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My first surfboard: how and which one should I choose?

Besides passion for surfing and love for the sea, a key factor to consider in order to progress and improve is the choice of your surfboard. This point is crucial especially for the beginners. Why? At the beginning, to be honest, surfing is very hard and can be frustrating if you do not have a proper board. Often the first times in the water will be real battles, because of the incessant waves and the fatigue that comes up few minutes later and you do not feel your arms anymore. So it’s fundamental to have a surfboard that helps you rather than hinder you, in order to catch more waves; Your first board must be sufficiently long enough, with a good volume so you will paddle and take off more easily. So forget the shortboards you see under the arms of the more experienced surfers.

 

I remember several episodes where guys, after 2/3 surf lessons, decided to buy a brand new shortboard because it was cool, but then they weren’t able to take even a wave. In a few months, as inevitable, they decided to stop surfing. The stronger surfer is who enjoys most, don’t forget it!

Even longboards (board over 9 feet) are not good, they are too cumbersome and you would find them hard to manage among the waves.

The boards that are right for a beginner are so-called mini-malibu, a cross between a shortboard and longboard. Let's look at its features.

 

Length

The board must be long enough to provide speed in paddling, but not too long. At the beginning, it should be long between 6'8 "and 8'5" feet (one foot corresponds to 30.48 cm); but at least a foot - a foot and a half higher than your height.

 

Width

The width is important to give the right stability while paddling and taking off. However the board should not be too large otherwise paddling could be hard. The board of a beginner should be between 20 and 21 ½ inches (one inch measuring 2.4 cm).

 

Thickness

The thickness affects much on the volume of the board. More thickness involves more volume and more volume produces more stability. A good thickness for a beginner is between 2½ "and 3" inches. The weight of the surfer is an important factor in the choice too. Heavier you are, more thickness you need.

 

Shape and rocker

The shape is important too. Usually the minimalibĂą has a round nose to give more stability. Even the tail will be wide enough to facilitate the take-off and departure.

The rocker, the longitudinal curvature of the board, doesn’t need to be too pronounced. A little pronounced rocker makes the board faster in the take off. On steep waves little rocker is not good, but initially a beginner will not try vertical and steep waves.

 

Volume

Length x Width x Thickness = Volume. The volume is directly proportional to floatation of a surfboard. A minimalibĂą must be between 50 and 75 liters. Much volume will allow us to take many waves, even those very small and poorly formed, in order to get a rapid improvement.

 

Material

The boards can be made by different materials. The minimalibĂą can be in soft foam, plastic (BIC) or polyurethane foam covered by glass fiber. The soft foam has the advantage of being very safe because the board is soft and goes well especially during the first lessons. Plastic has the advantage of being very durable and provide good buoyancy, but has the disadvantage of the increased weight. The best material among those three is the polyurethane because it is light. We recommend, therefore, to buy a minimalibĂą in polyurethane in order to have a board that will accompany you during the first months of learning, but also good when you will already be able to surf shaped waves and not only foams.

 

Leash

The leash is the string that holds the board tied to your ankle. It 's a very important element that should not be overlooked, as many people do. The leash must be new and of good quality because it keeps you tied to the board, which also serves as a lifesaver when you are in trouble or tired. From our experience, we guarantee you that it is not a nice feeling when the leash breaks!

 

Conclusion

As we said, the first board must be an ally in the water, so your choice must be targeted and weighted. A board, that does not fit your level, can be beautiful, but it’s not useful. Also, you have to consider your physical and athletic status in the choice of the board: more you are athletic and aquatic, less volume will be necessary. Another important factor is the frequency of your surfing: if you live near the sea and you can surf often, you can also start from a board with less volume.

 

Pray for surf!

 

Surfplanner Team

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