Are You Riding The Right Size Surfboard?

right size surfboardRiding a surfboard that is the wrong size for you can be frustrating.  If it is too big, you don't feel in control and if it is too small, standing up gets difficult.  One of the most commonly asked questions on the mind of surfers is "Am I riding the right size surfboard?"  Unfortunately not many of us have the resources to find out.


Professional surfers own quivers of 10-20 or more boards of which many are the same shape in varying sizes covering a 6" span in length with a few different width combinations.  They get to fine tune which size works best by dropping from their 6'2" to a 6'1" during a session.  For the rest of us, things aren't that easy as our board options are limited.  If you have been wondering if your board is the right size, here are questions to ask yourself.  If you answer yes to three or more of these, you might want to reevaluate your board size.


How to Tell If Your Surfboard Is The Right Size


1. Do Waves Frequently Roll Under You?


This is a good indicator that your board is too small.  It might also have to do with your technique, but either way, a bigger board will help.  Surfboards with more size float higher in the water which ads to your paddle power.  When catching a wave you need enough speed to begin moving down the face.  A board with more length, width or float will provide an extra boost that will allow you to catch many waves that would otherwise pass you by. 


2. Do You Have A Hard Time Changing Direction On The Wave? 


If you can't seem to maneuver easily or at least fast enough to react to the wave, your board might be too big.  This could either be to sheer bulk or the surfbord's width.  If your board is too bulky, you will have a hard time doing anything with it.  Consider if you are riding a board that is a good shape but scaled for a larger rider.  This can especially be a problem with women and groms. 


3. Do You Loose Your Balance While Standing Up? 


Standing up is tough for everyone at first, but if you have been trying for a while and are still having trouble standing up because the surfboard rocks from side to side, your current board is probably too narrow.  Adding a few inches of width goes a long way in stabilizing the board during the pop-up. 


4. Does The Board Seem To Sink Or Bog Under You? 


When you stand up and begin riding down the face do you have a hard time gaining speed?  If your board is bogging or having trouble getting moving it could be because of a few things but more volume and length will typically help fix the problem.  It might also be worth looking into a board with less rocker.


5. Do You Fall Off Your Board On The Inside Of Turns? 


If you are leaning really hard into a turn but the board won't seem to come with you, riding a smaller board could be a fix.  Large boards are harder to maneuver from the center of the deck. The extra width and length increase the turning radius.  If you are drawing a tighter line than the board can handle, you will find yourself falling off the board flat into the water.  If this happens frequently it might be your body telling you that it wants to surf a different style that only a smaller board can handle. 




If you are finding yourself answer yes to a few of these questions, it might be time to consider switching up your board choice.  There are a lot of options out there and depending on your specific issues the best fix might be as major as a board type fix or as minor as dropping a half inch of width.  For suggestions, try taking the SurfScience.com Surfboard Match.

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