SurfBoards: A guide for Beginners, Intermediates and Experts
If You’ve ever wondered how to start with surfing, you’re in the right place. Beginners, intermediates all the way through to advanced surfers will find our guide to the right equipment useful.
- Surfboards – Boards which mean the World to Us.
- Mini Malibus and Funboards: The Boards for Beginners
- Hybrid, Fish and Egg Surfboards for more Experienced Surfers
- Shortboards for Pros
- Longboards: the Boards for Artists
- Soft Surfboards: For Beginners Young and Old
- Epoxy Surfboards
- Polyester Surfboards
- Length, Width and Thickness
- Surf – Fitness
- Volume and Shape Perfectly Adapted to your Riding
- The Nose: the Tip of your Board
- Tail: the End of the Board
- Fins and Fin Systems
- Tail Pad
Surfboards – Boards which mean the World to Us.
Is the most beautiful place in the world for you the ocean? Do you enjoy nothing more than gliding smoothly from the crest of a wave to the end? Well, then it sounds like it’s about time you get yourself a new surfboard.
- Beginner: The amazing feeling of catching your first wave is best experienced on a high volume Mini Malibu or a Funboard.
- Intermediate: You have the surfing bug and can stand up longer and have mastered the first maneuvers. In this case, it is time for a Fish or Hybrid-Shape
- Advanced: Experienced surfers with plenty of paddle power can transition to a Shortboard from an easier Fish or Hybrid. Can also go for a Longboard
Mini Malibus and Funboards: The Boards for Beginners
As a beginner, to be on the safe side it's always good to start with a rounder, higher volume surfboard for your first waves. These shapes have high stability, are easy to paddle out and glide well. These boards have a length between 6’11” and 8’11”, and will be made from soft materials, polyester and epoxy constructions work really well. For beginner and intermediate surfers to catch their first waves these surfboards are really easy to handle. Due to their high volume, they can take even the smallest wave to the beach. These boards are good for waves up to a height of one and a half metres.
For Newcomers Mini Malibus or Funboards offer the following advantages:
• More stability through the round nose
• Easier planing because of the round nose
• Easy to paddle due to the high volume
• Less effort to surf
Small Disadvantages for more experienced surfers due to the bulk
• Less Agile
• Duckdiving is very difficult
• Due to the length and weight travel can be inconvenient
Hybrid Fish and Egg Surfboards for more Experienced surfers.
With a length of between 5’2” and 6’9”, Fish, Egg and Hybrid shapes are on the shorter side. However because of their high volume, the lack of length is offset. After you have started on funboards, these shorter style boards are great for a transition to shortboards. This shape is also perfectly suited to surf smaller less powerful waves. Surfers of all abilities from Intermediates up to professionals can enjoy surfing these shapes, some people never move on from them! The difference between a modern fish and a hybrid is due to the fin setup. A modern fish is usually surfed with a quad setup of four fins, whereas hybrid shapes often use the thruster setup of three fins on the board. The quad setup is slightly faster, but you have greater maneuverability with the thruster setup. Egg shapes are quickly gaining in popularity. They come in at a similar volume to hybrid or fish, but are a little bit short, so are great for less powerful waves. These egg shaped boards are very maneuverable, respond quickly and can provide a boost. They work brilliantly in waves up to 1.5 metres.
Benefits of Fish or Hybrid shapes for intermediates
• Ideal Transition shape to take you from Funboards to Shortboards
• High Volume means easy paddling
• More Maneuverable than Funboards
• More forgiving and stable than Shortboards
• Duckdiving (diving under the wave), is possible
Disadvantages for Advanced surfer
• Less rapid reactions than a Shortboard
Shortboards for Pros
You can look really cool and casual at the beach with a light Shortboard under your arms. However, should you want to make a good impression in the surf with such a board, you should really be an experienced surfer. A good paddling strength and a lot of experience with funboards and fish shapes is indispensable for riding these boards. Shortboards usually have a length of between, 5’6” and 6’9”, and their volume is usually considerably less than less advanced shapes. The pointed nose and smaller thickness give unparalleled quickness, a lot of speed and maneuverability. It also should be noted that because of the significantly reduced volume these boards are considerably more difficult to paddle with. The stability of the board will decrease with every litre of volume lost as the sensitivity to small defects increases.
