Independent Surfer

How to Choose the Right Surfboard

Choosing the right surfboard can be difficult. There are loads of details to take into account. For me personally, when searching for a board, I do not even consider it unless it is the right shape. The right shape is a combination of past experience and understanding of board shape, coupled with the surf style you want to achieve. I personally look for boards that have thinner rails, squash tails, and long knifey rails. 

The right shape is different for everyone. If you are unsure of what kind of board to buy, ask yourself, what kind of surfer do I want to be? Or better yet, who do I want to surf like? Once you have an idea, on to the next step. 

What Kind of Surfer Do You Want To Be?

Boards these days can be expensiveI recently snapped two boards in Indonesia before my trip home and was left with one board. I just put a crease in that board and now my quiver is looking sad. The truth is surfboards break, sometimes completely randomly and other times for good reason. If you are buying new boards and snapping those new boards, it will become very expensive very quickly. I recently figured out that buying surfboards is like buying a car. 

A new car off the lot is a luxury that most people don’t get, especially considering how much value the car loses in the first year. Surfboards are a lot like that. Depending on where you are in the world, you can pick up second hand boards for a fraction of the price of a new board. The market depends on supply and demand; finding boards is easy when you live in an area where surfers are abundant. It is different in more remote parts of the world, and often it can be difficult to find second hand boards.

The biggest bit of advice I can give on the matter is: if you are a beginner, do not buy a new board! If you are an intermediate surfer, do not buy a new board. This is the time of experimentation. Surf anything and everything to get a better understanding of different boards. This will help you make better purchases in the future. So that when the time comes to get your magic stick, you are equipped with knowledge and know how to choose the right board for you.

Big Name Brands

The Big Name Brands

Al Merrick (Channel Islands)

Mayhem (Mat Biolos)

Pyzel 

Sharp Eye 

Slater Designs 

DHD

Chilli

Pukas

These boards are the most common on the market.  So, due to their popularity they can be very expensive. The question on everyone’s mind – is it worth it?

How do we even determine a board’s worth? Is it determined by the quality of materials used for the board? Is it determined by the quality of craftsmanship behind the idea and creation of the board? Or, is it because of the name that backs the board? Is there a correlation between quality boards, good craftsmanship, and a hefty price? These are questions that we may never know the answers to and are still left searching for the perfect board.

Boards Break

Surfboards Break

As I mentioned earlier, I snapped two boards in quick succession. They were tired boards that served me well through Indonesia, snapping them in the last week of my 3 year long stay there. They were not my only boards that I had there, but they were trusty. 

The point here is, when buying a surfboard just consider the fact that you may break it before you even catch a wave on it. You may even surf it forever and never break it at all. Some boards just go the mile, while others don’t. You never know what you are going to get. So, don’t think about that too much, but keep it in the back of your mind. 

New vs Used

Buying One New vs Buying Two Used

A used board in good condition can be half the price of a new board. So, consider buying two used boards to fill your quiver, rather than breaking the bank for one gem. We don’t all have access to this kind of option, used boards can be slim pickings, but if you live in a surf area and are willing to wait, you will get a good deal. 

Be patient. The first time I bought myself a new board, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on fresh glass. I was so excited that I jumped the gun and brought home a board that was way too big for me. I ended up trading that board in Indonesia for a month’s stay at a villa. But I made a mistake, so learn from it. Take your time when looking for the right board, especially if you are looking for a second hand board. 

With all of that said and done; you will know what the right board is for you and if you are not sure about it, consider consulting a professional. Do not impulse buy – check three times before you buy the board. If the particular model of board is available for you to test beforehand, take the opportunity to try it out. Just because Pyzel won ‘Stab In the Dark’ twice in a row, does not mean that the Ghost is the best board for you. You are not Jordy, Dane, or John. For us less gifted, acquiring the perfect sled is a tedious task.  

So, take your time, don’t rush, and trust the process. 

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