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Surfboards: A Buyer’s Guide
Anyone completely new to the idea of surfing might think that one board can do it all. That really isn’t the case! Manoeuvring waves and valleys isn’t just a case of being good at keeping your balance. To be an expert surfer, you’re going to need help from the best equipment available on the market. Why do you think there is so much to choose from? Your perfect surfboard shouldn’t just look great – it should support you and should give you the control and stability you need when traversing various bodies of water.
With that in mind, what makes the best surfboard? Over the years, as demand has increased for boards with better control, weighting and more durability, the market has really exploded. Therefore, for novice surfers, it can be tricky to narrow down which options are likely to work best. It’s easy enough to grab a board and get surfing, but when it comes to the perfect choice, you may have to run through a lot of trial and error.
However, we want to make it a little bit easier on you. In this buying guide, we will look at a variety of different boards, and will consider all of the essentials you need to know before you put any money down. The fact is, a surfboard is literally just a board – but if you’re serious about getting the best control and the most life out of your equipment for your money, it really does make sense to shop around.
At the end of the guide, we’ll also consider what people are looking for online with a few frequently asked questions.
Why Buy a Surfboard?
If you’re going to stand any chance of riding a few waves, you are going to need a board. A surfboard is built for you to easily ride big waves and career across turbulent highs and lows. There are all sorts of techniques and specialities you can put into action while surfing. This really is likely to go quite deep, so for this guide, we are purely going to look at the boards you can buy, not how you can learn to surf in general! However, the board you buy may well impact on your technique, and you may even find that you buy a specific board based on your own experience.
A great surfboard is one which is going to keep you up on those waves. You’re going to need a board that has plenty of grip, which is lightweight enough to move around during turbulence, and which is going to look great, too! You may find that many surfers choose boards just as much through their looks as they do through their added features. However, there’s a balance. You shouldn’t just buy a surfboard because you think it looks good.
The time will be right to buy a surfboard when you feel you need to make the investment. Are you likely to surf a lot in future? Is renting or borrowing boards simply not working out for you? If this sounds familiar, then you are going to need to be careful when making the right decision. The worst thing you can do is just blindly buy a surfboard when you’re not really sure what you should be looking into. Generally, it makes sense to go ahead and try a few boards out first before getting behind the perfect choice.
Therefore, do take our advice as a platform to leap from – but take your time!
Things to Look For
Again, it’s simple to think that all surfboards do the same thing. However, there are different types, different manufactures, and different features. No one surfboard is going to work for absolutely everyone. Therefore, you should consider what’s important to you on the waves. What do fellow surfers, or instructors, recommend for you? Once you have a fair idea in mind, make sure you consider all of the points below, too.
Material Type and Construction
Surfboards can be made of very different materials. For example, you will likely come across plastic boards when you first start out. However, you will find that the most expensive boards on the market are made from epoxy. That’s because these boards are easily the most durable and will likely withstand heavier waves and much more frequent use than training systems.
However, your average surfer – one who is confident enough to buy their own board – will likely look into buying a fibreglass model. Fibreglass is famously water-resistant, and what’s more, it’s likely to withstand extensive use. It’s neither too flimsy nor too expensive. Therefore, it’s a great midrange choice.
Types of Board
Yes – you can split surfboards into further types, too, all of which will benefit from the material types listed above. There’s a lot to consider – hence why we wrote this guide! Some of the most common surfboards are soft tops, which are comfortable to stand and manoeuvre on. Other surfers just starting out might use gun boards for bigger waves, while others may prefer simple longboards if they want to catch smaller dips and peaks. Crucially, the longer the board, the shorter the wave – that’s a good formula you will need to keep in mind!
Shortboards, however, tend to be very popular. These are, as the name suggests, very short and very thin. They are great at managing most waves. However, they may not be the best option for beginners. In fact, you will likely find that there are probably more specialist boards for beginners than there are in terms of midrange or expert choices! Therefore, if you are a true novice, you shouldn’t have too much to worry about in terms of choice.
Nose and Shape
The shape of your board and its nose will also likely affect your whole experience. That’s because boards which are rounded are great for moving around, while tapered, thinner noses are better for grip on big waves. Circular boards, for example, are probably going to be a great choice if you want to cut through more, but if you’d prefer the grip and stability in your surf, you should look for a thinner nose altogether.
You can, of course, look for a good midrange option, where you can opt for a squarer shape. These tend to be good all-around surfboards for most people, particularly those who are still finding their feet on the open water.
Surfing isn’t just a hobby, it’s a lifestyle! Therefore, many people make sure they look great when they go surfing. Not only will people buy designer bodysuits, they will also look for designer surfboards in all manner of colours and designs. It’s very easy to find boards which reflect your personality. You don’t have to pay a lot for a great-looking board, either.
However, don’t always be swayed by a designer label. You will still need to think about durability and ease of use. Therefore, make sure you balance look and functionality before you buy. The same, of course, goes for fashion in general – but that’s for a completely different buying guide!
Frequently Asked Questions
So – you’re going to buy a surfboard. But what if you still have a mountain of questions you need to ask? Really don’t worry. Plenty of people are out there looking for their first great board to take to the ocean. Here are a few common queries you’ll find online from various shoppers:
What’s the Best Surfboard for Beginners?
There are various elements that make up the best beginner surfboard. As mentioned above, a squarish shape and a good, firm manufacture will be a fantastic choice. However, there are specific boards which work best for training, such as plastic and fun boards.
Is a Surfboard a Long Term Investment?
It can be! However, if you are just getting used to the waves, you might want to buy a starter board and then upgrade as you go along. There is nothing to say that you should just stick to the first one you buy. In fact, most surfers will likely go through three or four boards pretty quickly. That being said, you should look for a board that’s going to be worth your time and money.
How Much Do Surfboards Cost?
A good surfboard is likely to cost you between £100 and £200. However, depending on the brand you choose and the type you look for, you can expect to pay more. This is generally a good idea if you know that you need the extra support. However, there is nothing stopping you looking for a bargain. You should, of course, be looking at what buyers have to say, as well as asking what your fellow surfers think is good value.
Buying your first surfboard can be tricky. More often than not, you are going to need to take to the waves first before you pick a board! Carefully consider your needs after a few sessions, talk with instructors, and take your time whether picking online or on the high street.