Advanced surfers will enjoy this shape because of:
• High Speed
• Simple Duck Diving
Disadvantages compared to higher volume shapes:
• More difficult to paddle
• Unstable in Take off
• Not much Lift
• Difficult to surf weaker waves
Longboards: the Boards for Artists
A Longboard has massive volume but is highly unsuitable for inexperienced riders. The huge size of a longboard is very difficult to move and even getting over waves becomes a major challenge. Experts can have a great deal of fun with longboards, by trying tricks such as Cross-Steps and Hang-Tens.
Soft Surfboards: For Beginners Young and Old
Soft Surfboards are perfect for complete novices and children because the risk of injury is significantly reduced because of the protection of soft foam. The materials act a damper for the body and flexible fins are less likely to cut you.
The major drawback with soft surfboards, however, is that compared to an epoxy or polyester of the same shape they are considerably heavier. Plus due to the higher weight travelling is also more difficult.
The materials used in Epoxy Surfboards are much lighter, more environmentally friendly and more robust than conventional polyester surfboards. The manufacturing can be more difficult and the raw materials are often more expensive.
The main differences can be:
• The core
• The lamination
High-performance boards from brands like Lost and Firewire have a light and water-resistant cores. The Laminate of such boards is much lighter than a polyester equivalent with only one-third of the weight. They are still really robust and have a water repellent core despite, the thinner lamination. Again this all saves the manufacturer and you, the surfer weight.
Cheaper models which are more aimed at beginners are slightly heavier because of their construction. The EPS core consists of compressed components and is not completely waterproof. Plus the lamination of the board is relatively thicker and slightly heavier. However due to their construction, these boards are still extremely rugged and durable.
The advantages of an Epoxy Surfboard:
- High Speed
- Environmentally Friendly
- Struggles with Unevenness in smaller waves
The traditional materials, a polyurethane core and polyester surface are the most common on the market. They are tried and tested and are very popular with shapers thanks to their ease of manufacturing.
The advantages over epoxy snowboards:
• Can negotiate uneven small waves better
Disadvantages of Polyester Boards
• More repair intensive
• Core Draws water
Length, Width and Thickness
The length of the board, the width of the board at the widest point and the thickness in the middle of the surfboard are given in feet and inches. You can usually find these dimensions at the bottom of the board, they are usually given similarly to this: 6’4” (length) x 18 ¾” (width) x 2 7/8” (thickness). From these figures, you can get an idea of the volume.
A Golden Rule
Surf – Fitness
Naturally, training on the surf spot (best on a dream beach), is the most effective. Here you can practice canoeing and takeoff under ‘real’ conditions. The better you adapt your training regime to your new board, the more waves you’ll catch and the more you’ll progress. A brief overview of the body parts used for surfing will give you an idea about your surf fitness.
Tip: your Fitness
Areas under a lot of strain when paddling
- Strong Midsection
- Strong arms
- Explosive Strength
- Good Core Strength
You go at least 1 to 2 times a year to surf and generally spend about 2-3 weeks in the water. Your general health is good and endurance sports are something you enjoy. However, sport is not necessarily at the top of things which you like to do and you also enjoy some time in the pub.
- Surfing at least 1 or two times a year
- 2 – 3 weeks in a year
- Good general Fitness
Above Average Fitness
Your surf trips take place at least 2 to 3 times a year or more than four weeks in a year. At least a few nights a week and the weekend you dedicate to sport. You have a good mixture of endurance, strength, balance and speed are part of your fitness schedule which you enjoy greatly. Sport is very important for you and creates a balance in your life.
