Sizing It Up.. Choosing the Right Board from the Start.



So you want to start surfing, huh? And you don’t know what sizes, or type of board to buy, do you? Well, there are a few eye opening realities that you should learn before you go and blow your paycheck.

Shorter isn’t better.
I know you want to go out there and slash it like Slater, but you have to walk before you can run. Those short little rockets the pros are throwing around are not good tools to help build your skills. A shorter board, in the beginning, will be hard to balance on, and even harder to paddle out. You’re not going to do much learning if your arms get too tired to even get you out into the water. So, when choosing, try to look past the little guys, and start looking up, at boards taller than yourself.

Fish are Friends.
Ya, the fish boards look a little heftier than a shortboard, but don’t let them fool you. You can definitely shred a fish. The whole idea behind the fish is stability. The added width and thickness help to keep you afloat, and riding. Fish boards also catch waves easier, and are easier to paddle. This is because of the smaller amount of rocker on the underside of the board, which allows for more speed on smaller waves. And a great benefit to a fish is that they ride extremely well in mushy, smaller waves. This means that even when there is little swell, you can still get out there and get some. This is when the learning will take place, and that is the goal.

Slow, Wide, Turns – Longboards
Though it is definitely easier to learn than a short board, a longboard might fight you once you get popping up and riding in the bag. Longboards are made for larger waves, and larger riders, but can be ridden in smaller waves as well. You’ll need this extra weight and experience when trying to turn this classic board. One really nice perk of the longboard, though, is its paddling ease. The longboards touch more of the surface of the water, and give you more momentum, and tend to stay straighter during your paddle.  This means you’ll be catching more waves, more often, and that, my friend, is called experience. Chilling out and cruising a longboard would not be a bad first option, seeing as you’ll be falling in the water a lot anyways.

Hybrids, the Cyborg of Boards
In surfing, a hybrid can really apply to any 2 types of boards mixed into one. Yet, when hearing the term hybrid, most of the time, the source is referencing a combination of a fish board, and a shortboard. These boards give you the added stability of the fish, while keeping the maneuverability of shortboards. Another board type that you could consider is the Funboard, which is more of a longboard, fish style mixture. Because these boards have a wide range of styles, you can’t really say how they are going to ride. I would start with the basic board types before jumping on any of these.

Try it, before you buy it.
The only true way to know what type of board will be best for you is to get out into the water with one. Many board shops near the beach will offer rental boards for you to try, for around 15 dollars per hour. This will allow you to switch out and get an idea of how each style feels. Hell, from your feedback, they may even be able to refer you to the perfect board. So get out there and have fun!

You Should Be “In a Relationship” With Your Shaper

shaper1 Would you ask a professional golfer to help you learn to swim? Or a professional chef to build your house…of course not. You would ask someone who is experienced and skilled in that field to perform the task at hand. This idea should be carried over to who is shaping your boards. You shouldn’t have a shaper who solely longboards shape you a thruster for your trip to Indo; just like you shouldn’t have a shaper who has never cross-stepped on a single fin shape you a board for your trip to Scorpion Bay.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge proponent of shaper loyalty and my shaper, Jeremy Covington (Surfboards by Jeremy), surfs like I do and because of that he has shaped my last five or six boards. But if I ever get the inclination to charge big waves I will turn to a shaper who has experience shaping big wave guns. Try to do more than just know your shaper, but surf with your shaper. Not only will you be stoked and be able to give immediate feedback as to what works and doesn’t work, but he will be stoked to see the rails, the tail, the rocker, the nose and, most importantly, your surfing in action.

If you don’t have a relationship with your shaper at least know how they surf. I don’t know Matt Biolas from …Lost surfboards but I see him at Lowers enough to know how he surfs. If you don’t live near your shaper at least know where your shaper is from. Shapers shape what they know, some know point breaks so their boards are better suited for that type of wave, some shapers surf heavy barrels and their boards will typically be better suited for fat barrels…of course they will be able to shape a board for other conditions but it won’t be familiar or comfortable.

The guys on tour practice this very idea. A lot of the guys switch shapers as the tour travels around the globe because they know that the best boards are going to come from the guys who know the wave best. So next time you head into Jack’s surf shop or order your next board from your trusty shaper, make sure to do your research because you’ll have more peace of mind when the times come to put the money down.