How To Choose A Surfboard
When looking for your first, or your next, surfboard, there can be a lot of factors to take into account. There are so many options from so many surfboard shapers when you browse any surf shop. Making sure that you choose the right surfboard for your skill level is essential to helping you advance.
To help you out, we’ll break down some of the most common criteria you need to know to find the best board for you. Whether it’s shape, fin setup, or length, you’ll be an expert on choosing the right board.
Best Beginner Choices
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#1 SBBC Verve 8'
#2 SBBC Ruccus 7'
Criteria You Need To Consider
When choosing the right surfboard, there can be a lot of options. We’ll break down some of the major options you’ll need to know to choose the right board.
There are two main types of surfboard construction methods: soft top surfboards and hard top surfboards.
Soft tops make the ideal beginner boards since they are often cheaper and more durable.
Plus, they’re safer if you fall on one or get hit by one.
Soft top surfboards are also often called EPS boards because they are made from expanded polystyrene foam or foam top surfboards. All of these names refer to the same kind of boards.
Hard top boards are typically geared for riding high performance waves. These boards are often less stable and harder to surf. But, they are more maneuverable on wave face’s and can complete critical turns.
Typically hard top surfboards are shaped from a polyurethane foam blank and then fiberglassed over. This makes these boards easy to turn and handle on any wave, but also very delicate and much less durable than a soft top board.
You may think that the shape of your next surfboard doesn’t really matter. Isn’t a longboard a longboard and a shortboard a shortboard? If you want to test that theory, good luck riding a longboard with the shape and outline of one of the high performance boards.
Knowing how general outlines affect the way your board rides, will help you narrow down your choices. There is a lot of variation but here are some of the main considerations.
For beginner surfers, a flatter, wider, and more round shape will be the most helpful. These features will provide more stability, more paddle power, and more forgiveness when you catch a wave.
For the advanced surfer, you may want something more pointy in the nose with more rocker and a wider tail. This outline makes it easier to turn on the wave and make it through steeper sections.
You can think of most of these design choices as being either easier to paddle and stand up or easier to maneuver. As you get better at surfing, you will need less help paddling from your board, so you can get boards that are more focused on performance.
The thruster setup, which is three fins, is the optimal fin set up for almost all wave conditions and surfing styles. Whether you are looking for some stability or turning, the thruster gives you options.
If you really need extra stability and don’t feel the need to turn on a wave, there are also single fin boards.
These boards can be harder to turn on the wave and are meant for maintaining straighter lines.
One downside of these kinds of fin set ups is that it might feel like you’re riding a table.
Twin fins and quads are great for building speed on the wave face and completing arcing turns. These boards can go fast but can feel out of control at times. This fin setup is not recommended for beginners since it can feel too loose to the point where you can’t hold the line you want.
Length is the ultimate factor when it comes to getting a new board. Typically, the longer your board, the easier it will be to paddle and ride waves on. Your skill and fitness level will help determine what length board you should get.
Any longboard, which is typically a board over 8’, is the ideal surfing beginner board. It offers plenty of paddle power for easy wave catching. Plus the extra length makes the board feel extra stable when you go to stand up.
Shortboards, under 7’, are performance boards. These boards don’t always work in all kinds of wave conditions so if you are looking for a board that will always work, a board of this length might not be best. But, if you are looking to surf high performance waves and complete radical maneuvers, shorter boards can be a great option.
The main thing to know about volume is that more volume means easier to paddle and more stability when you ride. But it also makes it harder to turn your board.
For beginner surfers, we recommend a board with more volume as it will allow you to progress more quickly.
When it comes to board size, there are a few general guidelines to keep in mind. These are based more on length and skill level than board volume.
8’ or longer are the ideal boards for beginners. These boards are easy to paddle and great for catching waves. They are easy to stand up on and offer the least difficult way towards riding waves.
Boards from 7’ - 8’ are usually known as midlengths. These boards are well suited to intermediate surfers. They are still stable and easy to paddle, but they are more suited towards performance surfing. The shorter length means they are harder to paddle than a longboard but much easier to turn. This length of board will also allow you to begin to surf steeper waves.
Under 7’ is a shortboard. Shortboards are best suited for the advanced surfer. The short length is great for steep waves and fitting into the pocket. Though less stable and harder to paddle than longer boards, the shortboard is much more maneuverable. If you want to turn on the wave face and complete radical maneuvers, a shortboad is a must.
The 2 Best Board Choices
SBBC Verve 8'
We recommend the South Bay Board Company Verve 8’ for any beginning surfer looking to choose the right board.
Besides being the ideal length and outline for beginners, there are tons of design features to help you in any surf conditions.
The rocker, which describes how the bottom of the board is curved vertically, has a few variations to help you catch waves and ride.
You’ll find the Verve to be a forgiving board when you are first getting started due to its entry rocker found in the nose.
The extra nose rocker makes the board more forgiving when you drop into a wave and prevents you from pearling, or nosediving.
You might be concerned that all this rocker will make the board struggle once it’s on the wave face.
The verve has a different exit rocker in the tail, this board is still easy to turn and maneuver despite its volume. You’ll feel in control during your whole ride with this board.
The Verve also employs a thruster fin setup. We’ve already mentioned why this is such a helpful set up for any surfer. But, to recap, it means that you’ll have the best combination of stability and maneuverability when you head out on this board.
The 8’ length and large volume of the Verve make upping your wave count a breeze. You’ll have no problem catching waves, even in small waves, when there is little power.
One last feature that makes the Verve such a great choice is its wax-free deck. With its textured deck, the Verve provides you with great traction without any of the hassle of having to wax your board. You can still get that feeling of control without worrying about melted wax or not having the right temperature wax on your board.
SBBC Ruccus 7'
For the surfer looking to make the first step down from a longboard, you’re looking at the right board.
At only 7’ the Ruccus is the slightly smaller cousin of the Verve and has plenty of features too.
Being smaller, the Ruccus is meant for those surfers who have caught a few waves already and don’t need as much stability.
But it still has plenty of design features that makes it a great surfing board for beginners.
Where the Ruccus really excels is in its outline and shape. It has a rounded nose so you can paddle easier, but also comes to a squashtail at the end of the board.
This tail design helps you hold the board in the pocket of the wave and drive through turns. Overall, you’ll find that the outline of this board will help you complete turns easily.
One design element of the Ruccus that’s there to help you is a widened chest area. This extra width will help your paddle power so you can better catch waves. Plus it makes the board more stable when you go to stand up on said waves. Definite win for any surfer.
Like the Verve, the Ruccus is also a thruster setup. Since the Ruccus is shorter, you’ll really be able to feel the fins help you pivot and drive through your turns while still maintaining your balance.
Lastly, the Ruccus is truly designed with the surfer in mind. It even comes with a rubber tail bumper for better storage. You don’t have to worry about your board getting dinged or falling apart on you in storage. South Bay Board Company knows that you want your board to be ready to go whenever you decide to go surfing.
OUR #1 PICK - SBBC Verve 8'