Swallow tail surfboard

Beginner Longboards: A Guide to buying your first surf longboard

What type of longboard should I get?

As surfers, we are not only lucky to have a wide range of waves: we are also lucky enough to have many types of surfboards with which we can enjoy them. You might be wondering what are the best surf longboards to start surfing or what are the best beginner longboards out there.

Choosing the right surf longboard is essential to the experience. If you are a first-time surf longboard buyer, you will need some tips on how to buy the right one for you. Choosing a suitable board can be very confusing for beginners.

If you are not sure what type of surf longboard you should buy, this article is for you.

Is learning how to surf hard?


Learning how to surf will not be hard if you have the right beginner longboard and someone supportive with you in the water. If you follow the advice of professionals, you should have a great time and improve quickly!

Improve your surfing in Costa Rica!

Interested in increasing your surfing skills? Check out our surf coaching retreats in Costa Rica.

Is it better to learn surfing with a shortboard or longboard?


If you are a beginner, longboards are the best choice. Although it sounds strange, longboards are easier to use than shortboards.


What are the pros and cons of using a longboard vs. a shortboard?


  1. They allow you to ride a lot of waves since it’s easier to catch a wave with a longboard.
  2. Longboards float better: this type of board is better when you are surfing on weak waves or when you are not used to paddling intensively.
  3. They are more stable once you stand up.



  1. Although longboards are easier to use, they are less manageable because of their size.
  2. Longboards are heavier to carry.


Woman with shortboard

What Size of Surf Longboard Should I Get?


Let’s start with the necessary information you need when buying a surfboard. The following table will show you how many liters should your surfboard has (the board volume).

The volume of the surfboard (i.e. length x width x thickness) is indicated in liters. The volume represents the amount of space contained in a surfboard. 

As a reference, an average shortboard is around 25-35 Litres, while a 7′ fun board would be between 40-50L. A longboard might go from 50-100L.

Weight Range


Weight Range












































































































Different kinds of beginner longboards

What Types Of Surfboards Are Best For Beginners?


Depending on your level and your surfing objectives, choosing the type of board you will use will be super important and will determine your surfing style.


Why are longboards best for beginner surfers?


Longboards are a type of surfboard that provides you with a very different experience than shortboards. Longboards usually range between 8-11 feet and have a rounded nose.

Due to their large size, beginner longboards have particularly high buoyancy and stability. Thus, this type of board allows beginners to access the world of surfing. Because of their higher volume, longboards allow you to surf on waves that are too small for other types of surfboards


What is a Fun Board / Mini Malibu (Mini Mal)?


Over the years, the Mini Malibu surfboard (also called Fun Board) has become very popular because of its versatility: it is comfortable to use in most wave conditions and it is suitable for beginners.

Mini Malibu surfboards are shorter longboards: their size is generally between 7’0 and 8′ (longboards are classified as having a length greater than 8 feet).

A Funboard /Mini Malibu will give you more maneuverability than a longboard, but you will have to compromise the buoyancy and stability of a longboard. Still, you will have greater stability than on a fish or shortboard. Overall, Mini Malibus are very fun to surf within an environment that has small to medium waves. It’s perfect for beginner surfers who can catch their waves easily on a longboard and are starting to turn on the green face of the wave.

A Funboard includes a round, wide nose like a longboard. … Further, Funboards are thick and wide like a longboard, so they will catch waves easily, stay afloat on the wave face for easier balance and longer rides.


How to ride a longboard?


Because of their size, longboards are not as maneuverable as shortboards: as a consequence, surfers with a longboard will constantly need to shift their position on the board.

When the surfer feels that he is slowing down in terms of speed, he must walk towards the front of his board to increase the speed; whereas if he wants to slow down or turn, he will have to walk towards the back of his board.

Thanks to their length and width, beginner longboards allow surfers to move around with ease and walk on the board when necessary.


Did you know?


Longboards were the first type of surfboards that were ever created: the ancient Hawaiians used very large planks of solid wood. Duke Kahanamoku introduced surfing to the United States and rapidly became part of California’s identity.

Malibu became one of the most popular spots for surfers. It also became the name of a specific type of longboard: the Malibu Surfboard.


For what type of surf are longboards suitable?


