How to buy your second surfboard
Nothing is more satisfying, stoke-worthy, or reassuring. A second surfboard says, "Hot damn! I really like this surfing thing!" It also says, "I'm here to stay, I'm committed, and I'm only getting better from here, so watch out!"
With a second board, a whole new realm of surf possibilities gets cracked open like a tasty beer on a hot day after a great session. Your first surfboard was probably anything from a dumpster score, to a hand-me-down, to an impulse buy, or even a nervously chosen freshie from the local surf shop.
It was either dinged or cracked or had something wrong with it that made learning to ride a royal pain in the neck, was an incorrect size or shape for a beginner, or was perfect for learning but didn't help you move on to the next stage. You'll always love your first, but the second is where things get interesting.
By the time you're ready to buy a second board, you'll have learned a fair bit about what you're capable of in the water, and also what you want to do next. The fact that the decision to invest in a new one is all yours - paid for by you (probably) - just further serves to cement your pursuit. With this in mind, you'll need to consider a few things:
What types of waves do you want to surf? If you're looking to get out of your comfort zone, or take on those waves at the gnarlier spot nearby, you'll likely need to choose a different board shape; one that is optimised to take on a particular type of surf.
If you didn't start on a shortboard, but want to start surfing faster and pulling tricks, a shorty makes a great second board buy. And if you already love riding shortboards and want to go even faster, go lighter with more fins.
Also worth considering are the longboard and fish shapes. A fish makes a great all-rounder in lots of different types of surf, and makes a great second board choice, allowing you to get out on days where the waves are too small to do much on a shortboard.
Where do you want to buy? The choices are endless. In the old days, a surfer had to track down the only shaper in town, place an order, and wait awhile. Big brand surf companies then took over, and pre-made boards in a variety of sizes and shapes could be bought or ordered at your local surf shop. Nowadays, a board can be purchased online and shipped to you within a week.
Where to buy comes down to personal choice. Supporting local business (especially in the surf community) is always good practice, and you have the benefit of seeing the products firsthand and getting genuine advice.
A custom board will cost you - time and money - but will be worth its weight in gold in terms of quality and significance. And there are likely to be great deals on websites, as well as a mind-boggling array of choices, but the personal element is removed.
Know what to look for. Surfboards aren't the cheapest purchases, and it's tempting to hunt for bargains. But a deal isn't a deal where the workmanship is shoddy, careless, or the manufacturers don't care about surfing.
Talk to the guys at the surf shop about reliable brands and shapers. Get the low down from stoked friends about which companies make the hardest-wearing gear. Try a few out. Try to narrow your choices down to one or two and go prepared. Then get sized and get surfing.