There is no surfing without surfboards and boards represent a significant part of surfing expenses. This is why most people looking to take up surfing try to find the price of a surfboard and I intend to make life easier for you with this article. If you are also interested in the overall expenses of surfing, check out my article – how much does surfing cost?
Surfboards can be as cheap as costing just a bit over the hundred dollar mark or as expensive as crossing the thousand dollar mark. The good news is that very few people will ever require surfboards as expensive as a thousand dollars or more. So don’t panic yet.
I’ll be taking you through an overview of the different types of surfboards below. This will help you figure out the type of board to buy. Also, I’ll be discussing the reasons surfboard prices vary allowing you to make informed decisions when buying a surfboard. Surfboards can easily be purchased online and I’ve already reviewed some of the best surfboards available on the market today.
- Types of Surfboards
- What is the Best Type of Surfboard for Beginners?
- How Much Does a Surfboard Cost?
- Aspects Influencing the Cost of a Surfboard
- How to Care for a Surfboard & Maintenance Costs
Different Types of Surfboards
All surfboards may seem to be the same at a glance but when you observe more closely, you start to see the differences. The most obvious difference you’ll notice is the size, shape, and thicknesses of different types of surfboards.
The reason for having different types of boards is due to a large number of waves and some boards may be more suited for a particular type of waves than the others. Below are the different styles of surfboards.
The most popular type of surfboard, shortboards are boards that are between 5.5 – 7ft in length. Featuring thin rails, pointed noses, and a low volume, shortboards are designed to be very maneuverable. If you are looking to pull off some cool acrobatic stunt on a wave, a shortboard is what you need.
Shortboards are more difficult to paddle and ride due to their surface area. And this is why surfers should ideally have some experience before riding a shortboard.
They are indeed long as the name suggests starting from the 8ft mark and easily reaching the 12 ft mark. The increased length of longboards gives them some edge over other types of surfboards.
For one, longboards are easier to paddle or ride thanks to their large surface area, increased length, and buoyancy. And this makes longboards ideal for beginners who have no prior experience in the sport.
Longboards also perform well on smaller waves and can be used to pull off different tricks. The con? Longboards are cumbersome due to their length and are more difficult to transport or store.
If you’ve never heard of gun surfboards before, then you are not ready to use them. With their length ranging between 7.5 to 11.5 ft, guns are designed for daring surfers (who should also be advanced and expert surfers) that want to take on monster waves that are beyond the limit of most surfers.
While guns could be as long as longboards, their nose and tails are optimized for superb maneuverability.
A funboard or hybrid board would be the child of the longboard and shortboard were they to get married. The length of funboards is intermediate between that of longboards and shortboards.
Funboards provide a good combination of speed and performance and are also great for surfers that are transitioning from longboards to shortboards. It can be a bit challenging to transition from longboards to shortboards directly.
Fish surfboards or fishboards have similar lengths to shortboards. The main difference between fishboards and longboards is that fish boards are wider and thicker while also featuring fish (two-point) tails.
These modifications allow fishboards to perform excellently in slow waves, where shortboards don’t perform well. Also, fishboards are more suitable for slow and mellow waves since they can catch more waves.
What is the Best Type of Surfboard for Beginners?
The choice of surfboards can make surfing easy or very difficult for beginners. That said, the best type of surfboard for beginners is a longboard. This is due to the fact that longboards have wide surface area and are stable making it easier for beginners to balance and paddle. All this makes it a lot easier for beginners to master the sport.
As beginners gain experience and confidence, they may start to think of transitioning to shortboards or funboards. This doesn’t mean the longboard will become useless to intermediate or experienced surfers as longboards perform well on smaller days as they can catch a lot of waves. No matter the level of skill or experience, all surfers should have a longboard in their arsenal.
How Much Does a Surfboard Cost?
Surfboards can range from $100 to over $1000. At the low end of the spectrum are foam surfboards and pop-outs that cost between $99 to $300. Then you have the mid-entry surfboards which include ‘performance foamies’ that can cost anywhere between $450 to $600. Mid-entry surfboards are more durable and offer better performance compared to the low-spectrum boards.
