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How To Choose A Surfboard – Advanced

How To Choose A Surfboard Griffin Colapinto Air

How To Choose A Surfboard Future Fins SnapHow To Choose A Surfboard – Advanced

How To choose A Surfboard for advanced surfing is different from choosing an Intermediate board. An advanced surfboard is a super refined piece of surfing gear. It may be demanding and unforgiving. It will require you to alter the way you surf. Once mastered though it will make your surfing faster, bigger, more critical.

An advanced surfboard can open up new horizons. It can push you to new levels of surfing. You may compete. This could be against other surfers to stand out at your local break. Or to progress to professional surfing and the World Surf League.

The last part of a three part series, this article is about choosing your Advanced Surfboard. The other articles in this series are here: How to Choose A Surfboard – Beginner, How to Choose a Surfboard – Intermediate.

The Right Approach

How To Choose A Surfboard Griffin Colapinto Air

Will riding Griffin Colapinto’s board help you do manoeuvres like this? The board is like a race car. You are the engine that provides the energy to make it go. It’s not just the board. Image courtesy Creatures of Leisure

Your Advanced surfboard is like a highly tuned race car with you as the engine. So it should closely match you. Your physique, fitness, wave reading and surf intuition are what make your advanced board perform.

How To Choose A Surfboard Custom Surfboard

Pro surfers get master shapers to make their Advanced surfboards. These dimensions hand written on the board, along with ‘For Michel’ indicate this is a custom board for Pro surfer Michel Bourez, Future Fins Team rider

It will have the right volume, in the right places, with rocker, outline and bottom shape blending into a complete performance package. Most Pro surfers get custom boards where an expert shaper tailors the board, in fact a series of boards, specifically to them.

How To Choose A Surfboard Superbrand Board In Store

Will any board on the rack suit you? Having the most hype and highest price is not a guarantee a board is going to perform. Trusted advice in store can help you choose the right board

When you first get your Advanced board some attributes may not seem optimal. The board may feel too narrow, under volumed, over rockered, slow, hard to paddle, some or all of these things. It may seem to not go at all.

Using the race car analogy, you’re no longer in a comfortable sedan. So your approach is to make your race car perform.

Advanced Board Roadmap

How To Choose A Surfboard WSL Athletes Physiques

The World Surf League, WSL, has the details of its Athletes available including weight and height. So you can find a surfer around your body type and check what board they’re riding. The huge number of videos the WSL has available will show you how they ride the board providing a roadmap for your Advanced surfing. Image courtesy of the WSL

The World Surf League provides great material on Pro surfers. Their physiques, weight and what they’re riding. You can see from the wealth of videos how they perform across a world of differing surf conditions.

So one approach is to find a Pro who is around your physique, whose surfing you like. Examine what they’re riding. A benefit here is that you can see almost exactly what they ride, their board dimensions, even how they set it up with fins. You can see how they surf that board in specific waves.

How To Choose A Surfboard Filipe Toledo Bottom Turn

Check FCS Team Rider Filipe Toledo’s bottom turn. His arm is a few centimetres above the wave face. His board is on rail. He’s charging. If you’re 5’9 and 70kg you could follow Filipe’s roadmap to find the dimensions for your Advanced board

For example do they most consistently drop into a deep or shallow bottom turn. Do they get out on the face then cut back to the power or like to setup a hit on that first section. Have they an air game?

So their performance gives you a roadmap to what to expect on your similar board.

Out of Your Comfort Zone

How To Choose A Surfboard Wave Pool Flotation

At the Founders Cup Kelly sitting on his board in his wave pool. Sure this is freshwater so not as much float as seawater, but it’s indicative. Your Advanced board is not optimised for floating or paddling but for on-wave performance and that means being super refined

One thing to take notice of is the volume of the Pro’s Advanced boards in the context of their weight. If you can’t find an exact volume reference there’s another way to find out. Check how low they sit in the water compared to how low you sit in the water on your board.

What’s interesting is that most Pros sit up to their chest in water while most Intermediate surfers will be up to their waists. So this indicates that the Pro boards are lower volume. They are lean and refined which equates to high performance on the wave.

How To Choose A Surfboard Superbrand Blackout Superbrand Fling Comparison

The top board is a Superbrand Blackout, designed specifically for the Pro tour. It’s refined, rockered. The lower board is a Superbrand Fling, a fun board. It’s thicker throughout. The difference in rocker might be hard to discern but the Blackout has much more rocker curve in the nose. This helps the board carve into steep faces but is not an aid to paddling. Look how much lower the entry of the Fling is, with more volume and thickness, making for easy paddling

Also what might be harder to discern is the rocker of their boards. The amount of curve. The more curve in the right places makes your board more carving in the wave. So you can do bigger and better manoeuvres. More rocker will have less tendency to slide out giving you a great range of control across varied wave sections. The greater rocker curve of your Advanced board fits better in the curve of the wave.

So what’s the implications?

Lower Volume High Rocker Board

How To Choose A Surfboard Kolohe Andino Takeoff

Where is Kolohe Andino taking off on this wave?  Out on the shoulder? No he’s taking off under the lip. By their nature Advanced boards require the most wave power to perform. So your wave setup, paddling, takeoff position and manoeuvre-timing all will need to change with your Advanced board

This type of low volume high rocker board is harder to paddle so you have to put in more paddling energy. It’s not designed for paddling out on the flatter part of the wave shoulder where it’s easy to take off. It’s designed to takeoff at the critical pitching part of the wave. So you’ll have to change your takeoff position.

