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Buying a Surfboard - Surfboard Selection Guide

Posted: Thursday Apr 9, 2009     By: Steven Oboyle     Category: Surfing How To

Steve O breaks down how to go about purchasing your next or first Surfboard.


Surfboard reviews that are in the back of magazines month after month aren't exactly what's on the rack at your local shop. In fact, your local surf shop doesn't base their inventory off of a surfboard review. They go and find shapers that their neighboring shops don't carry and stock boards that work in the local conditions, for the local surfers. If you walk into your local shop and ask for a red board, that's what you will get. And with all due respect, the red board will not be the best for you! Here are somethings you need to do so you can find what boards works best for you. If you are an absolute "New Car Guy" then here is your next list for buying a brand new board.

- Remember, YOU are spending your money. The ball is your hands! You should be treated like a king or queen anywhere you are shopping for a surfboard.

- Have the dimensions of your last board (or 2) that has worked well (or not so well) for you. This will quickly narrow down your selection.

Tell a shop employee what kinds of waves you are going to surf. Be honest and tell them your level of surfing. Be specific because they may have more boards around the corner or in storage.

- If you have a video of you surfing, show it. The surf shop will have the internet, or even an an iphone or verizon dare will do the trick! I surfed with Mark (shop employee) from K-coast days before I needed a new board and he said, "I know what board you are looking for. Come stop by, I'll set you up!" Easy enough and he made my selection very easy. The board works perfect!

- Understand why boards have different tails, fin set-ups, noses, widths & thickness, and various rockers. Ask questions. If they can not answer them, they should find someone in the shop who can. If they can't find someone to help you, go to the NEXT SHOP! (I would not buy a car from someone who does not know something about what I am looking for!)

- After you have a conversation about surfing with someone who surfs, spend some time looking at different boards with a shop employee. Ask them to place three boards on the table. This will help you narrow the selection and make your final decision.

- A new board is a risk. Find a company or shaper that works for you and stick with them. Find one who shapes boards for your type of waves.

Eventually, this may lead you to calling a shaper and having them shape boards specifically for you. You can do this at the start, but it's usually not worth the time, hassle and expense unless you know exactly what works for you (about 2% of us).