Many surfers are riding the wrong surfboard for their skill level. This leads to unnecessary frustration and disappointment. Contributing Editor and Private Surf Coach Alex Wilkinson explains why a larger board may help you and how to pick the right surfboard for you.
They easily fit under your arm, they slide into any-size car, and they’re what all the guys on the world tour are riding. This makes short boards seem very desirable.
Because of this, a large percentage of surfers either prematurely move down in board size (before they have the ability) or are currently riding boards that are too small for them. You often see surfers strutting down to the waters edge with a small, shiny new board under there arm. They paddle out, still looking great… and then don’t catch a single wave in 2 hours.
If you are using a board that is too small, you’ll be spending entire sessions watching people around you catch loads of waves while you are missing every wave you paddle for. Frustrating! This could partly be down to your wave reading skills, but there is a good chance poor board selection is creating the low wave count.
Small (low volume) boards are amazing to use if you are at peak surf fitness, can generate your own speed on a wave, and are comfortable with super late takeoffs. If you can’t do those things and are riding a small board, you are probably using unsuitable equipment and could be massively slowing down your rate of progression. Some time spent on a larger board could really pay off. Note: a larger board is a board with more volume (float), not necessarily longer.
So what does extra volume do for you?
1) Gives you a higher paddle speed. 2) Helps you glide over fat sections. 3) Gets you into waves earlier. 4) Increases your wave count. 5) Makes the board more forgiving to use (foot placement etc. is not so critical). 6) Makes paddling easier if you are not “paddle fit”. 7) Enables the board to carry more speed down the line.
Overall more volume in a board makes surfing easier.
Alex offers these four points to consider to help you figure out how to pick the right surfboard for you.
1. The type of waves you typically surf.
2. If you don’t surf often.
3. Rely on science to tell you what size board is right for you.
4. What’s your goal in surfing?
Visit Alex’s site, PurelineSurf.com, for more information on each of these four points.
If you have a question for Alex or suggestions on how to pick the right surfboard, please share them below.