As a beginner surfer, bigger is almost always better when it comes to surfboard size. The first thing a new surfer needs from their surfboard is stability and buoyancy. As a surfer progresses along their journey in learning how to surf, there will be a number of different reasons they’ll adjust the size of their board to fit a variety of different needs.
When you picked out your first board, we suggested something about three feet longer than your height. For nearly every surfer, this means a longboard. While longboards are ideal for getting started, they become cumbersome when trying to learn how to progress in your turning ability. However, it truly takes mastering the footwork and flow of linking top and bottom turns together on a longboard, for you to be ready to move down to a mid length surfboard. Jumping down too soon can cause bad habits to stick around.
Here’s our beginner no-no’s we want you to overcome before you drop in board length:
- Paddling too far back on the board. Longboards let you get away with being slightly too far back on the tail when paddling into waves. They’re long and flat and have great glide with less paddling effort than smaller boards. If you’re too far back on a smaller board, you’ll have too much drag and never get into the wave. Practice finding that sweet spot with your nose just above the water line and you’ll glide smoothly into waves on a smaller board.
- Late to your feet - Longboards remain fairly stable when they shoot out in front of the wave on takeoff, beginners can still get away with their pop-up out in the flats. Not so much with a shorter, less stable board! Speed wobbles or stalling out, will get you catching rails before you get to your feet. Learn to get to your feet before you hit the bottom of the wave and you’ll have time to make your bottom turn instead of getting stuck going straight.
- Turning from the middle - There’s just no way to turn a longboard if you’re not behind the midpoint of your board. The same goes for smaller boards. The fins are the driving force behind a good turn. Learn to shift back to the tail for a turn on your beginner longboard and you’ll transition smoothly when you downsize your go-to stick.