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My brother will travel with me to the beach every other week or so, and after getting excited while watching me surf he frantically whips out his cell phone and watches countless YouTube surf sessions and the perfect size board for him. He then throws rapid-fire questions at me like: “What size surfboard should I get for my height?!”
Look no further, in this post you will come out with the knowledge to save countless hours of wasted work and find the perfect fit for you.
This is an important question to ask, as without the right pick you can seriously reduce your likelihood of sticking to surfing, and picking up the skills in the short term.
Also See : Best Surfboard for Beginners
So, what exactly is the perfect surf board size for you and your performance level? As complex as that question is, there’s really only 3 important ideas you should try to completely understand before you even think about deciding on the right board (my brother calls it surfing board size) for you. Let’s take a look.
This is the second step, there’s basically 3 shapes when it comes to surfboards. They may have the same dimensions, but they will look and surf completely different from each other. The most important thing to remember here is a term we call the “Volume-to-Weight ratio” as I mentioned above. People usually mention it as Pounds per Liter (lbs/L) or Kilos per Liter (kg/L) (different metrics, same thing). Getting this magical number is pretty easy. You just need to divide your weight by the volume of your board (I hate math too, trust me). That’s it. The higher your end number, the smaller the board is in relation to you. Pretty simple, eh? Picking the correct board is important to best grow your performance over time, make sure you start out with the right setup (nose, tail, fins etc.)
I’ve got an example below you can use to find the perfect surfboard sizing chart you can use to get a general idea of the most effective size board for you to use. Check it out:
|< 55 kg||6’8″ – 7’2″||6’8″ – 7’0″|
|55 – 65 kg||7’2″ – 7’6″||6’10” – 7’2″|
|65 – 75 kg||8’0″ – 8’6″||7’0″ – 7’6″|
|75 – 85 kg||8’6″ – 9’2″||7’6″ – 8’0″|
|85 – 95 kg||9’2″ – 9’6″||8’0″ – 8’6″|
|95 kg+||9’6″ +||8’6″ – 9’2″|
Volume will be basically be the most useful way to compare the crazy amount of boards out on the market right now. Most brands typically show the volume of their boards on their websites and on their surfboards. Some websites will even give you a calculator to calculate the right size board for you and your style. When you search for your perfect volume for your type of setup, try to completely understand your skill level beforehand. And if your performance isn’t exactly expert yet, watch videos and learn the correct range (skill level x weight) before you buy or order a board. Bottom line – if you want to maximize your output and learn to surf efficiently on the correct gear, you need to work.
I’ve included another table below that you can use to get an idea of the volume that suits your fitness and comfort levels best. Keep in mind though, it’s dependent on your weight and your skill level. Check it out:
|Beginner||Whitewater, Learning to Stand & Stay on board||2.0lbs/L (0.9kg/L)|
|Lower intermediate||Paddling out, dropping straight down the face (riding green waves)||2.6lbs/L (1.2kg/L)|
|Intermediate||Trimming Down the Line, Attempting Turns||3.0lbs/L (1.3kg/L)|
|Upper intermediate||Performing basic cutbacks||4.0lbs/L (1.8kg/L)|
|Advanced||Advanced top to bottom surfing||6.0lbs/L (2.7kg/L)|
Pretty cool, eh? Essentially, you just multiply the number with your weight to get the volume. Ez pz. If you have to choose between a few different boards though, always, always choose the larger board. Trust me, you’ll thank me later. As your skill increases, you’ll find that you’re able to handle larger boards a little better.
A board that’s too large though unfortunately has one major downside…if you have poor technique, you can’t pivot with your upper body as you would with a shorter board. So, it’s imperative that you focus on your technique before you go out and get a super long 9’ board. The more modest your surfboard size, the easier it should be to turn…in theory. However, shortboards can still be maneuvered with awful technique which is only gonna slow you down when it comes to improving your skills. Again, focus. On. Technique. A board that’s too small for you will do the following:
Smaller boards let you clip your turns better (which can make you believe you’re shredding some serious waves when you’re really not). However, you’d be surprised at how learning to carve is actually way harder to do on a lower volume board. This is because you’ve got less speed. But, how do I find the right surfboard shape after I’ve figured out the right surfboard size? Great question. I’ll go over that next as well as going into some details about choosing the right height for your needs.
So, I’ve given you an idea on how to find the perfect volume for your board. It’s time to explore the many shapes boards can come in. To get an idea, your average shortboard would be between 25-35 Litres while your typical funboard would be somewhere in the middle of 40-50L. Longboards may go from 60-100L and could go up to 250L just so you get an idea.
