Have you improved your surfing and are you ready for your own board? These steps will help you narrow down the huge universe of surfboards.
The first way to narrow down the universe of boards you are looking at is to define the type of performance you are seeking and match it to the right shape. Small waves? Big waves? Single travel board? By clearly, realistically, and honestly assessing what you need the board to do, you will take 75 percent of the boards off the table and narrow your focus to just a few.
A few years back, everyone thought volume was kooky. Now everyone knows their volume range by heart. If you don’t yet have a board with its volume written on it, you can use one of the many volume calculators available online. Each surfer will have a volume range that works for them depending on the board and wave conditions. Once you match your volume to your design, this will lead to tip #3.
This used to be the primary set of numbers we looked at when picking boards. Now it almost seems like they’re a means to an end. Once you have the design and volume picked out, the dimensions are the numbers that get you to the volume of your choice. Make sense? When deciding between two designs, narrower boards will be faster rail to rail, while wider boards will have more horsepower, glide, and stability. Thinner boards will allow you to turn harder at higher speeds, while thicker boards will give you more foam to “push” against in average surf and have more float.
Design – Volume – Dimensions: Use this thought process and it will help you weed through the choices and pick your next perfect stick.
PU/Poly or Alternative Tech
PU/Poly is the tried and true surfboard construction. PU/Poly boards are reasonably light, strong enough for most, and are a constant among the majority of board builders. If you’re looking for the safe bet, look no further. However, alternative techs are on the rise, especially with grovelers, hybrids and domesticated shapes. Some of the newer techs are also making their way into the short board category. The goal of most alternative tech constructions is to make a board as light as a disposable pro board, but with greater durability than a standard PU/Poly. Higher tech comes with a higher price tag, but these boards are a blast to ride in the right conditions, and their light and lively feel can be addictive.
Everyone seems to think there is one type of durability. However, there are actually three.
Ding resistant durability — Useful for when you accidentally drop your board in the parking lot. Sandwich constructions with hard foam shells are the best for this.
Board breakage durability — Choosing the right blank density, stringer thickness, and glass schedule helps this one out.
Performance durability — How long the board will retain its flex/spring before it goes flat like a wet noodle. Knowing what type of durability suits your needs the best is key. For example, a board with performance or breakage durability may not be the best choice for bouncing around on a boat.
Do you want to improve your surfing, or are you just a beginner? Make sure to drop by Odysseys Surf School or book your lesson here!
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below.