It also sacrifices forgiveness to give you performance. The rails are finer. They’re designed to give a big response to your input. Push too hard and they’ll catch or sink. Miss-time your man0euvre on a section and you might stall or get pitched.

How To Choose A Surfboard Superbrand Clay Marzo Mad Cat

Advanced boards are designed to be super responsive so as to maximise your input. Here you can see Clay Marzo on his signature Superbrand Mad Cat Pro board going crazy

How To Choose A Surfboard Superbrand Clay Marzo Mad Cat

This means you have to alter your surfing. A refined Advanced board is a challenge.

Rail To Rail

How To Choose A Surfboard Stephanie Glimore Bottom Turn

World Champion Steph Gilmore. Note you can clearly see the bottom of her board indicative it’s on rail as she does her bottom turn

Rail to rail surfing is a defining feature of advanced surfing that you have to build into your repetoire.

Advanced boards are fastest with only their rail in the water. As an advanced surfer you should be constantly trying to keep your board on rail transitioning between manoeuvres. With the Pros look how often you see the bottom or deck of their boards show towards you. This is an indicator that their opposite rail is in the wave. They are on rail.

How To Choose A Surfboard Owen Wright Rail to Rail

Check the trail of Owen Wright’s board on this wave. It’s carving an ‘S’ shape as it goes from the inside right rail to the outside left rail back to the inside rail to hit the lip. Going rail to rail to rail. Rob Machado in the pic below is setting up for the barrel. He not on rail, note you can’t see the bottom or deck of his board as he’s trimming flat on the wave

How To Choose A Surfboard Rob Machado Trimming

There are a few manoeuvres, like barrel riding where you may setup with a flat line on the wave. If you look at advanced barrel riding though you’ll see that the surfer often exits the barrel on a different line than they entered. This is indicative of them weighting their rail manoeuvring while barrelled.

So your Advanced board needs to have features that will help you go rail-to-rail. Like rocker, these features might be hard to discern so get the assistance of someone who knows.

To What Standard

How To Choose A Surfboard John John Florence World Champion

The WSL sets the criteria to define advanced surfing. This is the criteria by which the World Champion is chosen. This is a good criteria you can use to judge your progression. Is your Advanced board working for you? John John Florence two time World Champion and Future Fins Team rider

How will you know if you’re surfing better, if your Advanced board is working for you? The World Surf League determines the surfing World Champion. This title is a recognition of performance. So it makes sense to model your advanced surfing on what the WSL considers the best and you can see this in the many competitive heat videos available.

However there is advanced surfing that might not be recognised or rewarded by the WSL.

For example Taj Burrow had an incredible air game before aerial manoeuvres were part of the WSL judging criteria. This was in part made possible by his boards from Greg Webber. Ahead of its time, Taj’s surfing is acknowledged  as inspiration for surfers like Dane Reynolds and Kelly Slater.

How To Choose A Surfboard 2005 Surfboard

This is one of Kelly Slater’s boards from around 2005. Note its narrower outline. Below is his Wizard Sleeve model, the same model he won the 2008 Pipeline Masters. Up until that point a board this small, 5’11, wide with a full nose was not considered suitable for that type of bigger powerful wave. From that point this style of board drove Advanced board innovation

How To Choose A Surfboard Kelly Slater Wizard Sleeve

Kelly has often gone on his own path with regards to his advanced boards revolutionising the board industry as a whole. First he was on longer narrower boards then changed completely to shorter wider boards. In one of his Pipeline victories he rode a board, a long board with the nose cut off. The model like this was called the Wizard’s Sleeve. This board offered a mix of longerboard rocker and drive with shortboard responsiveness and speed.

So there’s a path as you advance where you can start to optimise your own performance, tweaking or more radically changing your Advanced board design to match your style.

Making A Start

How To Choose A Surfboard Superbrand Mad Cat Dimensions

A good way to progress with an Advanced board is to transition through several versions of the same model like this Superbrand MadCat. Keep the dimensions the same but reduce the volume by reducing thickness and refining the rails. In the example above if you’re okay on a 28L+ board go for a 28L board. Then transition to a 27L board but still keep the length at 5’11 1/2″ and width at 19 1/8″. Then transition to 26.5L while maintaining the 5’11 1/2″ x 19 1/8″ dimensions

Start with a transition. Get a Pro model board around the dimensions you are riding now with slightly less volume than your Intermediate board. It should still have volume in the right places for example under your chest and in the rails so they’re fuller, still with some forgiveness. Then with your next board stick with the same model or design at the same dimensions and refine the volume this will automatically reduce the thickness and the rails.

A few iterations updating boards will see you hone in on the right volume. Your paddling will be reduced but your manoeuvrability will be greatly enhanced. Remember your Advanced board is about taking you beyond your comfort zone.

Another aspect is tail width. Kelly rode a lot of rounded pins. John John Florence likes a very tucked in squash tail. A narrower tail provides more bite and control under your back foot. So go for a narrower tail. In addition to the tail template shape there’s the thickness. You don’t want your tail too thick.

How To Choose A Surfboard Alana Blanchard Top Turn

Alana Blanchard carving off the top. You can see she’s executed the start of this turn up the face in the sucky part of the wave. A thinner drawn in tail, and the right fins in this case Future Fins, give you the control you need to surf like this. A refined tail is an important part of your Advanced board

The thinner tail gives you control, bite, and responsiveness. It lets you start your turns earlier on the steeper part of the wave. You don’t feel like you’re skating out. You can start your turns without going too far down the face. Watch the Pros and see where they do their bottom turns. Bottom turns are a vital manoeuvre to get right.

