When everything is correct, surfing the perfect board gives you that magical feeling. The board is easy to control, you can catch waves easily, and your maneuvers are smooth and powerful. You’ll find that your confidence and smile are both boosted.
Here are five tips for finding the perfect surfboard.
Start by measuring the length.
When you’re learning to surf, you should consider the length of your board. Your board should be 7 to 9 feet long, depending on weight. It would help if you chose length because it will increase your paddle speed.
First, increasing the length will increase foam volume. This increases buoyancy. Buoyancy helps keep the surfboard above the water so you can paddle with less water.
When you paddle to catch a wave, your board will act as a “displacement hull”, which means it will push or displace water. When you’re up and surfing, your board begins to plane. It acts as a “planing-hull.” The displacement hull’s maximum speed is determined by its length. The longer the board, you can paddle faster, and this is what you want when you’re learning to surf.
To take off from a wave, your paddle speed needs to match that of the wave. A longer board will help you reach the pace faster. You will get up faster if you paddle quickly, even if the wave isn’t that steep. You have time to make small adjustments, find your balance and adjust your board to the wave’s shoulder before it becomes too critical.
You can also use your paddle speed to help you get to the right take-off position faster. Your judgement as a beginner surfer is still developing.
A 6’0 Fish, for example, is not the best board for an aspiring surfer due to its limited paddle speed. In general, choosing a board that is too small is the most common reason for selecting the wrong one.
Avoid using the wrong board.
If you have one, don’t keep a board that doesn’t perform as you would like it to (you can’t turn it, and you need more waves). You will not be able to surf the board well if you keep on doing it. You can easily lose a few years of your learning process, but gain a few years of frustration. It’s much easier to switch boards than to learn to surf or to change your style.
If you’re a backfoot surfer, and you ride a board that has a lot more tail rocker than you need, you may struggle. Back foot surfers need the push from the tail, so they need a flatter tail rocker. It is easier to change the board than try to become a back foot surfer.
Analyse the old surfboard
Bring your old board to the shaper, or surfboard shop. Let a professional analyse your board. Explain what you experience when you surf this board, and what you would like to change. Please be as specific as you can. You can also upload photos or videos of you surfing on your old board.
This feedback will give the specialist a good starting point and increase your chances of getting a surfboard that is similar to what you want.
You should keep track of the numbers on your old boards. It is important to track not only volume, length and width, but also a lot of other dimensions. You can ask your shaper for the numbers or you can learn how to measure boards. Building a reference base helps you to understand your needs and possible solutions.
Surfboard Design Basics: Understand the basics
Understand how the design of a surfboard affects its performance. Understanding the fundamental principles of a surfboard will allow you to understand its behavior better. Many opinions about surfboards are based on subjective, well-intentioned feelings. You may get five different answers if you ask five surfers to define “drive.” Understanding the impact of varying rail shapes and bottom contours is essential. You can filter out a lot more mist. Discover the mystery of a surfboard. Everything has a purpose.
If you find that your fins are spinning out when you make top turns, replacing them with a rake could solve the issue.
We will share this knowledge in future posts. The Surfboard Book by Sean McCagh is a good book that explains how surfboards function and straightforwardly. If you are willing to work, you will reap the rewards.
Buy before you try!
You can only truly understand the behavior of a surfboard by trying it out. You will never forget the feeling of a V-bottom in the tail if you have experienced it. Sometimes, prejudice can prevent you from choosing the right board for your conditions. Test out demo boards, borrow boards from friends and see what works. Always test your boards in the water.
Try surfing with different boards in the same session to see your changes. Film yourself and you’ll see what happens. It may be different from what you thought. Try different fins. Fins are more critical than most people think. It can make or ruin a board.
Finding the perfect surfboard can be a difficult task. The magic board is usually a result of many iterations. This process can be shortened by trying a board out before buying one.