How to Choose the Ideal Surfboard?

There are so many possibilities for a board, that just thinking about which one to choose, even if you have saved the necessary money, becomes torture. What length and width? More edge or less edge? Do I put a deck? And the tail, which shape? Beak thinner or flatter? How many and which keels? And the leash? The ideal surfboard will depend on several factors: the sea you usually surf, your learning stage, your size and weight are the main ones. What is the secret to finding the ideal surfboard, then? I would say the big secret is to test as many options as possible before starting to build your quiver.
How to Choose the Ideal Surfboard?


There are so many possibilities for a board, that just thinking about which one to choose, even if you have saved the necessary money, becomes torture. What length and width? More edge or less edge? Do I put a deck? And the tail, which shape? Beak thinner or flatter? How many and which keels? And the leash? The  ideal surfboard   will depend on several factors: the sea you usually surf, your learning stage, your size and weight are the main ones. What is the secret to finding the ideal surfboard, then? I would say the big secret is to test as many options as possible before starting to build your quiver.

Summarizing the first paragraph of this text, there is no ideal surfboard, but a set of surfboard options (quiver) that, based on their size, physical fitness, level of learning and sea possibilities that you can find, have you will get you ready for as many situations as possible. As nobody here is a millionaire (or if you are, congratulations!) We need to get the first surfboard or the best one in the maximum possible situations.

How to choose a surfboard size? Start by getting a few lessons

The first step to assemble your quiver is to choose your day-to-day board, that is, the one that will be the best option for your size and level of learning on most beaches near you, even with the variation of wave size. If you are a complete beginner, I recommend that you take a few lessons before buying your first board. In addition to receiving valuable tips from the teacher, you will use his boards. After evolving, you will have a better sense of the size of the surfboard ideal for you.

After defining your day-to-day board, as you fall in love with the sport and the money is left over, you can add options to make your quiver more and more wild. What if the sea is too big? What if the wave is fuller? More tubular? What if it decreases? And so on ...

Surfboard for beginners – and accessoriesImagePriceBuy
Lightweight Super Bodyboard Surfing w/Leash IXPE Deck EPS for all surf beginnersLightweight Super Bodyboard Surfing w/Leash IXPE Deck EPS for all surf beginners$$
vidaXL Surfboard Blue/Blue and Red 66.9 for any surf begginervidaXL Surfboard Blue/Blue and Red 66.9 for any surf begginer$$$
Old Modern Handicrafts 6-Foot Cedar Surf Board – for surfers up to 180cmOld Modern Handicrafts 6-Foot Cedar Surf Board – for surfers up to 180cm$$$$
vidaXL SUP Coiled Leash Black 10 inchvidaXL SUP Coiled Leash Black 10 inch$
Wetsuits and others surf beginners accessoriesWetsuits and others surf beginners accessories$$

Ideal Surfboard Measurements

The design of the board is known as outiline and its basic measurements are the length, which is the distance between the beak and the tail, the width, which is the distance between one side and the other, and the thickness, or the edge, which is the volume of the board, how thick or thin it will be. In general terms, a reduction in any of these measures makes surfing more difficult, with less stability, greater need for effort for paddling and less space for small errors.

Surfboard sizes for beginners: longboard or funboard, much longer than beginner surfer’s height

For this reason, it is very common for a beginner to start with  a longboard   or funboard - bigger surfboards in all measures than ordinary boards - and reduce the equipment as he gains confidence and skill until he reaches a surfboard. surf most recommended for its size and weight.

Length of a surfboard

As I said above, the length of a board is the distance between the beak and the tail. The greater the length, the more stability and speed the board will have due to the greater contact surface with water. The smaller, the more maneuverable and faster the curves the board will be. The size of the board will also influence the stroke. The bigger, the easier it will be to get on a wave. So it is common to see peaks where the waves are full, without pressure, frequented only by longboarders, since they manage to enter these waves.

The length is measured in feet and inches. One foot is equal to 30.48 cm and one inch is 2.54 cm. In this way, a 5'10 ”board will have 5 x 30.48 + 10 x 2.54 = 1.78m. Some common converted board sizes are shown below:

Surf board sizes converter from inches to centimeters to meters
  • 5’10 ”: 178 cm: 1m78
  • 6’0 ″: 183 cm: 1m83
  • 6’1 ″: 185 cm: 1m85
  • 6’2 ″: 188 cm: 1m88
  • 6’3 ″: 190 cm: 1m90
  • 6’4 ″: 193 cm: 1m93
  • 6’5 ″: 196 cm: 1m96
  • 6’6 ″: 198 cm: 1m98
  • 6’7 ″: 201 cm: 2m01
  • 6’8 ″: 203 cm: 2m03
  • 6’9 ″: 206 cm: 2m06
  • 6’10 ”: 208 cm: 2m08
  • 6’11 ”: 210 cm: 2m10
  • 7’0 ″: 213 cm: 2m13
  • 7’1 ″: 216 cm: 2m16
  • 7’2 ″: 218 cm: 2m18
  • 7’3 ″: 221 cm: 2m21
  • 7’4 ″: 223 cm: 2m23

The surfboard size in meters are rarely used however, as they are mostly mesured using inches or centimers for easier understanding and comparison.

