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Jun 17, 2014 by Matt Rosas

Hi this is Matt at MalibuLongBoards Surf School. I get asked this question a lot:

“What size surfboard should I use to learn surfing?”

There are so many surfboards out there that it gets to be very confusing. You have the fish, longboard, funboard, spoon, pig, potato chip, thruster, nose-rider, log, quad to name just a few.

Let's be real. You want a surfboard or longboard that you can paddle easily. You want to be able to catch the most waves and the best waves. You want to have fun. Surf shops are famous for selling you boards that look totally cool. But just because it looks cool doesn't mean that it's the best one for you to learn on.

It all comes down to your weight.

Remember, surfing is 90% paddling and the best surfers in the world are actually the best paddlers. If you take the top 10 surfers and have a prone paddleboard race, they will pretty much come in at the same ranking they currently hold within that top 10. In other words – the best paddlers are the best surfers. The best paddler catches the most waves and therefore gets in the most practice. The best paddler quickly paddles to the spot where the waves are breaking the best. The best paddler scores the highest waves and the best waves.

Now, let's look at the lengths of the boards used by these pro surfers. The average pro surfer weighs about 150 pounds. His longboard of choice will be more than 9 feet in length. You, at the very least, should try to match that ratio of weight to length. In other words, if you are 200 pounds, your longboard of choice should be at least a 10 footer, just to be close to the pro's weight distribution on his board. But how many surf on 10 footers or larger?

Get the biggest board you can find to begin with!

Keep in mind the hardest part of the sport is actually catching the wave. If you can’t catch the waves easily you'll get discouraged and quit.

I recommend that you get the biggest board you can find to use for your first few months. Learn on the bigger boards. Then with time, transfer the fundamentals you've learned to any surfboard you desire. This is the best way to develop both your wave judgment and your paddle power. Don't go for the 6’4” Plastic Fantastic Surfboard - like I did back in the 70′s. I wish someone had explained to me the things that I'm sharing with you, and kept me from spinning my wheels for 6 months. I guess some of that has paid off as I am here today to let you know what's up! Believe me, eventually, you'll have a quiver of boards to match whatever type of wave you might want to surf.

Thanks for reading. I'll be seeing you on the beach soon, ripping up your Winger Stinger Twin Fin!

Thanks again and surf on. Call text me (310)467-6898 for year round surfing and stand up paddleboard lessons in LA, Marina Del Rey, Malibu, Venice and Santa Monica.

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