What Size Surfboard Should I Get

What Size Surfboard Should I Get

Choosing the right surfboard size is crucial for enhancing your experience on the water. As I’ve spent time on various surfboards, I’ve realized that the size impacts everything from stability to maneuverability. For beginners, a larger board often offers the much-needed stability and buoyancy, making it easier to catch waves and stand up. I started with a longboard, which gave me the confidence to ride waves without the fear of losing balance.

As I progressed, transitioning to a smaller board allowed me to improve my skills and execute more advanced maneuvers. The size of the surfboard you should get depends on various factors, including your weight, experience level, and the type of waves you’ll be riding. While shortboards are great for quick turns and high performance, they can be challenging if you’re not experienced.

Key Takeaways

  • Larger surfboards tend to offer greater stability, which is beneficial for beginners learning to catch waves.
  • The choice between longboards and shortboards is influenced by personal experience, skill level, and wave conditions.
  • Proper surfboard selection requires considering individual factors, such as the surfer’s weight and surfing objectives.

surf board

Surfboard Buying Tips for Beginners

Before heading out to catch the waves, it’s vital for you as a beginner to understand the impact of surfboard volume, appropriate length, width, and thickness on your surfing experience. Selecting the right surfboard determines not only your stability and ease of paddling but also how effectively you’ll be able to catch waves and develop your skills.

Importance of Volume in Surfboards

The volume of a surfboard, calculated in liters, is one of the essential factors in board selection. It affects how well the surfboard floats and how stable it will be in the water. Surfboards with a higher volume are generally better for beginners because they provide more buoyancy and stability. I recommend using a surfboard volume calculator to find your ideal volume, which takes into account your weight, skill level, and fitness.

Choosing the Right Length

Surfboard length is crucial for maneuverability and stability. As a beginner, a longer board will usually serve you better, helping with paddle efficiency and wave catching. A good starting point could be a board that is about 7 to 8 feet long. Your height might also influence the surfboard size for height – taller individuals generally require longer boards for optimal performance.

Width and Thickness Considerations

Finally, the width and thickness of the surfboard also play a role in your ride. A wider board offers more stability, which can be very helpful when you’re just starting. Look for a board around 22 to 23 inches wide. As for thickness, a thicker board can increase the board’s overall volume, contributing to better flotation and stability. Beginners might want to start with a board that is approximately 2.5 to 3 inches thick.

When looking for your first surfboard, focus on boards designed for learning and progression, such as the best surfboard for beginners, which tend to be foam surfboards due to their softness and increased safety. Remember, a beginner surfboard size chart can be a helpful tool to cross-reference your weight and height with the recommended surfboard dimensions.

surfing board

Comparing Longboards and Shortboards

When choosing a surfboard, size and shape are critical factors that impact performance and ease of use. I’ll explain the characteristics of both longboards and shortboards, helping you understand which board might suit your needs, particularly if you’re a beginner.

Longboard Characteristics

Longboards typically range from 8 to 12 feet in length, which aids in stability and ease of catching waves, especially smaller or slower-moving ones. Their greater volume and surface area make them ideal for beginners. Here’s what defines a longboard:

  • Length: 8 to 12 feet
  • Width: Wider than shortboards, which provides more stability
  • Thickness: Generally thicker to increase buoyancy
  • Nose Shape: Often rounded, which enhances wave catching ability

Longboards are a great choice for those starting out because of their forgiving nature and suitability for a variety of wave conditions.

Shortboard Characteristics

Shortboards are significantly smaller, usually between 5 to 7 feet in length, and provide enhanced maneuverability for quick turns and performance on larger waves. However, these boards require more skill to control and may not be the best choice for beginners. Here are the distinct features of a shortboard:

  • Length: 5 to 7 feet
  • Width: Narrower profile for sharp turns
  • Thickness: Thinner to allow for better control at high speeds
  • Nose Shape: Pointed to help drop into waves and perform critical maneuvers

Shortboards cater to experienced surfers looking for a dynamic ride and the ability to execute advanced tricks on the wave face.

Factors Influencing Surfboard Choice

When selecting the ideal surfboard, I consider several factors that impact my ride: the width, thickness, and length of the board. Each of these dimensions plays a vital role in the surfboard’s overall performance and suitability for my weight and skill level.

Surfboard Width and Its Impact

The width of a surfboard dictates its stability. A wider board provides greater surface area, enhancing stability, making it ideal for beginners like me. On the flip side, a narrower surfboard can be more responsive and better suited for sharp turns, catering to advanced surfers seeking agility and speed. When selecting the width, I ensure it aligns with my stance and balance requirements.

surfboards for beginners

The Role of Surfboard Thickness

Surfboard thickness influences buoyancy. Thicker boards float better and are often recommended for heavier surfers like myself or those who prefer a leisurely ride. Thinner boards, however, offer more control and are preferred by surfers looking to perform maneuvers. I always check the thickness in combination with the other dimensions to find the right balance that supports my weight without compromising on performance.

