Beginner SurfboardsChoosing your first beginner surfboard comes with a lot of anxiety.  What shape is best for me?  Which surfboard will help me learn faster?  These are common questions that people encounter when choosing their first surfboard.  Choosing beginner surfboards doesn’t have to be that stressful.  This guide will assist you in understanding the best board for your (1) height / weight (2) athletic ability and (3) surfing goal.  Take into consideration each person is different and the best beginner surfboard might not be the same for all people.  We should be able to get you on the correct board and surfing in no time at all.    

BREAKDOWN OF VARIOUS SURFBOARD SHAPES 

Ok, we’ll keep this short cause we want you to get out there surfing as soon as possible, but if you have any questions or clarifications do not hesitate to call or e-mail us. We’ll be happy to help with ANYTHING you are curious about. The following are short descriptions that are aimed to help you choose the best surfboard for you. If you have any other questions email us at info@equinoxsurfboards.com.

Different Board Shapes

Longboard Surfboard - Slider by Equinox Surfboards

Longboard Surfboards are thought of as the traditional, quintessential surfboard; they conjure up images of the forefathers of the sport. When considering a longboard it is important to understand that although longboards have the most stability and wave catching ability of any board, they are also more difficult to handle in the surf. In other words, it will be the hardest board to get out past the waves, but it will be the easiest to catch a wave with.

 

Longboard Surfboard - Flow by Equinox Surfboards Mini Longboard Surfboards are exactly what they sound like, a smaller, more maneuverable version of the traditional longboard. While they still maintain excellent wave catching ability, mini-longboards offer more precision and a little more forgiveness when dropping in on a wave. Plus, once you are up on a wave these boards offer more performance than a true longboard. 

 

 Funboard Surfboard - Drifter by Equinox Surfboards Funboard Surfboards are arguably the best boards to learn on, while also being an excellent performance board for more advanced surfers in smaller surf. These boards offer an excellent balance of wave catching ability and performance. Because funboards have more contour and shape, they are far more forgiving when dropping in on a wave than a longboard setup—and this contour also provides the performance attribute to these boards. In other words, funboards are the most versatile all-around boards; from beginners to seasoned veterans and from ankle high surf all the way up to overhead surf, Equinox will provide the experience you are looking for. 

 Retro Fish Surfboard - Woody by Equinox SurfboardsRetro Fish Surfboards have sprung up everywhere in the industry in the last 5 years, these boards offer excellent performance and great throwback styling. Both an expert surfer looking to rip every wave in sight, and a novice surfer looking to shift down to a smaller board will find everything they are looking for. Equinox offers both classic twin fin and the quad fin setups, either way these will get you out there and change your surfing forever.

 

Shortboard Surfboard - Triton by Equinox Surfboards Shortboard Surfboards are regarded as the most high performance shapes of all our different options.  They are usually thinner and narrower and allow for aggressive turning and excellent hold on steeper hollow waves. These boards are typically ridden by surfers who have intermediate ability and are comfortable on the larger size boards.  They usually have an increased rocker for larger surf.  Not the best option for beginner surfers, the boards offer and performance driven ride.  


HEIGHT / WEIGHT

These two factors are very important in choosing the right board.  A 250 lbs guy who is learning doesn’t need the same board as an 85 lb girl.  Although there is no definitive rule, it is broken down as follows:

  Weight   Board Length
  Under 80 lbs   7’0” – 7’6”
  80-125 lbs   7’6”-8’6”
  125-150 lbs   7’6 – 8’6”
  150-175 lbs   7’10” – 9’0”
  175-200 lbs   8’0” – 9’6”
  200-225 lbs   8’6” – 9’6”
  225-250 lbs   9’0” – 9’6”

 

  Height   Board Length
  Under 5’0”     7’0” – 7’6”
  5’0 – 5’6”   7’6” – 8’6”
  5’6” – 6’0”   7’6” – 9’0”
  6’0 – 6’5”   8’0” – 9’6”
 

Now this is only our starting point. I’ll take you through other factors a beginner will want to keep in mind. 

ATHLETIC ABILITY

Be honest with yourself on this one.  If you are one of envied people who pick up most new sports with ease, you might have the ability to go a little bit shorter on length.  There are some people that just pick up surfing but the VAST majority has to work at it.  Many years ago, I was one of those people who over estimated their ability and bought a board to short cause that’s what my friends had.  I made the mistake of an uninformed beginner.  A few months later I bought more fitting size and was able to learn much quicker.  If you pick up other related sports easy, then you might want to lean towards the shorter choice from the recommendations above.  Beginner surfboards are just that, beginner surfboards.  You will have the opportunity to move down in size once you are comfortable with your first board.

SUFING GOAL

When I first started surfing, the idea of where I wanted to be in 1, 3, 10 years was taken into consideration.  If you desire on being a weekend surfer and will be casually taking out a longboard, I would stick to the larger size range.  If you would like to be surfing a shortboard as soon as possible, I would stick to the smaller sizes.  This is up for you to determine.  Beginner Surfboards are always easy to sell so if you progress at a faster pace, you can always recoop some cash for you new shortboard. 

