Best Beginner Surfboards / The Complete Guide to Surfboards for Beginners

beginner surfboards
surfboards by Degree 33

You’ll never forget your first surfboard. Mine was a 6’6” pintail JC Hawaii hand-me-down with glassed in fins and an awful yellow sunburn. Little did I know, this is far from the ideal beginner surfboard. At the time, it was the kind of board that a pro surfer would ride at a solid barreling wave like Banzai Pipeline. AKA, perhaps one of the worst surfboards to learn to surf on.

I didn’t know any better and I remember just being super stoked to finally have my very own surfboard. So I went on my merry way, on a paper-thin, potato chip pro model surfboard, struggling to claw into waves, falling nonstop because of the lack of stability, and getting super frustrated with how long it was taking to learn how to ride a wave.

Needless to say, it was a slow and challenging progression and I could have really used some guidance at the time. Fortunately for you, I’ve already made some bad surfboard decisions throughout my surfing journey so you don’t have to.

Selecting the right board for your surfing level can be the difference between having a blast and a world of frustration. Let’s avoid that world of frustration, shall we?

In this article, I’ll cover the best beginner surfboards, how to gradually make the transition from a longboard surfboard to a shortboard surfboard, and give you some recommendations for boards at every level.

With some basic board knowledge under your belt, you can be confident you’re buying the right surfboard for your level and exponentially increase your learning curve and fun factor.

The Best Beginner Surfboards

beginner surfboards

What makes a good beginner surfboard? When you’re learning how to surf, there are a few fundamental skills you’ll want to work on and develop before progressing to the next level. Most notably: where to position yourself on the board, your pop-ups, balance, paddle strength, endurance, and so on.

With these basic skills in mind, a good beginner surfboard is easy to paddle, floats you well (high buoyancy), and is very stable. The basic rule of thumb here is: the bigger the better.

The best beginner surfboard makes it as easy as possible to catch and ride as many waves as possible. Because the more waves you catch, the quicker you’ll progress. With a wide and stable outline and lots of buoyancy, a longboard surfboard is the best beginner surfboard around.

In the following sections, we’ll go into more detail and also give recommendations for specific surfboards.

Considering everything that makes a good beginner surfboard, all of the opposite points are true for what makes a bad beginner surfboard. If you try to learn or progress on a board that’s too small for your current surfing ability, you’re setting yourself up for a challenging time. Smaller boards don’t float you well and have less stability, making it much more difficult to paddle, catch waves, pop up, and balance.

Here’s a quick summary with minimal surfboard jargon:

The Best Beginner Surfboards:

  • Are longer surfboards with plenty of stability
  • Have a fuller shape (which will provide more stability)
  • Have lots of volume that will float you well (the board is on the thicker side)
  • Are easy to paddle and catch waves

The Worst Surfboards for Beginners:

  • Are short surfboards that don’t give much stability
  • Have a narrow shape 
  • Have low volume (essentially this means a thinner and lighter board)
  • Are difficult to paddle and catch waves

Surfboard Construction

surfboard construction materials

Another element to consider in your board search is surfboard construction (i.e. what your surfboard is made of). There a lot of different materials being used to make surfboards these days, but we’ll keep this high level. Two of the most common surfboard constructions are Polyurethane (poly or PU) and Epoxy.

Epoxy surfboards are very popular with beginner surfers because they are known to be much more durable and buoyant than traditional poly surfboards. Epoxy boards don’t get dinged as easily, they float really great, and they’re very easy to paddle.

Poly boards are typically not quite as buoyant and are a little bit heavier, but they have more flex to them which becomes more relevant and is a common point of preference for more advanced surfers. Poly boards are going to be more susceptible to dings and damage, so you’ll need to be more careful with transporting and handling your board.  

beginner surfboard soft top
A couple of soft top longboards

Another popular type of surfboard for beginners is a soft top surfboard, also known as a foamie. Soft top surfboards are exactly as they sound – they have a soft, dentable/durable top layer as opposed to a typical surfboard with a hard fiberglass top layer.

Soft top surfboards are a good option for beginner surfers because they’re user-friendly, very stable, and easy to paddle.

