Activities The Great Outdoors Beginner Guide for Picking Your First Surfboard Share PINTEREST Email Print Caiaimage/Sam Edwards/Getty Images The Great Outdoors Surfing Hiking Climbing Skiing Snowboarding Paddling Fishing Sailing Scuba Diving & Snorkeling Learn More By Jay DiMartino Jay DiMartino is a writer and a former competitive surfer who spent more than a decade competing on the famed North Shore of Oahu. our editorial process Jay DiMartino Updated May 24, 2019 Nothing is more important to the beginning surfer than choosing the right first board. Those thin, narrow rockets the stars are riding sure look exciting, but they are a disaster for surfers learning initial techniques. Therefore, keep these tips in mind when choosing your first surfboard. Know What Type of Surfer You Are Now Pick a surfboard for you and your body. Your age, weight, and fitness level will play an important part in your decision, and so will the types of waves and beaches you surf in, as well as your ability. Your surf board is a mirror of you, so pick one that is appropriate for the surfer you are now, and not the one you want to become. Your First Surfboard Should Be Cheap While learning how to surf, you're going to ding and scratch a board if you really put it to use, so don't spend too much cash. A $400 surfboard will ding as easy as a $100 surfboard. It's not about looks, so ignore minor yellowing and small dings. However, dings that show foam or any delamination should be avoided. As a beginner, you're going to beat the heck out of your surfboard, so pay the least amount of cash possible. Your First Surfboard Should Be Big and Thick All the cool girls and guys have small, narrow surfboards, right? So what! You're not cool yet. Get a board that will give flotation and allows for easy paddling. A good average size board for a beginning surfer would be around 7 feet long and 19-21 inches wide and at least 2-3 inches thick. This all depends on your size, so be sure you can comfortably carry and wield the surfboard in the water. Just make sure your surfboard stands at least a foot taller than you. Generally, a 120-pound surfer should look for a 6 feet 10-inch board while a 140 pounder might look towards a 7 feet 2-inch board. At 170 pounds, try to go above 7 feet 6 inches. Don't Worry About Surfboard Shape Don't worry about the tail shape or number of fins on your surfboard. These parts of a surfboard shouldn't matter. For the first 3-6 months, you really shouldn't worry about turning or doing maneuvers anyway, so whether your surfboard is a swallowtail or a pintail or even if your surfboard only has one fin is pointless. For the record, 3-fin boards are the easiest to turn and the most functional fin set up for the advanced and intermediate surfer. Final Thoughts Several companies make soft surfboards that consist of a bodyboard-like material, and the fins are flexible to help prevent injuries while learning your craft. This is a good way to get the kids up and riding without a ride to the emergency room. These are the most basic rules for choosing your first surfboard. It doesn't matter if you buy a board from a friend, a local surf shop, or the Internet; find a big, cheap board that you can carry to the beach get stoked and learn how to surf.