Getting critical bottom turns in sooner allows you to utilise more of the wave. You aren’t racing for the shoulder but going top to bottom, rail to rail, putting in big manoeuvres. A thinner refined tail is an important part of your Advanced board.


How To Choose A Surfboard Superbrand Fling Small Waves

The Pros like to mix it up with different boards. But you never see them ride a full Fish in a WSL comp even when the waves are smaller. So your Advanced board quiver should focus on not radically different board types, but boards optimised for the variety of surf conditions, small or bigger waves

Once you start to progress tradeup your boards that don’t work. Keep your boards that do. Keep your best Intermediate board too as when you have a break from surfing it’ll make it easier to get back  to advanced level.

With regards to having a quiver of different board types, interestingly the Pros don’t use Fish boards on Tour even when the waves are small.

Similarly it’s common to hear that you need a StepUp, a longer board for bigger surf. But the Pros don’t really ride long guns except in the Big Wave Tour stuff. In the case of the Pros the step up in board size for bigger waves may be fractional. Riding bigger waves for them is more about the tuning of boards around the size they’re already on.

How To Choose A Surfboard Fiji Big Waves

Owen Wright in Fiji in solid waves on his way to two perfect 10 scores. The waves are reef waves, solid and powerful. The type of wave you’d use a StepUp for. However Owen’s board is 6’4″ only one inch longer than his normal board. Image courtesy WSL

Owen Wright has surfed solid 8-10′ Fiji on a 6’4 1/2″. His normal board size is 6’3″. Josh Kerr, with his standard board size of 5’10”, talks of his 5’8″ as handling up to 8-10′. One aspect of Josh’s board is that it carries the width up to the nose to give good paddling and wave catching. At the tail it narrows and is thinner to hold in on the big powerful waves. Very similar to Kelly’s Wizard Sleeve.

How To Choose A Surfboard Kolohe Andino Carve

Kolohe Andino pushing hard on his rail has the right board from his quiver to jam in the pocket

As you look at what the Pros are riding it becomes clear one of the reasons they have lots of boards is that they fine tune, finely match their boards to the conditions. So you may want to start to build your Advanced board quiver so you’ve always got a board to perform optimally in varying conditions.

Sure it’s fun to mix it up with a fix, a twin fin, or speciality board. For your Advanced board quiver it’s about building a set of boards with smaller differences matching different surf conditions.

Your Board – How To Choose a Surfboard – Advanced

How To Choose A Surfboard Superbrand Blackout

All it takes is a good board and you. A good surfer on a Superbrand board

Owen Wright mentions having 80 boards he was testing in his loungeroom at one time. It’s common for the Pros to go through hundreds of boards, even in a year. So the path to an Advanced surfboard can be involved and require resource. Alternatively there’s a wealth of new boards on the shop floor you can see, touch, feel, and go through. With the right advice you can start on a Pro style board and have an easy option to tradeup instore speeding your surfing progression.

Getting on the custom-order path is an option too. You get a board specifically made for you which can often help you on the fasttrack. With our expert shapers on hand you can get several customs so you have your quiver ready, for small, daily and bigger surf. You’ll have all bases covered for your Advanced board progression.

Check our other articles in this series-

How To Choose A Surfboard – Beginner

How To Choose A Surfboard – Intermediate

How To Choose A Surfboard Superbrand Clay Marzo Mad Cat


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How To Choose A Surfboard – Intermediate

How To Choose A Surfboard NSP Intermediate Surfboard

How To Choose A Surfboard NSP Main ImageHow To Choose A Surfboard – Intermediate

How To Choose A Surfboard at the Intermediate level can be determined by how you want to progress. What style of surfing appeals to you? What waves will you surf? Getting this right will direct you to the right board or boards that will have you surfing your best.

The second part of a three part series, this article is about how to choose a surfboard, your Intermediate Surfboard. The other articles in this series are here: How to Choose a Surfboard – Beginner, How to Choose a Surfboard – Advanced.

The Right Approach

How To Choose A Surfboard Steve O'Donnell Shapes

Your Intermediate board will help you progress. Whether it’s a handcrafted custom longboard like those from Steve O’Donnell above or a shortboard like the proven and super durable models from NSP below. One thing is certain in how to choose a surfboard, you want to progress past kooky Beginner moves

How To Choose A Surfboard NSP Intermediate Performance Surfing

One aspect of your approach to surfing and how to choose a surfboard is an appreciation that the ocean and waves constantly change. Whether it’s the wave size with a big or small swell, the wind making for clean or sloppy conditions, or the tide exposing or covering a break, it’s all about change.

How To Choose A Surfboard Ocean Conditions Flat

Above and below. The same corner break. One day flat the other about as big as it gets and still surfable. The ocean is all about constant change. How to choose a surfboard? Is there one board for you for all conditions?

How To Choose A Surfboard Big Waves

In your progress on how to choose a surfboard, you need to factor this in when getting your Intermediate board. Your board may feel super fast at low tide and sluggish at high. Or sliding out in bigger waves, carving  when it’s smaller. Recognise that your Intermediate surfboard will have an ideal application, strengths and limitations.

Your surfing also is in transition, your skill and ability improving. Your board likewise is part of that transition. So your Intermediate board should be targeted slightly ahead of where your surfing is now to where you want it to be. It should offer you some challenge. A good well chosen Intermediate board will help you progress rapidly and as you tradeup give you maximum return.