When you’re learning how to surf, falling is an unavoidable part of the process and it’s likely that you’ll bump into your surfboard here and there along the way. With a soft top surfboard, these bumps will be, well, softer than a poly or epoxy board. Lastly, soft tops are extremely durable so you don’t have to worry about dings or damage.

What type of surfboard construction is best for beginners?

Like most things, it really depends on your personal preference and surf progression. You might want to just rent a soft top board as you start to learn in the beginning and save your money to buy a poly or epoxy longboard soon after. Or perhaps you want to buy a soft top and stay surfing it for quite a while before transitioning to a hard top board.

If you’re privy to crashing into things, you might want to get a soft top or epoxy board that’s more durable to withstand your abuse (instead of a poly board that can get dinged more easily). If you have specific questions, feel free to ask in the comment section at the bottom of this article and we’ll give you some feedback!

The Progression of Learning to Surf

beginner surfboards
From left to right (all in epoxy): The Ultimate, The Poacher, The Codfather

Different strokes for different folks. Maybe you’re the casual and stylish lifelong longboarding type or your surf ambitions are simply to be able to cruise down the face of a wave without eating it, nothing wrong with that.

But it’s probably fair to say that when most people first get interested in surfing, they’re looking at the ocean watching a good surfer rip a wave to pieces, or seeing a pro make unbelievable maneuvers in a surf film and they’re thinking, “I want to surf like that!”

shortboard surfboard
What surfers affectionately call ‘throwing buckets’ / photo via Degree 33

For the majority of us normal humans, that level of surfing might be a long stretch. But don’t be discouraged because it doesn’t make surfing any less fun. The constant progression and breakthroughs of your own surfing ability are always so fun and exciting you’ll never even know the difference.

And hey, who am I to say you won’t be the next Kelly Slater in just a few short years of testing the waters. Our only limitations are the ones we impose on ourselves, right?!

best beginner surfboard

One thing is for sure, if you want to get as good as possible as fast as possible, you’re going to need all the help you can get and there are a few shortcuts you can take along the way to make your own progression smooth and seamless.

One of those shortcuts is being on the right board at the right time for your surfing ability and gradually downsizing in board length once you master the necessary skills for the board you’re on.

Here’s the ideal progression path to most quickly take your surfing skills from beginner to advanced, and how to transition from a longboard to a shortboard.

The Longboard Surfboard – Step 1

beginner surfboards
A few versions of Degree 33 Longboards

When I was learning to surf, it seemed that anything over 8 feet with a longboard outline (basically a wide template with a full and round nose) would qualify as a longboard.

Nowadays, surfboard shapes and designs are constantly being debated and broken down further and further into smaller more specific categories. So a lot of surfers might call an 8’ surfboard with a full outline a mid-length and might tell you that longboards aren’t really longboards until they’re 9’ or longer.

Alas, let’s spare the technicalities and details of what makes a surfboard a mid-length or a longboard for another article and for the sake of this article call anything with a longboard outline above 8’ a longboard. Sound good? Great. Glad we’re on the same page.

longboard surfboard
Toes to the nose / photo via Degree 33

Once again, longboard surfboards are prime beginner surfboards, even if your ultimate goal is to shortboard. While longboards come in a variety of lengths and dimensions, they are typically wide, flat, stable, thick, buoyant, and very user-friendly.

A good rule of thumb is to start with a longboard that is about 3’ longer than your height. So if you’re 5’8” to 6’0” tall, a 8’6” to 9’0” longboard would probably be a good place to start.

Top reasons why longboards are the best beginner surfboards:

  • It’s easier to catch waves so you’ll spend more time actually riding waves and less time bobbing around in the ocean waiting for a strong enough wave to catch.
  • Longboards offer the most stability, making it much easier to pop up and balance on your board.
  • You’ll be able to paddle back out to the break much faster and easier, increasing your wave count and sparing your energy.
  • You’ll be able to surf on super small and fun days, which are ideal for learning anyways and often not surfable for shortboarders.
  • As you learn the fundamentals of flowing with the wave and maneuvering a longboard, it’ll make your shortboarding style and ability that much cleaner and more refined when you get there.
  • All of the above reasons will enable you to catch more waves, which means you’ll surf more waves, which means you’ll get more experience and ultimately improve your surfing as quickly as possible.

