When choosing a board, it is important to consider
your height, weight and ability level. If you are an adult just starting out, look for a board that
is relatively thick and wide, something that will float you well. As you progress, you will look for a board that can
carry you when paddling but with sharper edges/rails. If you are an adolescent just starting out, a board that is a
little larger in height than you is best suited, with enough volume to float you on top of the water when not moving.
As you progress, you’ll want to look for a board that is a little thinner with sharper rails. With a little less
volume, but more maneuverability on the wave.
Basic rules about the board shape
Take a look at the side profile of the board and you will see
what is known as the rocker line. It’s the curve in the tail and the nose looking from the side of the board. A board with a
pronounced rocker is maneuverable and turns easily. A flat rocker means the board will be fast but a little harder to turn.
Look at the board’s outline. A wide outline is good for smaller waves. A narrow outline is better for larger, more powerful waves.
You will see the nose of the board has lots of rocker.
This is to allow for easier maneuverability achieved by the rider putting pressure on the tail of the
board and leaning in the direction he/she wants to go. The nose is also thinner than the mid-section
of the board to allow for easier duck diving. When choosing a board, you should consider all the
above factors, and speak to your local surf shop or school before buying. After you have done this you
will have all the information to ensure you find a board that suits your body and your surfing ability.
While holding the board you will feel its edge, its thickness and
the shape of the rail. Your board’s thickness should be relative to your weight. The heavier you are the thicker the board should be.
The rail’s shape should be rounded for beginners, is usually sharper for more powerful waves and rounded on the top then
squared at the bottom (boxy) for quick maneuverability. The tail of the board is usually wide for smaller waves,
and narrow for big waves, while being round for soft, slow maneuvers and square for quick, snappy maneuvers.