How to Choose a Beginner Surfboard

Buying your first surfboard is a key part of becoming a surfer. The excitement of looking at all of the surfboards, their colors and styles is exhilarating, but can feel overwhelming for a beginner. Let's get into how to choose your first surfboard as a beginner surfer.

These tips will help you select an ideal first surfboard to get you started on your adventure. As you grow as a surfer, you will learn every nook, curve and cranny of your board.

Understand Your Current Level of Fitness and Your Surfing Abilities

If you are a strong swimmer with good upper-body strength, you can likely handle a beginner surfboard that is on the longer side. You will need to be able to paddle against a current or cross a current while maintaining control over the board. Take into account your ability to grasp the board, take long swimming strokes and maneuver on the water. As you get stronger from regular surfing, you will be ready to upgrade from your beginner board to one that is either shorter for faster rides or longer for catching bigger waves.

Consider What Type of Surfing You Want to Do

You'll also need to consider what type of surfing you want to do. The most common type of surfing is stand-up surfing on a board. This type of surfing is allowed at most surfing beaches. There are a few other types of surfing that you might want to try, such as body surfing. This subtype of the sport makes use of a body board that you lie down on and ride.

Take Into Account Where You Want to Surf

Not all beaches are the same, and not all waves are the same. Some areas tend to have gentler, slower and shorter waves than others. For a beginner surfer, look for a beach where the waves break evenly and move slowly. For example, Hawaii's Kua Beach and Pine Tree Surfer's Beach are ideal for beginners.

Intermediate surfers will enjoy a faster pace and waves that break to one side or the other, such as those at Hawaii's Lyman's Beach or Honoli'i Beach Park. The rocks and winds make these beaches ideal for surfers who have some experience. Once you have solid surfing skills, challenge yourself at places such as Hawaii's Keokea Beach Park, which has a rocky surf and waves that typically break to the right.

Look Into Foam Boards for Beginners

Just like you wouldn't buy a Corvette as the first car you learn to drive, you wouldn't want to get a surfboard that is stiff, heavy and/or designed for pros. As a beginner, look for a board that is either all foam or mostly foam. These boards are softer and nearly impossible to destroy. They are rounder, easier to maneuver and unlikely to injure you. Foam boards offer enhanced stability on the waves, are easy to find and are affordable. Look for boards that are between 7 and 9 feet long as you learn how to paddle and catch waves.

Save Money With Used Surfboards

For many people, their first car was used, well-worn, and already had a few dents. Many beginner surfers' first boards aren't much different. When shopping for your first surfboard, there is nothing wrong with choosing a used one.

Surf shops, social media marketplaces and online person-to-person sales sites offer gently used surfboards that are ideal for the beginner surfer. As a surfer advances in the sport, they might trade in their first surfboard for a board that meets their new needs.

Always remember, a used board is not the same a damaged board. Look over the used boards carefully, taking the time to check for separations in the fiberglass finish, cracks or deep dents. Skip the boards that have a lot of dings or wear and keep looking at the used options. You can take advantage of those trade-ins and save some cash on your first board.

A little research and planning goes a long way in buying your first surfboard. Like any other sport, the equipment that you use has a big impact on your performance and enjoyment of the activity. The investment that you make in your first surfboard could go a long way in improving your skills and boosting your level of fun on the waves.