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Surfboards for Beginners - A Guide to Choosing the Right Surfboard

By Edited Oct 13, 2015 0 0

 I decided to write this article because there are just so many beginner surfers who make that crucial error of choosing the wrong surfboard. What happens?  Basically, a lot of frustration, a waste of money and you may even be put off. It happened to me , and it can happen to you, but if you know what to look for then it won’t happen.

Why does it happen? Well, different reasons really. Groms are too eager and want the best brand. They see an ASP event and want to start surfing like the pros. However, some of best looking Channel Islands surfboards are only built for the likes of Dane Reynolds and co.

The Fundamentals:


If you are moving to more of an advanced level, then you will want to look for something that will suit a certain style of surfing or wave, and that is going to cost you a little more, but as a beginner just stick to the basics. This is going to make life a lot easier. It may not look so cool carrying a board around that weighs a ton, but the sooner you progress, the sooner you can move onto the next level.

Look for something second hand. Loads of surfers are selling their boards because they want something more advanced. Look on the surfing forums or in the classifieds. Makes sure the board is not chipped and still looks good. You can also get a board at a surfing shop, where they get left on a consignment basis.

surfboard store

Surfbord Sizes


So you should know by now that a shortboard is not going to be the answer. Most beginners will learn on a minimal or a funboard. You should look for something that is at least 15 inches taller than yourself. It’s going to be easier to paddle if you have an longer board and if you are a beginner this will help, no matter how fit you are because there is a certain technique you have to learn.  You will get frustrated with anything shorter because you won’t have the paddling technique waxed yet and the board will keep on sending you back. You need something which is going to give you some floating power as well.

photo credit: photobucket.com/user/bntint/media/Shell%20Shop%20Items/surfboardstore.jpg


This is also going to help with your paddling.  Not only does paddling help you move over the white waters, but you have to learn to get your timing right. So you will have to know when to increase the speed so that you can catch that wave you have your eye on. Something with 2 and half inches of foam should be what you should be aiming for.


You definitely need some width in order to be able to get up and balance easy enough. The widest point should be at the middle part of the board because this is where you will be standing. The waves you will be practicing in as a beginner will be on average 1-3 ft so this will be ideal for that.


A good shaper will increase the width, adding more foam from the center point and stretch it to the nose of the board. In this way, you will find that it can help with paddling.

A look at soft boards - These are great for kids, and a lot of surf schools use them as well. You may not think it, but injuries do happen. The board can flip up because you are too far back and whack you in the chin – not nice! A soft board is made of a material similar to that of a bodyboard.

The meat and the potatoes

Don’t think about this too much. You will hear a lot of talk in the line up or around the beach and on surf forums about boards. What is best epoxy or polyester? Does your weight come into it? Just get the board by using the guide above and don’t worry about the little things. Use it for 3-6 months and when you are totally confident, then step up a gear.

To be absolutely sure you know you are ready or you are getting the right board, rent yourself a board from a local surf shop on the beach to get the feel for it.

A Beginner Surfboard You May Enjoy: the Surftech McTavish Micro Funboard

The Surftech McTavish Micro Funboard is an excellent quality surfboard that makes learning to surf a true joy. Let's explore all it has to offer, especially for those just embarking on their surfing careers!

The best surfboards for beginners need to be wide enough and large enough to provide steadiness in the water, as well as thick enough to float effortlessly, as discussed previously. If you are new to the sport and are trying to catch a wave with not much space to stand up on, it is going to be difficult.

You'll be spending a lot of time paddling in the water while learning, so the extra buoyancy will really make a difference! Some people will tell you to get a longboard because it's the most stable; of course it's also the largest, most heavy, slowest for paddling, and most likely to seriously hurt you when you get caught underneath it in a wave.

Longboards also start at around eight feet in length and go up to ten feet or so, and many beginners don't really need that much board. This is why the Mini-mal, short for "mini-malibu" is recommended. This is generally in the seven foot long range, and while it's good it doesn't have quite the added versatility of the slightly shorter length funboard.

The extra advantages of funboards, also known as hybrids, is that they are super easy to paddle on and catch waves, while also providing more stability than shortboards. One board that stands out is the Surftech McTavish Micro Funboard.

surftech Mctavish

This board was designed by legendary Bob McTavish for Surftech, and is another great example of McTavish creativity. Mr. McTavish is an Australian who created and personalized surfboards for many major surf labels and famous surf legends like Barry Bennett, San Juan, Scott Dillon, and even Morey-Pope. Bob has decades of direct surfboard shaping experience and innovation in developing new shortboards. This background provided him with the expertise necessary to make the McTavish Micro Funboard the durable board that's fun to learn with.

Many surfboards for beginners, like softboards for instance, don't last very long and can be easily damaged, but this funboard is made with epoxy resin and well designed. Having a funboard like the Surftech McTavish Micro Funboard with epoxy translates into added strength and durability, making it highly ding-resistant and long-lasting. Other traditional fiberglass boards wear out more quickly, and with all of the times you'll be wiping out in the beginning, it's better to have a board that can take some dings and keep on going strong.

The dimensions of the Surftech McTavish Micro Funboard are very well-proportioned. This funboard is twenty one inches wide, providing just the right amount of space to learn to balance yourself while reducing the chances of slipping off of the board. It's two and three quarters of an an inch thick for good buoyancy.

The length of the Surftech McTavish Micro Funboard is six feet and six inches, just a bit longer than the average shortboards. The McTavish Micro Funboard's length is perfect to deliver both a weight that beginners can manage while handling out in the water, and provide just a little extra stability in its rounded shape.

New Surf Project

NSP or New Surf Project are not boards you will see advertised as the top 10 most popular. They are probably outranked by something like Channel Islands and Firewire. I don't know why you don't see them flying around the surfing forums because, to me they are pretty special. I will say, I haven't tried anything, but a funboard, which was the best board that I have learned to surf on.

I was learning to surf with a group of other surfers. I went down to the beach every Saturday and the boards were not that great, but who was I to know. I thought they seriously needed an upgrade. However, one day I arrived at the surf shop only to be greeted with ultra flashy surfboards, sporting great designs. Of course, we all know the number one rule - don't judge a board by its outward appearance, but who really sticks to this. Obviously a great design is going to catch your attention.


The surf shop was just loaded with NSP surfboards - funboards, longboards, shortboards. So I started to wax down a brand new funboard. It was a nice change from the dinged, chipped no name brands that I was used to.

Some funboards are only suited to learners, but NSP also provide boards for the more advanced surfer as well. They come along with FCS fins with a hybrid finish, which promotes extra durability - always a good thing with a funboard.

If you have been surfing on something basic, and then change to a NSP you will definitely notice the performance and balance it delivers. It's got a slight kick in the tail which is what gives it more performance and is great for small waves. The New Surf Project surfboards are all expoxy.


NSP also supports the charity, Boarding for breast cancer. So with that, they have brought out Surf Betty , B4BC. This is a range of boards for the girls, which range from 6"4 to 7"10. Anyway, you can't not love the love-ly design on these boards!

Something else that is pretty cool is the NSP Coco Mat technology. This is used with natural coconut husk fibers - yes really! The fibers are used at random during the construction process, coming up with something amazing.  This has proven to be both the strongest and lightest board available. The surfboards are very flexible and look completely natural.



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