TIPS FOR CHOOSING YOUR SURFBOARD
YOUR FIRST SURFBOARD.
So you are going to be a surfer, so you need the equiptment, a surfboard for the beginner.
Here are some guidelines for choosing your first surf board:
1. Buy a used surfboard, cause you'll only want it for around 200 hours of surfing time. that's about 6-8 months for the weekender. A lot less if you're the keen grommet. The point is don't blow the budget and trade it in when you're ready to step up. Used surfboards are always in demand, especially if the used surfboard is suitable for beginners.
2. LENGTH: choose something about 16- 20 inches longer than yourself. The idea is to catch as many waves as you can and practice. For this your need flotation and easier paddling, It will take a while for your your arms to develop paddling strength so you need all the help you can get, and to keep you motivated.
3. WIDTH: choose something around or just under 19 inches. This offers more stability without feeling like a boat. It will also aid in paddling. Most surfboards these days are around the 18-19 inch mark, so what i'm saying is think more towards the 19 inches. The waves that you will be learning in will most probably pretty small, 1 to 3 foot, so a bit of width will give you a more "skatey" feel and not bog as easy as a narrower board.
4. THICKNESS: means flotation, choose a board with about 2and a half inches of foam at its thickest point near the centre of the surfboard. Flotation aids in paddling and smoothness of ride.
5. OUTLINE: usually the modern surfboard has its widest point just forward of centre and running back through the centre for about 3 inches. The further towards the nose of the board the widest point is the easier it is to paddle but takes more effort to turn off the back foot. So for the beginner a board whos nose seems a little wide is better. As for the tail area something around 14 inches measured a foot up from the tail will give a nice full shape. For the tail itself choose a rounded square or round tail. No need to get fancy here.
6. ACCESSORIES: choose a good legrope with swivel. The waves you are riding are small so just a light weight, small surf leggie will do. The swivel helps keep the legrope itself from twisting up after wiping out. Also a legrope that can detach easily from your surfboard plug via the velcro is better than having to thread the whole leggie through the anchor rope. Deck grips and nose gaurds are not necessary. They don't offer much, especially for the beginner. Save the money.
7. WAX: a soft wax is best. Wax can give even the veteren surfer a rash. Especially when you just came out of winter and the belly has been protected by your wetsuit. I like a summer formula all year round. It should go on easily and feel a bit chewy, but don't eat it, it tastes bad. Don't let your wax build up too much, it can get soapy, cause it collects the sand and dirt. It also adds weight. So purchase a wax comb and use it regurally to get rid of build up. It also helps fresen up the traction of the existing wax and so you wont use as much. Keep the wax off the rail line it creates drag, just wax from about the legrope plug up to just past your chest line.
8. WETSUITS: this depends on the time of year and of course how cold the water is. The surf shops in your area are the best on thickness here, they are unlikely to stock an inappropriate thickness. Wetsuits come in a lot of styles, there are "short johns" , no sleeves but with shorts. "Spring suits", long sleeves or short sleeves, both with shorts. "Steamers", also sleeveless, short sleeved and long sleeved, some come with attatchable hoods. Add to this there are booties, gloves, rash vests and just wetsuit pants. Phew!. So what do you choose. What everyone else is using in your area that's what. It's best to ask around, just don't buy because it might be on special. What you want is quality and fit, it will last a long time if you rinse it after each surf and hang it. Make sure there aren't gaping air pockets in it when you try it on. Your arms and shoulders shouldn't be too restricted. Don't fall for the line that it will loosen up once it's wet. If it feels too tight then it is too tight. By the same token you don't want it fitting like the shirt and shorts you wear. It should be firm. Avoid wetsuits that have seams cutting under your arm sockets. They'll give you rash. The seams should be a flatlock seam or a fluid weld seam. A rash vest is a must, you can wear it under your wetsuit to help with avoiding rash if you want. A rash vest gives protection from the sun and helps stop rash developing on your stomach and chest areas from rubbing against the wax.
A BIT ON THE MORE ADVANCED SURFBOARD DESIGN
Flat - simple and fast. wants a bit of curve in the rocker to help with off the top.
Concaves- add lift, are great in clean hollow waves not so great in choppy surf though,
can tend to bog if not surfed with enthusiam, but combined with a rolled rail makes
for a magic board.
Double Concave- All the benifits of a concave but a bit more forgiving, popular choice is
single to double concave.Getting a touch of "V" under foot
"V" - loose and easy rail to rail transition, lacks speed in small surf. More popular as
board and wave size increases.
Square Tail- The area in the tail allows lift on smaller waves. Not a good tail if your
trying to smooth out your style.
Rounded Square - best all-round tail shape. Combines the drive of a square with more flow
Round - a smooth turning tail and more forgiving than the rounded square.
Swallow- Straighter tail plan shape like the square tail, gives good drive and good
leaverage for squarer turns. Good in barrels, allows a feel on the face.
PIN- Straighter plan shape,usually on your gun, good hold and drive. Perfect big wave
board where you need to hold that bottom turn.
Rolled rail/ soft- is the most forgiving. no edges to catch, good for busting out.
Boxed rail- has a corky feel. keeps thickness out to your rail. helps paddling.
Low rail -will be a little more 'knify' in the water. Good in sucky waves.
Most everyday boards have a combination of 2 or more rail types. Rolled or neutral up front,
through to either a boxy or a low rail.Then blocked up the last third, which allows lift speed and release through turns.
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