Buying a new surfboard can be a daunting task, so many shapes and sizes and its not always possible to try before you buy.
We see a lot of people in the water that are on boards that are too small or too big for them, not only does this cause frustration, but it can also be dangerous, so its important to think about the following points so you can find that magic surfboard!
Some beautiful longboards for our Level 2 Longboard course / Photo Claire James
1. Your Skill Level
Are you a complete beginner, intermediate, or an advanced surfer?
Beginner - In the white water / starting to catch small, green waves
Consider buying a surfboard with more volume and width, which makes it easier to paddle and catch waves, such as foam boards.
Intermediate - Catching green waves / turning left & right along the face / starting to experiment with manoeuvres
When coming off of a foam board, its good to look for a board that is a similar size to your foamy, a couple of inches smaller or longer, depending on whether you want to start shortboarding / longboarding.
Good width & volume will help stabilization and buoyancy, ideally with a round nose, which will allow you to catch waves easier.
Advanced surfers - Catching green waves / comfortable performing a range of manoeuvres
When you have mastered wave reading and basic manoeuvres, its good to try new boards and to start building a quiver, so that you have a board suitable for different waves and conditions.
Getting the steps in / Photo Bella Bunce
2. How Often Do You Surf?
Be realistic and think about how much water time you will be getting in the year.
If you are only able to surf a handful of times a year, I would suggest staying on something that you are familiar with, a board that is forgiving and something that you are going to have guaranteed fun on.
If you live near the coast and surf often, that's when its a good idea to try something new so you have time to practice using it and time to get comfortable riding it.
3. Choose the Right Material
Surfboards are made of different materials, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.
Foam Boards are the most affordable and suitable for beginners. They are lightweight, durable, buoyant, easy to handle and catch everything!
Fiberglass / PU are more fragile and less forgiving than foam surfboards, but have more manoeuvrability to start working on turns / Noseriding. The boards are designed to sit lower in the water.
Epoxy surfboards are generally a little more expensive than fibreglass boards, however they are more buoyant and durable, meaning they ding less, also holding their value for this reason if you were to sell it on.
Foamy Fibreglass Epoxy
Surfboards can be expensive, but you don't have to break the bank!
Foam surfboard / £200 - £400
Fiberglass / Epoxy surfboard / £400 - £1000+ (depending on size)
There are some gems to be found out there and sometimes you can get boards that have only been ridden a handful of times, in pristine condition for a quarter of the price!
Facebook has several groups that's sell second hand surf gear and I too have snagged some steals on there, Ebay and Gumtree are also worth checking out.
Most surf shops / board factories / Shapers also have a second hand section, so its always worth dropping in to your local store or sending them a message to see what they have if you have something specific in mind.
5. Consult with a Professional
Experienced surfers and surf shops can provide valuable advice and help you choose the right surfboard for your skill level and needs.
If you are thinking of getting a new custom board, the shaper will be able to talk through their models and come up with a board that's right for you - plus you get to choose the artwork!
Also feel free to message us with pictures of a board that your interested in, we are always happy to help, as we understand it can be a bit confusing!
We love talking boards with you!
6. Don't Ask Don't Get
My favourite tip if buying a new board off the rack.
When looking at a new board in a surf shop and speaking to a member of staff, ask if there can be anything they can include with the sale of the board, sometimes they will throw in a board bag, new leash, fins, wax and stickers!
Hope that helps, always feel free to drop us a message if you want advice on a board,
See you out there!