Recommended Longboards for Beginners:

longboard beginner surfboard

‘The Ultimate’ Longboard (epoxy)

Available 8’ to 10’ in 3 color variations

check it out >>

longboard surfboard beginner

‘The Ultimate’ Longboard (poly)

Available 8’ to 10’ in a variety of colors and finishes

check it out >>

The Funboard Surfboard – Step 2

Once you’ve started to grasp some of the fundamentals of surfing, you’ll be stepping into the advanced beginner or intermediate realm and ready for a shorter board. Enter the funboard.

Funboards are surfboards that are around 6’ to 8’ long with a wide round shape and forgiving rails. Funboards come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from 6’ mini-eggs to 7’ hybrid fish surfboard shapes and more. 

Again, there are a lot of different terms for specific shapes like an egg or a fish and some general terms can often be used interchangeably like funboard, mid-length, or hybrid, but let’s keep it simple and call anything with a fuller outline in the 6’ to 8’ range a funboard.

The features of a funboard make it a perfect stepping stone on the path to progressing from a longboard to a shortboard. With wide outlines, fuller rails, and still plenty of buoyancy, you’ll be feeling super nimble and snappy on your more compact funboard, without sacrificing wave count.

At this step in your progression, you’ll really want to explore the maneuverability of the shorter more responsive surfboard. You’ll want to work on pumping down the line to generate more speed, surfing the wave from top to bottom, and your execution of open face turns and cutbacks.

Recommended Funboards for Beginners:

funboard surfboard beginner

The Poacher / Mid-length Funboard

  • Available 6’6” to 7’2” in a variety of colors and finishes
  • Construction available: poly, epoxy, soft top

check it out >>

funboard surfboard beginner

Easy Rider / Hybrid Fish

  • Available 6’6” to 8’2” in a variety of colors and finishes
  • Construction available: poly, epoxy

check it out >>

The Shortboard Surfboard – Step 3

beginner surfboards
From left to right: All Terrain Vehicle, The Bullet, and The Cloud

After you’re comfortable surfing funboards, the next step down is the shortboard surfboard.

As with funboards and longboards, not all shortboards are created equal. Some shortboards are specifically designed for really good punchy performance waves, while other shortboards are better suited as a daily driver and will perform in a wider variety of conditions and softer waves.

The first time you transition to a shortboard, you’ll definitely want to look for a board with a fuller outline that would fall into the daily driver or groveler type of category.

shortboard surfboard beginner

Your daily driver type of shortboard is typically a bit wider and thicker than a high-performance shortboard with a fuller nose and/or tail and a flatter rocker. These characteristics allow you to paddle them a bit better and get into waves much easier. They also handle fat and mushy sections of a wave more effectively, allowing you to keep your speed through the flats.

Recommended Beginner Shortboards:

shortboard surfboard beginner

The Cloud / Performance Groveler

  • Available 5’4” to 5’9” in a variety of colors and finishes
  • Construction available: poly, soft top

check it out >>

shortboard surfboard beginner

The All-Terrain Vehicle / Shortboard

  • Available 5’10” to 6’4” in a variety of colors and finishes
  • Construction available: poly, NexGen epoxy

check it out >>

Tips For Buying A Surfboard

best beginner surfboard

Buying your first surfboard might seem a bit complicated at times. You have one person telling you one thing and another saying something completely different. Here are a few tips from many years of buying surfboards to help you sort it all out.