At the top of the spectrum, you have a mix of hand-shapes, machine-shapes, and some pop-outs. These boards are more expensive and typically start from $650 with top spectrum longboards easily costing $1000+. Custom-shaped surfboards are also available and there is no fixed price for them because the cost depends on the materials used, the person shaping the board, the colors, as well as the finish of the board.
Aspects Influencing the Cost of a Surfboard
The cost of a surfboard is influenced by the following:
Materials: Poly Board vs. Epoxy Board
Surfboards can be made from polyurethane foams, thus called poly boards, or a combination of expanded polystyrene foam (EPS), fiberglass cloth, and epoxy resin (epoxy boards).
PU technology has been around since the 50s and most of the surfboards on the market used to be predominantly made from poly foam until 2005.
In 2005, the company that supplied about 80% of poly foam on the market, Clark Foam, closed down. This means there wasn’t enough poly foam to manufacture surfboards and the search for new materials to make surfboards resulted in epoxy foams.
Poly boards are generally more flexible and responsive than epoxy boards. However, they are heavier than epoxy boards and not as durable.
Epoxy boards are lighter and more durable than poly boards because of the stiffer resin and less dense foam used to manufacture them. There is also the tendency to paddle faster and gain more speed with an epoxy board which is one of the reasons it is popular among surfers.
However, epoxy boards are highly sensitive to UV and heat and should be stored away from them.
When it comes to price, surfboards made from epoxy tend to be more expensive than those from poly foams. And this plays a part in the price of a surfboard.
Size – Longboard vs. Shortboard
Longboards are more expensive than shortboards because of the extra material required to manufacture them. While shortboards don’t exceed 7 ft, longboards typically have a minimum length of about 9 ft and can be as long as 12 ft.
As a beginner, you have to bear the extra cost of a longboard because it is the board you need to learn the basics of surfing. Longboards are wider, more stable, and easier to paddle and balance. Even after gaining some experience and have transitioned to a hybrid board or shortboard, you will still use your longboard on smaller waves.
Using a New Surfboard vs. a Used Surfboard
Some surfers may prefer to buy a used surfboard to save cost. There is nothing wrong with this but it’s important to inspect the board to ensure it’s still in good condition. One of the things to look out for is whether the board is still watertight. If it is a fiberglass board, the board should not be too yellowed. And board you are going to buy should be free from holes, cracks, and dings.
Sometimes, the difference between a quality surfboard and a used board isn’t much. So you should really evaluate your options before buying a surfboard.
How to Care for a Surfboard & Maintenance Costs
Surfboards require maintenance to remain in good condition as they are frequently exposed to the elements. One maintenance practice for surfboards involve waving them regularly. Wax provides grip for the surfboard and prevents you from slipping off, thereby improving your surfing experience.
Surfboard waxes are cheap, costing about $2 a bar and you’ll need several bars if you go surfing regularly. You’ll also have to strip off old wax from the board occasionally to allow new wax to adhere to it.
Any crack or dent on your surfboard should he repaired regularly to prevent them from growing larger and eventually damaging the board. Repair kits for surfboards typically cost between $12 and $20.
It’s advisable you invest in a surfboard bag to protect the board during storage and transport. Surfboard bags range from about $30 to over $300. You should also store your surfboard in a cool place. Heat doesn’t agree with surfboards and keeping them in your car or any hot place will reduce their lifespan.
The moral of this story is that you don’t need to break the bank to buy a surfboard. Surfboards are available for surfers of all budgets. While your budget is the single most important factor that determines the type of surfboard you buy, how often you go surfing should also be considered. If you are the type that surfs once in a while, you can decide to go for a cheaper board since you won’t be using the board all the time.
People that surf regularly may decide to go for mid-range surfboards in order for their boards to handle the consistent use better. High-end spectrums are for those that have the budget and see the sport as more than a hobby.