Not Created Equal

How To Choose A Surfboard Dane Reynolds Magic Boards

Dane Reynolds, one of the greatest shortboard surfers of all time takes you on a tour of his garage stacked full of old boards. No, they’re not all magic boards. In 15 minutes Dane takes time to pick out the select few magic boards. Less than five boards out of his decades of surfing . Image courtesy Channel Islands, Dane’s board sponsor

It’s worth mentioning that all boards are not created equal. There are some boards, described as magic boards, that seem to always perform at a high level regardless of conditions.

On the World Tour, out of the hundreds of boards a Pro gets there’s rare boards they acknowledge as being very special. These are often only surfed at special times, such as finals.

So be aware that in your quest of how to choose a surfboard special boards do exist and if one comes into your possession don’t trade it.

It’s All About You

How To Choose A Surfboard Owen Wright Physique

Good surfers come in all shapes and sizes. Owen Wright is the tallest, and skinny, from a field of Pro surfers covering all body types and physiques. Image courtesy Italic Studio

Looking at the World Tour and the body types of the surfers it’s evident there’s a wide range of differing physiques. So if you’re tall, short, solid or skinny, your body type will not prejudice your surfing and there’s a board that will help you progress.

Your surfing ability is closely related to the time you put in. So being a competent Intermediate surfer will require time in the surf. A good board though is a vital factor.

What Is Intermediate Level

How To Choose A Surfboard Softlite Beginner Board Cruising

Cruising on a Softlite Beginner board above. Below, doing a manoeuvre, a re-entry on an NSP. Intermediate surfing is all about manoeuvres. Your Intermediate board will help you do manoeuvres

How To Choose A Surfboard NSP Re-entry Manoeuvre

At Intermediate level you want to competently cope with the differing surf conditions you find day to day. Faced with a variety of waves your surfing will be more challenging but offer a greater opportunity for fun and to perform.

So what will your Intermediate board help you do on the waves?


Manoeuvres are recognised positionings of your board, turns and actions on the wave that have set names. They’re what you do to ride the wave optimally. For example a bottom turn is a manoeuvre you might do to get around the crumbling section of a wave. Alternatively you could perform over that same crumbling section another manoeuvre like a re-entry, top turn, or floater. Your Intermediate board should help you build up a repertoire of manoeuvres.

How To Choose A Surfboard Superbrand Going Fast

Intermediate surfing is also about going fast, with control. This surfer displaying both, flying on his SuperBrand

The other major thing your Intermediate board must do is give you speed. Turning is good but most manoeuvres require or will be performed best with speed. Speed will also definitely help you make more waves.

As you develop competence in doing manoeuvres, the way you do those moves, the placement of your hands, body posture and action you’ll start to see the emergence of your own style.

Board Principles

How To Choose A Surfboard Bottom Curve Rocker

Do they all look the same? A stack of shortboards all with different bottom curves, rockers. These are all from the one brand, Superbrand. Minor differences make for big differences in your performance

There’s certain almost universal principles that govern the design of longboards and shortboards. Familiarity with them will help you understand what to look for in your Intermediate quest of how to choose s surfboard.


The curve of the bottom of your board from nose to tail is called bottom curve or rocker. A flat rocker gives speed, but too flat and your board won’t turn optimally. A curved rocker gives good turning but too curved and your board won’t have speed.

Rocker starts out with simple concepts but is very sophisticated. This is where some of the magic comes in. There are certain rockers that go optimally in a wide range of conditions that make magic boards. Even with computers and cutting machines magic rockers are elusive. There are however certain rocker dimensions you can look for indicative of the desired characteristics for your board. At the Intermediate level flatter rocker is better.

Bottom Shape

How To Choose A Surfboard Computer Shaped Bottom Curve

Screen shot from a computer shaping program showing the bottom shape. The top image shows the profile of the surfboard with a deep single concave that is shaped into the bottom of the board.

Bottom shape, not to be confused with bottom curve, is what is shaped into the bottom of your board. A concave bottom tends to be the fastest shape giving you speed. Longboards often have a concave under your chest with a vee towards the rear of the board. Shortboards have either a single concave throughout or single to double concave.

There are numerous combinations and interrelations of rocker and bottom shape, but you want one that is faster rather than one that may turn well but be slower.

Volume & Thickness

How To Choose A Surfboard Superbrand Fling Superbrand Toy X

These boards are the same length. The top board has an extra 7.5 liters that is 25% more volume than the lower board. It’s clear to see a lot of it is in the wide tail, which does not aid paddling nor directly aid flotation

Another surfboard characteristic is volume. This is a value described in liters that indicates the float of your board. Volume needs to be used with understanding. In longboards it’s not so important at the Intermediate level.

For shortboards volume is important because you have less board and it has to float you. Volume is represented for example as 25.3L for a smaller board and say 42L for a bigger board.

Where your volume is distributed is equally important. If you have two boards with identical volume, if one has a wide tail, volume will be in the tail and perhaps not under your chest. Meaning the board might not paddle well.

Volume is an important part of how to choose a surfboard. In your Intermediate board more volume is better than less, but it has to be refined in the context of the complete board design.

It All Comes Together

How To Choose A Surfboard Greg Webber Master Shaper

Master shaper Greg Webber showing the refined beauty in one of his shapes. Greg has turned out more than his fair share of magic boards for Pros and every day surfers

Well designed boards crafted by expert shapers combine the various characteristics into good and great boards. 

