Surfboard choice | Red Star Surf & Yoga Camp Lanzarote



What you have to consider when choosing a surfboard.

Choosing a surfboard, contrary to the commons ideas of many beginners, is not an easy or straightforward task. There is a multitude of boards, with radically different shapes and designs. Below are the various parameters to take into consideration

Determine your surfing level

First, you must be able to be objective in evaluating your own surfing level. What skills do you think you have? Are you beginner, intermediate, advanced? If you can not determine your level yourself, ask your surfer friends who have seen you in action for their opinion, which will probably be more objective.

As mentioned in our surfboard design page, surfing a shortboard without having the level of experience required is a common mistake that slows the progress of thousands of intermediate surfers around the world.

Beginner & advanced surfer on Famara beach – (Source : REDSTARSURF)


Consider your body size in general

Then consider your body size in general. Your height and weight will play an important role in your choice of surfboard. These parameters help you determine the volume you need for your next surfboard. We have a motto at Red Star Surf that says “volume is your friend” – the more volume you have, the easier it will be to paddle and catch more waves during your session, so that you enjoy it most!

Your fitness level

Your fitness level is also very important. If you are not used to surfing or even other sports in general, you will have to choose a certain type of surfboard. Surfing requires a fairly high level of physical fitness, and some types of surfboards are more or less suitable for good physical condition. Take a look at our fitness for surfing page if you want some tips to help you progress.

An advanced surfer with a fairly high level of physical fitness – (Source : REDSTARSURF)

Surfing big waves in Lanzarote – (Source : REDSTARSURF)

The type of wave you are most likely to surf

Furthermore, think about the type of waves you like to surf, and especially the ones that you have access to most often. Depending on where you live, you will certainly not have (at least, not every day!) the same perfect waves that can be found in Indonesia, for example. Will the waves that you will be surfing most often be hollow and fast, or slow and short? Different type of waves require different surfboards.




Finally, you must take into consideration all the multiple characteristics of the surfboard. The length, the width, the different types of tails and nose are all important elements in your choice of surfboard. Each shape will give you different results, so for those who may not be able to make the right choice given the multitude of variables, go and see a shaper directly for proper customization of your surfboard. After talking to you and asking a hundred questions, he will be able to understand your expectations, your style etc, so you will have a board totally adapted to your level.

Surfboard choice : When you’re a beginner

What you need to focus on …

Foam surfboards: This construction is ideal in terms of safety. The risk of accidents for yourself and for others is significantly reduced. In addition this type of board will provide you a lot of float and perfect stability. In our opinion, this is the perfect board for beginners. If you do not go through this step, you may get quickly disappointed with surfing.

Beginners surf lessons with softboards on Famara beach – (Source : REDSTARSURF)

The shapes to choose

The most important thing when you start is to have a board with a lot of volume to gain in flotation and stability. And remember, as we say at Red Star, “volume is your friend”! 

And no worries, as you progress you will reduce the size of your boards if that is the way you prefer to progress.

Funboard / Mini malibu : these boards combine the rowing power of longboards while having some of the maneuverability of a shortboard. Ideal for learning and having fun while leaving a margin for growth. These surfboards are about 6.5 to 8.5 feet long, with good thickness.

Longboard: Ideal for catching all types of waves, promote sliding pleasure. These boards are easier to paddle and offer great stability. With their generous volume, they allow you to take even the smallest waves, as well as whitewater waves if you are making your first steps in surfing.

For more details on the different surfboard shapes, please visit our surfboard design page.

Intermediate surf lessons on Famara beach – (Source : REDSTARSURF)

Surfboard choice : when you have an intermediate level..

What you need to focus on …

PU Construction: Polyurethane Foam Roll (Fiberglass Fabrics + Polyester Resin) : This is without a doubt the most sold construction in the world!

EPOXY construction: Polystyrene foam roll (fiberglass fabrics + epoxy resin) : This construction has the advantage of being solid and therefore will extend the lifespan of your surfboard. Epoxy resin boards are much lighter than the PU, making them more maneuverable – they react immediately to any movement of the surfer.

The shapes to choose

When you have an intermediate level, it is important that you choose your surfboard so that it is easy to row, and allows for fast progression, especially in maneuvers. And again, don’t forget that “volume is your friend”!.

Longboard: Once again the longboard will allow you to have an easy glide and take more waves to progress in your paddle and take-off. It’s a board that every surfer must have in his quiver.

Fish : More rounded, short and wide board, easy to paddle, allows to surf soft waves, while keeping the maneuverability and speed.

Progressive boards: With a decent volume, these boards are in general between 6’0 and 6’6” long. They provide for maximum stability and buoyancy. This is a good compromise between the liveliness of the shortboard and the comfort of the mini-malibu. Easy to paddle thanks to their large volume, you can take more waves and progress quickly. On the other hand, they are not really adapted to hollow waves because they have very little rocker. But everything in its time, you are not there just yet!

For more details on the different surfboard shapes, please visit our surfboard design page.

Surfboard choice : when you are an advanced surfer !

When you have advanced level, you can surf any board. However, if you are looking for performance you should be looking at PU or epoxy boards.

If you’re an advanced surfer and are skimming through this article, you probably already know it all. However, what might interest you is the advanced surf lessons that we offer at our surf school ! Check our surf school pages for more information.

Advanced surfer – (Source : REDSTARSURF)

The shapes to choose

As already mentioned, when you have an advanced level you can really surf anything and everything! Nevertheless, the two types of shapes found most often among advanced surfers are:

Shortboard : This board is narrower and shorter, with a tapered nose, lighter, and much more maneuverable. Ideal for advances surfers. That said, using shortboards without having the level of experience required is a very common mistake that slows the progress of thousand of intermediate surfers around the world.

Hybrid: A perfect mix between shortboard and fish. These boards are short <6’0 and have a volume greater than what advanced surfers usually surf. The advantage: they are easy to paddle and work in all conditions. Moreover they are super maneuverable.

If you like this article, feel free to look at our other pages to learn more about surfing and become an expert!

Find our surf school and surf camp in Caleta de Famara, Lanzarote, Canary Islands. We are looking forward to welcoming you on our beautiful island!