Setting up the basics

The Essentials Checklist

The equipment that you will need before you head off for your first surf… & how to set it all up

Optional Extras

The need for a wetsuit depends on the temperature of the water where you are surfing. Wearing a swimsuit underneath makes getting changed in and out of your wetsuit in the carpark a lot easier.

For some female surfers, they can get a bit of a bruise on their hip bones from lying on their board (unless you use a soft top or foam board). But this is usually only if you are surfing back to back days on end. Wetsuits offer a little extra padding.

The foam on the deck of soft tops and foam boards can sometimes be a little irritating on bare skin. The only solution is to cover your skin.

There a few variations of surf wax available and, basically any wax will do. Don’t worry if you don’t have the correct temperature match.

The Leash

Always check that the leash you are using is in good order. Your leash is vital. It attaches to your back ankle and is what keeps your board in arms reach. It is a hassle having to swim in for your surfboard if your leash breaks and it is a hazard for others in the water. An old leash may have lost it’s strength and integrity. If the fabric has frayed a lot it might be time for an upgrade. They cost around NZ$70 and is money well spent.

A longboard requires a long leash. There are some whopping long 12ft leashes out there, which are usually reserved for SUPs. Your leash should equal the length (or be slightly longer) than your board. When you are surfing it is important to consider other people in the water and the ‘knock out’ radius a longer leash has when letting go of you board.

The thickness of the leash cord is something to consider too. Beginners put their leash to good use (think about how many times you fall off compared to an accomplished surfer) and benefit from a thicker leash. Steer clear of what is referred to as competition leashes as they are thinner and short.

Every surfboard has a leash plug and the leash string needs to be attached securely to the plug. The leash string must be set to the correct length once threaded through the plug. Watch the video demonstration (below) to see this vital step.

The leash string attached to the leash plug

A leash attached correctly and ready to go. Note the leash string is set to a length that has the rail saver in the correct spot.

The following video shows you everything you need to know about setting up all your surf equipment