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Types Of Surfboards: Is Wood Surfboard Beginner Friendly?
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Types Of Surfboards: Is Wood Surfboard Beginner Friendly?

Types Of Surfboards: Is Wood Surfboard Beginner Friendly?

Surfboards placed in a rack beside the sea

Polynesians have been dominating the waves since the 12th century. During that time, no one had ever thought about using synthetic materials for surfboards, and the types of surfboards never varied. Natural stuff was the rage back then as nature has plenty to provide. So, everyone was using wood surfboards.

But who can miss out on such an awe-inspiring sport? Who knew you could ride the waves?

Case in point, it was not long before everyone was on board. Surfing gained more popularity. Then came the industrial revolution leading to the re-envisionment of surfboard designs.

Now, there is a myriad of types of surfboards. Guess what the second first thing you need to do if you want to surf is? Find the best surfboard for you, of course!

As a beginner, we know it can be overwhelming. So, this guide will teach you the basic kinds of surfboards and why going back to the OG wood surfboards might be the best option for you.

In this article:

Wood Surfboards: Is it Beginner Friendly?

Since the early surfers used wood for their hand-crafted boards, it would only make sense that, indeed, anyone can ride wood surfboards as they wish. Sad to say, that is not the case. Among the types of surfboards, those made of wood are not the most friendly for surfing neophytes.

Wood surfboards are heavier if you compare them to the other surfboards. It is hard to control, tricky to use for tricks and is also quite expensive. But if you can master them, it can be the best type of surfboard for you since its heavyweight is excellent for cutting through waves while providing a great sense of stability.

If you are a beginner, you can find other types of surfboards that will match your skill level. Use them to learn the basics and feel out the waves, and then you can transition to wood surfboards.

Types of Surfboards

The Hawaiians' endearment for the sport never ended even after the Christians colonized their island, forcing them to follow a more conservative way of life and banning them from riding the waves.

When the colonizers left, Hawaiian tourism thrived, and so did surfing once again. Famous travel authors, like Mark Twain, discovered and wrote about it, enticing people’s curiosity, which led to the sport’s popularity.

The inventions during World War II led to the further advancements of a surfboard’s design. The round nose and fins of the boards came into the picture—laminated with fiberglass. Since then, both surfers and surfboard manufacturers have found better—sometimes odd ways—customizing boards.

Among the oceans of surfboard types out there, here are the most common ones:

According to Size and Shape

Surfboards come in all shapes and sizes, but you do not get to pick just what. The size of your surfboard can have a significant effect on your surfing experience and how well you can manage your waves. Check them out below and know which size fits you best:

  • Shortboard
    Length: 6’6”-7’6”

    Man surfing in a short board

    If you aim is to do riding tricks, a shortboard is perfect for you.

    Shortboards are fun-sized boards that have lightweight, low volume and thin rails. All of which allows you to easily do some major tricks while riding a wave in complete control. Yet, do not let its fun-size fool you into thinking it's an easy board to get along with. The truth is: it is not beginner-friendly. A shortboard is more for intermediate and advanced surfers.

  • Longboards
    Length: 8’6”-9’6”-10’

    Lady riding a long board

    Longboards are great for beginners since you can practice the basic skill—how to balance on your board.

    Whether you are a pro or a beginner, there is a board that you should not miss out on—the longboards. It is the perfect board for beginners because of its more extensive surface area, making it easier to paddle and balance on. Meanwhile, pros can stoke themselves in longboard surfing, letting them catch waves earlier and ride them longer.

  • Funboards
    Length: 6.5’-9’

    Fun board erected at the sea shore

    If you want the balance of a longboard and the agility of a shortboard, a fun board is a perfect board for you.

    Transitioning from a longboard to a shortboard is not as easy as it sounds. Even when you are feeling extra adventurous, you will still find yourself falling over using a shortboard because you are not used to it. Meanwhile, you cannot do many acrobats on the waves with a longboard because of its volume and length. Funboards are mid-tier surfboards, providing the same fun and balance a longboard and shortboard can offer.

