The shortboard, the most popular board amongst surfers, is a short, narrow, thin board. It generates speed, tight curves and radical manoeuvres. On the other hand, it is targeted at advanced surfers. Follow our advice to choose the best board for you to improve quickly.
SHORTBOARD: THE MOST POPULAR BOARD
It can be found on the beach standing up with the nose in the sand, out on the lineup, gripped under the arm of surfer on a bicycle, shiny and new lined up in the shops, second-hand on the internet or at the local Trocathlon.
Shortboards are everywhere! With such a range on the second-hand market, prices are naturally lower.
When you research surfboards, you might read that the ideal set up would be to have several boards - to adapt to the different wave conditions and your skill level… Except your budget doesn't necessarily allow you to buy a full quiver! So you need to find ONE board, The One, to begin surfing with and which also help you to improve as you spend more time in the water.
CHOOSE A SHORTBOARD TO GET STARTED?
WHAT I THINK I'LL DO
WHAT I REALLY DO
To avoid this [bad] experience, it is important not to try to skip stages. As in skiing, beginners are advised not to start with black runs, to stay on the green and blue runs first. For surfing it's the same.
Because of it’s low volume, a shortboard "sinks" more than a foam surfboard. It requires more strength, stamina and paddle technique to take off and surf the wave.
Choosing a shortboard to start with will increase the time it takes to progress. You will paddle a lot, probably miss several take offs - and therefore catch less waves. In the end, you might find surfing too hard, too dangerous... and end up disappointed by this sport. Which is a real shame - especially if it's because of a wrong board choice.
Despite the wipeouts, even if your motivation remains the same, you risk injuring other surfers or yourself due to your own inexperience and lack of knowledge. Learning to surf takes time, and it’s a rite of passage - if you skip a step, maybe you have a more professional looking board… but you will still lack the knowledge required to stay safe, and improve your skills!
Still want to start surfing with a shortboard?
FOAM SURFBOARD: The beginner’s best friend!
Throughout this article, you’re hopefully starting to understand: beginning surfing with a shortboard is a bad idea if you want to enjoy the pleasures of the glide quickly.
To steepen your learning curve, it is essential to choose the right board. The main criteria for choosing a surfboard are:
THE WAVES YOU WANT TO SURF
YOUR SKILL LEVEL
YOUR BODY TYPE
To start with, you'll need a large board. This will help you to paddle out and it’s actually easier to catch the wave. Once you get going, a board with a lot of volume will allow you to take off more easily, whilst also being more stable. The size of the surfboard, therefore, depends on the size of the surfer. The bigger you are, the bigger your board needs to be.
Wave type is also important for rapid improvement. Spots with white water (the foam of end of waves as they get closer to the beach), as well as small soft waves, are much easier places to start gently. The hollow, barrelling waves are for experienced surfers only - as well as being much more difficult to surf, the wipeouts there can be much more powerful and overwhelming.
The foam board is especially designed and adapted to these beginner conditions. It can be used by the whole family thanks to it’s solid design (much more solid than a shortboard) and it’s foam deck that helps to lessen the chance of injury in case of falls or collisions.
Contrary to popular belief, the foam board is not exclusively for beginners. It will accompany you throughout your journey, from the first take off to the practice of manoeuvres in more challenging conditions.
It is also an excellent surfboard for experienced surfers who want to have fun in the mellow summer waves or shorebreak...
So YES, let’s start surfing, but NOT with a SHORTBOARD!