Surfing is a fun and cool sport. Just take a look at surfers. They look completely relaxed and carefree as they ride the waves looking stylish and giving off a cool vibe. You’ve decided to participate in the sport and are now wondering how much you need to spend on it. And rightly so.
The most obvious expense you’ll encounter is that of a surfboard. No surfboard, no surfing. But there are other pieces of gear you’ll also have to spend on. Surfing lessons are another unavoidable cost, especially if you don’t know an experienced surfer that can show you the ropes.
This article aims to educate you on the potential investment you’ll have to make when taking up surfing. I’ll also be discussing ways you can cut down expenses if you want to cut down your investment.
Is Surfing an Expensive Sport?
Surfing can be an affordable or expensive sport. It depends on your budget which translates to the type and quality of equipment you buy. There is also the benefit of having to buy the required gear once.
I like that surfing requires less gear than other sports. You obviously need a board that can be as cheap as a couple of hundreds of dollars to over a thousand dollars. Your budget will make the decision for you here. Then you need a wetsuit and a couple of other small pieces of gear.
You can spend no more than $500 – $600 if you are on a budget and buy a second-hand board. If you live near a surf break, surfing is going to be even more affordable for you since it’ll cost you nothing to go surfing.
The major determinant of whether surfing is expensive or not is your proximity to the ocean. Yes, surfing gear matters but you can cut down costs by finding gear within your budget. Proximity to the ocean means you have to live near the ocean to go surfing regularly and it’s an open secret that houses around the ocean or close to the ocean are usually among the most expensive in any country.
You’ll have to spend on travel every time you go surfing if you aren’t living close to surf breaks. And this can turn out to be expensive and even inconvenient depending on how far you are from the surf break.
How Much Do Surf Lessons Cost?
You can’t just buy a surfboard, go to the ocean, and start riding the waves. You need someone experienced in the sport to teach you the fundamentals. This will help sharpen your technique and prevent the need for ‘unlearning’ bad habits later on. Even people that have been surfing for a while can still realize they are doing some things wrong after interacting with a good coach. And they find out the hard way how difficult it is to unlearn bad habits.
Except if any of your friends or family is an experienced surfer and is willing to teach you, you’ll have to sign up for surf lessons. The cost of surf lessons depends on the popularity of the sport in your area and could be anywhere between $25 – $100.
In areas where surfing isn’t very popular, you can expect to pay between $10 -$20 for one to two-hour surf lessons. On the other hand, surf lessons will cost more in bigger cities or coastal areas and can be anywhere between $20 – $70 an hour. Some surf shops offer free lessons to surfers although you’ll have to buy your surf gear from them.
Most times, you are to go for surf lessons with your gear although there are instances where your surf coach can get your gear for you and this will reflect in the overall price of the lessons.
What Do You Need to Start Surfing?
Your surfing starter pack includes a beginner surfboard, surfboard fins, wax, surf leash, and wetsuit.
There’s a reason why I said ‘beginner surfboard‘ and not just ‘surfboard’. This is because there are different types of surfboards and not all are suited for beginner surfers.
The price of beginner surfboards can be anywhere between $300 to $1000. Longboards are usually the recommended type of surfboard for beginners since they are easy to balance on and catch waves. Second-hand surfboards will cost less and you can consider buying one if you are on a tight budget. You should also consider foam surfboards which are cheaper than most conventional surfboards and can be just as durable with proper care.
You should also consider how often you intend to go surfing when buying a surfboard. If you intend to go surfing almost throughout the year, you should invest more in your surfboard for more longevity. But if you’ll only be surfing in summer, you can go for cheaper surfboards.
Precision, control, stability, and direction. These are the benefits surf fins offer. Without them, you won’t be able to maneuver your board efficiently or go straight through the waves.
There are different types of surfboard fins defending on materials and size. Depending on the brand of your surfboard, fins may be included in the package saving you the cost of buying fins. You should check the product description of your surfboard to confirm if fins are included or not.
If your surfboard doesn’t come with fins, you can buy a set of cheap fins for about $20. Usually, these fins will be made of plastic but as a beginner, you won’t notice the difference between cheap fins and expensive fins. As you gain experience, you can now go for more expensive fins to improve your surfing experience.
Surfboard wax is a cheap but important piece of surf gear. Wax provides grip for the surfboard and prevents you from slipping off, thereby improving your surfing experience. Surfboard wax costs about $2 a bar and you’ll have to buy several bars if you go surfing regularly.
Waxing a surfboard is an easy tax as all you have to do is to add the wax in a grid-like pattern first using the corner of the wax. Then, rub over the grid with the flat side of your wax in a circular motion.
A surf leash is a piece of rope that is attached to the surfboard and then to the ankle of the surfer. The purpose of a surf leash is to ensure the board doesn’t separate from the surfer. This ensures that the surfer doesn’t lose his/her surfboard. I’m sure you don’t want your surfboard disappearing in the water.
Apart from securing your board, a leash also ensures that your surfboard doesn’t injure other surfers.
Wetsuits provide warmth and also offer protection against jellyfish stings and rocky reefs. Ocean water can be very cold and you’ll need a wetsuit to keep you warm. Swimming is also easier and faster with wetsuits as well as maintaining buoyancy. If you want to know more about wetsuits, check my article about how wetsuits work.
New wetsuits can cost between over $100 to about $400 or $500. You can also spend less if you go for a second-hand wetsuit but I’ll advise you to go for a new wetsuit. It’s most likely that second-hand wetsuits have one problem or another and you may not get value for your money in the long run.
Traveling for Surfing
When considering the cost of traveling for surfing, you have to include all the expenses related to how you get to and from your surfing destination. If you live near coastal waters, you can just go to the beach on foot or with your car or bike. Since the distance is short, you’ll spend less on travel expenses.
However, if you stay far away from surf breaks, you’ll have to spend more on travel expenses. You may also need to buy a surfboard rack to conveniently transport your surfboard.
If you want to travel to surfing destinations around the world, you’ll have to consider the price of plane tickets, food, and accommodation which can result in you spending thousands of dollars. But it’s worth it if you have the budget and choose a nice destination.
Surfing isn’t necessarily an expensive sport. It all depends on your approach to the sport. Your proximity to the coast is another factor as surfing can be a cheap sport for people that live close to the coast.
As a beginner, you may decide to not spend a lot on your gear and wait to see how much you enjoy the sport before you upgrade your gear in the future.