The definitive guide to buying a new surfboard
Choosing a surfboard can be fun and complex at the same time. Do you know what to consider when choosing a new surfboard? Take a look at the questions you should ask before buying new surfboards.
A new surfboard should always be a rational investment decision. Whether you're about to spend $200 or $1000, you need to leave emotions aside. Forget the colors, the logos, the drawings, and the dramatic shapes.
Surfboards serve a purpose. They were built to provide joy and fun to people. They are the key to wave riding. Therefore, we don't buy them to look cool and to endorse a lifestyle sold by media outlets.
Surfboards are a means to an end. If you buy a new surfboard without running through a checklist first, you'll rapidly regret your impulsive decision. Fortunately, you don't need read through a long guide to surfboard buying.
Just ask yourself questions that will make you confident and comfortable with your decision. There's nothing worse than leaning a surfboard against the wall of your room pretending it is a decorative artifact.
Surfboards were made to glide, and there too many elements and variables at stake - construction types and techniques, materials, styles, and designs. If you get it wrong, it's like buying a Ferrari for someone who still doesn't have a driving license.
So, next time you enter a surf shop to purchase a new plank, make sure you know the answers to the following questions:
What is my level of experience in surfing?
If you're a beginner surfer, you'll need a big board for extra stability. If you're an intermediate surfer, an all-round surfboard is never a bad decision. For advanced riders details like rocker, outline, rails, and bottom shape matter.
Which board do I really need?
A new surfboard doesn't necessarily mean the first surfboard. And the board of your dreams might not suit your universe at all. Are you buying your second board? Are you replacing an old surfboard?
How much am I willing to pay for a surfboard?
Don't get fooled by brands, logos, or fascinating signatures. Always compare identical surfboards, and ask for advice at your local surf shop.
Do I prefer a board made of polyurethane, polystyrene, or balsa?
Will you stick to the old foam, or will you take the risk and go for new and environmentally friendly cores such as polystyrene and balsa?
Which surfboard fin system will I adopt?
Will you adopt the most popular fin systems - FCS and Futures - or will you try emerging formulas?
Which surfboard fin setup do I need?
Are you a single fin enthusiast? Do you plan to ride a thruster surfboard for the rest of your life? Are you into quads, or you play it safe and buy a five-fin model? Need to know more about surf fins?
Am I looking for a surfboard shaped by a specific craftsman?
If you're definitely into a surf shaper's philosophy, or if you follow a strict shaping method, you might want to pay extra cash for having his name on your new board.
Do I own more than one surfboard?
If your new surfboard is your first surfboard, then you should opt for an all round model. If you're building a quiver, just the fill the gaps between wave sizes and wave types.
How often do I surf?
There's a huge difference between going surfing only once in a year, catching waves every weekend, and hitting the surf nearly every day.
What are the types of waves that I ride the most?
There are four types of waves. What are the average conditions at your local beach? Do you prefer mushy wave or punchy rollers?
How fit am I to handle the new board?
Do you need to compensate extra weight with a larger board? Have you got enough arm power to paddle out on a shortboard in bigger surf?
How much time do I usually spend in the water?
Can you handle a two-hour winter surfing session, or you just hit the lineup for a couple of rides in the summertime?
Which type of tail shape do I like most?
Can you handle less buoyancy and lift, and need more hold (pintail)? Do you need a loose surfboard at low speed (square tail)? Or do you want something in between (round tail)?
Does the surfboard fit in my car?
This one is often forgotten, but it can be critical. As a rule of thumb, have in mind that a 7' surfboard usually fits inside a car.
If want to try something new, why don't you shape your own surfboard? Are you building a quiver? Finally, take a look at the surfboard volume calculator, and learn more about surfboard design and performance.