5 tips on how to find a perfect surfboard
Surfing the perfect surfboard gives that magical feeling when everything comes together. You easily catch waves, the board goes wherever you want it to go and all your manoeuvres seem powerful and smooth. Your confidence gets a boost as well as the smile on your face.
Here are 5 tips on how to find that perfect surfboard.
1. Start with a Mini Malibu
If you are a beginner and want to buy your first surfboard then a “mini Malibu” is a good option. This is an easy board to catch waves with and once you are up and surfing it gives enough stability to forgive minor mistakes. Depending on your weight you can choose a board between 7’2” long (if you are 50kg) and 8’ long (95 kg surfer). A lot of surfers that bought a mini Malibu as their first surfboard keep it. You can still have fun on it when you are out of shape or when the waves or small.
2. Don’t stick to the wrong surfboard
If you already have a surfboard but it is not really what you like (you don’t catch enough waves with it, it is to slow, you cannot turn it) then don’t stick with it forever. Don’t think that if you surf it long enough, it will become a good board for you. You lose easily a couple of years in your learning curve if you surf the wrong board. It is much faster to change a board then to gain surf experience or change your surfing style.
3. Find your volume
Try to understand the volume you need in a surfboard. It is a compromise between catching enough waves and having enough manoeuvrability. As a rule of thumb you should catch 8 waves out of 10 attempts in average surf conditions, if it is less consider more volume (or flatter rocker), if it is more you can think of a shorter more manoeuvrable surfboard. Once you know the volume you need, it is much easier to compare different models.
4. Analising of your old surfboard helps
If you want a new board, take your old one with you to the shaper or the surfboard shop. Let an expert analyse your board and try to explain him what you feel surfing this board and what you want differently. Be as specific as possible. This gives the expert a starting point to work from and it is more likely that the new surfboard is exactly what you are looking for.
5. Try before you buy!
To understand surfboards it is good to experiment with them (from friends, demo models in shops). Often prejudice hinders you in having a board for the right conditions. By experimenting you will understand better why a surfboard acts the way it does. Look at them, rub them, measure them. Surf in the same surf session different boards and try to found out what has changed in your surfing. Let somebody film you and you will see what actually happens (it can be very different of what you think happens). Same goes for the fins, try different ones. Fins have a bigger influence on your surfing than generally assumed. It can make or break a board.
Feel free to ask your questions in the comments below.
Written by: Rik
Rik has been a surf coach for over 10 years. Because of his engineering background he always had great interest in how the design of a surfboard influences its performance. In order to guide surfers to a surfboard that feels perfect he founded Magic Board Center in Lagos.
Magic Board Center offers quality surfboards to test, rent or buy. The ‘Try before you buy’ concept let you quickly understand which surfboard works best for you. If you travel and don’t want the hassle of surfboard transport you can rent more than 60 different boards covering all surf conditions.