy to use they are. Longboard’s are definitely the best choice for learning or beginners surfing as they are perfect for any age and skill level.
The Fun Board
Fun boards sit somewhere in between the length of a shortboard and longboard. They range from 6.5 to 9 feet in length and combine the best attributes of each.
Funboards come in a whole host of different widths, thicknesses and nose shapes but are built with stability and ease of use in mind.
Funboards are often the best type of surfboard for beginners to transition from longboard to shortboard surfing.
As many people find, the transition from longboard to shortboard can be a frustrating one so having a board that meets in between the two can enable that transition to be much smoother and quicker.
Funboards have plenty of manoeuvrability to do bottom turns and enough stability so that you won’t wipe out every time you try!
Surfboards known as ‘Guns’ are strictly for professional or advanced level surfers as they are designed exclusively for riding huge and explosive waves that no beginner should attempt to surf!
Though guns are generally not harder to use they need a lot of control, especially if you’re going up against a powerful wave.
They can be as long as longboards and have a pointed nose and tail for increased manoeuvrability in the water.
When riding a big wave, you need as much control as possible as even a small mistake in those conditions can lead to a big injury. Guns are also very thick and heavy to cut through the water.