Are you looking to get into surfing this year? Perhaps you’ve watched a few movies, classics like Point Break or Blue Crush, and thought that looks fun and something I can see myself doing. Well, as a surfer since my childhood, I can tell you it’s every bit of fun as it looks but believe me, you’re going to have a long learning curve, and it takes many years to get to a reasonable surfing level. But that shouldn’t discourage you. More and more people are taking up surfing these days, which is evident by busier lineups in the water.
Finding the right surfboard
Getting the right beginner surfboard for your level is crucial to your development as a surfer. Most beginners often start off with a ‘foamie’ – this is a board with a protective foam covering the fibreglass front of the board. This makes it slightly less dangerous for yourself and others in the water.
Once you develop your surfing skill and experience, you’ll be able to transition to something like a mid-length surfboard, like this eco surfboard. If you’re hitting the water for the first time, you’d probably do well to enrol at a surf school. They will have plenty of beginner surfboards, such as cheap foam boards such as Softech, Wavestorm etc. and good length of 8 to 9ft+, which are great for learning.
Once you’ve progressed through the beginner stage, you’ll be looking at perhaps getting your own board. The next logical progression for your board would be a longboard, which is typically 9ft+, but I’d think carefully about this decision. That’s a lot of foam and fibreglass to have under your feet, and if you’re not confident about your skill, you could easily be posing a danger to other surfers when you wipe out.
If you think you might prefer a shortboard at some stage when your skill improves, then a good board to go for would be a fish surfboard. Typically a fish has lots of volume in it, making it good for buoyancy and easy to paddle. A fish is so-called because it has a fish-shaped tail to the board, allowing you to build up speed and plane through the water quickly.
If, however, you want to just take it easy and cruise on a surfboard, then a longboard will be the way to go. These days you can also buy hybrid surfboards in between a shortboard and a longboard, as previously mentioned, such as a mid-length surfboard. These boards are very on-trend at the moment, and most of the major brands, as well as custom shapes, will have a mid-length surfboard model.
There are two main types of surfboard manufacture in mass-market production. The first one is made from PU foam and can be glassed using bio-resins, or normal resins are probably the most common type of surfboard in the mass market. The second one is made from epoxy foam and must be glassed using epoxy resins.
The latter is more toxic for the shapers and glassers to work with, hence the need for proper protective equipment when working with these materials. Epoxy is usually more expensive to repair should you ding or damage your surfboard, so that’s something to bear in mind.
Finally, make sure to do plenty of research before you buy your surfboard. What have other people said about the board, how is the performance, what does your local surf shop recommends for your skill and experience and speaking to other surfers and your local shaper can also help inform your final decision. Just remember to have fun, remember the best surfer out there is the one having the most fun!