Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Quick PSA from Rebecca

Hi!  Rebecca here, I wanted to write a condensed and comprehensive beginners guide to purchasing your very first surfboard, especially from a females perspective.  (Men, this may still be helpful, so hang in with me)....
Working in the surf industry, we are asked this question by newbies and advanced surfers time and time again.  Navigating the waters through tons of different sizes and shapes of surfboards can be quite tricky.  Lets attempt to make it easier for you. 
  • Be Honest About Your Skill Level
    • Have you ever walked into a surf shop and suddenly felt like you need to, lets say, maybe embellish on your surfing abilities? You're not the only one, trust me.  Doing this will be your biggest enemy!  If you're a beginner say so, no one will laugh at you! (and if they do, they're jerks, you don't need that kind of negativity in your life!)  They will however secretly know if you're lying, it's a 6th sense for shapers. Be a proud beginner! You will usually want to start out with what we like to call a "Fun Shape",  this is a round nose, wider board, that is usually a little bit thicker.  This will make it easier for you to catch waves while you're still getting your bearings. Ain't no shame in a Fun Shape! 
  • Understand The Basics
    • Lower skill level = bigger board
    • Higher skill level = smaller board 
      • For the most part this is the rule of thumb.  The bigger the board, meaning the length, the width, and the thickness, the easier it will be to ride and vice versa.
    • Fin Set Up
      • The more fins, the stiffer the turns will be.  Less fins equals looser turns. The bigger your are, the bigger the fins for a shortboard. The general fin set up depends on the type of board you are looking at, there is not a standard set up for all boards.  Most longboards only have one fin, some have sidebites (two side fins).  Fins probably warrant their own post. 
    • Polyester Resin vs Epoxy Resin
      • A lot of people come in and say they want a "fiberglass" board.  Well, they're all fiberglass.  The resin and the foam are the difference.  Our particular shop uses traditional polyester resin and the newer epoxy resin.  Poly boards are heavier, while Epoxy EPS boards are lighter, stronger, and more buoyant.  Some people prefer one over the other, in our shop we have been seeing a stronger preference towards Epoxy. 
  • Know What You Love
    • Do you love popping up and cruising down the line, maybe walking the nose from time to time? You need a longboard.  Or do you love dropping in on bigger stuff, doing cutbacks and attempting your best Kelly Slater impression? You should probably get a shortboard with knify rails and a thinner tail. There's different boards for different styles, decide this for the most part before you talk to your shaper, although they are there to guide you if you need help.  
    • Have no idea what you love yet? Start with the Fun Shape and work your way up or down in length from there! 
  • The Color Of The Board Doesn't Matter
    • I have fallen victim to this myself.  Just because a board is beautiful does not mean it's going to work for you. You need a board that coincides with your height, weight, and skill level.  I love a pretty shortboard as much as rest, but I know if I paddle out on a super thin 5'8, no matter how beautiful it is, brings me nowhere fast.  Just because Kelly and John John can shred on a tiny little board doesn't mean you will right away.  Don't waste your money on a pretty board, spend it on the right board!
  • Find A Good, Local Shaper. 
    • I admit, this may be a little self serving, but hear me out.  With all of the big brand name boards out there, the local shaper is struggling. Do you know what the markup is on a surfboard? Peanuts.  Big companies like NSP for example, make their boards in China, where they're able to make somewhat of a decent profit.  They don't surf your local break, they don't see you standing there in the store, desperately trying to figure out what works best for you, or what will take your surfing to the next level.  Your local shaper however, does.  They can make a board completely customized to your every wish and desire, right down to that ugly mermaid you want painted on it. Usually their boards are even less than the big name boards, and if you ever have a problem, you can bring the board right back to the shaper.  
  • If You're Brand New, Buy Used
    • LISTEN TO ME!  If you are just starting out and want to buy a board, please by yourself a used surfboard.  I can't tell you how many people come in our store and buy a brand new glossed and polished beautiful board with all of the bells and whistles, only to find out, they don't like surfing!! Don't be that guy!  Most surf shops have a decent used board selection, and the shop kids will be more than happy to help you find a good one.  
  • Don't Let Men Talk Down To You
    • Educate yourself before you step in a shop and make a big purchase. During a recent trip to the West Coast, I stopped into a local surf shop.  I asked the guy in the shop what a particular board was made out of.  I got a bunch of jargon that didn't even really make sense, but I could see he was attempting to sell this board to me because it was geared aesthetically towards a female. He had a totally different approach with my husband.  I did enjoy his face after Mike told him we make boards.  
  • Don't Fall Victim To Marketing
    • How many board advertisements do you see in surfing magazines that are going to make you the next big thing?  Marketing my friends. Your worst enemy.  Stick with the facts and you will be just fine, or maybe even the next Kelly Slater. Who knows. 

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