April 9

Best Beginner Surfboards: The Ultimate Guide For New Surfers

EQUIPMENT

If you're a beginner surfer and you're trying to figure out what surfboard you should be looking for, you're in for a treat.

We're going deep on the best beginner surfboards - leaving no stone unturned!

In this article you'll learn:

  • What all the complicated measurements mean, and what to look for.
  • What makes a beginner surfboard actually good. 
  • The biggest mistake over 90% of beginners make with their surfboard selection - and how to dodge that bullet šŸ˜¬
  • How to avoid buying a dud, and choose the right surfboard for your height, weight and ability.

And a whole heap more.

If you're ready, lets get started...



WHAT MAKES THE PERFECT BEGINNER SURFBOARD?

The best beginner surfboards will help you to improve faster by:

  • Increasing the number of waves you catch.
  • Helping you to get to your feet more often.
  • Improving your success rate.

The board will be buoyant, stable, and easy to ride.

But how do you know which surfboard to choose, and which is right for you? 

The key attributes to look for are: Volume, Length, Width & Shape.

So, letā€™s take a closer look at each below:


VOLUME 

The volume of a surfboard dictates its buoyancy, and it's important because this buoyancy is what helps your surfboard float.

In surfing terms we measure this volume in litres. 

Beginners that choose surfboards without sufficient buoyancy will struggle to catch waves, which will have a big impact on how quickly they improve. 

Likewise, too much buoyancy will feel cumbersome, clumsy, unresponsive and hard to manoeuvre. 

So getting the volume right on your surfboard is super important.

Here's a surfboard volume chart to help when choosing a new surfboard:


SURFBOARD LENGTH

Longer surfboards have more surface area, are more buoyant, and make catching waves easier - which is why they're the recommended for beginners. 

So what length should you be looking for? 

As a good rule of thumb, look for a surfboard roughly 90cm or 3ft longer than your height. 

YOUR HEIGHT

SURFBOARD LENGTH

4FT

7FT

5FT

8FT

6FT

9FT+


SURFBOARD WIDTH 

A surfboard's width is an important metric, as wider surfboards are more stable - and stability is what you need as a beginner surfer. 

The increased surface area provides a solid platform for you to pop up to your feet.

But how much width should you be looking for? 

A good surfing board for beginners will be upwards of 20 inches wide, anything less that this will be too narrow, and make the board wobbly.


SURFBOARD SHAPE

It's all very well knowing the volume, length, and width of a surfboard, but they're of little use without the right shape. 

Let me explain.

It's possible to have a surfboard with the right volume, length and width - yet be a terrible surfboard choice for beginners.

It could have a super pointy nose (bad for stability), and a really thin, pulled in tail (again bad for stability too). 

So it's no exaggeration to say that the shape is definitely a big deal.

The things to look out for with a beginners surfboard shape are as follows:

WIDE NOSE SHAPE: Adds stability when paddling.

WIDE TAIL SHAPE: Adds stability when riding waves

The best beginner surfboards will have a wide, forgiving nose and tail shape for maximum stability - giving you a stable platform to improve quickly.


WARNING: 90% OF BEGINNERS MAKE THIS MISTAKE!

The No.1 mistake we see beginner surfers make with their equipment choice is...

Going too small too soon!

I get it, everybody wants to be on a fibreglass board, something small, light and cute, but don't be fooled.

This, more than any other factor will stunt your progression.

Why?

Think about it like this:

Surfer one has a big, buoyant foam board and catches 20+ waves each session.  Tonnes of practice, tonnes of repetition.

Surfer two has a small fibreglass shortboard.  She struggles to catch more than a couple of waves a session.

Which do you think will improve the fastest?

Surfer one right!

If you can take anything away from this article it would be this:

BE ON THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT SIZE FOR YOUR LEVEL, AND DON'T GO TOO SMALL TOO SOON.


SOFT TOP VS HARD TOP

As a beginner, should you be riding a soft top surfboard, or a had top?

We recommend a soft top every time, and here's why:

  • CHEAPER: Soft tops are mass produced, and cost much less. 
  • SAFER: Getting hit by a soft top surfboard will not cause serious injury, getting hit by a hard top surfboard on the other hand can be very dangerous.
  • MORE DURABLE: Soft tops can be bashed around, and still function just fine, hard top surfboards cannot.
  • EASIER TO TRANSPORT: They're lighter, and easier to carry around.
  • MORE BUOYANT: Because of their construction, they have more float.

6 OF THE BEST SURFBOARDS FOR BEGINNERS RIGHT NOW...

We've helped literally hundreds, if not thousands of people learn to surf and help with their equipment choices over the years, so we know a thing or two when it comes to the best beginner level surfboards for maximum progression.

Below are our top picks on the market right now:

1. MICK FANNING: SURF SCHOOL EDITION

PRICE: $520

If you're looking for something designed from the ground up for the beginner surfer, then look no further. 

These boards are super durable, high quality, and made specifically for the novice in mind. 

The overall outline shape - with extra wide nose, and tail - provide maximum stability, which is really what you want in the full beginner stages. 

A perfect choice for someone a little heavier, older, or if sport doesn't always come easy for you.

PROS

Super durable, epic over exaggerated wide nose and tail for maximum stability. Tried and tested by surf schools worldwide.

