If you’re new to surfing and shopping for your first surfboard, you may not know where to start. Walking into a surf shop or browsing online for boards can become overwhelming quickly. With popular online board reviews and surf websites celebrating the latest and greatest shapes the pros are riding, it can be difficult to discern what board models suit an everyday, average Joe surfer. Our team of surf instructors at our Costa Rica surf school put together the ultimate list of surfboards for beginners. Whether you’re shopping for a board to learn to surf, your first shortboard, or something in between, we’re here to help. Continue reading below for The Safari Surf Guide to The Best Surfboards for Beginners. 

The Best Learning Surfboard for Beginners: Catch Surf 9-Foot Log

Catch Surf Log

New surfers often make the mistake of riding boards that are too short for their skill level. Many of our instructors would argue that surfers should stay on longboards until they can perform a proper cutback. Longboards give new surfers ample float and paddle speed, which allows them to catch waves easily and early. Additionally, longboards are the ultimate surfboard for beginners, offering a large, stable surface to pop up on and ride. Traditional surfboards are made of hard fiberglass and can be dangerous in the water for new surfers and those around new surfers, so we recommend first-time riders opt for foam top surfboards, like the Catch Surf Log.

The Best Surfboard for Progression

CI Mid

If you’ve mastered the fundamentals of popping up, trimming, and turning on a longboard, it may be time to experiment with new shapes. While we don’t suggest ditching surfboards for beginners and hoping on a shortboard, we would recommend finding a forgiving mid-length shape that allows for more maneuverability than a longboard without sacrificing float, stability, and paddle power. Mid-length surfboards have become increasingly popular, with many high-performance options on the market. Mid lengths range in length from 6’6” to 8,” but we recommend new surfers favor the far end of the length range and ride something like a 7’6” CI Mid.

The Best Beginner Shortboard

Firewire Seaside

If you’ve mastered the pop-up, turning, and generating speed, you may be ready for your first shortboard. While it may be tempting to grab the latest pro model, it’s important to know that not all shortboards are created equal. In the last 10 years, shortboards have become increasingly user-friendly, with shapers opting for more volume to increase paddle power and allow surfers to get into waves early. However, a high-volume shortboard and a high-performance shortboard are drastically different shapes, and newer surfers should stick to high-volume shortboards. When you’re shopping for your first shortboard, look for surfboards with ample volume distributed throughout the shape and a low rocker. We like the Firewire Seaside for its high volume, especially under the chest area. Volume distributed under the chest and towards the front of the board will allow you to paddle and catch waves with ease. The low rocker adds to the board’s ability to catch waves. The Seaside, specifically, is a fast yet forgiving shape that’s fun for all skill levels.

Whether you’re a new surfer or an intermediate surfer looking to explore new waves, our surf schools in Costa Rica, Panama, and Ecuador have a wave ideally suited to your skill level. Head to the Safari Surf Website to plan your next surf trip and stay tuned to our blog for more surf tips, travel content, and all things surfing.