You just followed your first surfing lesson, stood up on Guy’s Wave (or at least you tried hard) and now you’re addicted to river surfing. You want to surf every day, dream about it every night. It’s time for you to buy your first surfboard and you’re at the right place to find what’s best for you. Here’s our surfboard buying guide, made for Montreal’s wave in Lasalle “La vague à Guy”.
It’s all about volume
You probably already know that there’s a few different types of boards, such as the shortboard, the funboard and the longboard. Most people think that the only difference between those boards is the lenght while in fact, it’s the combination of their lenght, their width and their thickness. We call that the board’s volume, which is evaluated in liters. If a board has a higher volume than another one, it will float better. If it floats a lot, it’ll be way easier for you to catch the wave. That’s exactly want you want if you’re starting to surf.
Therefore, you need to look at the shape of the board as well as its volume. A longer board with a thin nose might have the same volume than a shorter one with a very round nose.
Your weight and height are also to take into account, as you’ll stand and lie on the board. A lighter surfer can afford a board with less volume than a heavier surfer. Get it?
Finally, the shape of the board will make the way you ride it different. Some boards will be narrow and quick to react, while others will be large and more stable, harder to turn. After a certain amount of years surfing, some surfers constitute a quiver* of boards to take advantage of all the sensations one wave can offer.
To keep it simple, we classified boards in three categories based on their volume.
Beginner boards: 55 liters and up**
Most boards we use for our river surfing lessons have a volume of 80 liters and lenght of 7’4. Their shape keeps them easy to ride. They might be easier to ride than a big 9 footer, without taking out any volume off because they’re really thick. Having a foam backing, they resist to almost anything and will hurt less, should you fall onto the board.
Whether you choose a “foam” board or a fiberglass rigid board, if the volume is of 55 liters or higher, you should have good opportunities to catch the wave. The board will then take you to perform pop ups and negotiate your first carves.
Boards for intermediate surfers: 35 to 50 liters
If you feel ready for something more challenging, a board of 35 to 50 liters should be more dynamic and responsive. You’ll have to practice your paddle as the wave will be harder to catch, because you’ll float less than with a 55 liter board. Once you’ll get the technique right, you’ll be able to play with the wave easily.
Boards for advanced surfers: 35 liters and less
Usually called shortboards, 35 liters boards can be nice to ride at Guy’s wave, yet they ask more efforts. They’ll float less, that’s a fact. However, once you’re on the wave, you’ll be able to turn easily. In the Ocean, a good surfer will be on ease on a board of 30L and less, but we don’t recommend it at Guy’s wave considering the small size of the wave. If you’re reading this article and you’re thinking about buying your first board, this category is not the one you should go for.
So what’s the next step?
Don’t hesitate to come to our shop for advices and for a nice look up of our many boards. Our specialists are there to help – surfing is our passion and we’d like to find the perfect board so that YOU can try it on your own as well. Always remember that your first board should have a good volume so that you can learn quickly. It’s quite frustrating to learn surfing on a board that is too small, trust us. Have fun shopping and welcome in our community!
Take a look at shop.ksf.ca to see our boards, wetsuits and other accessories we carry.
*Quiver: As in crossbowing, surfers like to have a lot of equipment. While some surfers hold only three boards in their quiver, others can have more than ten!
**We based these estimations for a person of average weight and height. For something more customized, don’t hesitate to visit this cool chart from Firewire Surfboards.
Photo credits: Alex C-D ; Filios Sazeides via Unsplash