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Beginners Guide To Surfing: Choosing the Right Surfboard

Lots of surfboards leaning against wall

Long boards and Short boards

If you want to become a surfer, eventually you are going to have to buy yourself a surfboard. Buying your first surfboard is like catching your very first wave…you will never forget it. However, with so many sizes and shapes to choose from, buying that first board can be a little overwhelming. Here are a few tips and guidelines to remember when deciding on what board to get.

Surfboards can be broken down into two categories. Long boards and Short boards


Surfboards can range anywhere from 5 ft to 12 ft in length. The general rule of thumb is the longer the board the smaller the waves it can catch. Long boards are a great choice for surfers who live in areas where the waves don’t get big very often.

Long boards are typically easier to paddle given their length and offer more stability than a smaller board would, which is good if you a just learning how to surf.


Short boards allow a surfer to travel faster on a wave, turn sharper and perform much more radical maneuvers than on a long board.

Due to their smaller size, short boards require much bigger waves, the surfer to paddle much harder to catch the wave and can also feel extremely unstable or squirrely to a beginner surfer.


The general rule of thumb is the wider the surfboard, the more stability it will have. Although narrow surfboards tend to turn easier and be more responsive, wider surfboards offer more stability and float which are very important for beginner surfers.


The thicker the surfboard is the more flotation it will have, which makes paddling easier.

Surfers who are on the heavy side or those who are not strong swimmers should consider buying a surfboard with a little more meat on it.

The less thickness a surfboard has, the lighter and faster it will be. Thinner surfboards are also easier to duck dive in bigger surf.

There is no such thing as a magic surfboard. No matter what kind of surfboard you buy, there will always be a period of adjustment and a huge learning curve to conquer. The most important thing to remember is to choose a surfboard that fits your ability and skill level properly.


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