Small differences in measurements can have a big impact on your board. We’re talking about a one eighth or quarter of an inch being a big difference. It may be hard for you to identify and assess what the impact of these small characteristics might be but they can make your board fast or slow, responsive or dead. So at the Intermediate level it’s important to get assistance from someone experienced.

Intermediate Longboard

How To Choose A Surfboard Steve O'Donnell Master Longboard Shaper

Master shaper Steve O’Donnell brings it all together for you in a super refined longboard. His designs are so good you’ll be able to hand yours down from generation to generation

If you want to longboard the next step in how to choose a surfboard is to get a more refined longboard.

As a Beginner you’ve started on a longer, thicker, wider board. Now you want a more refined board, refined to suit you. The overall size should match your body and physique. If you’re taller stay with length. If smaller come down in length.

As discussed above, your longboard should be flatter in rocker rather than curvier. It should have a fast bottom shape, ideally with concave.

It should still have generous thickness so you get good float and paddling. Where thickness is distributed is important too. You want your board finer in the nose, thicker in the middle where you lay to paddle, and thinner through the tail. Reduced thickness will make your board responsive, easier to manoeuvre.

How To Choose A Surfboard NSP Longboard Options

NSP has refined proven shapes in their lineup. Not as refined as a custom shape but NSP boards come in super durable constructions. NSP offer one of the best returns at tradeup time

The width is not quite as important as thickness but generally boards don’t go over 22″ wide. So come down from that to match your body type. The narrower the board the easier it is to throw around but also don’t go too narrow. You risk losing planing speed and smoothness of ride.

The rails can remain thicker and boxy as this gives forgiveness and enables you to put more energy into turns, pushing and driving without your board catching.

Intermediate Shortboard

How To Choose A Surfboard Greg Clough Design Surfboard Greg Webber Design Surfboard

Two Gregs. A Greg Clough design on the left and Greg Webber on the right. Two examples of ideal Intermediate shortboards that give you great fun while progressing your surfing. Note Clough’s design has a fuller nose and is fuller from mid to tail. Webber alternatively narrows this area making up for it with thicker rails. Different designs, both work great

The first step in how to choose a surfboard for shortboard surfing is to drop down from your Beginner board to a shortboard.

The length of your Intermediate shortboard is interrelated with width. So you have a few options based on how you want to surf and what type of waves you want to mainly surf.

If you’re aiming primarily to have fun in day-to-day on waves at your local break an option is a board that is your height. It should be wider than a normal shortboard with fuller nose and fuller tail.

How To Choose A Surfboard NSP Shortboards

NSP shortboard offerings have the fuller nose and wider tails, though not full Fish tails. They are tried and proven designs dimensioned to fit most surfers. Construction-wise they’ll take plenty of bangs giving you one of the best returns at tradeup time

The volume must be more than enough to give you float and it can be a little thicker in the nose. Definitely thick through the area where you paddle. Thinner through the tail. The rails can remain thick and boxy as this gives forgiveness, enabling you to put more energy into turns, pushing and driving without catching.

The bottom shape should have a concave from under your chest to a single concave or double concave running through the fins.

The rocker, the most important part, needs to be pretty flat.

How To Choose A Surfboard NSP Shortboard Thickness

In this pic you can see the generous volume in an NSP shortboard, not visible just from the outline. Not as refined and hence not as responsive as an Intermediate board might be, though NSP Team Rider Kristy Delport shows you can charge on them

How To Choose A Surfboard Not Fish Boards Superbrand Siamese Twin Emery Wedge

Neither of these boards is a Fish. Both are ideal fun Intermediate boards with fuller nose for easy paddling and wave catching and pulled in tail for good turning. The red under the top board represents the excess area a fish board would add that can limit your manoeuvres

The board described is similar to a Fish design. It’ll be a little longer than a Fish but does not have the straight outline and wide tail associated with Fishes. While not a Fish it will have more area and volume than a  normal shortboard. You don’t want an all-out Fish as they tend to give a flat style to your surfing limiting manoeuvres and proper progression.

The type of board described will give you heaps of speed in small to mid-range surf and this equates to fun. The not-too-wide tail will still allow for turns and drive, giving hold in steeper sections.

Pro Progression

How To Choose A Surfboard Superbrand Tazer Superbrand Toy X

The Superbrand Tazer and Toy X are great shorboard shapes. They’ve fuller noses but not as wide as the previous described boards. The Tazer has generous width. Both have tucked in tails. The secret to make them work as your Intermediate board is to get a little more length and volume, fuller more forgiving rails, and more width in the tail. Both are available off the shelf and as custom for you

The Second option shortboard is to go a few inches longer than your height. The nose should be more pulled in than the Fish style board, but not too pulled in. The body of the board can be a little wider so there’s more than enough area to give you float without being too wide. Width should not be as wide as a Fish.

Toward the tail there should be a hip or streamlined reduction of width. The tail should be slightly larger than a normal shortboard tail. Thickness can be finer in the nose, thickening where you paddle, finer through the tail.

How To Choose A Surfboard Superbrand performing in small wave

Even in small junky waves, waist high with no power a well designed Intermediate board has flow and power getting the most from the wave. Throwing spray in a big direction change in the small stuff

The bottom shape can have a single to single or double concave starting from just before your chest all the way through the board. With the rocker there are a few different combinations that will work but to keep it simple a flat rocker through the nose with a flatter curve through the middle to a rising rocker in the tail will work well.