  • Don’t follow your friend’s advice. If you have a friend who grew up surfing and only rides shortboards, he or she might have a skewed perspective on how hard it is to learn to surf in adulthood versus as a kid and a bias toward shortboarding. “Get a shortboard,” they said, “you’ll be fine,” they said. Trust me, don’t do it.
  • Find a board that is appropriate for your height and weight. If you’re a 6’0” 185-pound male, you’re probably going to want a slightly bigger board than a 5’7” 130-pound female for buoyancy and maneuverability purposes. Now when you get up into the longboard range and if this is your first surfboard, it’s not that big of a deal and either person could get by on the same 9’0″ longboard, but it’s always good to follow the shaper recommended dimensions for your height and weight when you’re just getting to know the ropes.
  • Choose the right board for your ability. I know it’s tempting to want to dismiss all the information out there supporting learning how to surf on a longboard surfboard and just go straight to a shortboard if that’s what you ultimately want to ride. Just don’t do it. Grab yourself a longboard and focus on having fun while catching tons of waves and learning the fundamentals. You’ll be glad you did.
  • Don’t overthink it. It’s always good to do your own research and due diligence, but at the same time, if you’re just starting out a great beginner surfboard would simply be a good all-around longboard like The Ultimate in the 8′ to 10′ range, depending on your height and weight.
  • Try not to sell one surfboard to buy another if you don’t have to. As you progress from longboard to shortboard, you might consider selling your old surfboards as you progress. The funny thing is, once you get to your goal of riding a shortboard, you’ll probably find yourself wanting to ride a variety of surfboards depending on the conditions and to switch it up from time to time. Keeping each of your surfboard purchases as you expand your surfing horizons is a good way to start to build your surfboard quiver.

Beginner Surfboard FAQs

best beginner surfboard
9′ Longboard Surfboard
What size is a beginner surfboard?

A good rule of thumb for beginner surfboards is to start with a longboard that is about 3 feet longer than your height. So if you’re 5’6” to 6’0” tall, an 8’6” to 9’0” longboard would be pretty ideal.

Is a 7ft surfboard good for beginners?

Generally speaking, an 8 to 9-foot surfboard is good for beginners. However, there are a couple of scenarios where a 7ft surfboard could be a good fit for you. First, if you’re super athletic and highly skilled at other board sports like wakeboarding or snowboarding, and your ultimate goal is to shortboard as soon as possible and you’re dedicated to surfing at least a couple of times a week, then, you might prefer a smaller 7ft surfboard to start. Second, if you’re in your teens, full of energy, and 130 lbs or less, and looking to work your way to a shortboard ASAP, then, a 7ft surfboard could be a good place to get your bearings.

Are long surfboards better for beginners?

Yes, longer surfboards are better for beginners for the following reasons:
– Long surfboards are more stable which helps when learning to balance
– Long surfboards are more buoyant which helps with paddling and catching waves
– It’s easier to catch waves so you’ll spend more time actually riding waves and less time bobbing around in the ocean waiting for a strong enough wave to catch.
– Long surfboards allow you to surf when it’s small which is ideal when learning

Are foam surfboards good for beginners?

Foam surfboards are a great choice for beginners! For beginner surfers, an 8 to 9-foot foam longboard surfboard is one of the best options as an entry-level surfboard for a number of reasons. Foam surfboards are stable, user-friendly, and easy to paddle which makes catching waves and standing up a lot easier.
Also, you’re going to fall a lot when learning to surf so you’re likely to bump into your surfboard from time to time and a foam surfboard doesn’t hit as hard as a fiberglass surfboard.
Last but not least, another nice thing about foam surfboards is that you don’t really have to worry about dings, so you don’t have to be so careful when handling your precious cargo.

Is a shortboard good for a beginner?

Shortboards are really not a great choice for an absolute beginner. If you really want to shortboard, it is still recommended to start on at least a funboard if not a longboard to nail the fundamentals before giving a shortboard a go. That said, many surfers (including myself) learned how to surf on shortboards, so while I wouldn’t recommend it, it is certainly possible. It’s just likely to be a longer and more difficult learning curve unless you are an innately gifted athlete or super grom.

best beginner surfboard

While the purpose of this article is to provide guidance on the progression of performance surfing and the ideal transition from a longboard surfboard to a shortboard surfboard, some people might just want to stick with longboarding their entire surfing life and can still progress from beginner level to advanced on a single board.

In this case, the lifelong longboarder might want to try out different types of longboards such as a performance longboard, a noserider, or a log to further progress their surfing and style.

That’s all folks, I hope you found this article to be helpful in one way or another on your quest to find the perfect beginner surfboards! And believe me, if you follow the simple longboard to funboard to shortboard approach to surfing progression, your road to ripping will be a lot shorter and more enjoyable along the way.