How to choose surfboard height?

An experienced surfer will usually look for a board that is 2 to 3 inches longer than his own height. If the surfer is a beginner, he will prefer boards much longer than his own length to achieve greater stability and fall less, since he still does not perform many maneuvers. The same thing happens for heavier surfers. They will probably look for slightly larger boards to ensure more flotation.

How to choose surfboard height? Much longer than your own height for a beginner – 10cm longer for an experienced surfer

Longer boards can also be used by big riders, as they will need faster and more stable equipment to descend those buildings as they descend. Tube riders may also prefer larger boards to achieve speed without having to move around a lot.

Width of a surfboard

The width of the surfboard is the distance from one side to the other of the board and is measured in inches. It works almost equal to the length in relation to the surf: more width means greater stability and less maneuvers, and vice versa. A beginner surfer will prefer wider surfboards for greater stability. As I said, the bigger surfboard generally allows for more small mistakes, so if you climb your front foot a little to the side on a wide board it will be easier to correct without falling. Heavier surfers will also tend to look for wider boards in search of fluctuation.

The difference of the width in relation to the length is exactly in the type of sea in which the boards will adapt better. It is not a rule, but generally tube surfers will use very thin boards, to get them to fit inside the tube allowing small curves for adjustments. In smaller waves, relatively wider boards are generally used, as it is possible to remove more of these waves with this type of surfboard.

The width of a board generally ranges from 1/8 ″ to 1/8 ″ (18 ″, 18 1/8 ″, 18 1/4 ″, 18 3/4 ″, 18 1/2 ″, etc.), means changes every 3 millimeters. Before making or buying a board, you should keep in mind that every 3 millimeters have a great influence on the board's performance, so be careful. It is very common to find boards from 18 ″ to 21 ″. Longs and funboards have even bigger sizes.

Thickness of a surfboard

The thickness of the board is one of the most sensitive parts of it. They vary from 1/16 ″ to 1/16 ″ (2 1/4 ″, 2 5/16 ″, 2 3/8 ″, 2 7/16 ″, 2 1/2 ″, etc.), that is, 1, 5mm, and yes, it makes a big difference to your surfing. The greater the thickness, the greater the fluctuation of your surfboard. This is great for those who want stability, but not very good for those who want to maneuver. Another defect of a very thick board is at the time of the dolphin (duck-dive). Imagine how hard it must be to pierce that wave that sweeps through everything with a board with lots of fluctuation ...

Surfboard thickness: 2 1/4 ″ is the ideal equipment for people of 70kg

I could say that  a surfboard   with a thickness of 2 1/4 ″ is the ideal equipment for people of 70kg, but this will depend a lot on the other measurements of the board, therefore the relation between the surfer's weight and thickness is not an exact equation. Beginner surfers will generally prefer boards with greater thickness seeking more stability, while experienced surfers will prefer smaller thicknesses.

The thickness is the volume of the board on its center line, however, the volume can have different distributions along the board. A board with a certain thickness can have more or less edge (rail), for example, and this is important, since more rounded rails cling less to the wave wall, allowing more maneuvers, while more tapered rails cling more, being used more in large waves, for greater adherence.

Another example of how the volume distribution can vary is the foil, which is the difference in thickness in the beak, in the middle, in the tail and, sometimes, in intermediate points between them. These last two concepts are very advanced, so don't worry about them if you're not a professional.

Rocker (Bend or Wingspan)

The rocker is the curvature of the board from the beak to the tail. The more rocker, the more maneuverable the board is, however slow, as the curve offers resistance. The less rocker, the faster the board gets, but the harder.  a surfboard   with more rocker is recommended for stronger waves, in which the speed will be something natural. Less rocker is recommended for fuller and slower waves as the surfer will need speed, but waves are easier to maneuver, with more open arcs.

Tail (Tail or Tail)

The tail of the board is another part that can vary well and influence your surfing. There are some better known types of rabeta:

  • Squash - is the most usual pattern, as it combines control and malleability well. It also usually works for various wavelengths.
  • Swallow - is similar to squash in that it prioritizes control, but allows for a faster line break when returning the wave.
  • Square - is a more unstable tail. It is more used in waves that break more vertically, as it allows balance and mobility in the wave wall, but fails in maneuvers with too much curve. It takes a lot of experience and balance to enjoy this tail.
  • Round - is a very classic tail. It makes line breaking more difficult, but it has a lot of grip on the wave.
  • Pin - prioritizes fully control and adherence in favor of malleability. Quite used in big and strong waves and in some tubes.

Fins and Other Accessories


The subject of keels is so wide, that soon we will have to make a post about them. What you should know initially is that the choice of fins must go through the weight of the surfer - the manufacturer will indicate the weight for which the keel is indicated -, the choice between speed and malleability and the surfer must choose the number of fins he wants to use (1, 2, 3 or 4):

Singles, mono-tracks - linked to classic surfing and generally used in longboards. Paddling is easier, but the surfer loses grip and speed.