How It Works

How To Choose A Surfboard Superbrand Shapers Collective

Superbrand is a shapers collective bringing the latest and greatest ideas from around the world into proven designs for you. They’ve a handful of key models that are refined year by year. Proven to work they’re great for your progression

The rising rocker in the tail will give you more turning. A board like this with a good rocker will give you a good balance between speed and being able to turn. It will require more work than the Fish-style board. This means you’ll have to keep your board moving on the wave to keep the speed going. Then when there’s the right section in front of you the board will help you throw the manoeuvre you want.

Because your board’s not too wide it will more easily fit in the curve of the wave. It will handle more power, still giving you hold and control in head high waves so you can do carving turns. In your quest of how to choose a surfboard, this style of board is ideal for progressing to Advanced level. It sets you up for doing manoeuvres in the right way.

Shortboard Sweet Spot

How To Choose A Surfboard Channel Islands New Flyer

Channel Islands is the brand ridden by Kelly Slater over most of his World Title wins. The New Flyer model is a refinement over a decade of one of their best designs.It features a slightly narrower nose, fuller mid, then the hip brings in the tail. It’s an ideal setup for driving your surfing from your backfoot with stance over the board’s sweet spot. This model is TLPC construction, super durable & lightweight

Both the shortboards described above should have a sweet spot, a foot placement from which you get the best speed and turning. The Fish-style board will have a sweet spot slightly forward of the back fin to where your front foot is placed.

The Second option will ideally give you a sweet spot in the area from right over your back fin to where your front foot is placed. You want to only move your feet minimally. You want to plant your back foot over the back fin, and have your front foot consistently in the same position.

In this way by leaning back and forward you control your board.

Pushing with your back foot you can drive into manoeuvres. By leaning forward you generate speed across flat sections and to the next section and manoeuvre. This setup settles your surfing. By not having to move your feet too much you reduce the risk of getting off balance and falling. You can focus on reading the wave, on what manoeuvre you want to perform.

In your progress of how to choose a surfboard, getting this ride-ability through the transfer of weight forward and backward is important.

Aspects of Boarding

How To Choose A Surfboard Channel Islands Biscuit

A purpose specific board for tiny waves. The Channel Islands Biscuit. Note the fuller nose and how flat the rocker of the board is with very little curve overall. Good for generating the best of whatever speed is available

You can own more than one board. You may have boards for tiny, fat, sucky, big conditions. If you go for several boards check with someone experienced so you get boards that complement each other. You don’t want boards that are too similar.

Making your board perform has a lot to do with you. Some boards need to be paddled hard into the wave and then start to fly on takeoff. A lot of concave boards are like this. Others need only a stroke or two and are already gliding, having good speed when you’re just trimming in a straight line. Others need to be constantly in motion rising and falling on the wave.

How To Choose A Surfboard NSP Longboard and Funboard

Two entirely different styles of boards allow you to mix it up

Surfing regularly you will start to pickup these characteristics of your board, how your body movements can optimise your board and the wave. For example touching your hand to the wave face on a steeper wave helps your board do more powerful turns as this body movement gets it on rail. On a fatter wave turning your upper body and head early in the direction you want to go will generate a more powerful manoeuvre.


How To Choose A Surfboard Superbrand Kevlar Construction

Kevlar is offered as an option on some Superbrand boards offering strength, light weight, and advanced flex

While there are a range of advanced constructions featuring carbon and kevlar and epoxy and differing types of foam cores, in the right shape all will work. On the World Tour the Pros are riding both PU and epoxy and mixing it up when needed.

In your quest for how to choose a surfboard, one thing to keep in mind is that the mass-produced epoxy board, while not offering you a custom shape, will give you a better return on tradeup.

Your Open Horizon – How To Choose a Surfboard – Intermediate

How To Choose A Surfboard Superbrand Surfing Success

With your Intermediate board you don’t have to limit your surfing horizons. You may want to aim for being a Pro. Or you may want to just competently surf your local break. Either way now you’ve got a good starting point to get you going for success in your Intermediate stage.

How To Choose A Surfboard NSP Intermediate Surfboard


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How To Choose A Surfboard – Beginner

How To Choose A Surfboard Last Image

How To Choose A Surfboard Main ImageHow To Choose A Surfboard

How to choose a surfboard is all about matching your ability to the waves you are likely to surf. Getting this match right will direct you to the right board that will have you surfing your best.

This principle holds true no matter how long you’ve been surfing. So what’s your ability? Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced?

The first part of a three part series, this article is about choosing your Beginner Surfboard. The other articles in this series are here: How to Choose a Surfboard – Intermediate, How to Choose a Surfboard – Advanced.

The Right Approach

How To Choose A Surfboard Ideal Beginners Board

This pic sums up the right approach to Beginner surfing and getting your right Beginner board. The wave is easy. It’s only about waist height and it’s rolling. The surfboard is ideally matched to this wave. It’s long offering great paddling helping the surfer catch the wave before it’s broken. The board’s length and width characteristics give stability helping the surfer easily get to and stay on their feet. The board’s stability helps the surfer easily balance & ride the wave gliding out on the unbroken face

If you’re a Beginner you may want to just jump right in. For example you might think getting a high performance board and throwing yourself at high performance waves will fast track you to high performance surfing. This will not work.

