The single-most important thing to remember in selecting a surfboard is that surfing is supposed to be fun. The fun comes from catching and riding waves (in that order). It doesn’t matter how expensive, how new, how beautiful or how trendy the board is. If you can’t catch waves with it you’re not having fun and it’s not the “right” stick. The biggest mistake surfers make is to choose a board that is too small for their size, ability, fitness-level and/or experience.
Beginning Adult Surfers – Get a used modern longboard. As a new surfer there are a number of skills that need to be mastered including paddling stamina, wave selection, paddling into waves, “popping-up” in one smooth motion, maintaining balance, turning after the wave has been caught and smoothly exiting the wave when the time comes. All of these skills can be learned much quicker on a longboard. I recommend at 9’6” to 10’ X 23” wide x 3.25” thick for men 5’10’-6’0”, 175-190 lbs. and a 9’to 9’6” x 22” wide x 3” thick for women 5’4”-5’8, 125-140 lbs. Smaller people can go slightly smaller in board size and larger people should go a little bigger. The rule of thumb is go bigger than you need if you have to, but don’t go smaller. One of the big reasons that there is an abundance of used boards on the market is because many beginners are convinced to buy a board that is too small for them. They buy a new board they can’t yet ride, become frustrated and then quit. Once the basic skills have been mastered, it will be time for you to pick another board (maybe a custom) whose performance capabilities is a better match for your skills and style. As a beginner, buying a used board that is the right size will get you into the sport without spending a lot of money. Once you gain some experience, you’ll have a much better idea of what you want/need in a surfboard. Most experienced surfers have gone through several surfboards. The board you ride will change as your abilities change and/or your riding style changes.
Next: Intermediate Surfers