Surfboards for Beginners: Best Guide in 2020

It's not surfing without the surfboards. Well, what you gonna use to surf? As an essential surfing equipment, now we are gonna talk about how to choose surfboards for beginners.
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It’s not surfing without the surfboards. Well, what are you gonna use to surf? As essential surfing equipment, now we are gonna talk about how to choose surfboards for beginners.

Tl;dr For beginners it’s best to buy a longboard. You will meet surfers that have many surfboards in their garage. Each surfboard for each type of waves. It’s good for surfing, not good for your pocket. Build your ammunition from 1.

If you categorize yourself as intermediate-advanced, you can read about our surfboards recommendation for different types of surf breaks. Doesn’t see one you need? A Custom surfboard is always the answer.

To help you learn more about surfing, we make this guide on a different type of surfboards and how to choose surfboards for beginners. While we claimed this to be the best guide, this is mostly simplified guide aimed for beginners surfers.

Different Types of Surfboards


Shortboards were born as a transformation of the 9’6” longboards into 6’6” surfboards and have become the most common surfboards used by surfers around the world where you typically find them using the 5’5” and 6’5” shortboards.

It is commonly equipped with a thruster or tri-fin setup but can still go well with other setups. A shortboard is not a good choice for beginners since it works best in larger waves and is hard to paddle and you will be frustrated in trying to strongly paddle the board and end up losing the waves.

If you are into competitive surfing styles, its best to learn more about shortboard as high performance surfboards. The two best brands for high performance surfboards are Pyzel & DHD.

When compared to longboards, shortboards, however, are easier to duck dive. It’s also easier to turn shortboards with quick response.


Longboards indicate the first surfboard for the modern era. Longboards typically have over 9′ long with lots of foam volume that makes them easy to paddle. It typically comes with a wider nose and a single or 2+1 fin setups.

A longboard is designed for stability and is working best for small waves that are just an ankle-length or just overhead, which makes it perfect surfboards for beginners surfers.

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Fish Boards

Designed in 1967 by Steve Lis, a kneeboarder from San Diego, fish board kind of look similar to shortboards due to the size that generally falls under 6′ long.

However, fish boards have a wider nose to the tail with a deep swallow cut into it, lower rocker, and smaller in length. The swallow cut is the one that makes the boards called fish boards.

Fish boards offer speed in small to medium waves that are larger than overhead, due to the width and lower rocker. A fish board also provides a better plane.

Malibu / Funboards

Come as a blend of a longboard and a shortboard, a funboard or a malibu typically have 6′ to 8′ long with a wide nose, and relaxed rocker and foil. It’s designed for riding in various wave conditions.

Since funboards can work in different waves and offer more stability, funboards can be a fun board for beginners or even more advanced surfers who enjoy riding in small waves.

A funboard can go with any fin setups but it works best with the fin setups in shortboards and can be used in the knee to overhead waves.


Guns are designed for serious surfers who like to challenge most likely dangerous waves. The one that is considered as the father of this board is Pat Curren who firstly challenges the Waimea Bay in Hawaii.

Guns have 7′ to 12′ long with a narrow, pointy nose and tail and are commonly equipped with thruster fins but can go well with any setups. It’s easy to paddle, which makes it easy to enter big waves. However, the big size of guns makes it hard to turn.

Tow In Boards

Introduced by Dick Brewer in the early 1990s, town-in boards are heavier than standard surfboards and are range from 6′ to 6’6”. Tow-in boards were born to fulfill the demand of short, narrow, and low area boards.

A tow-in board is typically equipped with a thruster or a small quad fins setups. It features pin or swallowtails and was firstly tried by Laird Hamilton.

Stand-up Paddleboards

Stand-up paddleboards are similar to longboards. A Stand-up paddleboard can be used in small to medium waves. It is thick and wide and also typically comes with 9′ to 12 long.

The surfers who use this surfboard use a paddle to propel the board, this makes the board can also be used in flat water like lakes and rivers.

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How to Choose Surfboards

Well, after reading all the way here, you might come to the conclusion that there is no such surfboard that could go as the one-size for all. The longboards and funboards might be the closest bet surfboards for beginners..

Just to let you know, the vast majority of surfers are using shortboards, and most produced surfboards are also shortboards types.

However, for beginners surfers or not, these are the things to consider in getting to know how to choose surfboards that would work best for you. You can also learn more on why you should go custom surfboards.

Skill Level

Knowing your skill level is an important part of surfing. One main reason is surfing is dangerous. It is fun & addicting, but dangerous sport. Understanding your skill in surfing will help you progress and choose your surfboard that based on your needs.

For beginner or new surfers, choose longboards which have plenty of volume to help you paddle into the waves and stability to help you stand up on the waves.

After surfing for a couple of months, and you can handle various types of waves and your surfing fundamentals sorted out, you can start looking into more serious boards or custom surfboards based on your ability, surfing styles, and favoured waves.


It’s obvious that your age and level of fitness will play important roles in determining the surfboard that could go well with you. If you just start surfing in your late 30, then it might be best to have a thicker and slightly wider board.

A thicker and wider is good surfboards for beginners that will help you to paddle easily in order to get into the waves for better performance since even though older and younger surfers might be the same strong paddlers, it’s usually easier for an older surfer to be tired.

Height & Weight

Your height and weight play a key role in choosing the best surfboards for beginners. You can go with already stock dimension of each brands. The bigger you are, the bigger board you should have.

There are some volume calculator out there that can help you choose the perfect volume for your board. But often these calculator only count height and weight and forget about the other small details. Like the three things above.

Therefore at BGS, we offer free consultation for custom surfboard of DHD & Pyzel. Directly from the shapers and fellow surfers as well.

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Surfboards Technical Measurement

Surfboards Volume

The volume of a surfboard is the calculation of area contained in the surfboard and is presented in liters by calculating its total length, width, and height.

It’s widely believed that volume is an important thing to consider in choosing a surfboard for beginner, in which board with more volume will ease the beginner surfers to stand up and get their first waves.

The surfboard for beginners is suggested to be at least come in 60 liters of volume and more which can be found in longboards. The shortboards that are used by advanced surfers fall around 25 liters, which is not suitable for beginners.

The Shape

A good shape surfboards for beginners is with a rounded nose that will help to provide more buoyancy that will ease you when paddling and catch the waves. It’s also important to not having a too thin edge of the board in order to avoid struggling when standing up.

The Construction

Soft foam is recommended surfboards for beginners and children as it is soft and will be less hurtful when being hit. It’s also quite affordable. When you feel like you can stand out and ride the waves and you want to learn more, you can go with a hard surfboard that is made from polyester or epoxy.

The Durability

Keep in mind that as a beginner you will likely only have one longboard for all surfing activities. And to choose the best longboard, you need to see the durability.

This is your very first surfboard that you are going to use in the process of learning. During the process, you might end up knocking your board and cause some troubles on it. It’s all fine and to assist it, you will need to purchase the one that offers durability.

I’m still confused choosing surfboards

Since you might still be confused about which one to go with, it’s best to ask from the experts. The owner or the shopkeeper of your surf shop will be willing to help you in deciding on which one to buy.

You can always sit around at our BGS Location, join and hang around with fellow surfers. Or you can ask for the legend Komang, who is always at BGS Uluwatu, to help you choose your surfboard.

komang helping beginners how to choose surfboards
Komang helping surfers
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