Beginner surfboard options- should you buy?

June 1, 2021

So, you want to buy your first surfboard? It is a daunting decision and there are many variables to consider. Even as an experienced surfer and instructor, it took me years and many surfboards to dial in the direction in which I wanted to go, wasting lots of money and boards along the way. Usually the journey goes something like this:

First, you buy a soft top surfboard to practice standing up. Once you are able to stand, you buy some sort of longboard. Once you are able to do bottom turns, you buy a hybrid board. At this point you should have a rough idea of where you want to go with your surfing. Do you want to go short and get into making turns? Or, do you go long and start cruising up and down the beach?

Following this path, you have three options:

1. Buy several surfboards

The upside is, you will always have the boards and they could be a fallback if something happens to your surfboard of choice. However, if you choose this option, you end up buying 4 boards in the first year of your surfing life. The boards cost a lot of money and take up a lot of space. In addition to that, the reality is that you may never surf 3 of these 4 boards ever again.

If you are in the market for purchasing a board, these are good places to start:

2. Rent from shops

The positive aspect here is that this will be a one stop shop. You can rent a wetsuit, surfboard, and buy sunscreen all at the same time. However, if you go the rental route via shops, you get very little choice, spend a ton of money, and probably end up surfing boards that are poorly suited for your particular skill level. This slows your progression significantly. If the only board that is available is a 6’ shortboard and you are not ready to ride that type of board, you will learn little to nothing from paddling out on it.

You will most likely have to go to your local surf shop, here are some in the Nor-Cal area:

3. Access a growing quiver of shared boards  

If you join the simpl.surf community you instantly have all the choices you need at your fingertips.  For $45 / month, you get full access to our growing quiver of shared boards at any location.  In the beginning, you are able to rent a wavestorm board.  As soon as you’re ready, grab one of our real longboards. Then move on to a hybrid. From there, the options really open up. Rather than thinking “I want a shortboard” and going into the local shop and having them choose a board for you, you can try out a variety of shapes. Do you want a swallow tail or a squash? Thruster or Quad? High Performance or funshape? These are all questions you need to answer for yourself and testing out a number of boards is the best way to do so.

If you are interested in this option, take a look here:

Besides the obvious monetary advantage (surfboards are expensive!!), you will cut down on your learning time tremendously by being able to experiment with different boards to find what is best suited for you. Take a look at our rental quiver, you might see something you like!

Happy Surfing!

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