Surfing is without a doubt one of the most exciting sports there are. The waves under your feet, the sun in your face, and the wind in your hair, what could be better? Maybe just the adrenaline coursing through your veins. However, surfing requires an extraordinary amount of skill.
Besides a reliable surfboard, of course. In this article, we’ll show you exactly that—how to choose a surfboard that lasts a long time and serves you well.
Surfboard Selection Tips
We’ll begin with the factors important for choosing the perfect board. As you’ll see, it’s not all about the quality or price, but also about your characteristics and skills as a surfer.
Don’t Choose Surfboard Brands At Random
There are plenty of surfboard brands out there, but that doesn’t mean any one of them is right for you. As well as that, brands will claim to have come up with something completely new. Their surfboards are like nothing you’ve seen before and the technology they use is revolutionary.
When you realize that new brands come out very often and all of them claim the same thing, you start to wonder whether that statement really is true. Well, it’s not.
This is why you need to do thorough research on the brands before you make your purchase.
What Type of Surfboard Is Right for Me? Calculate The Volume
The best volume will be different for each person. Just take a look at professional surfers and their boards, and you’ll realize there’s almost no difference when it comes to volume. This is because they calculated what works best for them and they know their boards will be able to handle them.
The volume of the surfboard is basically how many liters are in a surfboard. All you have to do is multiply the length, width, and height. However, brands often show the volume of the surfboards on their websites.
High-volume surfboards are mainly used by beginners because they’re easier to ride. They’re the best surfboards for practicing your skills and learning how to catch waves. You’ll also get a much easier grip over the control and balance of your board. They also offer super weight support. High-volume surfboards are usually not recommended for more skilled riders as they decrease maneuverability.
On the other hand, you have low-volume surfboards, which are more sensitive to the water. They’re much better for advanced riders because they have less buoyancy, are slower, and have a greater drag. The advantage is that you get greater control and maneuverability with a smaller model.
To avoid sinking or not being able to get the most out of your board, choosing a surfboard based on volume is best when you also take your surfer ability into consideration. Beginners will focus more on grasping the basics, while intermediate riders will usually catch half of their attempted waves. When you start moving up to the advanced level, you’ll notice you have more confidence and understanding in each new surfing situation. You’ll move up from catching more than half of your attempted waves to almost all of them once you reach the advanced level.
As well as your skill level, take into account your age and your weight. Then you can move on to the next step.
Types of Surfboards
The main reason surfers own more than one type of board isn’t just their skill level or height and weight. It’s the type of waves they like to surf. Any surfer will tell you that conditions of surfing and wave types vary from beach to beach.
You should already be familiar with the kind of waves most common on the beaches you visit or surf at. Keeping up with your local reports and forecasts will also make sure you’re always aware of the conditions before you head out.
The Grovel Board
If you’re wondering how to choose a beginner surfboard for smaller waves, you’ve come to the right section. When you’re dealing with smaller waves, it’s best to choose grovel surfboards. They’ll be higher above the water than other boards, which significantly reduces drag and allows you to go faster even when the waves are small. They also give you more stability and easy paddling. The best part is that a rider of any skill level can use these without a problem.
All-Round Performance Board
This type of board is good in almost all kinds of surf conditions, as the name suggests. It was specifically designed to give you a middle ground between the small- and high-performance boards. If you like to surf somewhere where the conditions can get critical, choosing a surfboard that offers more control is your best bet. The all-round performance board is not suitable for beginners, but anyone with a higher skill level can use it.
If you’re an experienced rider, you’ll want something reliable and borderline indestructible on your side. That’s why you should choose the high-performance board, as it offers more control than any other type of board. That way, you can really have a special surfing experience.
Step-Up Performance Board
Those who don’t think the high-performance board was enough should go for the step-up performance board. This is one of the best surfboard types for tackling even the most daring waves. Needless to say, these kinds of boards should only be used by professionals and advanced surfers. It’ll get your adrenaline going like nothing else, but you really have to know how to be in control of it.
