My first surfboard help will cut through all the irrelevant information & give you the tools to select the right surfboard for your individual needs.
Selecting the right board is the most important factor when starting out. Following these steps will allow you to experience what surfing is all about, having fun.
If your going to surf, follow these steps & give yourself the best chance.
Spend a little bit of time reading through the information as it will save you money & more importantly help you enjoy the surf. Click on the links as you go for more information on each section.
Surfboard Volume: Is the amount of area (In litres) inside a surfboard, calculated by its overall length, width & thickness. Volume is becoming increasingly popular & can be found in the buyers chart section for each surfboard model.
Volume is a benefit of computer assisted shaping. Volume used in collaboration with, board type will give you a very accurate picture of the boards performance characteristics.
Low Volume Boards: are more sensitive to the riders movements & requires an advance surfers to master. These boards need extra effort to generate speed as they sink deeper in the wave face creating extra drag.
The positive trade off is increased board performance & more power over the board. There is a fine line between a low volume board & an under volume board.
Draw backs of an under volume board; hard to paddle, unstable & sluggish board speed.
High Volume Boards: are more relaxed & easier to surf. All surfing levels can master a high volume board. They produce more speed without much effort & are very stable. The trade off for these benefits is a reduce performance level.
It’s up to the surfer to decide what style of surfing they prefer & tailor there buying decision accordingly.
What is Beginner Volume:
Beginner volume is a figure generated by each surfer’s individual weight, ability, fitness & personal preference. In my opinion Beginner Volume is the most important variable to consider when choosing a board.
Beginner Volume is calculated in litres (ltrs) and can be easily applied when selecting a surfboard.
By creating your own beginner volume range & following this volume you will eliminate the most common mistake of buying a surfboard that is to small or big for you.
Beginner Volume Table | Find the right Volume
|Weight kg||Volume (Vol – Ltr)|
|35 & Under||25 to 30|
|35 – 50||30 to 35|
|50 – 65||35 to 40|
|65 – 75||40 to 50|
|75 – 85||45 – 55|
|85 – 95+||50 to 60+|
Example: Weight 80kg = 50 Vol – Depending on fitness & sporting ability + or – 5 litres
Why is Beginner Volume Important: Your Beginner Volume is a guide to buying the right size surfboard no matter if the board is 8’6” or 7’0”. Knowing your Beginner Volume increases the chances of you buying a great board, positively effecting the following performance characteristics to your needs:
> Paddle Power
> Speed, Drive & Glide
If your riding a board that isn’t in your ideal volume range than these important characteristics are negatively effected.
The next next step once your comfortable with Volume & Beginner Volume is calculating your Ideal Volume which is the same concept just more in-depth. As your performance level increase’s so will your sensitivity to volume & board selection.
What board type should I choose?
All surfboards are designed with a specific purpose.
There is no surfboard that excels in all areas so make sure you choose a board type that suits your needs.
Surf Shops Australia has labeled all surfboard models into specific categories so they can be easily identified.
Full Surfboard descriptions can be found in the board model overview under The Brief & Board Chart tab.The board description, Board Type, Recommended Surf Level, Ideal Wave Conditions & Board Performance will be described in these sections. Read through this information for a full description of each surfboard model.
The Easiest surfboards to start on:
Soft boards: Provide the ultimate in fun and safety for beginner to intermediate surfers of all ages. These boards are incredibly buoyant, stable, easy to ride & great for building confidence in the water.
Mini Mals: Are generally wider throughout with more stability & paddle power making them the second easiest boards to surf. Hard to duck dive under the waves.
Fun Boards: Are generally shorter & smaller throughout making them easier to handle in the water & suited to light weight surfers. A little bit easier to duck dive under the waves.
Fish / Grovel boards: Are more hi performance & progressive than a Mini Mal or Fun board. Only jump to this board type if you have some experience surfing or a good level of fitness & sporting background. The benefit of jumping to a Fish/Grovel board is the ability to push your surfing further then you could on a mini mal or fun board. However this learning stage is very important to get right & could mean the difference between frustration or having an amazing time. Slightly easier to duck dive compared to the Mini Mals & Fun boards.
How to Choose:
Surfing is unique to everyone & there personal preferences. Choose a board type that matches yours needs. For success stick to these four board types & your Beginner Volume Range.
What construction to choose?
There are three main constructions, Soft boards, Polyester (PU) & Epoxy.
Soft Boards: Generally made from polyethylene skin with a slick bottom. These boards are soft & very safe to use. Durability ranges depending on the manufacturer. They are more vulnerable to the heat, expanding & contracting. They also have limited performance.
Polyester (PU): Polyester is the traditional surfboard construction that has been around for years. These boards are less durable than soft boards & epoxy constructions but have more performance. They need a little more care however they are easy to fix if damaged.
Epoxy: Epoxy boards are generally more durable & lighter than Polyester boards. They have less performance than traditional Polyester constructions when comparing Beginner board types (less flex). They are harder to fix if damaged.
In general all surfboard constructions have there pro’s & cons. They are made with a balance of durability & performance. All surfboards need to treated with care as they are fragile.
Choose a construction that is suited your needs.