Choosing a surfboard can be a daunting task for someone new to surfing. There are so many sizes and shapes to consider, as well as what the board is made of. Before you even look at purchasing a board, you need to ask yourself one question, "Am I a good swimmer in the ocean?" If you answer "no" to this, then I would advise finding a local surfing instructor and taking some lessons.
In fact, if you have never surfed before it’s a good idea to get some surf lessons. You don't need your own board, they supply them, and you will be able to get a feel for surfing before you go spend money on a board.
Longboard Vs. Shortboard
So you've had a few lessons and now you want to get your own board. You see the guys ripping on a shortboard out the back and want some of the action. Time to pick a board, the best way to choose what board to get initially depends on the following factors:
Can you stand up?
Can you turn on a wave and trim?
If you answer "no" to these questions, then you need to forget about the short performance board and get yourself a longboard, a board over 8 feet. If you are planning on surfing a lot and don't want to replace your board straight away, then you would be best off starting with a fibreglass board, if you are not planning on surfing a lot, then a foam composite board would be best suited, as they are easier to handle in the water and don't hurt as much if you fall onto the board.
If you answer yes to these questions, then it’s time to look at a shorter board, you’re ready to start doing maneuvres on the face of a wave.
Survey the Beach
You now need to think about where you are planning on surfing as this also is a factor in what type of board to purchase. Go to the beach where you plan on surfing and take a look at what others are riding, if they are all riding longboards, then you would be best to get a longboard.
With this bit of knowledge you should be ready to find your first board, head into your local surf shop, and of course don’t be scared to ask for help.