Surfing is certainly an addictive sport and if you’ve caught the surfing bug, then you’ll be starting to look into buying your very first surfboard!
So you’ve jumped online to check out which board you might want to get… but suddenly realized just how many options there are out there!
Choosing the right surfboard and buying the best board first time!
We’ve put together a list of our best tips for choosing your first board below, but keep in mind, we’re ALWAYS happy to help you out with any advice you might need, whether over the phone (09 431 5760) or in store (11 Te Arai Point Road, Te Arai).
TYPES OF BOARDS
Before we think about the actual board we want to buy, let’s educate ourselves on the types of boards that are on the market and who their ideal ‘rider’ might be. Especially when it comes to buying your first surfboard!
Soft boards are the ultimate fun and safe board for beginner surfers of all ages. They are incredibly buoyant, stable, easy to ride & great for building confidence in the water.
Similar to a soft board, longboards are buoyant and stable, however generally made of a fiberglass shell, making them slightly more dangerous in the water.
The Mini Mal surfboard or “Mid-length” is a great universal board that is well suited to beginners. It is a smaller version of a longboard and is made from fibreglass.
Funboard surfboards are designed for beginners, or to be ridden by more experienced surfers in small, weak conditions. This type of design is in between a fish and a longboard, and can be super fun on the right day. They are easier to duck dive on compared to longer boards.
Fish / Grovel boards:
Short boards are high-performance boards for progressive to advanced surfers. We would only recommend buying a short board if you have a good level of surfing behind you. These boards give you the ability to push your surfing level much further than soft boards or mini mals, however won’t be much fun if you have never surfer before.
Aotearoa Tip: If you’re past the softboard stage, consider buying a board with an epoxy shell as they are more ding resistant than most fiberglass boards.
TIP 1: START SOFT
When buying your first surfboard a soft top or a foam board is the way to go, particularly for kids. They’re almost indestructible, easy to find and affordable. They’re also a lot safer for both yourself and those around you in the water if you’re not 100% confident yet.
Remember, it’s important to be humble about the size board you are getting. Everyone has to start somewhere and you won’t be able to progress if you can’t even start. “All too often I see parents who go out and buy their child a high-performance shortboard. The kid will get on the board and get disheartened, because they can’t use it yet.”
TIP 2: GO BIG (A LITTLE BIGGER THAN YOU THINK)
You’ll find that getting used to a surfboard is a little harder than it looks and probably not the best bet when it comes to buying your first surfboard! You watch Kelly Slater glide up and down waves effortlessly, but when you’re actually out there yourself, it’s a little harder than he makes it look! A good length generally depends on your height and size.
Aotearoa Tip: As a rule of thumb, adults should seek an 8′ soft board, and children standing under five feet tall should find a 6′ foamie.
Remember – the longer (and thicker) the board, the easier it is to paddle onto and stand up on waves.
CALCULATE YOUR IDEAL VOLUME/ LITRES
|Weight (Kg)||Inter. / Adv||Intermediate||Beginner|
|35 & Under||16.80||21.00||25.90|
(Table courtesy of Surf Shops Australia)
ADD A LITTLE MORE VOLUME BASED ON YOUR FITNESS
There are so many things to consider when buying your first surfboard and this includes volume! Using your beginner volume, add a little more volume depending on your fitness.
|Excellent – Surfing 4 times per week or other training 4 times per week||Add 0%|
|Good – Surfing 3 times per week or other training 3 times per week||Add 5%|
|Average – Surfing 2 times per week or other training 2 times per week||Add 10%|
|Poor – Surfing 1 times per week or other training 1 times per week||Add 20%|
(Table courtesy of Surf Shops Australia)
TIP 3: SPEND A LITTLE, NOT A LOT
Whilst you may progress from your first board, it’s important not to go out and grab the cheapest board on the market. A good quality board will last you longer and will set you up with a good technique that will benefit you later on.
You don’t however, want to go and blow an entire pay-check on a new board, as you might just find that after a few surfs, it might not the perfect board for you especially as you are buying your first surf board it might take a little bit of trial and error!
BRAND NEW OR SECOND HAND?
Not sure if you want me to promote second hand at all because I’m not sure if you sell second hand? I could leave this out all together.
Be careful if buying secondhand. The market for second hand boards can often end in disaster. From boards that have been broken and incorrectly repaired to boards that may look long and comfortable but are actually high-performance boards for big swells to people who want to get a lot of money for a board that’s no longer worth very much… it is a much riskier purchase.
Buying second hand is generally a better option for those who know their boards and perhaps want to upgrade, or simply use the board as a temporary board before their next big upgrade.
TIP 4: TRY BEFORE YOU BUY
We ALWAYS recommend that people try before they buy where possible most importantly for buying your first surfboard. This will give you a much better idea of how the board feels in the water and how you feel on the board! We have a myriad of try before you buy boards at Aotearoa of all shapes, makes and sizes! We recommend booking into one of our surf lessons to get you going on your new board and we can give you some tips!
So are you ready to choose your surfboard?
- Step 1: Choose the type of board that seems right for you
- Step 2: Calculate your ideal volume based on your experience/ weight
- Step 3: Decide your budget and stick to it!
- Step 4: Choose a board!
Shop beginner boards here!
STILL feeling a little confused? Don’t stress! Here at Aotearoa we’re more than happy to give out free advice on which might be the best board for you. Simply give us a call on 09 431 5760, shoot us an email through to email@example.com or pop in store at 11 Te Arai Point Road, Te Arai to check out our range of gear or speak to a surfboard specialist!
CHOOSING A WETSUIT
Along with buying your first surfboard means you are probably choosing a wetsuit too! Particularly if you live in New Zealand is vital in that it WILL affect how often you are getting out in the water. We have written an entire blog on this part to ensure you choose the right one for you/ the climate you live it, read it here.
LOOKING AFTER YOUR WETSUIT
- ALWAYS rinse your wetsuit out with fresh water after a surf and NEVER dry it out in the direct sunlight. This will make it last much longer.
- Be careful popping the wetsuit on and taking it off. We recommend trying to find a nice patch of grass to stand on (as opposed to gravel/ road).
- Be sure to store it in a cool, dry place.
Hint: Check out our shop with our excellent range of wetsuits!
LOOKING AFTER YOUR SURFBOARD
- If you buy a soft board, make sure it is stored in a cool, dry place. If left in the sun, you will find the foam will bubble and distort the board.
- Be sure to rinse your board off with fresh water after every surf so that the salt water doesn’t dis-color your board.
- Do not leave your board sitting in the sun on the beach. If you must, do so only for a short period of time and with the wax facing down toward the sand (but preferably not touching the sand – yes they’re precious).
- Store your board at home flat instead of standing up unless correct racks are used.
- Getting changed next to the car? Put your board away first or lay it down flat in a safe spot. We can’t count the amount of times we’ve seen boards flying away with the wind/ being run over by a fellow surfers car!
- Be sure to buy a board bag for any travel or even to and from the surf. This will keep your board undamaged, your car much cleaner and will help keep the wax from melting on hot days.
Hint: We also stock surfboard bags, head to our shop and order yours today!
BUY A WET BUCKET FOR THE CAR
A bucket will come in handy to put the sandy wetsuits, leashes, stinky towels and bathers in after a long surf.
Keep your wax, wax comb, fin keys, spare leash cords and any other handy bits and pieces in a sealed, plastic container in the boot of your car. This will keep your wax free of dirt and sand, and ensure you have everything in one handy location for when you need it!