Thanks for reading, have fun out there, don’t take yourself too seriously, and we’ll see you in the water!

Questions, thoughts, or just want to say aloha?

Let us know in the comments below!

* This is a sponsored post in partnership with Degree 33 Surfboards and all words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Lush Palm going with fresh content and helpful guides.

Leave a Comment

40 thoughts on “Best Beginner Surfboards / The Complete Guide to Surfboards for Beginners”

  1. Hey, this was very helpful! Really appreciated your expert advice in a relatively short tutorial.

    I just finished up with my third surfing lesson–with the Seth Broudy school in Virginia Beach–in about 5 years. I’ve been out twice with Seth Broudy’s folks, and took a lesson some years back at Pacific Beach in San Diego.

    My dad raised me bodysurfing on the Jersey Shore, and that experience–as well as being a fairly versatile athlete–has helped me do very well in these lessons. I got up for a majority of the waves the instructors positioned me in, and I believe now I know when to pop up, where to position myself, and even angle the board to ride the wave longer during runs.

    Assateague, just south of Ocean City, MD, is one spot a lot of surfers enjoy. And on the way is the East of Maui shop in Annapolis, MD, that rents boards. I believe the boards they have are from Bic, and I’m pretty sure they’re soft tops. I thought I’d rent a board maybe a couple of times, then…

    …That’s where you come in. I’m a spry, 56-year old who has always wanted to have a board of my own. If I purchase, I know I would want a long board, and I’m about 5’7″, between 172-175 pounds, depending on the week (and my appetite).

    This could be my one and only board that I enjoy, and hopefully someday train my daughter on. And, I don’t mind spending a little more on it. I work with REI as a hiking boot specialist, and I’m constantly coaching customers to buy a boot that’s comfortable and secure on the foot…what it looks like is secondary (or, as I’m known to say…”Fashion doesn’t get you up the mountain”). At the same time, it’s also nice to get them a boot that they find appealing to the sight as well.

    I’d like to do the same for a board. First and foremost would be for it to be somewhat forgiving, catered to my height and weight, and yes…I’d love to get something that’s visually appealing.

    Any advice as to the length, soft top or not, and specific boards I should be looking at?

    Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Hey Doug, thanks for your thoughtful comment. I’d be happy to share my advice and a specific surfboard recommendation and a little background as to the “why” behind it. So, here we go…

      For many beginner surfers, a soft top or an epoxy longboard is a great first surfboard. Soft tops are nice because they don’t bang you up as much in the waves when you’re still learning and typically wiping out often and getting knock around by your board. It’s always much nicer to take a soft top to the shins, body, or head rather than a hard surfboard. Epoxy surfboards are known to be a bit lighter and more durable than a standard poly surfboard. You’ll find nearly all beginner surfboards available to rent at surf camps or provider by surf instructors are either soft top or epoxy for these reasons.

      That said, while everyone has their own personal preferences and surfers of all levels ride all types and contractions of surfboards from soft tops, to epoxy, to poly, I tend to prefer traditional Poly foam surfboards because I like the way they feel in comparison to an Epoxy surfboard. Poly boards are typically known to have more flex and sit in the water a little deeper. To me, it just feels more natural and slightly less buoyant and “poppy” for lack of a better description. I also think that aesthetically speaking Poly surfboards are more pleasing to my eye as they look more natural and hand-shaped (since they typically are) rather than being machine manufactured and painted. I think poly surfboards (while more prone to getting dings) age more gracefully as well. So, that’s just my two cents on the topic.

      For your height and weight and keeping in mind you want to teach your daughter on this surfboard in the future, I suggest an 8’6″ or 9’0 – The Ultimate Poly longboard, the 8’6 if you want a little more maneuverability, and the 9’0 if you want more stability and volume to more easily catch waves. It’s a super versatile all around longboard and a great surfboard if you don’t plan on expanding your quiver. There are a variety of designs available from resin-tinted colors, to classic white foam with dark-wood stringers, and even a couple with cool cloth inlays.

      I hope you find the perfect surfboard and absolutely love it! Cheers and enjoy!