MISCONCEPTIONS

-Performance shortboards are good beginner surfboards – This is simple not true.  Although your friend rides one, doesn’t mean you should be.  Shortboards are designed as high performance boards for people with experience.  Progressing to this shape is a process.  Get comfortable on a larger board and work your way down to a smaller one.  You’re learning curve will be much short if you choose the correct beginner surfboard.  Beginner Surfboards are designed to be forgiving while shortboards and other smaller shapes are not.  

-Soft Boards (Foam boards) are a great tool to get started – Partially True.  Foam boards are a good choice to get started but typically they fall apart or get waterlogged within a few months.  They also hinder your ability level once you progress past the very first steps of surfing. 

-“I can snowboard and skateboard, I should be able to pick surfing up easily” – Not necessarily.  Although it helps, just because you can snowboarded and skateboard for years doesn’t mean you know how to surf.  They are different sports and you shouldn’t go with a shortboard because your friend has one.  Learning how the ocean works and where you have to be to catch a wave is one of the biggest challenges when starting and have past board sport experience doesn’t help with this. 

SAFETY

Understanding safety is at the forefront of learning to surf, not only for your sake but also for every other surfer’s well-being. There are many rules of etiquette that go along with surfing in any line-up and most of these are in place to make sure that nobody gets hurt and/or their gear gets damaged. Trust me, the quickest way to make enemies in the water is by not knowing the basic rules of surfing.

  1. Know your ability level: Don’t try to surf breaks or conditions above your ability
  2. Know characteristics of the break you are going to surf: Learn about breaks in your area that are suitable for learning and breaks that are for experts (particularly for Localism, more on this later). Learn the structure of the break (i.e. Sand Bottom, Rock Bottom, Reef)
  3. Use the appropriate equipment for the type of break discussed above: ALWAYS use a leash to prevent a runaway board; this is the best way to protect your investment, as well as other surfers.

ETIQUETTE

Surfer Drop In Cut Off Surfing

Learning proper etiquette is essential to surfing and making sure you and everyone else is safe in the water. Without etiquette surfers and surfboards would be flying all over the place, making an extremely dangerous free-for-all. If you don’t obey the simple rules of surfing you are sure to get some stink eyes in the water, if not something worse.

Ideally, waves come in an A-Frame shape, where the wave breaks in the center and ‘peels’ both left and right.

 

LOCALISM

This is something we have to get out of the way, it may sound surprising, but it is imperative that you are aware of Localism. Surfers can be extremely territorial about their surf break (particularly at Point Breaks). This can be related to a whole host of issues, but typically it has to do with particularly good waves and previously outsiders may have crowded the break, thus limiting the waves for the locals that are out there everyday. In other words, locals will surf their spot on good days, bad days, great days, and they don’t like it when ‘fair-weather’ surfers show up for just the good days. They pay their dues by surfing the sub-average days and then they are rewarded with the good to great days—so they get upset when people crowd their break on the good days. It seems a little odd, but this is an extremely important aspect to surfing. Now, there are varying degrees of localism, from you absolutely cannot surf in a location unless you live in front of it, and all the way to everyone is welcome. It’s just a matter of figuring out what breaks are of what type and how to make yourself welcome.

Whenever planning on going to a break for the first time, research it on the internet (Surfline.com is a great source) and learn about the vibe and set-up of that break. The following holds true for all breaks:

  • When you get there, watch the hierarchy (from the beach) of the surfers in the water for at least 10 minutes.
  • If you paddle out, make sure not to paddle out in front of the take-off zone
  • When you reach the outside, make sure to stay off to the side of the main line-up and take off zone.
  • Watch/Learn who the experts and the locals are and give them the right of way.
  • When you are ready to go after a wave, make sure no one else is on the wave or directly around you, and for your first few waves always give the right of way to other surfers even if you have priority.

I hope this guide makes you a little bit more confident in choosing the best beginner surfboards as well as understanding a few more ideas of surfing.  Although taking advise from your friend who has surfed for 20 years is helpful, always remember one simple idea.  Going with a little larger board will help you learn faster.  Whether a retro fish surfboard, funboard surfboard, mini-longboard, or longboard surfboard, we’ll help you get out there in no time at all to catch your first waves.  You’ll be Kelly Slater in no time at all….

 If you need a custom recommendation please contact us at info@equinoxsurfboards.com

After reading the below information click this LINK for the beginner surfboards from Equinox. 

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Comments

  • Posted by Karla Dingler on May 22, 2013

    Hey,great information. Especially about the height of the board & such.I’m an ole time surfer! First time I jumped on a bored I was 4 years. Size I believe was 9.6 maybe bigger. I was little it looked huge .lol I was hooked from tbat day.