How To Choose A Surfboard Performance Shortboard

You may think getting a high performance board and throwing yourself at high performance waves will fast track you to high performance surfing. This will not work. While a performance surfboard will help with high performance surfing, surfing is a progression. You need to have the right approach to start and progress to get you where you want to be

Many aspects of surfing require an approach, the right approach to give you the best result.

Accurately assess your ability.

How To Choose A Surfboard Surf Conditions

Making assessments is part of surfing. Are the conditions suitable for my ability? Are the waves easy? Is there a rip? Lifeguards?

Getting this right is the first step to great surfing. It is a consistent surfing principle you’ll often use. For example, for each surf you should assess your ability against the waves and ocean conditions, is there a lifeguard and so on, to check that you’re surfing safe.

Part of your approach to surfing should also incorporate an understanding that surfing is a progression. Your Beginner board is not the board you will always have. You will change your board, trade it in, moving to a more advanced boards as you progress.

So get the right board for you right now.

It will get you on the fastest track to progress.

Matching Waves

How To Choose A Surfboard Ideal Beginner Waves

The right waves direct you to the right type of board. These waves are easy. Easy to get through, easy to catch, easy to ride. Both the above surfers are on long boards suited for their ability and helping them get the best from the easy waves

We mentioned above assessing wave and surf conditions. This is a vital consideration every time you surf. As a Beginner matching waves to your ability means finding a surf spot where the waves are most suitable for beginning to surf.

The waves should be easy and running. They can be broken and foaming, or unbroken. They shouldn’t be bigger than waist height. Ideally they should be closer to shore and not breaking in deep water. You do not want to go out into waves where you have to do a lot of paddling. While paddling is part of surfing, surfing is not a paddling exercise. It’s about riding the waves. Easy running waves will require little paddling to get past and to catch. Once on, an  easy wave will push you along at a consistent speed so you can most easily get to your feet.

How To Choose A Surfboard Bad Beginner Waves

Waves like these do not match your Beginner requirements. A longboard will not help you with waves like these, it will be a liability. The wave on the left is not that big but look at the top of the wave. It is pitching and has dumped the surfer off his board. The wave on the right is too big for a Beginner and is also pitching

There’s a couple of right types of boards ideally matched to waves like this. Ideally matched to you as a Beginner.

Matching Surfboards

How To Choose A Surfboard Softboard Performance Air

The surfboard above is a softboard, a Beginner board you might see a kid surfing. Yet this good surfer can make it perform the most advanced manoeuvres like this air

Surfboards are a little harder to define into the Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced categories. Good surfers can make almost any board perform. There’s longboards and shortboards that are very different from each other yet both are used by Pro level surfers for advanced surfing. There’s fish, fun, hybrid, mini-mal and big wave boards too.

How To Choose A Surfboard NSP Longboard

This board is a longboard. It’s an ideal Beginner board. The length and fuller nose make for good paddling so you can easily paddle to and catch waves. The length and width make for good stability so once on the wave you can easily stand, balance, and ride the board

In the Beginner waves we’ve described above, a longer, wider and thicker board is the better match. The reason for this is that a board with these characteristics gives you good paddling and is stable so you can stand up easily.

Good paddling comes from the length of the board. Generally, the longer the board the better paddling it will give. So you can easily get to where the waves are, and easily paddle onto and catch the waves. Length and width also give the board stability. So the more stable the board the more proficient you’ll become at getting to your feet so the faster you’ll progress.

How To Choose A Surfboard NSP Hybrid Mini-mal

The board on the left is a funboard or mini-mal. It’s shorter but still with quite a full nose and good width. This board is good for a shorter Beginner. The board on the right is a hybrid. It’s shorter still but with more width throughout. If you don’t have easy waves this is the better option as it is easier to handle in more powerful surf than a longboard

The tradeoff is that a longer board will be harder to handle in the more powerful waves. This is because it’s bigger and it gets pushed more by the wave energy. That’s why you want to go where the waves are easy.

This type of big Beginner board can be called a longboard, malibu, mini-mal (mini malibu), funboard, hybrid or softboard depending on your size.

The size board you will get will depend on your personal characteristics such as your height and weight. If you’re bigger and heavier go for a bigger board say 9 feet long, 22 inches wide, 3 inches thick. You can scale down from there.

If you are smaller, getting a board as half as long again as your height is a rough guide to minimum length. Kids seem to do well on any board that’s their height or longer as long as it has enough flotation for them.

Not Matching Waves

How To Choose A Surfboard Ideal Beginner Waves

Ideal waves for Beginning may not always be available so you may need an alternative to a longboard

While you shouldn’t surf at a spot where the waves are too heavy or dangerous, you may not have a spot where they’re easy running. It may be that the waves are more powerful.

If the waves are more powerful you can drop down the length of your board. You can go for a shorter board making sure it still has good volume and flotation. The board should still be longer than your height and wide and thick to give you volume and float.

How To Choose A Surfboard Duck Diving A Longboard

Longboards are hard if not impossible to duck dive especially for a Beginner. If you can’t find easy running waves then a shorter board may be the better option as it is easier to handle in the more powerful surf. Below, this is not an ideal Beginner board but this pic illustrates how a shorter board can easily get under powerful waves

How To Choose A Surfboard Duck Diving A Shortboard

This shorter board will be easier to handle in the more powerful surf. Instead of trying to paddle through waves and getting dumped-on and pushed back, a shorter board is easier to get through the wave. A shorter board can be used to duck dive, where you push your board under the wave letting it pass over you.

