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The Complete Guide to Surfboards for Beginners

May 17,2022 | AMZGYM

You will never forget your first surfboard. Mine is a 6ft 6in pintail JC Hawaii junk with glass fins and a horrible yellow sunburn. Little did I know it was far from the ideal beginner surfboard. At the time, it was the kind of board pro surfers rode on steady rolling waves like the Banzai Pipeline. AKA, maybe one of the worst surfboards to learn to surf.

I don't know better, I remember being excited to finally have my own surfboard. So I continued my merry way, on a paper-thin potato chip pro model surfboard, struggling to catch the waves, falling over and over for lack of stability, and getting pretty frustrated with how long it took to learn how to ride a bike. Wave.

Needless to say, it was a slow and challenging progression and I could really use some guidance at the time. Luckily for you, I've made some bad surfboard decisions during my surfing trip, so you don't have to.

Choosing the right board for your surfing level can be the difference between enjoying a blast and a world of frustration. Let's avoid that depressed world, shall we?

In this article, I'll take a look at the best beginner surfboards, how to gradually transition from a longboard to a shortboard, and give you some advice for every level of surfboard.

Once you have some basic surfboard knowledge, you can be confident that you're buying a board that's right for your level and will multiply your learning curve and fun factor.

The Best Beginner Surfboards

What is a good beginner surfboard? When you learn how to surf, you need to learn and develop some basic skills before you can move on to the next level. Most notable: Position yourself on the board, pop-ups, balance, paddle strength, stamina, etc.

With these basic skills in mind, a good beginner surfboard is easy to paddle, floats you well (high buoyancy), and is very stable. The basic rule of thumb here is: bigger is better.

The best beginner surfboards catch and ride as many waves as possible with ease. Because the more waves you catch, the faster you progress. With a wide, stable profile and lots of buoyancy, the longboard is the best beginner surfboard.

In the next sections, we'll go into more detail and offer recommendations for specific surfboards.

Considering all the factors that go into making a good beginner surfboard, all opposing opinions apply to a poorly made beginner surfboard. If you are trying to learn or progress on a board that is too small for your current surfing abilities, you are preparing for a challenging period. Smaller boards don't float well and are less stable, making paddling, catching waves, popping, and balancing more difficult.

Here's a quick summary of minimally used surfboard terms:

Best Surfboards for Beginners:
Longer boards have enough stability
have a fuller shape (this will provide more stability)
There is a lot of volume to allow you to float nicely (the board is on the thicker side)
Easy to paddle and catch waves
Worst surfboard for beginners:
Is it a very stable short surfboard?
has a narrow shape
Small size (essentially this means thinner and lighter boards)
Difficulty paddling and catching waves


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