      Reply
  2. I’m 6’1 180, I was thinking of getting a 9′, will that size be fine for me? Thank you for the article, very helpful .

    Reply
    • Hey, yeah, a 9 footer would be a great surfboard size for you. You’re welcome, glad you found it to be helpful!

      Reply
  3. Hey Eric, man am I glad I ran across your article. Quick synopsis: we just moved to Pensacola, Florida this past month from north Louisiana. Been to the beach seems like every weekend. Went out yesterday. The day before tropical storm Fred was suppose to hit. Watching folks out on their boards got me wanting to be out with em. So here I am doing the research. Now I feel much more informed and know exactly where to start.
    Thanks again.

    Reply
    • You’re welcome, Ricky! Thanks for letting me know, much appreciated! Enjoy the learning process

      Reply
  4. Hey Eric,
    Thanks for the informative article. If you have time to answer a question — I started last summer with a few lessons off the New Jersey Shore on a 9 foot foam board (I am 5’11 and about 160 lbs) and it was definitely slow going. This summer I went for another couple lessons on a 9 foot board and it got a little better. Teacher recommended I start going out on my own to get a feel for it all. Last Friday, the shop I go to could only rent me a 7’10” hardboard and I actually had more success than I expected on it. Maybe it was the waves, my energy levels that day, but I was pleasantly surprised. I still consider myself a beginner but — would you rec buying a 9 footer (as I was planning on) or should I come down a bit?
    Thanks so much — Chris.

    Reply
    • Hey Chris, you’re welcome — glad you find it to be helpful! You’re right, there are a lot of variables that go into having a great session versus a not so great one, and this will continue throughout the life of your surfing days, unfortunately, haha. While they say there are no bad days spent in the water (and I totally agree!), there are days when you’re just off or something else is off and that is just how it goes. Anyways, that’s another discussion I suppose. So, back to your question. Everyone is different, and while the majority of the time I’d recommend a brand new beginner start on longer board like a 9’0, that is not always necessary. For 5’11” and 160 lbs, a 7’10 is plenty of board if you’re fit and athletic. So, in your case, if you had a session that was as good or better on a smaller board, then maybe that would be fine for you. Some people prefer a little less foam and that’s okay. It’s all about catching waves and staying motivated to get out there. So if a slightly smaller board works for you, then so be it. Perhaps, an 8’0 would be a good starting point for you if you felt comfortable on the 7’10 but feel that having a little more foam and stability could be helpful. Actually, if you felt good on the 7’10”, then anything in the 7’10 to 8’6 range with a full eggy longboard outline would probably be a good starting point. Let us know what you end up going with and how it goes once you’ve had a chance to surf it a bit. Good luck!

      Reply
  5. Hi,

    I understand the notion of volume for stability. I am a beginner and have rented a few boards already. I rented my longest today at 8’2″ (NSP P2 I believe) and it was the best experience so far, except for 1 thing, I could not swim properly. I am a narrow woman (narrow shoulders) and only part of my forearm made it into the water.

    I am looking around the web for soft tops of at least 8’2″, but 21 or less in width. I am not finding anything. I was thinking I could get the same volume by going longer 8’6″. I believe the board I had was 66L.

    I am not finding longboards as thin as the mid-length I am used to. Do I have to stick to mid-lenght just because I have narrow shoulders or can I get myself one of those better longboards.

    Any model to recommend for my situation? I am tall enough 5’7, just not very wide.

    Reply
  6. Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to write such an interesting and informative article. I really enjoyed and have lots of excellent take aways to help me purchase the right kind of board for me. Very best wishes…

    Reply
    • You’re very much welcome, Ian! Thanks for taking the time and effort to let me know! I really appreciate it and find it super motivating to keep creating more content like this. Thanks for stopping by. Cheers

      Reply
  7. This is the article I wish I read when I was 15. So so good! I would love a board recommendation from you! I have been riding an epoxy 7’6 fun board for almost 16 years. I would say I’m back at the beginner stage since taking 2 years off to have a kid, and live in Charleston, South Carolina where we have smaller waves with a few exceptions sporadically through out the year. Do you have any recommendations of a good board to look into next? Thank you! Your whole blog and site is amazing.