But, you’re probably asking, “what size surfboard should I get for my height?” If you’re just starting out, I would say it’s best to find a board that is broad, thick and is at least 3 feet taller than your current height. If you’re a beginner surfer, try to find a surfboard with some extra flotation built in and some extra stability so that you can paddle the wave a little easier (2Lbs/L weight-to-volume ratio). These boards will give you more stability and are a little easier to paddle. They’ll ultimately help you catch waves faster than if you had a board without the extras and are way more forgiving when those waves eventually overtake you and you can’t find your balance immediately. We’ve all been there.
Do any of these have you scratching yourself or focsing you to search for another answer?
Contact us or drop a comment below and we’ll get back to you asap. We can help you find your ideal type of board and uncover any sign that you may not be at your full potential with your current gear.
Don’t forget! Find the right volume for your weight and skill level as I mentioned earlier. Longboard surfboard sizes can be fun for all skill levels, even high skill riders. They’re also perfect for getting back into the swing of things after a hiatus from the surf season or if you’re recovering from a sprain or anything else that might’ve held you back. Now, let’s get into a few shapes you may find when browsing for a board.
When you go from a longboard to a shorter and smaller board like a fun shape/fish style board, you have hopefully mastered stability. However, it’s best not to go right onto a shortboard after you’ve had a soft top for a while because you may run into balancing issues on these kinds of boards. Think of this board as a preface to shortboards…for the novice…on the first day of college. They have a ton of support that you’ll demand as you and your skills progress and improve. Just make sure they’re larger than 20 inches from the center if you choose to switch boards. It’ll help you stay balanced when you’re out on the waves. It also doesn’t hurt that your board has an a-typical design (for the dream of course).
Why and when to choose a fish style board:
So, when should you switch to a fun shape/fish style board? After you’ve mastered the following:
So, you’re ready for your first shortboard, huh? If you’ve got the hang of paddling, pop ups and the basics of turns…you just might be ready for one. But, you’ve really got to know the basics before I could recommend getting one.
It’s a perfect way to experience some new ways to surf. They’re thin, have a great curvature allowing you to catch the waves better and are normally more agile than their counterparts. They are usually built for maneuverability. They have less foam so you can control them more easily which is useful when you want to duck dive those seriously insane waves. They’re also perfect for riding those magnificent long, deep barrels we all dream of catching. You know what I mean. The kind of waves Kelly Slater is known for.
It’s best to choose shorter boards when in these scenarios:
Advantages of choosing shortboards:
Now, before you go out and get one, make sure you’ve mastered the following:
When waves are between 4-7 feet tall you can basically ride any board your heart desires. This is the ideal condition. Conditions like that are rare. This is where people will stick with the boards they’re most comfortable with, but I say it’s the perfect time for you to research that board you’ve had your eyes on. Since days like that are rare, why not seize the opportunity to try something new? However, also make sure you buy the right type of board (design, nose, tail, volume) for your height and weight.
Just remember, always pick the board that lets you have the most fun when you’re out surfing. Who cares what someone else tells you to ride. After all, isn’t having fun the point of surfing?
I hope this guide helps you choose the right surfboard size and shape as well as give you a few pointers on when to choose what boards. Until next time! Have fun and ride safe!
This was the typical setup years ago, and is widely used on a long board.
A twin setup is best for small-wave surfing, and makes your ride a bit more maneuverable on those smaller swells.
The most common setup of this top 5, thrusters add additional control that helps newcomers wanting to learn as well as experts build their experience level.
This benefit to this is speed in smaller waves, and is great for maneuverability for a big – wave surfing.
The range between your ability to excel your ability to surf will rely on your choices at this step. Try to start on a setup that is ideal for you, make sure you search blog posts or videos like this to find the right type of board for you.
When you search for the perfect board size for you:
Using the chart below, match your weight to the recommended length. One tell tail sign that your board isn’t the right size, whether that’s too big or small is your speed, and ability to popup in a stable way.
Additionally, you can use the image below to match your weight to the ideal size for you.
(funny side note: my brother often calls it a surfing board size)
Image of the surfboard sizing chart:
Also See : Catch Surf Odysea Surfboard Review
About the Author Chet Thornberry
My name is Chet and I'm a surfer living in Cocoa Beach. I created this blog to put my experience with surfing, skimboarding, bodyboarding, and paddleboarding to good use (pretty much all things water sports).
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