How to Select a Surfboard

Selecting a surfboard can be a challenge, with the many styles, shapes, and sizes available, as well as many different materials they are made of. Here are some steps to help you choose the board that suits your needs.


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    Look at surf shops, online stores, and other sources of boards to see the price ranges and features that are relevant to your selection.
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    Talk to local surfers to see what boards perform best in the surf you will use the board in. Serious surfers study both the surf and the different boards to find what works best in local waters and conditions.
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    Look at different materials, and how they compare in strength, weight, and appearance.
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    Borrow a board from friends if you can, to see how well it works for you. Try as many different boards as you can, since there can be large differences in performance, depending on the length, weight, and shape of each board.
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    Know the different types of boards and their performance in order to decide which one will work best for you:
    • MALIBU. A big board that offers length, width and stability, great for first time surfers who require a board that offers plenty of buoyancy and cruises easily with waves. A Malibu surfboard is also great for surfers who have access to nice cruisy point break waves. As these boards are rather large and do lack maneuverability until you can develop turns. Also suitable for larger/heavier persons.
    • MINI-MAL. Probably the most recommended surfboard suitable for the beginner market. Shaped similar to a Malibu but shorter in length. It provides all the features of it bigger parent but gives a little bit more in maneuverability. At the early stages of learning to surf, it is necessary to have a board that will help you catch waves and provide some stability when standing up. The mini mal is a great all rounder and suitable for small to large persons and provides for all beginner to intermediate surfers.
    • FUNBOARD. A funboard is a cross between a mini mal and a shortboard. Shaped and designed for a little bit more performance than the bigger boards, the funboard will allow a surfer to work on turns and drive. Offering more rail and rocker. A funboard allows for more speed and is a great progression board for those who have intentions to develop to steeper, faster waves. The funboard provides buoyancy with nice volume through the centre of the board which will help the surfer with easier paddling and provide some stability while cruising waves at the early progressional stage.
    • FISH. A fish shaped board provides for intermediate surfers and is also a shape that a lot of advanced surfers will have in their quiver of boards. A slight difference is that intermediate surfers will use a fish shape that is shorter than their regular size board. A fish is a great board to take your surfing to the next level, not too big but not too small. This board is great for surfers who are competent surfing green waves with speed and developing their turns. The width and thickness of a fish board will help with paddling but the length and tail shape will allow for cleaner lines and more performance in and out of turns.
    • SOFTBOARD. The ultimate choice for total beginner surfers who are keen on learning but will only be surfing on an occasional basis. Softboards offer size and buoyancy, are great for confidence building and slowly progressing from white (broken) waves to small cleaner waves. Softboards will help beginner surfers at the basic stages but do not offer as much performance once you develop to green waves. Softboards are a great 'holiday' board, offer heaps of fun, suitable for all shapes, sizes and ages, do not ding or crack and will last for a very long time.


  • Surf boards can be very expensive, so seriously consider buying a used board to begin with.
  • If your budget will allow it, it will be much more beneficial to spend a few more dollars to purchase the correct shape and size surfboard.


  • Don't buy any type of surfboard because it "looks pretty". If you are an absolute beginner you MUST get a softboard. If you get any other board they aren't all soft and can cut you open if it hits you! So if you are a total beginner, get a softboard or you'll be sorry!
  • When checking out boards, especially used ones, make sure there are no cracks, loose skegs, or other difficult to repair problems.

Things You'll Need

  • Cash for the purchase.
  • Friends for knowledgeable advice.

Article Info

Categories: Surfing