Be Objective of Your Abilities to Find the Perfect Board
It’s easy to hold ourselves to a higher standard than we actually are. This is especially true for surfers, most commonly when they gain confidence and start tackling more waves than they used to. This could lead them (or you) to choosing a surfboard that’s objectively too much to handle.
The whole point of surfing is to have fun, so don’t try to overcompensate by purchasing a board meant for advanced riders because you’ll just end up struggling in the water.
If you can, find other surfers or surfing teachers that you can trust and ask them to objectively rate your skills. This will help you determine where you’re actually at and contribute to you having the perfect board.
How to Choose a Surfboard Fin
Not all surfboards have the same number of fins on them. You can choose between the single fin, twin fin, thruster, 2+1 fin, or quad.
There is no unique formula to figuring out which setup is best for you. This is something you’ll have to figure out by practicing on different setups. However, we can tell you that the thruster setup is a popular choice.
A smart thing to do would be to go for a board that has boxes for five fins. That way, you can customize your board and add more flexibility to it. You can try out all the setups available and see which one suits you most without spending money on different boards.
Proper Surfboard Maintenance
Now that we’ve covered how you can choose your board, let’s see how you can keep it clean and working properly. Regardless of how much money you spend, if you don’t properly maintain your board, it won’t serve you for long.
Most surfers who are beginners think that bagging their surfboard is unnecessary. Why would you bag it when you can simply staple it to your car and drive off? Well, the answer is simple. The bag protects your board from getting banged up. Dents, chips, and general wear and tear are all easily avoidable when you have a protective layer between the board and the world.
Proper Transport is Everything
Just like bagging your board is essential, so is transporting it safely and properly. The best thing you can do for yourself is to add a special rack for boards to your car. This way, your board won’t be hanging off the side of your car and taking a lot of damage on your drive to and from the beach. To make things extra safe, you can also add soft padding onto the rack. Simply tie your board to the rack securely and enjoy the ride without worrying about dents.
Rinse it Off
Since this is something you use in water, it may seem counterintuitive to rinse it off after you’re done surfing for the day. Just like you feel the salt on your skin after surfing, so does the board. Salt can easily damage your board and have you looking for a new one in a short period of time. As soon as you leave the ocean, you should rinse your surfboard off with fresh water.
Avoid the Sun
Your surfboard can’t handle high temperatures. In other words, it can crack and allow water to get in easily. If water gets inside your board, it can separate the foam from the outer coating. Not only does this ruin its color, but it also makes the board less sturdy.
Repair Every Ding
Dings are the most common ways surfboards get messed up. They happen to every rider, regardless of how long they’ve been surfing or their skill level. The mistake most make is not fixing the dings right away, however. These types of accidents can severely damage the integrity of your board and potentially even lead to delamination.
Luckily for every surfer out there, fixing a ding isn’t hard. All you’ll need is a hairdryer, sandpapersand paper, and UV solar resin. First, you’ll have to dry out the ding completely with the hairdryer. Then, you’ll need to sand down the area until it’s soft and clean. Finally, fill the pocket you just created with the resin. Once it dries in the sun, smooth it over with more sandpaper and paint it to match the rest of your board.
If you get a surfboard repair kit, you’ll be able to easily find all the tools you need for repairing your board.
Don’t Go Without a Board Rack
As soon as you get your new board, you’ll see that it’s not meant to stand up on its own. The ends are simply too sensitive to hold the weight of the surfboard on their own. A surfboard rack is the ideal solution because it allows you to elegantly and safely store your board any time you’re not using it.
One thing you need to pay extra attention to is how you hang the board on the rack. Don’t hang it up with the fins facing down. If it falls while they’re facing down, the board can easily crack when it hits the floor. On top of that, don’t forget our first tip and put your board in a bag before hanging it up.
Hopefully, now you know how to choose a surfboard you’ll be happy with. Surfboards are your best friends on the water, so you need to take care of yours as long as you have it. These tips on buying and taking proper care of a surfboard will surely come in handy.