After some time in the water and always planning when & where to rent a surfboard normally pops up the wish to own your own Surfboard. Which makes a lot of sense as well, because constantly changing boards, can be a bit difficult, especially if you are still on a lower level of surfing. Therefore, it might be easier to have one board to practice with, until you are ready for the next level/surfboard. In this blog I will try to give you some help and guidelines of how to pick your own surfboard.
1. Be honest about your surf level!
If you choose a surfboard that is too advanced for the level you have, you won’t have fun and instead of helping you to learn surfing it will only limit you. Are you surfing in whitewater? Do you still struggle with your pop up? Are you already taking green waves? Especially at the beginning a softboard will help you so much with all the basics that need to be perfect in order to progress to a higher level of surfing. If you already surfed on softtops for a longer period of time and you feel that your take-off is steady, you have a good vision in the water and timing on the wave you might try and rent a hardboard a few times before directly buying one. Like this you will have an idea what feels good for you. In any case, I would always advise you to go for a fiberglass mini malibu (NSP, Torq kind of type) with some good volume. Especially when learning, we make a lot of mistakes and comparing to a high performance fiberglass board, those boards will forgive you a lot of mistakes 😉
If you are still unsure, ask for help at a local surf shop or your friend/surf coach.
2. New or used?
Of course, it is always nice to have something completely new and shiny. But if you think about it, buying a second hand surfboard makes a lot of sense. You will not only safe a lot of money, but also because you are at the beginning of surfing, progressing and learning with that board you will probably „grow out of it“. So maybe after a few months you will want to switch to another board. In either case you can always sell your surfboard afterwards. Especially in places like Fuerteventura, where the surf market has such a big demand, you will be able to sell your board easily. The only thing when buying a second hand surfboard is to be careful about the condition. Check for any damages that you might need to repair or even check if former damages have been repaired properly. In the best case you can try the board in the water once before buying it.
3. Softboard or Fiberglass board?
We already talked about this in point 1. But just to be sure again about the different options we’ll have a quick look at the different types.
A Softboard also called Soft-top or Foamie is the way to go for you if you are a beginner. It is not only safer for you to learn, but also makes things easier at the beginning which are hard. Such as paddling, learning the pop up and catching waves. A Foamie is always a nice thing to have – even if you’re level progresses and you are normally surfing a small board, on days with very small waves you can always go back to your Softboard and have a lot of fun catching small waves.
A Hardboard / Fiberglass Board is recommended when you already have a steady take-off, you can catch green waves, turn your board in directions and have a good board control. As mentioned, mini malibu boards like NSP or Torq, will forgive a lot of mistakes and will still help you progress more with surfing.
A high performance Fiberglass board is a very advanced board and only recommended if you have a good level of surfing. Even though you have to take a lot more care with a fiberglass board as it „dings“ quite easy, it will also allow you to progress with maneuvers, turns and style.
4. For beginners – bigger is always better
Don’t make the mistake of choosing a small surfboard with a small number of liters. At the beginning you want to make it as easy as possible for yourself. Get a board that is steady on the water, with a lot of volume – it will be so much more fun and easier to learn!
5. Buy local
Try to avoid buying your surfboard online. Check out a local surf shop and ask for advice. First you might be able to try out different surfboard before buying it, and second, they will advise you on everything else that comes with it. From fins to leash to choose the best surf wax and a good board sock. People who work in a surf shop live for surfing, so they want to be as happy as you and satisfied with your first surfboard to share the stoke!
6. Give it a try before buying
The best way to find out if a surfboard suits you, is trying it out before. Check out if you can rent the same board / or a very similar one at a local surf shop before buying it. Like this you can have an idea if you are going to be happy with your choice. If you can, take the board for a ride 2 or 3 times before buying. As every day and every wave is different in the water you will have a better impression.
If you buy second hand, ask the owner if you can try it out before in the water – the only risk you have there is having to buy it in case you break it or damage it. But still better taking that risk thank buying it out of the blue and suffering in the water.
So, in case you are thinking about buying your first surfboard after our surf coaching, I am very happy to help you choosing the perfect surfboard for you!