There are a lot of opinions when it comes to choosing your first board. Instead of telling you that you need to have a specific board, here is a simplified guide that can assist you in the process. Most surfboards can be grouped into these general, flexible categories. Shortboards, Longboards, and mid-length boards. Again, these categories are flexible and by no means all-inclusive. However, they should do the trick for understanding the very basics. Shortboards might range anywhere from 4-7ft, Longboards 9-12ft , and mid-lengths 7-8ft.
The length of your board will affect all sorts of things like speed, maneuverability, stability, and paddling power. As a general rule bigger, longer boards are faster and more stable while shorter boards require more work on the surfer’s part to generate speed and our much more maneuverable. Many suggest learning on a bigger board because that speed and stability will help you to paddle into waves with more power and provide the stability required when you’re learning to pop up. That’s not to say that starting on a shortboard is the wrong way to go, it really depends what your goals are and how you want to surf. I started on a shortboard, and as a little guy, it was much less of a hassle to move around in the water and get comfortable with.