Real Surfers have Fins        

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.    


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

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.  


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. 


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.


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. 


-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. 


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.


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.



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 ( 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

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

I know it's been out for a while, but a great surf travel / lifestyle video.

Castles in the Sky - OFFICIAL Surf Teaser - Taylor Steele from vas entertainment on Vimeo.


El Porto Surf spot located in Manhattan Beach, CA is a great surf spot for many reasons. It offers a quality wave for all ability levels. If you are a beginner surfer looking to catch your first waves, the inside section has many sand bar which break the waves and allow beginners to practice getting to their feet on the white wash.  Grab your longboard, mini-longboard, or funboard and head on out! Once you have progressed from beginner to intermediate skill level, you can move to the outside impact zone. Depending on the season and movement of sand, this area can be firing! Tides also play an important role in making the waves mushy or closing out. If you want to test your ability level, make your way down to El Porto during the winter months. Typically the waves remain much bigger during this time, so your shortboard surfboard is a must. The picture from above is from El Nino winter. The order vibe at Porto is pretty easy going if you follow the most basic surfing etiquette. Get out there and enjoy the waves.

A day at one of the world's best lefts with Marc Lacomare, Alain Riou & Aritz Aranburu.

Song- Mt Eden Dubstep - Sierra Leone

Shot & Edited- Jimmy Graham/FMG

Additional Footage- Jason Hearn

Recently there has been a lot of debate on which of these fin setups work better on retro fish surfboards.This issue has made a recent resurgence with many of the top pros including Kelly Slater, Dane Reynolds, and Bruce Irons wielding the four fin option.While the quad fin surfboards are increasingly popular, both Twin and Quad have their own unique characteristics. Because of the lack of center fin, both options ride faster than their more contemporary thruster counterpart.  Both are also much looser while turning than a thruster because of the elimination of the center anchor point.
While both are looser while turning, you really feel a significant difference on the twin. Think of it this way, when the fins are small and there are less of them, so therefore the hold is not as great. The fewer anchor points in the water, the less resistance you are going to feel and therefore rail to rail surfing is a must. Because the fins are usually placed closer to the tail of the board the pivot point also has been moved back on the twin fins.
Twin Fin Surfboard
Quad Fin Surfboard
While this setup was first brought to the surfing stage in the early 1980's, when the thruster was fresh on the scene.It offered an alternative to the thruster, and provided a ride similar to the twin but with better holding power.The quads also provide much more drive then the twins.This is because the two fins on each side work together to channel the water out the tail of the board.  Because the fins are set farther forward on the quads, the pivot point is pushed off the tail more than a twin.  Another positive attribute is the ability to hold better in larger surf.This is why you will see many of the big wave chargers using quads.
Difference types of surfers prefer different types of surfboards.  Each fin setup has their own pluses and minuses which can only be evaluated and chosen by the surfer themselves.  I hope this article helps you choose the best fish surfboard for you


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