Twins, the toecaps - also linked to classic surfing, make the board faster, but less sticky.

Three fins, the tricks - it is the choice of a large number of surfers, because they have a lot of speed, but remain loose for maneuvers.

Quad, quadriquilhas - compete with the three ends for the preference of surfers. They have a lot of grip (a little less than the tricks, but they are the fastest. Very used in big and tubular waves.


The deck is the part we step on the back of the board and has two main types: dommie - with curvature - and flat - straight. A lot of people prefer  to surf   without a deck, but it is interesting to use them to mark where to step and adhere to the back foot.

Here's how to install a deck.

Strep or Leash

The strep is the rope that connects the board to the surfer's foot and is usually the greatest ally at different times. In some moments, you can be a villain too, after all, who never had the board pulled by the leash back against the body during a cow? But in short it is she who will keep the board close to you and ensure that you will be able to recover from a wave quickly to get back outside, without being at the mercy of the current and other dangers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What surfboard should I get: with more or fewer rockers on the board?
If you choose a surfboard with a lot of rockers, then it will be suitable for strong waves where speed will come naturally. And a board with fewer rockers will be good for slower waves because surfers will need speed, but the waves are easier to maneuver with a more open arc.
What are the key factors to consider when selecting a surfboard for different skill levels and wave conditions?
Key factors include the surfer's skill level, height and weight, and the typical wave conditions they will be surfing in. Beginners may opt for larger, more stable boards, while advanced surfers might choose shorter, more maneuverable boards for specific wave types.
What are the key factors surfers should consider when choosing their ideal surfboard, and how does board choice evolve with skill progression?
Key factors include surfer's skill level, height, weight, and wave conditions. Beginners may prefer larger, more stable boards, while advanced surfers might opt for smaller, more responsive boards. As skills progress, surfers typically choose boards that match their evolving style and preferences.

Comments (9)

 2016-03-11 -  Fabiano Ribeiro
Good story, congratulations !! I'm in this cruel doubt. I am already on my 5th board and looking for more technical information about them (types and sizes of fins, rocker, thickness, etc.) is that I was lost in front of many possibilities of assembling a board. I am prioritizing speed, because the waves in my city are full and slow. So, I already know that it has to have less rocker, but as a consequence it will be less maneuverable. So how could I compensate for being less maneuverable? Smaller fins? Adding wings? Vlw.
 2016-03-11 -  Filippo Ghermandi
@Fabiano Ribeiro. Thank you, Fabiano! I think this is a doubt that persists forever ... hahaha! I'm not an expert, so ideally, you should talk to a shaper. I think that varying keel and tail are really good ways. Just be careful not to bet on a keel that will take you out of speed because of the fuller wave where you usually surf. Try to test everything, especially by borrowing, so as not to spend a lot of money without being sure. Hugs!
 2017-02-22 -  Xavier Filho Voz
Hello I was wondering what size would be the most appropriate I have 181. Height and 115kilos which would be better? I want to go back to the origins. ..
 2017-03-03 -  Filippo Ghermandi
@Xavier Filho Voice. It will depend a lot on your goal, experience and the waves you want to catch, Xavier. I would take a board if I were you, but it is not just any sea that allows a board. Ideally, you should be able to test alternatives before buying by renting boards and borrowing them.
 2017-03-03 -  Filippo Ghermandi
@Fabiano Ribeiro. Fabiano, thank you! I wish I could help you, but you have entered a level of professionalism and detail that is difficult for me ... hahaha! Tail and keels are good tests to be done. It has several models of tail that detach themselves more from the wave.
 2017-03-25 -  Gabriel Costa
hello, I am 15 years old, 1.72 and I am looking to buy a surfboard… 1 year ago I bought a 5'11, but it was used there I didn’t know how to choose and I paid dearly for a board that was all patched up… I don’t surf all this time, being that I only surfed 1 month… I was recommended to take a fundboard or a long one, but if I take a big board, about 3 months old I will want to take a smaller one because I really like extreme surfing… I found a 6'0 board 31 liters and wide ... half-used (only used 4 times) for 550, do you think I should get it? or else what size should i get?
 2017-03-27 -  Filippo Ghermandi
@Gabriel Costa. Say it, man, regardless of changing in a short time, I would get a funboard. 6’0 is already a professional size. It will be very complicated to use it at first. But if you feel confident, if you will have time to dedicate yourself almost daily, send it on.
 2017-11-14 -  Douglas Nuernberg de Matos
Goodnight! Very good post. I have 1.89 and 92 kg, I never surfed on a board… I am in good physical condition and have a little experience with the sea. What would be the most suitable size? I saw that the length must be between 6’4 and 6’7, but I am in doubt about width and thickness…
 2017-11-15 -  Filippo Ghermandi
@Douglas Nuernberg de Matos. Douglas, if you've never surfed, starts on a board or funboard. 6’4 and 6’7 are already sizes for those who have been surfing for years. Even having experience at sea, you will have a lot of difficulty in getting up with the correct positioning, especially if the sea conditions are complicated.

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