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When you're learning to surf, picking the right surfboard is crucial. I know that in the beginning you can't tell the difference between all the different shapes. You can tell that some are long and some are short. You can tell that some are pointed and some are more round. But that's really as far as most beginners can go and there's nothing wrong with that… except that you could pick the wrong board unknowingly and make a huge mistake.
In the beginning, the speed at which you learn how to surf will be in direct proportion to the number of waves you can catch. It's all about wave count and the more waves you can catch the better.
Surfing is probably one of the toughest sports in the world to learn. For you snowboarders, it would be like learning to snowboard in an avalanche, except tougher. There are two moving mediums in surfing, the board, and the wave. And every wave is different. Size, speed, direction, and where the wave breaks can be different for every wave.
Now I certainly don't want to talk you out of surfing, surfing is one of the most euphoric experiences in life, but I do want you to be very aware that picking the right board is paramount to your enjoyment level and rate of improvement.
Now I know this isn't what some of you want to hear, but PLEASE start on a longboard. Yes a longboard, BUT not just any longboard. All longboards are not the same. Just because you rented one or tried your buddies doesn't mean that they all handle and perform the same. In fact, there are HUGE differences between longboards, especially the ones you typically rent.
I can hear you now, "Can't I start on something smaller? I don't want a longboard." And the answer is yes of course. Just like I could learn how to drive a manual transmission car by driving a Ferrari. Is it possible? Sure. Smart? Not at all.
You didn't learn how to ride a bike on a 21 speed, downhill, full suspension, mountain bike did you? Then why would you try and cut corners here? Because it isn't cool? Come on, really?
A longboard is NEVER a bad purchase. Even if you want to move down in size to a smaller board in the future, having a longboard in your quiver is something that all real surfers have. Here's why.
Some days the waves are going to just suck. And what happens when you want to paddle out on a 2ft day with your 5'10" potato chip? You will hate life, you will hate your board, and you'll probably get in an argument with your spouse because you're so moody. (Those who surf know exactly what I am talking about.) For those days you will be begging for a longboard.
The second reason a longboard is never a bad purchase is that you will always have somebody that wants to go surfing with you. Friend, or family, you will want something that they can take out and have fun on. You guessed it, a longboard.
But you have to get the right longboard. Just because the board is long doesn't mean that it's the right one. You will need -
Now that's a tall order for the vast majority of boards on the market but not for us at Degree33. Our Ultimate longboard was designed just for you with all those things that you want and need. That's why our Ultimate is the number one seller we have. Because it is that good. And just to prove it, we throw in a 33 Day "Ride It" guarantee. NOBODY else does that.
This is going to be based on your height and weight. Below is a simple graph to help you figure out which size is going to be the best for you. For most size and weight categories you will have two choices. The best choice for you will be based on your surfing goals. If you are just wanting to have fun, then go with the longer one. If you're surfing for the challenge of it, and intend on moving down in board size as fast as possible, then go with the shorter one.
Here's what a couple surfers have had to say about our Ultimate longboard:
"Got my 9'0" Ultimate board last Wednesday. As a beginner I watched all your videos, waxed her up, and went to the ocean on Sunday. It was amazing. I caught just about every wave I paddled into. My buddies could not believe it. I have finally found my dream board. All the assistance you provided me was awesome. I have a whole new outlook on surfing. Thanks a ton!" - Jeff Holoman Greenville, NC
"I've been out on my new 9' several times and it performs as advertised-easiest paddle I've ever had, very stable but easy to turn. I'm stoked, and thanks." - Judd Westover Del Mar, CA
Are there any exceptions to this rule? Yes two. If you're a light weight girl or grom (youth). For both of you, you can get away going shorter. But the same rules apply. You're still getting a board that is big enough to do everything I mention above, it's just sized better for you. For you guys, in addition to the Ultimate, take a look at the Poacher funboard. Great place to start for smaller learners.
What's your take on this? When a beginner asks you what board they should get what do you tell them?