  • Fishboards
    Length: 6’-6’6”

    Fish board in the seashore

    What sets a fishboard apart from the others is its unique tail.

    Finding great waves is one of the keys to having a great surfing experience. But the ocean is full of wonders, Mother Nature too. Sometimes, a surf trip does not go as planned. Instead of exciting fast waves, unfavorable surfing conditions welcome you. Aside from finding an excellent surfing trip guide, you may want to invest in a fishboard, which has a similar length to a shortboard sporting a fish-like tail and has more surface area, great for catching and riding slow and small waves.

  • Guns
    Length: 7’-11.5’

    Tail of a gun surfboard

    As cool and manly as the name suggests, guns are the boards that professional surfers ride in.

    Have you ever wondered what professional surfers use? Guns. They use guns. These types of surfboards are for pros and those who are in surfing competitions. They are perfect for dominating hostile waves as they have a similar volume and length as a longboard and a pointed nose and tail for better control and maneuverability. Because of that, the surfer can have on-point balance and more control cutting through great strong waves.

If you are a beginner, it would be best to start your surfing lessons with a longboard, then transition to a shortboard using a funboard. When you get more comfortable and learn your footing, you can experiment with other surfboards according to shape and size.

According to Materials

Size and shape is not the only thing that matters when finding the surfboard that would fit you best. You also need to consider what it is made of. After all, the material can determine how heavy and light your board can be.

  • Soft-top foam
    The cheapest and most beginner-friendly types of surfboards are soft-top foam boards. They are made of foamies, which have excellent buoyancy and stability. Its surface is easier to maintain and does not need wax to keep it polished or protected. However, they are not durable. The soft foam can disintegrate over a few years, but if you get a high-quality one, it can be an okay alternative to more expensive surfboard types.

  • Polyurethane (PU)
    Another popular inexpensive surfboard type is PU boards, with a polyurethane interior core and a fiberglass exterior wrapper. It is an excellent upgrade to a soft-top foam as it has better flexibility giving you more control while surfing, and the dense polyurethane accounts for a good board weight, letting you cut through waves smoothly. However, it would help if you were careful in storing and using them as they are prone to having dents. You can get an environmentally-friendly surfboard sock to safeguard your PU boards from unexpected dings and dents.

  • Epoxy
    Here is another beginner's favorite—the epoxy surfboards. Unlike PU and soft-top foams, manufacturers create epoxy boards out of polystyrene (PS) or extended polystyrene (EPS) foam, which is less dense than PU foam but more durable and stiff. Given that, they are great for beginners thanks to their lightweight, making it easier to catch waves. Advanced surfers also enjoy them because it is great for catching small and slow waves.

    If you are starting your surfing journey, it would be best to opt for an epoxy longboard. The weight and the length have the perfect balance that will help you master your surfing skills, preparing you for more advanced types of surfboards like a wood surfboard, perhaps.

Surfing Essentials and More

Whatever types of surfboards you choose, their durability and shelf-life depend on how well you take care of them. But that does not mean you should buy just anything you see in the market. After all, enjoying the stoke also comes with caring for nature. You cannot surf great waves if you do not take care of your ecological relationship with the world around you.

You can find environmentally-friendly and ecological surfing essentials here at Wave Tribe—from eco leash made of recycled plastic, surf socks made from recycled PET, surfboard bags made from hemp, wet suits, and even different types of surfboards including wood surfboards.

The goal is to offer every surfer, beginner or pro, to enjoy what the waves offer without harming the environment. Check out some surf essentials below, and do not forget to Add To Cart.

Join our Heal The Ocean movement, too!



Essential Wave Tribe Reads:

Why Surf Travel Makes You Happy
Surf Trip Packing List
Vegan-Friendly Surfing Destinations