How To Select A Beginner Surfboard

So you finally rode your first wave and are hooked on surfing! Chances are, you probably rented or borrowed your board and now it’s time you had your own. This handy guide beginner surfboard guide will walk you through selecting the best beginner surfboard for your needs by showing you the most important factors in choosing your first surfboard.

isle mini-longboard

What is your experience level: Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced?

  • Beginner: You have never tried surfing, or maybe have only gone a few times. You want to really learn how to ride waves and start out on the right foot. If this is you, we suggest you learn to surf on a longer-size board or a board with more floatation (such as a longboard surfboard or soft top surfboard). These are wide, stable, wave-catching boards perfect for small days to learn with lots of flotation. The pros make riding a short board look too easy in surf movies, but don’t be fooled into thinking that you can just hop on a small surfboard and suddenly hack and do airs with the best of them. Surfing is a lifelong pursuit, and choosing a small board to start will translate to a long, hard struggle. Learn the basics on a funshape or longboard, and then transition to a smaller board once you get a feel for the ocean and riding and catching waves.
  • Intermediate: You are comfortable in the water riding and catching waves, and you want to explore your options when it comes to different surfboard designs. If hardcore shredding is what you seek, then you may want to step down from a longboard or mini-long to something smaller and more maneuverable, like a shortboard or fish surfboard. If you don’t want to take a huge step down, the funshape is a great option as it’s in between a short board and longboard style. Or if longboarding is your steeze, then opt for a smaller, more performance-style longboard with lots of bells and whistles for nose rides and more performance longboarding.
  • Advanced: You know who you are; no need for this guide as you know what you need! Go ahead – go shred!

What is your weight?

Weight is a very important factor in selecting a board. If you are a light person (under 200lbs) then smaller boards will be easier for you to paddle and turn. If you are heavy (200 lbs. +) then try to stick with a longer, thicker board. We put together this surfboard size and weight chart to give you an idea of our surfboard models and suggested weights. Remember, when in doubt, always go with a larger size surfboard with more length and width due to its added buoyancy.

What type of waves will you be riding with your surfboard?

You need to assess the types of waves you will be riding with your surfboard. Like most of us, you probably live where the waves are small – in the 1 foot to 4 foot range most of the time. If your local surf break is a slower, mushier wave, then boards like longboards and fishes come in handy. If you want to try your hand at a steeper, hollower wave, then having a short board or smaller size board always helps as they fit the geometry of the steep wave face better. Just remember, it’s no fun to grovel in 2′ slop on a board that’s way too small for you. Maximize your fun and pick the correct board for the type of waves you will be riding.

What is your board sports experience and fitness level?

Surfing is a sport that requires a lot of fitness. A strong, agile individual with lots of experience in other board sports, such as skateboarding, wakeboarding or snowboarding, should have no trouble at all jumping right into a short board or fish from the get-go, and be up and riding in no time. However, if you do not fit into this category you absolutely want to seek out a longer board, such as a mini-long or longboard, as they have a lot more float, stability, and make catching waves a snap. If you think you are somewhere in the middle, try a funshape or bigger style shortboard or fish.

Even for someone who is very fit and has lots of experience with other board sports, it can take months of daily surfing to learn just the basics of the ocean, catching waves, and riding the face. Keep this in mind when choosing a board size so you can maximize your fun on the water.

How often will you be going surfing: Hardcore Daily or Weekend Warrior?

Surfing takes a lot of commitment to become an expert. When you first get started, you really need to assess your overall commitment as it’s important in your board choice. If you think it’s just a weekend thing or something you only do once in a while, you should always go for the longer board such as a longboard or mini-long. Or if you ride shorter boards, try a short board or fish a few sizes bigger. Nothing is worse than struggling on a tiny board when you only get out once a week or a few times a month and the goal is to maximize wave count.

isle surfboards

Still Confused? Our experts can help!

If you’re still having a hard time making a final decision, have no fear as we are here to help! Shoot us an email or reach us by phone, and our experts can guide you into your magic craft. Our goal is to put you on the correct board for your needs. And our 30 Day Ride It Guarantee assures you that if the board you select is not the right fit, you can return it “no questions asked” and swap it out for another board or refund, even after you’ve ridden it. This policy ensures that you can have peace of mind when you drop some coin on a new stick. Now that you know more about choosing a surfboard, check out our selection of surfboards for sale. Happy surfing!