How To Choose The Right Surfboard

Table of Contents

Choosing the right surfboard size is a critical decision for surfers of all skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner just starting out or an advanced rider looking to push your limits, the size of your surfboard can greatly impact your performance and overall experience in the water. This comprehensive guide aims to provide you with valuable insights on how to choose the perfect surfboard size based on your skill level, ensuring you catch waves with ease and progress in your surfing journey.


Why does surfboard size matter?

Understanding why surfboard size matters is essential before delving into the specifics. The size of your surfboard directly affects its stability, maneuverability, and overall performance. A board that is too small may be difficult to balance on, while one that is too large might hinder your ability to maneuver and control the board effectively. By selecting the appropriate surfboard size, you can ensure optimal stability, control, and balance, enabling you to catch waves with greater ease and confidence.


What factors should be considered when choosing a surfboard size?

When it comes to selecting the right surfboard size, several factors need to be taken into consideration. These factors include:

a) Skill level: Your skill level plays a crucial role in determining the ideal surfboard size. Beginners typically benefit from larger boards that provide enhanced stability and buoyancy, making it easier to paddle and catch waves. Intermediate and advanced surfers, on the other hand, can opt for smaller boards that offer increased maneuverability and responsiveness.

b) Body weight and height: Your body weight and height are important factors to consider. They influence the board’s floatation and stability in the water. Heavier surfers generally require larger boards with more volume, providing better buoyancy and stability. Lighter individuals, on the other hand, can opt for smaller board sizes.

c) Wave conditions: The size and power of the waves you plan to surf also play a significant role in determining the appropriate surfboard size. Smaller, slower waves require boards with more volume and length, providing better floatation and paddle power. Larger, more powerful waves may necessitate smaller, more responsive boards that allow for quick turns and maneuverability.

d) Fitness and athleticism: Your level of fitness and athleticism can impact the surfboard size that suits you best. If you are less physically fit or have limited surfing experience, a larger board may be more suitable, as it offers increased stability and paddle power. Experienced and athletic surfers, however, can handle smaller boards with ease, leveraging their skills to control and maneuver the board effectively.


Surfboard size recommendations for beginners

As a beginner, it is crucial to choose a surfboard that offers stability and buoyancy, allowing you to focus on developing your skills and building confidence in the water. Here are some recommendations for beginners:

a) Length: Opt for a board that is approximately 2 to 3 feet longer than your height. The additional length provides increased stability and makes paddling and catching waves easier.

b) Width: Choose a board with ample width, typically ranging from 20 to 22 inches. A wider board enhances stability and helps maintain balance when learning to stand up on the waves.

c) Thickness: Consider a board with a thickness of around 2 ¾ to 3 ½ inches. A thicker board enhances buoyancy and stability, aiding in the learning process for beginners.


Surfboard size recommendations for intermediate surfers

Intermediate surfers have developed some fundamental skills and are ready to progress to more challenging maneuvers and wave conditions. Here are some recommendations for intermediate surfers:

a) Length: Opt for a board that is approximately 6 to 12 inches longer than your height. This size provides a good balance between maneuverability and stability, allowing you to progress your skills while maintaining control.

b) Width: Choose a slightly narrower board compared to what a beginner would use, typically ranging from 19 to 21 inches. This narrower width enhances maneuverability without sacrificing too much stability.

c) Thickness: Consider a board with a thickness of around 2 ½ to 3 ¼ inches. This range strikes a balance between buoyancy and performance for intermediate surfers.


Surfboard size recommendations for advanced surfers

Advanced surfers have honed their skills and are comfortable pushing their limits in more challenging wave conditions. Here are some recommendations for advanced surfers:

a) Length: Opt for a board that is approximately your height or slightly shorter. Smaller boards offer increased maneuverability and responsiveness, allowing you to perform more radical maneuvers and turns.

b) Width: Choose a narrower board, typically ranging from 18 to 20 inches, to gain greater control and responsiveness in critical sections of the wave.

c) Thickness: Consider a thinner board, typically ranging from 2 ¼ to 3 inches, for improved control and maneuverability.


Should I consider alternative surfboard shapes?

While surfboard size is crucial, it’s worth noting that different surfboard shapes can serve different purposes and wave conditions. Factors such as rocker (curvature), tail shape, and fin setup can significantly impact the board’s performance. Depending on your skill level and wave preferences, it may be beneficial to explore alternative surfboard shapes that complement your abilities and desired riding style. Consulting with a knowledgeable surf shop or shaper can provide valuable insights and recommendations.



Selecting the right surfboard size is paramount to optimize your surfing experience and progression. By considering factors such as skill level, body weight and height, wave conditions, and fitness level, you can make an informed decision when choosing a surfboard. Remember that as you progress in your surfing journey, your board size requirements may change. Adapt and experiment with different sizes and shapes until you find the perfect surfboard that complements your skills and allows you to conquer the waves with confidence.

Josh Mitchell

Josh Mitchell

"I live and breath boardriding"

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