- 2 to 3 three times a year surfing
- 4 weeks or more in the water
- High level of fitness
- Paddling in preparation for you next trip
Surfing is integrated into your everyday life and you enjoy regular surfing sessions all through the year. Training and health are a major part of your life. Endurance, strength and speed combine perfectly with you and you have a perfect training plan for your fitness.
- Regular surfing throughout the year
- Very high level of fitness
- Endurance, strength and speed are all trained
Volume and Shape Perfectly Adapted to your Riding
With a board with the right volume and shape, you will enjoy each session in the water twice as much. Not enough foam under your feet makes the board sink and it is pretty difficult to catch a wave.
A round shape, especially in the nose area, facilitates takeoffs much easier and gives you stability.
Check using these tables for a suitable volume and adjust your Surfboard selection on it. Fitness level, skill level and body weight are crucial. Here are some categories to help your selection.
- Catch Green waves left and right
- Mini Malibu and Funboards are good shapes
- First turns
- Moving from a Mini Malibu or Funboard to a Hybrid or Fish Shape
- Bottom and top turns
- First roundhouse turns
- A Shortboard with matching volume is suitable for powerful waves
- For weaker waves, more comfortable on a Fish or Hybrid shape
- You can perform all the moves mentioned above with power and speed
- Snaps, cutbacks and floaters are not a problem
- A Shortboard is your choice for everything
Volume of Surfboards for Average Fitness
|Bodyweight|| Beginner || Beginner/ |
|50kg to 55kg||44 to 52||33 to 40||26 to 32||20 to 24|
|55kg to 60kg||48 to 56||37 to 44||28 to 34||22 to 26|
|60kg to 65kg||53 to 61||40 to 47||30 to 36||24 to 28|
|65kg to 70kg||58 to 66||43 to 50||33 to 39||26 to 31|
|70kg to 75 kg||63 to 71||47 to 54||35 to 42||28 to 33|
|75kg to 80kg||67 to 75||51 to 58||38 to 44||30 to 35|
|80kg to 85kg||71 to 80||54 to 63||41 to 47||32 to 37|
|85kg to 90kg||75 to 84||57 to 66||44 to 50||35 to 40|
|90kg to 95kg||79 to 89||61 to 70||46 to 52||38 to 44|
Volume of Surfboards for Above Average Fitness
|Bodyweight|| Beginner || Beginner/ |
|50kg to 55kg||38 to 46||28 to 35||21 to 27||18 to 22|
|55kg to 60kg||43 to 51||31 to 38||23 to 29||19 to 23|
|60kg to 65kg||48 to 56||34 to 41||25 to 31||20 to 25|
|65kg to 70kg||53 to 61||37 to 44||27 to 33||22 to 27|
|70kg to 75 kg||56 to 64||40 to 47||29 to 35||24 to 29|
|75kg to 80kg||60 to 68||43 to 50||32 to 38||26 to 31|
|80kg to 85kg||64 to 72||46 to 53||34 to 40||28 to 33|
|85kg to 90kg||68 to 76||49 to 57||37 to 43||30 to 35|
|90kg to 95kg||72 to 81||52 to 60||40 to 47||33 to 38|
Volume of Surfboards for Excellent Fitness
|Bodyweight|| Beginner || Beginner/ |
|50kg to 55kg||37 to 45||26 to 33||20 to 26||17 to 21|
|55kg to 60kg||41 to 49||29 to 36||21 to 27||18 to 22|
|60kg to 65kg||45 to 53||32 to 39||23 to 29||19 to 23|
|65kg to 70kg||49 to 57||34 to 41||25 to 30||20 to 25|
|70kg to 75kg||53 to 61||36 to 43||27 to 32||22 to 27|
|75kg to 80kg||57 to 65||40 to 47||29 to 34||24 to 29|
|80kg to 85kg||61 to 69||43 to 51||32 to 37||26 to 31|
|85kg to 90kg||65 to 73||46 to 53||35 to 41||29 to 34|
|90kg to 95kg||69 to 78||49 to 57||38 to 44||32 to 38|
It's not, however, just volume which is important to your selection. As mentioned above, it is very much shape as well. A round nose, such as found on a funboard, behaves very differently to a pointed nose. Similarly, significant differences can be found in the tail. The more space, or volume the easier it is for beginners or intermediates to control the board.
