If you’re new to surfing and don’t know where to start when it comes to buying the right surfboard, don’t worry. In this article, we’ll take you through the pros and cons of the different materials that are commonly used for surfboards as well as explain the different shapes/sizes. We’ve also included a list of the best surfboards for beginners.
The first thing you need to know is this general rule: the longer a surfboard, the more buoyant it is.
And more buoyancy makes it easier to start catching waves. However, the best surfboard for beginners to buy isn’t always the longest and most buoyant. It isn’t as straightforward as that, as you might outgrow your board in a matter of weeks if you go surfing enough.
What is the best material for a beginner’s surfboard?
To find the right surfboard, you need to answer the following two questions.
1. How often do you plan on surfing?
If you only plan to surf a few times a year, then a Foamie will be the right board for you. These boards are easier to catch waves with, making it easier to learn the basics. However, they don’t offer much in terms of manoeuvrability and change of direction.
Foamie (Soft Surfboard) boards – If you’re looking for a surfboard for casual use that’s great to learn the basics with, then a Foamie is a great option. As the name suggests, these boards are 100% made out of foamPolyurethanene (P.U) to be exact. These boards are soft, lightweight and very buoyant. This makes them more stable in the water making waves easier to catch and ride. The problem with Foamies is that people who buy them and surf regularly will quickly outgrow them, making Pop-out boards a better option.
The next option is Pop-out boards, which are better suited to anyone who plans on surfing several times a week/month. These boards remain suitable for skill levels from beginner through to intermediate.
Pop-out boards – These are a step up from Foamies and is the world’s most popular surfboard. They have a foam centre that is covered with a fibreglass coating. This makes the board a hybrid with some of the buoyancy of a Foamie, while also boasting the improved performance the fibreglass casing brings. Obviously, these boards will be a little heavier and more solid than a Foamie, so take a little extra care with it when in the water. Another benefit of a Pop-out board, other than its performance is that it will have a better resell value than a Foamie
2. What size wave will you be surfing?
The next factor you need to consider is the sea conditions where you will be surfing. If you’re planning to surf at a location where the waves are small, then longer boards are suggested. If your local beach tends to have bigger waves, a mid-sized boards would be better-suited.
What the best surfboard size for a beginner?
Selecting the correct surfboard size and style can be confusing. Here are just some of the names used to describe the different board types: Shortboard, Hybrid, Fish, Funboard, Gun, Longboard, Classic longboard, Modern longboard, The 2+1, Mini Tanker, Malibu, Mini-Malibu, Olo and the Alaia.
To keep things simple, we’re going to focus on three main types of surfboards. Longboards, Malibus and Shortboards.
As mentioned above: the general rule is, longer surfboards are easier to catch waves with. However, once you’re riding a wave, longer boards are harder to perform radical and fast moves with.
Longboard (9-14 feet): A longboard is any surfboard that’s between 9-14 feet. These boards are great for beginners as its length helps the board stay stable and buoyant. The size of the board also means users can catch smaller waves, whereas shortboards need heavier and faster waves for propulsion. This means beginner can use longboard to develop their skills in gentler conditions.
Longboards are best-suited for:
- Small and weak waves
- Elegant and relaxing surf styles
- Catching slow-breaking waves
Malibus and Mini-Malibus (7 – 9 feet): These boards are just smaller versions of the longboard. Typically, they feature a round nose and a small rocker.
Malibus are best-suited for:
- Small-to-average waves
- Beginners to intermediates looking to enjoy surfing while learning
- Experienced surfers practising skills in smaller waves
Shortboards (5’8″ – 6’8″ feet): It’s recommended that beginners should avoid Shortboard. They usually designed with a pointed nose and rounded or squarish tail. Advanced surfers like shortboards because they are faster and easier to manoeuvre than longer boards. However, their smaller size makes them less buoyant than longboards, which makes them more challenging to use. This is why its best for beginners to develop their skills on bigger boards.
Shortboards are best-suited for:
- Average-to-big waves
- Experience surfers who need faster manoeuvrability
Note: Worldwide measurements of surfboards are in feet and inches. A board described as 7´1“ × 17 ⅔“ × 2 ⅜“ is 7 feet, 1 inches long, 17 ⅔ inches wide and 2 ⅜ inches thick.
5 BEST Surfboards (for Beginners and Intermediates)
1. Circle One Razor Surfboards
- 5.8-9 feet
- Thruster (3-Fin) setup
- EPS high-density foam core
- Epoxy-resin laminate
- Premium ‘Porcher E-Glass’ fibreglass layers
The Circle One Razor surfboard is perfect for people who need a board to surf regularly with. It’s offered at a great price and comes in multiple sizes, ranging from 5.8-9 feet – meaning you’ll be able to find the perfect for you. The EPS high-density foam core gives the board good buoyancy, while its layered-fibreglass and epoxy-resin finish gives the user better control over the board and the ability to make radical and fast turns.
2. Bic DURA-TEC Magnum
- Pop-out design
- Fins included: FCS 8″ Centre Fin + FCS GL Side Fins
- Includes: padded board bag, leash and wax
The Bic DURA-TEC 8ft 4 Magnum’s mid-length makes it manoeuvrable and buoyant enough to suit beginner-to-intermediate level surfers. The DURA-TEC boards combine an ultra-durable polyethylene outer shell (like a kayak but lighter weight) with a full polyurethane foam core (like that found in traditional surfboards).
3. Circle One Bamboo Heritage Surfboard
- 6ft 4in to 9ft 6in
- EPS high-density foam core
- Gloss lacquer bamboo finish
- FCS fin system
This board doesn’t just look authentic, it also has the performance to match. Circle One combines an EPS high-density pressurised core with a bamboo/Epoxy laminate finish. The board is available in sizes ranging from 6’4″ to 9’6″ making it perfect for any beginner looking to develop their skills on a good-looking board that will match their skill level for several years.
4. California Board Company Eighty Four Foam Mini Mal Surfboard
- Wooden stringers for integral strength
- Safety Tri-Fin system
- Includes: padded board bag and leash
The California Board Company’ Eighty Four surfboard is aimed at beginners. It’s a Foamie Mini-mal board, which means its great for learning the basics and is suitable for anyone looking for a board to only use occasionally. That said, it’s a well designed and well-built Foamie.
5. Osprey Kids and Adults Foamie
- 6-8 feet
- Soft surfboard / Foamie
- Wooden stringers for integral strength
- Includes 3 fins and leash
This surfboard from Osprey is a great option if you’re looking for a board to take with you on the occasional holiday or trip to the beach. It comes in a range of styles/colour and you can choose whether you want a 6, 7, or 8-foot surfboard, making it a good fit for kids and adults alike.
It’s a Foamie board, which as we explain above, is the easiest to surf with and the most buoyant type of board there is. It’s also the best type of board for catching smaller waves. Depending on the size you go for its £94.00-£124.99 is really competitive too.
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