How Do I Know What Size Surfboard to Buy?

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The right surfboard affects whether you catch and ride a wave, have an epic wipeout or don't catch a wave at all. In general, longer boards paddle faster and are more stable but shorter boards are more maneuverable. Your board size also depends on your height, weight, skill and wave conditions. Statistics, however, don't tell the whole story. Always try boards before buying and choose the one that feels best on the water.

New Boards for New Surfers

  • Adult beginners use longboards ranging from 7 to 8 feet in length with a thickness of 2 or 3 inches, although some prefer a classic longboard of 9 or more feet. If you weigh under 150 pounds, try a slightly shorter board, but if you weigh more than 200 pounds, select a minimum length of 8 or 9 feet. Intermediate surfers enjoy slightly shorter boards, such as fun shape or fish styles, with a length of approximately 6 to 7 feet, while experts use light, thin 6-foot long shortboards. Choose slightly shorter boards for bigger waves and longer boards for smaller waves.

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  • Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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