  • Posted by Sophie w on May 19, 2013

    I live in nd and I relly want to surf do you have any ideas about how I can surf

  • Posted by tesla P on April 08, 2013

    I plan on learning how to surf this summer but im confused on what type of board to buy, I’m like 5’3ish & 119lbs. Help me please?(:

  • Posted by Carolyn on February 22, 2013

    My 6yr old grandson wants to learn to surf. He is 42 lbs and 44" tall. What do you recommend? Thanks for your help.

  • Posted by Bex on February 20, 2013

    hi,

    I am a kayak rider a bit out of shape, i am disabled i dont walk much but use a wheelchair. i can wander down a short beach, with my husbands help life is for ;living so i like to do new things, so having surfed in a kayak once i decided to get a board. so i am 5ft 6 and 15 stone so what do u suggest.

  • Posted by Taylor Stuart on November 26, 2012

    I am 5’2 and weigh 112 what board do u recomed i never surfed but always wanted to i know how to skate board long board rooler blade roller skate i am a sport person i can do anything if u had me a surf board i might be able to surf what board do u recomed for me

  • Posted by kristal on November 17, 2012

    I’m 5’2" and I weigh around 125-130. What would be the best short board for me?

  • Posted by Philip on October 21, 2012

    I am looking for advice for buying a board for my daughter. She is 5’4, 140 lbs. She is an elite gymnast – 7 time All-American – and she has gone surfing a few times this summer. She used someone else’s board, and reports that she picked it up rather well. I don’t want to put money into a board and then find out that she isn’t going to be able to stick with it, but I also don’t want to waste money on a board that won’t allow her to make progress if she chooses to. She is very competitive.

    Direction? I know nothing about surfing.

  • Posted by sean on September 29, 2012

    all i wanna do is surf but i cant because i dont have a surfborad there to expensive

  • Posted by rafaella on July 31, 2012

    I’m 4’9 and around 103 lbs..what do you recommend?

  • Posted by EQUINOX SURFBOARDS on July 06, 2012

    Ann, Thanks for checking out Equinox Surfboards. I would take a look at boards in the 8’0-9’0 range. If you go towards the shorter end, you will be able to maneuver the board better once you learn. If you go with a longer board, the learning curve will go down and you will catch waves quicker. On a longer one, you will get more time understanding how waves work as well as more time on your feet. I hope this helps.

  • Posted by Ann on June 20, 2012

    I’m looking for a board I’ve never surfed before but really want to try it I’m 5’5’’ and weigh 150 what kind of board do you think I should get? I can be somewhat of a quick learner and I’m very dedicated

  • Posted by vikki on May 03, 2012

    I like surfbords and love your surfbords! Im going to try it!And tell Bethany hamilton!!

    p.s. do not email its fake

  • Posted by EQUINOX SURFBOARDS on May 02, 2012

    Taking into consideration your size and athletic ability, I would recommend a board between 7’10"-9’0". If you are leaning towards a shorter board and you are familiar with board -related sports (wakeboarding, snowboarding, skating), then I would stay in the 7’10-8’0 range. If your are looking to be a casual surfer and just want to cruise, I would lean more towards a 8’6-9’0 board. Typically the larger you go, the easier it is to learn to catch waves but the harder to maneuver the board as well as harder get through rougher surf. The smaller you go, the more maneuverable the board will be but the harder to learn to catch waves. You will typically have more room for progression on a shorter board. There are some trade-offs. The difference between the funboards (7’2-710") and the mini and longs (8’0"+) is the wider overall profile, especially in the nose and tail area. The minis and longs typically are more stable and therefore easier to learn on

  • Posted by Landon H. on May 01, 2012

    Hey..good stuff man..I’m 31..Cocoa Beach native..home of the Great Slater..anyways I’m 31 and have given surfing a shot many times..but now I’m determined to make it a sport I can enjoy before work in the mornings..I’m 5"11 190lbs..athletic nature so being as competitive as I’ve been tours why I didn’t stick with it..but I’m looking for my first board and definitely could use some advice

  • Posted by EQUINOX SURFBOARDS on April 30, 2012

    Lyana, Thanks for reading the Beginner’s Guide. Although I would not typically recommend a performance shortboard for a beginner, you might be able to get away with a 6’8" Hybrid – Primo or 6’10" Hybrid – Blade because of your small size. I will tell you it will be more difficult to learn how to catch waves with a shorter board and the learning curve is drawn out. I understand you want to be on a shortboard, but there typically progression steps that will help you get to the point where a 6’8" is the appropriate size. We see it a lot when people go for a shortboard for their first board, get extremely frustrated, and give up on surfing. In your case, I would recommend something closer to the 7’6" to 8’6" range. I hope this helps and please let me know if you have any other questions.

  • Posted by lyana on April 28, 2012

    what if i want to have a 6’8" size board but im only 98 lbs can i by that size instead because i want a short board

  • Posted by John C. on December 20, 2011

    Thanks for the help! I just ordered the Legend 8’6 and am stoked to get riding. It looks nice and stable and great for me. Good Info

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