Buying Guide for Surfboards
Why buy a surfboard?
If you want to learn to surf or already surf frequently, it’s well worth your while to buy your surfboard rather than rent one each time you go to the beach. Even though they can be a pricey investment, if you rent a surfboard with any sort of regularity, it will cost less, in the long run, to buy a surfboard for yourself. You will never be caught without a surfboard if the rental place is running low, you’ll ensure that the surfboard is the right size and stiffness for your personal needs, and you can buy whichever color and design you like best. Not to mention that consistently using the same surfboard will allow you to hone your skills and progress faster. Thus beginners benefit from buying their own surfboard as much as intermediate or expert surfers do, if not more. If you buy your surfboard, you’ll fully control who uses it and can ensure it’s cared for properly.
What should you look for in a surfboard?
- Rider’s Experience: First and foremost, the key to buying a surfboard is to understand the kind of rider you are. If you’re an experienced cruiser, there’s no doubt you know what you’re looking for with just a quick search. However, riders who are new or still learning will benefit from seeking a board that accommodates them with specific features to aid their learning process.
- Board Construction: The exact material of your surfboard is another question pro and novice riders should always consider. It’s the great debate between soft boards and fiberglass boards. As the name would suggest, soft boards are made from a durable foam material that new users can take a few tumbles with and not expect to snap. For all of their style and beloved roots, fiberglass boards can chip and break when taking on heavier waves. Of course, fiberglass boards are classics, and they’re known to offer a bit more flex while riding.
- Board Length: Finally, board length is also a considerable factor for new or young riders and the experienced. Exact dimensions can be a struggle because if you’re buying for a young rider, you should also consider that they may outgrow a board that’s too small. However, moderately smaller boards offer the chance to take and store the deck where they please. Experienced users tend to ride full-sized boards (six feet or more), but easy stowaway is a factor you never want to pass up without a second thought.
What accessories can you buy for your surfboard?
If your new surfboard doesn’t come with its safety leash pre-attached, you’ll want to invest in one for safety purposes; these straps or coils attach to your wrist or ankle and help guide you back to the surface of the water whenever you wipe out. They also ensure that you won’t lose your surfboard when you fall off. If you’re a beginner or want more control over your surfboard, you may want to invest in a traction or deck pad for it as well. These are placed at the surfboard’s tail to provide extra grip for your feet, giving you more control over overturning the board. Surfboard fins and wax offer greater stability and control when turning or maneuvering your board. For minor dings and bumps and scratches, it’s worth your while to invest in a surfboard repair kit, also known as a ding repair kit. And while not strictly necessary, with the right surfboard rack, you can prominently display your surfboard in your home when not in use, giving it an aesthetic angle. Surfboard bags are also handy for portability, especially since they protect your board from bumps and scratches during transportation and heat and UV rays at the beach when you’re not out in the waves.
Our Picks for the Best Surfboards
WAVESTORM Sunburst Graphic Surfboard
This classic surfboard measures eight feet long and employs a variety of slick features for easy wave riding.
Pros: Constructed from a traditional soft foam and strong EPS core with a three-stringer system, this is a surfboard that’s a classic in visual and physical design. Its sharp blue and sunburst orange hues spread across soft foam like the sun setting over the ocean’s horizon. Delivering a solid performance is ensured through various means, like its high-density polyethylene (HDPE) slick bottom and its removable bolt-thru fins, which allow the rider to cut through the water with ease. Besides the three fins, this surfboard also comes included with a textured traction pad and removable ankle leash, so you won’t have to pay extra to buy any of these accessories separately.
Cons: There are no smaller or larger sizes available for those who prefer shorter or longer boards.
Bottom Line: For the seasoned rider who expects quality from end to end, this eight-foot surfboard offers plenty of perks to keep users in the water. And not only is the price nice, but the multiple bonus accessories that come included also make this surfboard an even better bang for your buck.
South Bay Board Co. Premium Foam Wax-Free Soft-Top Surfboard
This surfboard features a textured surface that provides built-in grip and traction, so you won't have to buy wax to improve these features.
Pros: You won’t ever have to worry about waxing this surfboard, thanks to its unique “fingerprint” texture. This textured, soft foam surface provides an excellent natural grip for your feet; no extra accessories are required. And since the entire top of the board features this soft texture, you can place your feet wherever they’re most comfortable for you rather than limiting yourself to the surface area of a single traction pad. And you won’t have to re-wax your surfboard after every use to keep it easy to grip. This board is available in multiple colors and several different lengths to better suit your personal preferences and comfort level. It also comes with a safety leash and three fins to boot.
