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Pick a Board, Any Board?

Might not be your board

Most people unfamiliar with surfing are only aware of two surfboard types: Short and Long. Surfing is not defined as a black and white culture and neither are the boards the surfer rides. Choosing the right surfboard to fit your style and level of ability is essential.

Probably the best thing to do when figuring out what type of board you should buy is to try it before you buy it. Many local San Diego surf shops provide surfboard rental services. Rental

boards are typically a type called softops, a durable foam board that provides a little more stability as well as a little more buoyancy than your standard foam core boards. These boards also prevent you from having to buy a broken foam board after you dig the nose into the sand.

The other option is to find a friend that will let you borrow one of their boards. However, this could be difficult. A surfer and his/her boards are like an ape and its bananas; they can never have enough and they’re hesitant to give one up.

What type of surfboard should you get? Personally, I ride longer boards (I’m no small potato). This does not mean that you can’t ride a shorter board if you are a larger person. It just means you will need more push to get you moving. Also, your stability will be a lot less. This is not ideal for a beginner. Your best bet for finding the right board size is to try out a bunch of different ones and see what you feel most comfortable with. If your friend rides a 5’ 10” it doesn’t mean that is the right board for you. Again, try a handful of surfboards and pick your pleasure from that.

San Diego is relatively calm (small) throughout the summertime, tends to get bigger in the winter, with some scattered good size swells spread throughout the year. With this in mind, choose your surf days and your boards wisely. You do not want to take out the wrong board on the wrong day. If the waves are barreling over head, you probably do not want to take out a 10’ surfboard. Actually, if you are a beginner, you will probably just want to sit on the beach and watch some of the gruesome wipeouts by people who also shouldn’t be out there.

I saw a guy recently going out in overhead surf with his wetsuit on backwards while dragging his surfboard to the water by the leash. I saw him coming in about 15 minutes later with his board in two pieces, blood streaming from his cheek and a flood of cheers and laughter coming from the beach. Don’t be this guy.

The main thing to remember when you get out there is that you are one of many people out enjoying the best sport in the world. Whether you are a beginner, a long-timer, a weekend warrior or a pro, you should always respect the sport and other surfers, regardless of capability, and just have a great time.


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  • City: San Diego