a longboard is your best friend
When you are learning to surf a longboard is essential. It provides you with the volume and stability that you need to get going. Soft Top boards and Foam longboards give you protection against bumps and bruises and the rubber fins on a foam board cope with being ridden into the sand.
Longboards are technically classified as surfboards over 9 feet which are wider than a shortboard and they have a big rounded nose. There is such as thing as longboards under 9 feet. But they are referred to as mini mals and are good for smaller bodies to learn to surf on.
There are also a whole variety of what is often called ‘fun boards’. Fun boards are between 6 – 8 feet in length and have a slightly rounded nose.
Use the table below to get an idea of a suitable longboard length/volume for your weight range as a beginning surfer. Surfboards are measured in feet and inches and their volume is measured in litres.
If you’ve found yourself a beaten up old board to borrow, embrace it. In this modern era of machine shaped surfboards, those well-loved hand crafted, beaten up old gems are quickly becoming valued. Make sure the leash attached to the board is reliable. See the setting up the basics module for more about leashes.
There are a lot of variables out there to the classic surfboard shape. When you are looking to hire or buy a surfboard you will more that likely find yourself having a conversation about different board dimensions / litre-age /volume / your weight / surfing ability etc. Always be honest with the information you pass onto whoever is helping you. The needs of a learner are simple compared to than those of an advanced surfer, therefore shop assistants or surfboard hire staff should be pretty good at matching you with a good fit surfboard.
Use the above table as your guide. If you find that you are directed to a surfboard that is a long way off the above guidelines, shop around and seek a second and third opinion.
Below are the basics of a surfboard’s anatomy and it applies to both long and short boards. This is as about as much as you need to know as a beginner.
Go to the module on Setting Up The Basics to find out how to set up all the equipment for your board including putting on wax, attaching a leash, putting in and taking out removable fins.