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for the feedback, Krista! I wish I had read it too, but I was stubborn, so I probably would have wrote it off and picked up another shortboard that was too small and not ideal anyway, haha. It all really depends where you want to take your surfing, how often you go and, the type of waves you most often find yourself in. You provided some good insight on that front. So, if you don’t surf too consistently and feel you are back at the beginner stages, then I would recommend getting a board with plenty of foam so you can catch boat loads of waves and keep your stoke high when you have the chance to get in the water. That said, if you want to go a little smaller but still get lots of waves, maybe like a 7’0″ eggy funboard would do (see The Poacher / Mid-length Funboard above). Or, something a little more progressive like a similar length hybrid fish could be fun for you (see Easy Rider / Hybrid Fish above). That all said, if you only go a couple of times a year when it’s small, you’d probably find you are able to get the most waves on longboard (see The Ultimate). Hope this helps to point you in the right direction! Let me know if you have any other questions and I’ll be happy to help. Enjoy!

      Reply
  8. I found this article to be incredibly helpful and inspiring. I’m in my 40’s trying to learn to surf and instead of discouraging me, I feel ready to go now. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the feedback, glad you are feeling encouraged. Surfing takes a good amount of time and patience to learn, but if you’re determined and dedicated, you can do it at any age! Enjoy the process.

      Reply
  9. I’m a complete novice – so thank you! Such a great simply explained article I can use to help my 4 kiddies!

    Reply
    • Hey Daniel, thanks for sharing your feedback on the article! Glad you like it and found it helpful! Good luck with your journey into the wonderful world of surfing.

      Reply
  10. Thanks for the article. You made it sound nice and simple and I feel I have a good handle on what to go out and look for now. -Shaun

    Reply
  11. Hey!

    I have been rocking the classic 8′ costco special Wavestorm board for awhile now. I feel confident on it and can even do head stands. I felt ready to drop down to a funboard and scored a good deal on a 6’10” board. It’s a poly board and pretty narrow and unfortunately not as buoyant as I had hoped. And oh my does it feel tiny.

    I took it out this morning for the first time to practice paddling and balancing on it. I can sink the whole board (I’m 5′ even and 140lbs athletic build). This tells me it’s definitely not a funboard. I did catch a few waves and stood up on a good one. I guess my question is should it feel pretty difficult to make that jump? Should I keep at it? Or should I bit the bullet and get something more buoyant now?

    I was trying to avoid dropping too much money so took what came up on FB marketplace that was in a funboard length. Learned my lesson about buoyancy pretty quickly…

    Cheers,
    Michaela

    Reply
    • Hey Michaela, thanks for the great comment and details! If it’s a 6’10 poly surfboard and is more of a shortboard shape/template, that being one that is more narrow in the nose and tail as you described, then, unfortunately, it is probably not a great transitional board for you. Could you tough it out and try to adapt and potentially get away with learning on it instead of getting a better-suited board? Probably, but that probably wouldn’t be ideal. For a funboard shape, you want a surfboard with more volume, less rocker, and a wider overall template (especially in the nose) so you don’t sacrifice paddle ability and you still catch loads of waves. That’s how you will progress the fastest, by having lots of fun and catching as many waves as possible! I’d suggest something like The Poacher. If you decide to go that route, you might be able to recover some money by selling your other board. Cheers and good luck!

      Reply
  12. Oh Man…. your story is much like mine. I was a super athletic year-round soccer player and roller skated and rode skateboards too. I took to surfing cause most of my soccer buddies did. I was 5′ 7″ at age 14 and got my first board. It was a 5′ 10″ Ocean Avenue Thruster. I was SOOO excited… IT TOOK FOREVER TO LEARN HOW TO SURF! I didn’t know squat. Just last summer, me and the family went to Myrtle Beach and my 14 year old (gymnast/soccer player) wanted to learn to surf… We rented an 8ft foam board for the week. First day out, there were 1ft to 1.5 ft mush waves rolling in. I was out there giving her a push… She totally got up and stood easily 10-12 times that day and even rode just a little bit of face. It was sooooo incredibly fun to watch her… Even adults on the beach were excited to see her stand…. All that to say – I LOVE THIS WRITE UP!!!!

