As with any sport, choosing the correct equipment will make a big difference in learning to surf and advancing your surfing skill. This is especially true when it comes to the main piece of equipment in surfing---your surfboard.
Match Your Board to Your Skill
The choice of surfboard and additional equipment depends on the skill level of the surfer. There are surfboards for beginners, intermediate, advanced and competition surfers. Within these categories, the surfboard you choose will depend on the surf conditions on the day. Your weight and height will also affect which surfboard design you will use.
Novice surfers should learn to surf on a beginners surfboard. A beginner's board is longer, wider and thicker which is designed to help the surfer catch waves more easily. It is also more stable and buoyant making it easier to paddle and stand up.
Not Just About Comfort
A beginners surfboard should have a soft deck and bottom. In addition the fins should be made from flexible material. If the surfboard hits the student, then the softer, flexible material helps protect the rider from serious injury.
Once past the beginner level, a surfer should have a good understanding of the parts of the surfboard including length, width, thickness, outline, rocker, rails and bottom shape. An understanding of how each part of the surfboard affects surfing performance will help you choose a surfboard that complements your strengths and weaknesses in the water.