Powerful surf will push you so you’ll have the speed to stand up even though your board is shorter. Making sure the board is wide will help with stability and give you plenty of area to get to your feet. This shorter type of board can be a mini-mal, funboard or hybrid.

There is a tradeoff with this shorter board. It won’t be as easy to paddle. In fact you may make little headway in the water. It won’t be as stable as a longboard so will be harder to stand up on. Once up shortboards are inherently unstable which is how they get their high performance. They also will lose speed slowing down more quickly making it harder to keep your balance. It won’t be as easy to get started on in easy and weaker waves.

Construction Counts

How To Choose A Surfboard NSP Construction

The pic above shows NSP construction. Note the inner foam core has no stringer but is a super strong EPS foam. Wrapped around this is very high quality material indicated as ‘Military Grade Fibreglass’. Several other layers are added giving strength and durability

A board of almost any construction will work as they will all surf. However as a Beginner it’s more likely you will be in situations where you can damage your board. This can be from inadvertent bangs and bumps or from being dumped by the wave itself.

How To Choose A Surfboard BIC Surfboards

These BIC boards have a plastic nearly indestructible construction. Note the board on the left has an extra wide tail giving extra stability to help during the Beginner stage. Below, just in case you think a plastic board won’t surf, check this great island barrel on a BIC

How To Choose A Surfboard BIC Barrel

Epoxy construction and plastic BIC style boards are generally the best beginner choice offering strength. The epoxy boards offer lighter weight and are highly dent resistant though they can scratch. BIC boards tend to be impervious to dents, they do scratch but these are less noticeable. Both boards are strong. The BIC boards are almost unbreakable.

How To Choose A Surfboard Shakka Softboard

A good value softboard. Note it has 3 wooden stringers to give strength as it outer layer is a soft foam. The soft outer layer means you have much less chance of getting a harsh bump. Softboards often come with soft fins that similarly reduce the chance of a harsh bump

Similarly softboards tend not to suffer from bumps and dents, are lighter for their size and a good Beginner option. A word of caution, only reputable softboard brands are constructed to be durable. Cheaper brands will break.

How To Choose A Surfboard Surf School Softboards

Softboards are used widely by surf schools such as Manly Surf School. This is indicative of their durable nature. Note the students repetitively jumping up and standing on them

Getting a board that’s durable that doesn’t take damage means it will be easier to trade-in or sell as you progress. Getting a cheap board that damages or breaks will see you having repair costs along with reduced value going towards your next board.

Your Progression – How To Choose a Surfboard – Beginner

How To Choose A Surfboard Competent Surfers

Progressing. On the left a great pic showing to surfers at different levels of progress on different boards. The first surfer is competent on a shorter board closer to the breaking part of the wave. The second surfer is less steady but on a longer board getting into the wave on the easier flatter part of the wave

On your Beginner board surfing on your easy waves you can start out just going straight in the foam. It’s all about practicing getting to your feet quickly and getting your balance. Practice staying on your feet through the wave bump and wash.

As you become more proficient start to angle across the wave out of the foam to the unbroken part of the wave. Glide along the open face. Start to guide your board up and down, from the bottom to the top of the wave sensing the speed. Start to turn.

How To Choose A Surfboard NSP Mini-mal

Get your paddling going so you’re able to paddle for the unbroken wave and you can stand up before the wave has broken.

At that point it’s time to progress to your next board.

Get your board, bring it in to our shop and trade it in. Get a great deal on your Intermediate board that will progress your surfing to the next level.

Check our other articles in this series-

How To Choose A Surfboard – Intermediate

How To Choose A Surfboard – Advanced

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Australian Open of Surfing 2017

Australian Open of Surfing 2017

Right on the sand of Manly Beach the mega surf lifestyle event, the Australian Open of Surfing 2017, blasts off on February 25.  The world’s best surfers, skaters, BMXrs and high voltage live music is all here for you to enjoy, free! Huge arenas are built right on the sand so you’ll be in the heart of the action.   In the surf, men and women will be ripping in the main event, the World Surf League-sanctioned QS6000 Pro, as well as Juniors going off in the Sydney Grom Challenge.

Julian Wilson set to compete in the Australian Open of Surfing 2017
Julian Wilson set to compete in the Australian Open of Surfing 2017

Skate & BMX Too!

Skate and BMX will be on offer with a new concrete course layout

A never-before-seen concrete course will be the venue for the inaugural and high flying Vans Skate Park Series. This is a World Championship event for men and women offering a total US$500,000 prize pool. Action will be intense.

For BMX there’s also the inaugural Vans BMX Pro Cup Global Qualifier that will use the same built-to-spec course as Skate, so BMXrs will be getting air too.

Both these competitions are key in the making of the Vans Skate and BMX World Champions.

Great Waves @ Manly!

Manly Beach is the host location with its world class surf breaks. The Bower, Winki and Deadmans at the southern end. Peaky beach breaks run along the beach to Queenscliff. Queenie Bommie is a reef one kilometer offshore that holds huge swell.

Last year’s event saw Dion Atkinson (AUS) and Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) as the male and female Champions. Manly turning on clean three-foot waves.

The beach and event create an incredible good-time vibe. Friendly locals mix it with high powered Pros. There’s a host of pavilions and huts with eco, surf, art and lifestyle displays so lots to see and do.

The full schedule of Australian Open of Surfing 2017 event times, along with location and heaps of other great info can be found at:

The full schedule of Australian Open of Surfing 2017 event times, along with location and heaps of other great info can be found at: