SurfCamp Bali Blog

About life, death, surfing and everything you wanted to know about bali but had been afraid to ask

The guide to your first surfboard. The perfect board to learn how to surf Bali.

The guide to your first surfboard. The perfect board to learn how to surf Bali.

Mini-Malibu, Egg, Longboard, Fish, Step-up, Semi-gun, Shortboard? So many different shapes of surfboards, but which one is the right pick for you and what is the best board for Bali?

Beginner Surfboards


The neverending search for the right board to learn surfing

It's not the board that decides wheather you will be a surfer one day, or just one more kook, playing in the whitewater. Your individual ambition and what you know from skateboarding or snowboarding, will not make you a better surfer. And neither will a board, that does not have enough flotation and stability to send you off to the first couple of good rides in your surferlife. Competitive swimmers might have a learning advantage, but due to their experience, they are usually very reasonable in terms of the appropriate board size.Taking a board too short, is a waste of time. As long as you haven't trained your stability on a bigger board, it's useless to try catching waves with a shortboard. If the board is too big, it will be harder to do maneuvers, without having advanced skills. The boards that you should consider to become the first allround piece in your quiver will most likely be a funshape/mini malibu board in the 7'ft. range.

The most simple way to calculate the length of a beginner surfboard is: Body-height + 17 ‘Inch

The usual suspects around beginner boards

Widely used for surf classes and amongst beginners in general are mini malibu boards and softtops between 7″2′ and 7” 10′. These middle sized beginner boards are built very solid, which makes them a little heavier, but at the same time gives them more stability in the water, but is still able to get some good turns done. If you are not convinced, ask your surf guide to take a wave on a beginner board and you will see, that beginner boards can be fun, too.

If you have around average body measurements, start with a board like that. They are inexpensive and can be sold at a good value. They are the best option, to learn your take off quickly. It's a common mistake, to buy too short boards. If you skip that stage, you probably safe at least three weeks of surfing time.

Mini Malibu Surfboard

Exceptions for beginner surfboards

Longboards might not be suitable for the average beginner, but if you have the BMI of a NFL linebacker, a sumo wrestler or a professional basketball player, a board above 8 foot can be a good advice. Nevertheless, the smooth style of longboard riding is up to date again and if you really want to lay hands on one, it is probably the best, to contact your local shaper. A longboard can be a real fun machine – if it has the right dimensions. Egg shapes can make sense, if the surfing student is still growing, or rather one of the small and dainty people. The same features apply to  fish boards. Just to be clear, hybrid boards and step-ups can have a fishtail, but real fish, depending on the definition, has a maximum length of 6” 3 ‘and that’s no size for a beginner board at all.

The best surfboard for Bali

Even experienced surfers tend to take longer boards when they travel Bali. Especially in high season, the waves can easily extend your comfort zone on a 5"9' freestyle chopper. Better look out for a barrel gun, or just surf another beach that day, cause every day there is a perfect wave for you somewhere on the island.

Last words before you chose your very first own surfboard

If you are not completely sure about the size and type of your future board, try to rent different boards and whenever possible, test each plank you can get under your feet.

If in doubt, go to your local shaper, take his/her advice and order a custom-made board. A perfect board will never be too big or too slow. It will keep up the fun for the rest of your life. Although this might be a major investment, it will be only about a third more expensive than a board from the factory. In addition, you will probably never be unconfident with your quiver. Better buy one good board only once instead of buying cheap. In the end you will pay double if you buy a less matching board in the first place. If you are searching for new surfboard, he will ask you the right questions.

Here is you're checklist, what you should have accomplished on your beginner surfboard, before you look out for a smaller size..

  1. Catching whitewater and smaller waves safely, have your popup under control
  2. Position yourself in the lineup and on the peaks
  3. Control yourself, be aware of mistakes from other surfers
  4. Catch frontside and backside waves from the peak
  5. Botttom turn, Top turn, Cutback, Speed pumps

    Ps: Stay close to the curl. Front hand points, where your nose goes next. Backhand supports the rotation and up and down flow of your upper body. If you want to test our quiver, with over 25 different boards, then book your stay at the Stormrider Surf Camp Bali now.

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