It’s no secret that surfing is a great water sport that makes you feel young, wild, and free. Perhaps that’s why surfing can be so addictive. The experience is based on the unexpected reward system. That is to say, you can’t wake up and go out to catch waves whenever it happens to be a convenient time. Your free time, wind trends, and swell all play a part, and most of all, you need a great surfboard at hand. If you’re a beginner, it’s advisable to start off your experience with a surfing longboard
which offers better buoyancy and ease of control.
While waiting anxiously on the shore for a swell, your brain releases dopamine in anticipation for the moment you’ll get the chance to catch some gnarly waves. Finally, when the waves come, you will probably be pretty stoked, and after riding some waves, many surfers become happier, friendlier, and overall, more fulfilled. Just be sure to apply some surfboard wax
on your board to avoid those clumsy falls that can ruin your surfing experience.
Now, how do you choose the right sport surfboard to enjoy the fun? It depends on so many factors, including your skill level, material, length, weight, and, of course, price. Just like riding wakeboards
, sport surfboards require a decent skill level to seamlessly catch waves and pick up top speeds that exceed that of the waves.
It is important to note that there’s a wide difference between a good quality surfboard and some cheap options available out there. A good surfboard will not only lend to your surfing experience being smooth and more comfortable, but will also last for many seasons to come. It also offers better agility, balance, and higher speeds while riding the waves.
Let’s now look at the consideration factors to familiarize yourself with the various components and features of surfboards to help make your buying decision more informed, then you can dive straight to our top picks.
Surfboards vary widely in price, and the prices directly correlate with quality. It’s usually not a good idea to go for super cheap surfboards which are generally made from low quality materials that may quickly deteriorate after only a few rides. With a budget of between $120 and $700, you can get a good quality surfboard from reputable brands. If, for instance, you’re purchasing a beginner board or you’re buying one for your kid, it may be wise to pick up a moderately priced board since you’re going to outgrow it after a few years.
However, if you’re a skilled surfer, you should consider intermediate boards that will last you over 8 years if well taken care of. If you’re not going to participate in competitive sport surfing, it’s better to stay away from advanced surfboards that offer high functionalities at extremely high prices. Again, you may not accurately come up with your personal specification for all aspects like fins, leash, size, and the kind of grip you require on the deck.
The most critical features to look out for in a surfboard include length, material, weight, thickness, and warranty. Other extra additives like fins and leash are for greater performance and safety.
As a general principle, the length of the board should correspond to your height. Taller people should go for longer surfboards, and vice versa. This allows you to spread your legs appropriately and balance on the board.
Most common surfboards are made from polyurethane (PU) foams that are coated with fiberglass. The center part is strengthened with a balsa wood stringer, which also provides the required flex. These boards can last for over 8 years and still perform as well as new. Balsa wood boards are relatively light and difficult to break. Other boards are made from epoxy offering attributes that are lightweight and unmatched in strength, but their super lightweight quality could be their undoing if you’re a beginner.
Every surfboard has a rated weight limit that you should not exceed. It’s absolutely crucial to choose a board that can comfortably carry your weight without snapping. Check out the manufacturer’s specification for weight limits and pick a model that suits your capacity if you want your surfboard to last for several seasons to come.
Thickness affects the overall stability of the board on the water. A surfboard with more foam will exhibit better stability and buoyancy. Thickness will sometimes vary throughout the board and this will dictate whether your board is more or less agile. Sometimes it’s a good idea to try out various designs to see which thickness works best for you.
This is critical, especially if you’re purchasing your first surfboard and may not be familiar with brands and how to recognize defects on surfboards. A good warranty will therefore, cover your back and give you some peace of mind as you surf.
Construction and Design
Surfing is meant for pride and joy, and every surfer knows it. No one wants to go on the waters with a ghastly looking surfboard. Some surfers go an extra mile to have their boards customized to match their personality and style. The design of a surfboard will determine its functionality as well as aesthetics. Here are some design and construction features to look out for:
If you’re fairly new to surfing, the deck is the main component to look at. Some surfboards come with smooth decks that make it difficult to balance on as a beginner. A rough board, on the other hand, provides a firm grip, but won’t feel comfortable under the feet, especially for extended rides.
Fins can either be permanent fixtures or removable fittings on your board. Good fins will enhance the speed of your surfboard and provide better stability and balance while on the water.
The nose of your surfboard is important for the overall stability and maneuverability of the board. A wider nose provides a better stability and low maneuverability, while a narrow nose means more maneuverability but less stability.
A leash is a top priority safety feature for a surfboard, especially for beginners. It’s a string that you place on your ankle to prevent the board from floating away when you fall. Most boards have a spot for attaching the leash and you can detach it once you’re experienced enough to make long rides without falling off.
The curve of the surfboard, also known as a rocker, determines the size of waves you can catch. Larger curves allow you to ride larger waves while smaller rockers are convenient for gliding through small waves as well as paddling through the water.
Performance and Ease of Use
Sport surfboards are generally high-performance boards that are shaped to make fast turns up and down the waves. They typically measure 5" to 7" in length with thicknesses of between 1.75" to 2.75". If you’re fairly skilled, operating surfboards shouldn’t be difficult, as long as you choose your right size and thickness level.
However, you probably don’t need a sport surfboard if you’re just starting out. Begin with learning some surfing skills using a longboard and move up to getting a decent short board for more thrilling experience. Short boards will feature a narrow nose to press over the ledges of the oncoming waves. They also have narrow tails for curving deep bottom turns and narrow cutbacks. When you ride bigger waves of double to triple overhead, you can probably go with narrower and longer boards, sometimes referred to as a gun. They help the surfer to shoot through the face of waves with maximum speeds or drop in and paddle through sets of waves. The flip in the nose is designed for bigger and faster surfs. Bottom line, choose a surfboard that suits your surfing needs, skill levels, and wave conditions to enjoy maximum fun and optimum performance.
The ability to have fun and remain safe while on the water are both important things; which is why our top 5 picks are as fun, durable, and safe as they are. With a surfboard for every style, taste, skill level, and budget, we have options for many needs. Now that you’re well informed about what to look for in a sport surfboard, why wait? Go ahead and pick a model that suits your needs.
After going through our surfboards list, hopefully you have found some boards that you like, or have a better idea about the kind of features that you want with your surfboard. Remember that the best sport surfboard is not only going to last you for a longer period of time, but it will also enhance a smoother, faster, and more agile riding. Best of luck with your surfing and hope you hit some big waves.