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Being a beginning surfer is challenging for a number of reasons. You are just beginning to attempt the water sport and many aspects of surfing will be new to you.
This includes finding the right gear to use while surfing. As you advance in your new skill sets your gear will change.
Most surfing gear is designed to change as you grow in your surfing skills. This can make it challenging to know the best gear to use as a beginner.
Not every surfboard is for beginners, so it is better to use the cruiser or longboard for beginners?
Beginning surfer’s skill
Before we break down the details of these two surfboard types, let’s look at the different skill sets a beginner will have.
Beginning surfers will be the newbies to the water sport, either learning on their own or through lessons and other courses options.
If you are going through a school in order to better learn the water sport, then you may not need to worry too much about what surfboard or other gear you are using.
Most schools will be able to provide their beginning surfers with gear for them to use.
They will explain what you should look for in your gear and board as a beginner so you will be more prepared for when you are ready to surf without classes or an instructor.
As a beginner will be able to do a number of things on their boards along with other skills that are still growing.
First off, as a beginning surfer, it is not always a great idea to surf alone.
In fact, it is recommended that you should surf with someone else in order to be safe in case something was to happen.
There are also certain areas and water types, you as a beginner will not want to surf in as a beginner.
Avoiding areas with larger waves that are unpredictable and lead to breaks like shore breaks.
These are challenging for beginners as the water conditions are not suitable for them to surf in.
Beginners are just beginning their surfing experience so their ability to understand how the water and waves move will make it more difficult to handle.
The ability to read and anticipate waves can be challenging to learn, and something a beginner may not be ready to complete.
A surfer with the skill set of a beginner will be able to stand well on their board, having a strong sense of centering and balancing on their board.
Moving around on your board will also become easier over time as a beginner as you master the skills needed to turn and perform other tricks on your board.
Here is a list of skills you should be able to do as a beginner:
1. Standing on your board
2. Paddling out to a wave
3. Having proper foot position on your board and centering
4. Riding small, easy to manage waves
5. Building up your confidence
6. Learning how to read oncoming waves
7. Understanding how to catch, ride, and exit the waves
8. Knowing how to safely bail out of a wave
Finding the best board
When looking for a beginner’s surfboard you will want to consider the main skills you are working on: where you are positioned on the board, popping up your board to steer and catch waves, the balance offered by the board, and your endurance which relates to the speed and movement of the board.
A beginner will want a board that is easy to paddle with.
This will not only help you save energy as paddling can be draining, but it will also allow you to catch more waves without needing as much time between them to paddle over to a new wave.
Your board should also float well, having a higher buoyancy.
This will make it easier to provide you with the stability necessary for beginners who are still learning to move on their board.
Another good trait associated with surfboards that float well is the ability to pop more easily.
To pop a board, a surfer will use their front foot to press the board down.
As the board rises back up, or pops, it will be easier to do a number of maneuvers necessary for all surfing levels.
This includes maneuvers like catching a wave, carving, turning, and even exiting a wave.
As the board offers better floatation, it will be able to further provide an easier pop to its front, or the board’s nose.
When a surfboard is able to possess a higher buoyancy, it is often due to its size. For this reason, beginners will often use a larger board.
This does not just include a larger length to the board but also a wider board overall.
While this is a great way for beginners to learn moving on their boards, to find balance and position themselves with more ease, and other benefits, a larger board can have some drawbacks.
For beginners, the biggest drawback occurs when they rely too heavily on the board’s size to support them and their movements.
As a beginner grows, they will want to advance to an intermediate or advanced surfboard, often causing their board to shave down in length and width.
If a beginner relies too heavily on their larger board for support and stability, they will not be able to learn the skills on their own.
While you should not rush through the learning process of surfing, it is important to allow yourself to grow and experiment in your skills such as moving to a smaller board to better hone your skills.
The materials used in creating the board can also have an impact on these traits too.
While polyurethane is the most popular material choice for intermediate and advanced boards, epoxy is the material commonly found in beginners boards like the cruiser and longboard.
This is due to the materials ability to provide beginners with what they need: higher buoyancy and easier paddling.
Epoxy is also a durable material which will allow it to handle any damage a beginning surfer might cause the board without ruining it.
Beginners may not yet know how to handle, manage, carry, or care for their board which can lead to inevitable wear and tear.
Having a durable material like epoxy will work to prevent severe damage.
A cruiser surfboard is a great board option to consider as a beginner. This board offers a full range of abilities and traits beneficial to surfers of all skill sets, not just beginners.
It is a forgiving board willing to move and adjust easily to your moves so even if your skills are not yet refined you will be able to surf easily.
This board type is fun to ride due to its lightweight nature and epoxy materials.
Both the weight and materials used allow this board to be paddled easily, requiring less effort and energy from you the surfer.
The material is also durable and provides a high buoyancy, two other traits that are great for beginner’s boards to have.
The control offered by a cruiser is smooth and moves well with you.
In fact, most cruiser boards are specifically designed for learning surfers to use as they help you catch more waves and making standing up easier.
These boards are offered in sizes ranging in lengths of 6 feet 6 inches to 11 feet.
Surfing on longboard
A longboard is a beginner’s surfing board where the front of the board, or the nose, is rounded and full.
These board types also feature a large fin for greater stability.
These boards, though mostly used by beginners as they hold many of the necessary traits beginning surfers require from their boards, are also popular among intermediate and professional surfers too.
This means the boards can handle any wave type and can be used even after you advanced to the skill level of an intermediate surfer.
There are several design variety options when it comes to finding a longboard that help cater to the specific needs and maneuverability of a surfer, making it easy to find a board that will support you as a beginner and the areas of surfing you are still struggling to learn.
Beyond their great stability, longboards are also making it easier to catch waves, are easy to paddle, provide you with a strong balance, and due to their buoyancy will provide you with a good pop from your board.
A longboard ranges in sizes of 9 feet to 12 feet, with varying widths between 20 to 24 inches.
Cruiser or longboard for beginners?
When looking for a beginner’s surfing board, there are a few factors you will want to consider.
These factors will be able to help support you as you begin to learn how to maneuver on your board and ride waves.
Traits to look for in your beginner’s surfing board include:
- Your board should have a high buoyancy in order to float well on the water and to support you
- A high buoyancy should also allow for a better pop to the front of your board
- Be made with epoxy material to increase durability so the board will not be damaged or need replaced as frequently
- Make paddling easier on you so you can more quickly move in the water and catch more waves
- Larger board length and width in order to allow you to practice balancing, movement, and stability on your board
These factors can all be found in both the cruiser and longboard, making them both great choices for beginners.
Even those surfers who are at skill levels of an intermediate, advanced, or even a professional surfer can benefit from using these boards.
This is a great benefit to you as well as a beginner, even as your skills grow and advance you can still use the same board.
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