The Nose: the Tip of your Board
The shape of the board affects the behavior of surfboards considerably. The main factor is whether the board has a round or pointed nose. Generally speaking, the two shapes have different applications.
- The rounder, the easier to handle
- The more pointed, the more demanding
With a round nose you’ll get:
- More lift
- Fast Planing
- Easier Paddling
- More stability
A pointed nose gives you:
- Speed during Maneuvers
Tail: the end of the board
The different options for a tail bring different properties. A single shaped surfboard can behave very differently when equipped with different tail shapes. Here are some of the most common shapes and their properties.
Round and Pin Tail
- Suitable for fast, steep waves and tubes
- Good Maneuverability
- Less Stability
- Very Common shape for Shortboards
- Enables rapid radical maneuvers
- More speed through the broader area
- Rounded edges offer grip and rollover stability
- Good grip
- Control through turns
- Lots of Speed
- Good lift
- Good in small, less powerful waves
Fins and Fin Systems
Depending on board design, the fin setup can vary. The versatile Thruster Setup is mainly used on shortboards and hybrid setups. Longboards will come with one large fin, to make the largest turns possible. The playful Fish often has a fast Quad-Setup.
Here are the data and facts:
- 3 fins
- Very diverse application
- Mainly on shortboards and hybrid boards
- Great setup for beginners, because individual fins can be exchanged with little effort
- Very Fast
- Good stability even on wide rails
- Less Maneuverable than a thruster
- Typical Fin for Longboards
- Very long turns
The two most common systems are FCS and Future fins.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each system.
FCS (Fin Control System)
The advantages of the FCS:
- Very Widespread
- Large Selection
- Quick Change
- Fast Widely Available
- Easy to Repair
- Old FCS fins are also compatible with the FCS 2 system
- Easy to use
- Vulnerable to damage to the fin box
The advantages of the system:
- Basic Fins are cheap
- Good flow behavior by finbox
- Good workmanship
- Top models are more expensive
- Fin box is very difficult to repair
- Often hard to find
The leash is the connection between you and your surfboard. It ensures that if you fall, you’re not going to find your board surfing all the way back to the beach! Basically, the length of the leash = the length of your surfboards. Competition models are not suitable because the tear easily and the Velcro can very easily absorbed by the small width for free surfing sessions.
The wax gives surf surfboard the necessary grip. In order get the right wax, you should find out about the water temperature where you are going. The warmer the conditions are the harder composition of the wax. From icy cold waters to tropical heat, you will find the right wax in our online shop.
When you are choosing a tail pad, the right model will depend on the width and your own personal preferences. The purpose of the tail pad is to keep your feet firmly on the board and to support your moves, For wider board such as fish, it's recommended that you use a multi-part pad to use so that you can cover the entire surface.
Boardbags provide a safe transport for your board and ensure that they arrive undamaged at the beach of your dreams. For travelling far padded models with their own fin pockets and straps are ideal. For a short route between the camp or hotel to the beach, a surf sock can be sufficient. The sleeve protects your surfboard against UV rays and small dings.
If something breaks on your board, you can often quickly remedy the issue with repair kits and simple pastes. These pastes are easy to use, for small dings you can just smear the paste to the affected area, then it can dry in the sun, and when it's dry you can carry on surfing. Caution is advised with epoxy surfboards. Do not try to repair them with polyester paste, which will just eat into your surfboard. However, epoxy paste with polyester is not a problem.