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  13. Hello I have been surfing for one year on a foamy surf board I was wondering when I will be able to change it to a shorter board I am surfing on 8 6′ 90 liter foamy board and I want to make a transfer to dura tech 7 6′ 62 liter last question is 7 6′ 62 litre board better than 7 9′ 58 litre board

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    • Hey Ahmed, all good questions. Regarding when you will be able to go from a longer surfboard to a shorter surfboard, that just all depends on how fast you are progressing and when you feel ready to make the switch. For a lot of adult surfers, 1 year is probably about the right time to progress down to a smaller board if that is your goal, although some people may not need that long and others might need longer. Regarding the specific boards you mentioned, I’m not familiar with them but if they are the same shape (e.g. an egg or mini-mal shape) it won’t be that big of a difference for you either way. I’d just go with the smaller 7’6″ though if your ultimate goal is to go to a shortboard because it will be just a bit more agile than the 7’9″ but still should offer you plenty of foam and paddle ability. Good luck! Cheers

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  14. Maraming salamat po dami ko natutunan at sana makapag surf nako…baguhan lang po ako…

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    • Walang anuman. Tumatagal upang malaman upang mag-surf ngunit ito ay isa sa mga pinaka nakakatuwang bagay sa mundo.

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  15. Hey, this was super helpful! I liked how you broke down the basics so I could help narrow my search. Do you have some tips on wetsuits or any other necessities for beginners? Also, could you add some pointers for surfing etiquette to be good to your fellow surfer once I get out there?

    Reply
    • Hey Chris,

      Thanks for your feedback — we’re stoked you found it helpful! We have a couple of wetsuit guides to help find the best suit: Men’s Wetsuit Guide & Women’s Wetsuit Guide. Other than a wetsuit in cold water, you’ll just need a surfboard leash, fins, and wax, and you should be good to go.

      And good on you for thinking about surf etiquette, as it’s one of the most important things in surfing. We have some projects in the works about surf etiquette and beginner surf tips, so stay tuned. Cheers!

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  16. Eric
    Thank You for breaking down all boards deference
    You gave me hope so I can learn surfing on my new 7’ softboard
    I want to be on short board in my life
    Thank You
    Greg

    Reply
    • You’re welcome, Greg! Thanks for sharing, surf often, and stick with it and you’ll get there. Cheers

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  17. Eric,

    Thanks for the article.

    It was quite informative to a guy who might have spent a total of 10 hours on any board (skate, wake, etc.) his whole life.

    I’m more of an intellectual (I use that word very loosely) when it comes to new pursuits, and researching surfing and the plethora of boards that are available was very nicely broken down in your article.

    Daniel

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  18. Awesome tips, thanks for such a concise, easy to follow article! I think I need to downsize to a funboard soon 🙂

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  19. Need some help. New in N. Orange County. Looking for a used 8-9′ foam board for young teen grand children, where to go. They were everywhere on Maui, not here though. Please help. Thanks. Oh, great article. It fits perfect for all levels even a 75 yr old like me. Ride a 9’6′ Robert August Nose Rider – shaped by Robert himself many years ago.

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    • Hi Dave – A lot of surf shops in California only sell new foam boards — I’m guessing the reason being that used foam boards can get pretty banged up and also have a relatively low resale value. Your best bet for finding a used soft top surfboard is via an online classifieds site like Craigslist or OfferUp. Another thought is to contact a shop that rents out surfboards or a surf school as they might sell some of their older foam boards. Good luck!

      P.S. Your Robert August Nose Rider sounds rad 🙂

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  20. Thank you for the fantastically well written article. It helped me understand a lot about the different surfboards and my needs when it comes to learning the sport. I can’t wait to put your tips into practice!

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  21. Eric,

    Thanks again for shairing your knowledge today and tips for surfing in Encinitas to old guy from Midwest. That was kind of you and much appreciated!

    Bob

    Reply
    • Hey Bob, pleasure chatting with you. Hope you have an amazing rest of your trip!
      I’ll email a couple other tips and resources in case you don’t get a notice of this response.
      Cheers

      Reply