Choosing the right surfboard is vital if you’re going to improve quickly and enjoy the learning process. Especially when you’re a beginner! So what type and what size of surfboard should you get? Whether you’re a beginner or experienced surfer, take a look at our advice on how to find the best board for your ability level...
FOAM BOARDS: PERFECT FOR THE BEGINNER
A foam board is the perfect partner to help you get into surfing. It’ll help you experience the full range of feelings as you surf your first waves and work on your take-offs, whether you’re riding the froth or just small waves. Used by surf schools, the foam board is essential if you’re going to learn the surf basics and have fun while doing it.
INCREASED SAFETY THANKS TO POLYSTYRENE FOAM CONSTRUCTION
This beginner board is built using polystyrene foam, a material which combines buoyancy and protection. The foam board can absorb the impact when you fall on it after a failed take-off or if you bash the nose after being thrown off by a big wave.
A BIG VOLUME BOARD IS EASIER TO HANDLE
Choosing a board with significant volume means you’ll get a more-stable board that’s easier to use. Foam boards offer excellent buoyancy, allowing you to surf small waves, even if you haven’t perfectly mastered your paddling. Price-wise, this board is very affordable - so much so that you’ll be unable to resist trying your hand at surfing!
A LONG-LASTING SURFBOARD
Polystyrene is a supple material, but it’s also tough. It doesn’t dent easily if it hits the seabed or if you knock it during transport.
It’s also very durable and won’t crack over its years of use.
Want to mix up your surfing experience? Once you’ve got the hang of a foam surfboard, why not try a mini malibu or fish? These can do much more, are capable of more-intricate manoeuvres and are designed for summer waves.
LONGBOARDS AND SHORTBOARDS: ALLIES OF THE EXPERIENCED SURFER
You’ve got a taste for surfing and nothing’s going to stop you from getting out and catching those waves. Once you’re past the beginner stage, try a longboard or shortboard for something that can perform even better and on bigger waves. This type of board is made from polyester or epoxy and combines lightness and rigidity.
Narrow and short, the shortboard is one of the commonest boards seen on the coast. And there’s a good reason: it’s easy to handle, very practical for duck dives and quickly regaining the line-up. When heading towards the shore, it’s a very demanding board, and it’s therefore one for those who are more familiar with technique.
This is a long and thick board for pure surfing! A lot less radical than a shortboard, it makes it easier for the surfer to catch smaller waves, but you can do a lot fewer manoeuvres.
So, surfers, it’s a difficult decision but one you’ll have to make! Easy to handle, buoyancy, hold in the turns, control at high speeds... every board has its own unique qualities. What’s important is that you choose a board that’s suitable for your ability and the waves you plan on surfing - little or big waves, hollow waves, soft waves... and also for your height.
I’M JUST STARTING TO SURF: CHOOSING A BOARD THAT’S RIGHT FOR MY HEIGHT
The size of the board needs to correspond to your height. The figure is in feet and inches, not centimetres (in case you were unsure!).
GETTING OUT ON YOUR NEW BOARD: THE WAVES TO LOOK OUT FOR
Just getting into surfing? Start with the froth: the part of the wave that forms once it has already crashed. You’ll have more space than at the peak (area at which the wave breaks) and you can get as much froth as you want! This is a great way of getting used to take-offs before moving on to proper waves.
If you want to learn without having to worry about other surfers, look for quieter spots. The best conditions are small waves of less than 1 m that are long and pretty soft. Don’t hesitate to ask for advice from beach lifeguards or other surfers about the best spots. People are always happy to share their knowledge!
Ready to go? Get into your shorty or surf wetsuit, apply the wax and adjust your leash - now you’re ready to hit the waves, surfboard under your arm!