Advice on buying a surfboard
This advice applies no matter who you're buying your surfboard from, and if this all seems too obvious and simplistic then this page isn't aimed at you. Should you decide to order a custom surfboard, here's a few tips on the process and dont forget you can also ask for surfboard advise online here.
Unless your hugely experienced, don't go in with a list of tail and nose widths, rail shapes, concaves, blah blah blah. You're paying for your shapers experience and expertise so use it. Decide what length and type of surfboard you want in general terms and be brutally honest about your abilities and weight! Leave the details to the shaper.
You will no doubt end up engaged in a conversation about where you intend to use your surfboard most of the time and what if anything you want the surfboard's performance to be biased towards, manoeuvrability, ease of paddling, down the line speed, whatever. It's up to you, it's your board. Obviously it helps if you have at least a rough idea of what you want but if you have any doubts, always ask rather than pick a surfboard based on what you've seen in the latest mags or on what your mate reckons will work. Remember, your shaper doesn't want to sell you this surfboard, he wants to sell you this one and the next, and the next and the next. In other words, he has a vested interest in giving you a board that suits and helps you so you'll be back for that next surfboard when you're ready for it.
Come and visit Down the Line and we'll help with our experience and knowledge so you buy the best surfboard for your abilities and preferences.
The way experienced and competition surfers get surfboards that work best for them is by building up a relationship with their shaper. When they order a new board, they can explain what they did and didn't like about the last board and this feedback can be built upon when the next surfboard is shaped. People use this approach for one simple reason, it works. It'll work just as well for you as it does for any of the pros.
Buying a surfboard off the rack? here's a few questions you ought to be thinking about.
- Where was the surfboard made and who by?
Is it a manufacturer you're familiar with? If its bears the name of the shop you're in it's what we call a contract board, so again, who makes them?
- What's the construction?
Not as odd as it sounds, if you're a relative newcomer you don't want a surfboard with a pro-light glass job. It'll be nice and light, but you could be buying another board in a few months when it's reached the end of its useful life.
After your first surfboard?
The general shapes to look out for when buying a surfboard as a beginner to the sport are:-
- Mals / Longboards - If you have no previous board riding experience (e.g. skating, snowboarding etc.) and are of quite big build.
- Mini Mal - If you have no previous board riding experience and are of medium build/weight.
- Funboard - If you think you'll progress quickly and are quite light.
- The Fish Surfboard - If you skate, snowboard etc. and you are of medium/small build then this may be the board for you to learn on.
Overall, in my experience, a buoyant surfboard is best for learning on.