CONS

The outline will serve you well in the early stages, but may hold you back as you progress and want more manoeuvrability. 


2. CATCH SURF: LOG

PRICE: $475

Catch Surf are the OG's of soft top surfboards. 

Pioneering the technology, and bringing them into the mainstream with their partnership with pro surfer (and YouTuber) Jamie O'Brien, these boards have been tried, and tested - and are widely considered some of the best beginner surfboards on the market.

With an eye not just for the absolute beginner, but intermediate too, they're a great option for someone that's looking for a board that will grow with them in the early stages. 

PROS

High quality, fun, plenty of room for performance.

CONS

Expensive.


3. SOFT TECH: ROLLER

PRICE: $395

Soft Tech have been knocking out some great novice surfboards over the years, and the 'Roller' model is a perfect example of that. 

A great, over-extended rounded nose shape for maximum stability, holding the wide outline throughout, all the way to the tail.

A shape like this is forgiving, super stable, and perfect for the complete beginner. 

PROS

Forgiving outline, super buoyant, perfect for the bigger, less athletic person.

CONS

Due to its size, you might outgrow it quickly, as this board puts stability, over manoeuvrability.


4. PYZEL: THE LOG

PRICE: $390

Designed by one of the worlds most renowned shapers - John Pyzel, you can rest assured that these boards are made from only the highest quality materials. 

With a foundation in performance surfing, you can expect 'The Log' to be forgiving for the beginner surfer, but allow plenty of room for improved performance too. 

Sure, it's not cheap, but if you're wanting top of the range quality then look no further.

PROS

High quality design, built by one of the worlds best shapers. 

CONS

Yes the quality is top notch, but so too is the price tag.


5. WAVE BANDIT: EASY RIDER

PRICE $400

Wave Bandit certainly bring the fun into surfing, with their out-there, in your face, bright designs. 

But they're super functional too.

The shapes and outlines have been crafted by real surfers that know their stuff (not just some factory in China), and they're well promoted by the likes of Ben Gravy (YouTuber). 

A great all round option, for the absolute beginner with the scope to manoeuvre too as you advance.

PROS

Super fun board, nice shape, quality construction.

CONS

Not the most stable for the absolute beginner, and a bit pricey.


6. FOAMY: GUNNER

PRICE: $395

I'd go as far as to say that this is the best beginner surfboard shape you could find. 

Perfect curves from nose to tail, forgiving yet manoeuvrable, giving the the perfect platform to learn the basics, but grow your surfing as well. 

Also, the board comes with built in FCS system for interchangable fins, to try out new configurations and give the board a whole new feel.

PROS

Perfect shape for learning and improving. Reasonably priced. 

CONS

Not really any downsides.


*Note: As the title of this article suggests, this is a guide to the 'Best' beginner surfboards on the market right now, not necessarily the best value - or the cheapest. It is possible to find entry level novice surfboards for much cheaper than the ones listed above - but beware, as quality will undoubtably be sacrificed. 


BEGINNER SURFBOARD FIN SET UP

You might be wondering a little about fins. 

What's the best set up for a beginner surfboard, and what to look for. 

The best fin set up for a learner surfboard is a three fin 'thruster' set up - two fins on either side, and one at the back.

This fin set up is the best for stability and control, both of which are super helpful when learning to surf. 


SURFBOARD FIN OVERVIEW FOR BEGINNERS

You can find our comprehensive, in depth surfboard fin guide here, but for a quick overview, find out more below:

SINGLE FIN [1X FIN]

Most common on longboards. A single fin set up is good for cruisy drawn out turns, not for tight fast transition turns.

single fin
Twin-Fin

TWIN FIN [2X FIN] 

The two fin set-up is fast, loose and great for small waves.

THRUSTER [3X FIN]

Thruster set-up generally speaking has the best mix of speed, control and drive. Suitable for waves of all sizes.

*BEST FOR BEGINNERS*

Quad Fin set-up

QUAD FIN [4X FIN]

Quads can be good for hollow, steep waves as they have a lot of grip.  They're good for down the line surfing, but not great for tighter turns and transitional surfing.

DECISION TIME: CHOOSING THE RIGHT SURFBOARD FOR A BEGINNER

Ok, so there's a hell of a lot of info in this article and you're probably wondering which board is right for you.

I'd love to be able to give you an exact recommendation, but without seeing your ability in person that's just not possible, so instead use these guidelines below to help you along:

- If you're not catching tonnes of waves each time you go surfing, you need to be on a bigger board. Stay on that bigger board until catching waves is not a problem for you whatsoever.

- Repetition wins: You want to be on a board that gives you plenty of opportunity to practice your pop up, turning, etc.  A bigger board will help with this.

- Only drop down in board size if/when you're feeling impeded by the manoeuvrability of your current board.  Drop too early, and you'll stop catching waves and rob yourself of all those learning opportunities.

- Dropping down in board size comes with considerable downsides: Much harder to catch waves, much harder to balance.


CONCLUSION

Alright, we've given you the best beginner surfboards on the market right now, and we've taught you everything you need to know to make an informed purchase decision.

The rest is up to you.

But, if you've still got questions, as always, hit us up in the comment section below.

LAUREN RINGER

Ex WQS warrior, and all-round frother - Loz is the technical coaching queen at the House of Surf.

She is also a mindset and life coach and has a habit of living in her van way too much. 


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