- May
Posted By : Dave Verrall
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Beginners guide to purchasing a new surfboard

Beginners guide to choosing a surfboard

Your first surfboard is an important decision. If you choose poorly without having the right advice, you may end up finding it difficult to progress for a long time or worse still giving up because you think it’s just too hard! Hopefully I can give you some pointers and direction from my twenty years plus of making custom boards for people just like you.
 Firstly before you buy, you should beg, borrow & rent as many boards as you can, too feel for yourself what you do best on. Sure the small ones are easy to duck dive, fit in your transport & carry to the beach, but are you doing it to go surfing or duck diving? What you need is the best balance between be able to carry it around, catch all the waves you want & be stable enough to have you cruising across the green face of the wave in no time.
 Reputable surfboard shops carry secondhand boards, demos & rentals, along with good staff who should be happy to give as much advice as you need. Notice I said “surfboard shops” as there is a lot of “surf shops” that are just clothing stores with a few boards in them just to look credible. A surfboard shop should have secondhand boards they gave traded in from happy customers who have already progressed on to the next level in performance & fun. Don’t be afraid to ask for a guaranteed trade in when your ready for your next surfboard. Surf schools are also a big help in choosing the right board and recommendation of a place to purchase it from.
 So what are the things your looking for in your first board? 
Volume: remember this “foam is your friend” the more floatation, width & thickness you have the more waves you will catch & the quicker you will progress. 
Length: you need a minimum of around 30cm taller than your self, the longer board you have the sooner you catch the wave.  
Width: stability is important in this stage of your new surfing career, the wider your board the less likely you are to be wobbling off the side every time you put your weight on the rails of your board. The ideal width is dependent on your overall weight and height but I would expect to see a minimum of 19″ wide but preferably up to 21″ or even 22″. 
Thickness: paddling your board is something you will do the longest every time you go surfing, so make it easy on yourself and keep plenty of thickness in your board under your chest and thru the middle of the board. The rails should be full and soft in the centre also with thinner rails in the nose and tail allowing you to penetrate the water when duck diving or turning. Once again the thickness is a variable dependent on your body size, so minimum of around 2 1/2″ to 3″ is a good ballpark to start with.
Tail shape: to be completely honest right now the tail shape will make very little difference. Plenty of width around your back foot is more important. Pointy bits hurt and damage easy. 
Fins: in basic terms the bigger a fin is in the centre of the board the more stable it will be as it drives you forward. Side fins help you turn up and down on the face of the wave. The 2+1 fin setup like longboards have Is the most user friendly for beginners, however the everyday thruster Is a common compromise that will work fine and keep you progressing. 
Nose width: once again width equals stability. The common beginner boards will have a round or wide pointed nose keeping floatation and area up there to help.
What Board type? Good question. There is so many names for these types of boards. Those common shape characteristics are found in hybrids, semi fish boards, minimals & retro boards. So follow your head with the knowledge I’ve just given you & forget the hype of the cool name/logo & think about all the cool rides your going to have on the correct shaped board for you.