Which Board for Me?

This guide had been designed by 0800 80 surf to help you chose the right board. It is designed for the BEGINNER to INTERMEDIATE surfer who surfs mostly in the Christchurch region.

Size Does Matter

The Bigger the surf board the more stable it is and the easier it is to ride. Most beginners need a board over 7 ft in length.

It’s not just length however it’s over all volume. The width and thickness of a board are important too. Most beginners are looking for a board at least 19 inches wide and at least 2 ½ inches thick. You will normally find the dimensions of a board written in small letters on the base of the board near the tail along the stringer line.

e.g. 8’6’’ x 19 ‘ x 2 ½ ‘ means the board is 8 foot 6 inches long, it is 19 inches wide at its widest point and is 2 ½ inches thick at its thickest point.

How Long is too Long

There is a compromise between the stability of the board and how easily it turns. The bigger boards are more stable but turn more slowly. A short board does not offer much stability but is extremely manoeuvrable.
Longer boards are also heavier and can be more difficult to get out in larger waves.
The longer boards paddle faster though and go well in smaller surf where as the shortboards are more difficult to paddle and are suited to steeper more powerful waves.

How Big you are

The heavier the person the larger board they will need.

How Strong you are

Big boards are great but you still need to be able to carry it easily to the water. If you do not have much upper body strength then you will need a smaller board. Your arms need to be long enough to reach around the board. Check how easily your board fits under your arm.

What style of surfing. Short boarding or Longboarding

One thing you need to decide is what style of surfing you like.
Longboarding is the traditional surfing style. It’s is about grace and style, hanging ten and cruising. Trimming and graceful turns. Christchurch waves are well suited to Longboarding. If you like this style of surfing then you are best to learn on a Longboard straight away.

The shortboarding style is all about high speed turns. Radical changes of direction, aerials, vertical re entries, swooping cutbacks and barrel riding. This style of surfing is best in steep powerful waves. If you like this style of surfing, then you will need to start on a bigger board and then gradually progress using shorter narrow boards as you improve.

Don’t limit yourself

Surfing is all about fun. Some days the surf is better for longboarding other days shortboarding. Try to learn to use as many different boards as you can.

Types of Board

There are four main categories of surf board.

ShortboardFun boardMini MalLongboard
Normally less than 8ft
Narrow pointed nose
6-8 ft
Slightly rounded nose
7-9 ft
Wide rounded nose
9 ft plus
Wide rounded nose
Good for intermediate to advance surfers.

Good for small children who are learning.
Good for smaller sized beginners or someone progressing from a larger board.The ideal beginner board.Good for all skill levels.
Low stability
Fair stabilityStableHigh Stability
More difficult to paddle.Paddles slower than longer boards.Paddles easily.Paddles easily.
High maneuverabilityGood maneuverabilityMedium maneuverabilitySlower turns
Suited to steeper larger waves.Suited to most wave types.Suits both short and long board surfing styles.Great for small or soft waves but good in big waves too.
Suits shortboard surfing style.Suits shortboard surfing style.Suits both short and long board surfing styles.Suits the longboard style of surfing.
Easy to manage when paddling out and in larger waves.Easy to manage when paddling out and in larger waves.Can be difficult when paddling out and in larger waves but not as hard as a longboard.

Good for small to large surfers.
Can be difficult to manage when paddling out and in larger waves.

Great for larger surfers.