How Length Affects Surfboard Performance

Finally, the length of the surfboard significantly affects its paddle power, stability, and maneuverability. Longer surfboards help with paddling and catching waves, making them suitable for beginners or surfers who ride smaller waves. On the contrary, a shorter surfboard is less stable but allows for dynamic maneuvers, ideal for experienced surfers or those tackling bigger waves. My choice of length is based on what kind of surfing I plan to do and the wave conditions I usually face.

Advanced Considerations in Surfboard Selection

When considering advanced aspects of selecting a surfboard, I focus on the foil, the effect of tail shapes, and how personal preferences play into my decision. These components are pivotal in fine-tuning performance and fit, particularly for intermediate surfers, children, or those seeking a custom surfboard size.

Understanding Surfboard Foil

The foil of a surfboard refers to the distribution of thickness from nose to tail. For an intermediate surfer like me, a balanced foil can provide an optimal blend of paddle power and maneuverability. I ensure the surfboard has more volume under my chest for paddle power, which tapers off towards the tail for sensitivity in turns.

Kids’ surfboards, on the other hand, generally have a more uniform thickness to ensure stability and buoyancy, catering to their lightweight and developmental stage in surfing skills.

Tail Shapes and Their Effects

Tail shapes vastly influence the performance of a surfboard. A swallow tail might be my go-to for agility in small waves, while a pin tail could be preferred for holding a line in bigger waves. These choices become substantial when I consider my local wave conditions and the surfing style I aim to pursue.

For intermediate surfers, tail designs like the squash tail provide a balance between stability and maneuverability, making it a versatile choice for various wave conditions.

Navigating Personal Preferences and Styles

Selecting the right surfboard size also means accounting for my personal preferences and the surfing style I have or wish to develop. Whether I’m an intermediate surfer looking for growth or purchasing a custom surfboard size, I weigh the types of waves I frequently encounter against my desired performance outcomes.

Children require smaller surfboards that not only fit their size but also allow them to manage the board effectively. Thus, surfboard size for kids should meet the criteria of safety, ease of control, and the potential for skill development.

best beginner surfboard


In selecting the ideal surfboard size for your needs, it’s essential to consider your skill level, physique, and the conditions you’ll be surfing in. If you’re just starting out, a larger and more stable board will typically serve you better, helping in your development of balance and paddling technique. Seasoned surfers often prefer shorter boards to enable greater maneuverability and to better handle a variety of surf conditions.

What’s important for me to remember is the trade-off between stability and agility. A larger board will give me the stability I desire, but it may hinder my performance in more advanced maneuvers. Conversely, a smaller board might be excellent for tricks, yet it could make it more difficult for me to catch waves if I don’t yet have the experience.

When contemplating the different surfboards, I also need to assess the volume, which is influenced by the board’s length, width, and thickness. A higher volume board supports easier wave catching and provides more floatation, which is beneficial for beginners or those surfing smaller, weaker waves. Experienced surfers might opt for less volume to gain sharper control for aggressive turns and cutbacks.

Below is a quick reference guide to sum up what might work best for me based on my experience level:

  • Beginner: Choose a surfboard that is approximately 7-8 feet in length for stability and ease of catching waves.
  • Intermediate: A board ranging from 6-7 feet may strike a balance between stability and maneuverability.
  • Advanced: A shorter board, around 5-6 feet, could offer the control and agility that seasoned surfers value.

Keep in mind the physiological aspects of surfboard performance and surfboard injuries, and always prioritize safety during your selection process. Whatever board size I end up choosing, my goal is to ensure it complements my skills, body type, and the surfing conditions to maximize my enjoyment and progression in the sport.

Frequently Asked Questions

When determining the correct surfboard size, it’s essential to consider your skill level, height, weight, and the type of surfing you plan to do. The relationship between these factors and the surfboard’s dimensions is critical for your experience on the water.

How do I choose the right surfboard for my skill level?

As a beginner, I look for a board with sufficient volume and stability to aid in catching waves and standing up. For advanced surfers, agility and responsiveness become more important, hence opting for shorter and narrower boards.

Can you explain the relationship between surfboard length and rider height?

The surfboard length should generally match my height and skill level. A longboard is easier for me to balance on if I’m tall or a beginner. If I have more experience or am shorter, I may prefer a shorter board for better maneuverability.

What are the recommended dimensions for a funboard for an intermediate surfer?

An intermediate surfer like me might ride a funboard between 7 and 8 feet long, with enough volume to paddle effectively but short enough to start practicing more advanced maneuvers.

How does my weight affect the size of the surfboard I should choose?

My weight influences the board’s volume I need to stay afloat. The heavier I am, the more volume the board should have for suitable buoyancy and stability.

How can I determine if a surfboard is too small for my surfing needs?

If I’m struggling to paddle into waves or keep balance while standing, it’s likely that the surfboard is too small for me. Adequate volume and length are crucial for a good match.

What should I look for in a shortboard as a progressing surfer?

As I progress, I focus on a shortboard that offers quick turns and greater control. It should have enough rocker to handle steeper waves and be thin enough for me to sink the rail during tight maneuvers.