Cons: If you take this board out in rougher conditions, you may find the included fins wear down or break easier than many similar items. The fin box on the board itself is a bit less sturdy.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a soft-topped surfboard or a model that won’t require waxing or a traction pad to ensure it’s easy for your feet to grip, this should be the ideal surfboard for you. From its built-in carrying handle to its below-average weight to the heat release valve that helps prevent loss of lamination, this surfboard is worth a second look for surfers of all experience levels.
South Bay Board Co. Beginner Surfboard for Kids & Adults
With a few feet lost and expert traction perks gained, this surfboard knows how to keep a new rider on their feet, however young or old they may be.
Pros: Just underneath the surface is the board’s slick HDPE bottom skin, which offers users an uncommonly responsive undertow that adds stiffness while maximizing acceleration in the water. Two other worthwhile features geared toward beginners include three fins for added control that you can arrange in multiple different layouts, the board’s safety leash, which allows riders to quickly recover when knocked off their board, as well as its reduced size at six feet, allowing for better traction and mobility for new users. However, there are two other alternative size options if you prefer something shorter or longer and three possible colors to choose from (though all are striped, with no alternative designs). This surfboard’s lighter weight makes it less strenuous to carry from your car and into the water and back and makes it easier to control and turn. Overall this is a very beginner-friendly board, whether they’re kids or adults.
Cons: You’ll want to be careful about exposing this surfboard to sun and heat when not in use, as it doesn’t have built-in UV protection like some.
Bottom Line: For users who are new to the water sport, particularly though not exclusively kids, this surfboard brings what experienced riders can expect while tossing in a few perks that will aid first-time wave cruisers. This surfboard for beginners is constructed with a high EPS core to withstand the rider’s weight, shifting movements, and crashing waves.
Giantex Surfboard With Removable Fins
This colorful, durable surfboard is much less pricey than most, perfect for those who want to surf but are on a tighter budget.
Pros: Surfboards can be a pricey item, but this model offers a more budget-friendly price tag for those who need to watch their spending. It features a classic EPS foam core, stiffer top foam, and arc linear design for added rigidity and stability in large and small waves. Its high-density polyethylene slick bottom accentuates the commitment to a smoother, swifter ride. Not only does a safety leash and three removable fins come included with your purchase, but it’s available in a few different bright color choices as well.
Cons: This is not the most long-lasting or durable surfboard. Also, note that the six-foot size is the only length offered.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a simple to use and easy on the wallet board, this surfboard should accommodate the newbies and the experienced riders all the same—especially since it’s equally viable in small and large waves alike.
Paragon Surfboards Retro Noserider Surfboard
This premium, lightweight surfboard offers enough dependability, stability, and buoyancy to satisfy the pros and the newbies alike.
Pros: Premium quality generally means a long-lasting service life, and you should get just that from this high-end, extra-long surfboard. From its high-quality polyurethane construction to extra-wide nose and tail to 50/50 rails, this board is the perfect blend of strong, stable, and smooth to ride upon, ideal for noseriding in particular. It’s also lightweight, easy to turn, and won’t put unnecessary strain on body when carrying it into and out of the water. The longer (nine-foot) and wider size also allows you to catch more of a wave while it’s in action. Not only that but it looks great thanks to the glossy surface and four attractive retro color options with two alternate sizing options as well. Its stability and strength also ensures this premium board has an excellent weight capacity, able to support up to 250 pounds at a time.
Cons: Even by surfboard standards, there’s no denying that this an expensive purchase. Especially since it doesn’t come included with its own built-in safety leash, so you’ll have to spend even more money to acquire one before you can take this board out for a spin.
Bottom Line: This extra-long surfboard features premium quality with a design that’s reminiscent of a retro, old-school feel. It doesn’t just look great, though; this is an undeniably high end surfboard that is the perfect balance of sturdy, durable, and lightweightedness.
Surfing is a fun, challenging aquatic sport, a way to fully enjoy riding the waves at the beach. No matter how experienced or new you are to the work of surfing, it’s well worth your while to invest in a good personal surfboard if it’s a hobby you intend to take up or already partake in.