Longboards are best suitable for a long surfing session without getting too tired, especially if one doesn’t have so much experience catching and paddling for waves, because it does not require such strength to catch the wave or paddle back to the peak, as with a shortboard.

They are suitable for a more relaxed session rather than a high-performance one. Moreover, when the waves are small you can try out many tricks like walking on the board, sitting on it, laying down on it, etc. 

The ideal type of wave for a longboard is a mushier, slower, and less steep wave that is easy to catch without nosediving. In comparison, a fast-breaking, hollow wave is not ideal for a longboard.

We often find that point breaks create some perfect long waves for longboarding, like the ones in south Costa Rica.

This is why the waves around our surf camp in Costa Rica are often called “Longboarder’s paradise“.

Are Shortboards Good for Beginners?


Too often, beginner surfers purchase shortboards. Why? Because they look cooler and are easier to handle outside the water, and are easier to put in the car. However, they end up not learning how to surf and not being able to catch any waves, which become quickly frustrating… Although it is bigger and it seems less manageable, in reality, the bigger the board is, the easier it is to catch a wave and ride it. This is why you should always start to learn to surf on a longboard.

If you have been surfing quite a bit on a minimal or a fish and you think you are ready to move to a shortboard, here is a chart to help you figure out what length of shortboard you should start with.


Surfer Weight (lbs) Surfer Weight (kg) Surfboard Length
140-160 63.5-72.6 6′4″-6′8″
160-180 72.6-81.6 6′6″-6′10″
180-200 81.6-90.7 6′10″-7′4″
200 + 90.7 + 7′4″ +


How Does The Tail Of A Surfboard affect your surfing style?


The tail is the extreme bottom of the surfboard. Its design greatly affects your performance. Tails have different shapes, performance characteristics, and rockers. For example, you can either have a square, round, swallow, diamond, or squash-shaped tail.

The shape of your surfboard’s tail determines the way your board will respond to your movements. Since your tail is the last place where water flows, its shape will naturally determine the way it reacts to the wave.

For example, a bulky tail will offer you more speed, stability, and floatation; whereas a small tail will sink more into the water and will facilitate your transition from one rail to another. It will also provide you with more control when the waves are bigger.


The Squash Tail

Squash tails are squared and slightly rounded on the sides. They are very popular and many professional surfers have this type of board.

Squash tail surfboard

The Swallow Tail

Although the swallowtail resembles the fishtail, its two tips are much finer. This type of tail is characteristic of shortboards. In small waves, the width of the tail will allow you to maintain speed and stability.

Swallow tail surfboard

The Pin Tail

Longboards with a pintail are suitable for big waves. These tails are good when your goal is that of maintaining your trajectory in big waves with a lot of speed.

Surfer with pintail surfboard

The Round Tail

A smooth curved outline characterizes this surfboard. Round tails are more manageable and easy to maneuver if you are confronted with big or medium waves. You should opt for a surfboard with this type of tail if you plan on riding powerful and steep waves. Round tails also provide you with a firm grip, speed, and stability.



What are the best longboards for beginner surfers?



Bic Surf exclusively develops this material: the envelope is made in extruded blown polyethylene. This hollow envelope is then filled with polyurethane foam. This high-density foam is found inside most standard fiberglass boards.

The combination of these two materials results in an ultra-strong composite material. Dura-tec technology has a significantly longer life than typical foam surfboards: although your investment will be more significant, you can rest assured that it will last for more than 10 years. Worth thinking about it!


NSP Boards

NSP soft boards are great if you are just starting. As you may have heard, foam boards can bend or break in half with the pressure of a powerful wave. However, NSP P2 Beginner soft boards were specifically engineered for beginner surfers. They are very resistant and safe.

What makes NSP boards different from other beginner boards? Their internal core. They are made of foam which is wrapped in epoxy and fiberglass. Their outside is covered in soft foam which minimizes the risk of injuring oneself. Moreover, NSP beginners’ boards have a particular design that is useful for surf-newbies: the outline and the tail of these boards are wider and facilitate the wave-catching process.


Torq Boards

Torq surfboards are affordable and high-quality. They are great for beginners and for those who are mastering their skills as a beginner.

Although these boards are light, they are designed in a way that makes them resistant and durable. The Torq soft boards use a successful combination of EPS/Epoxy materials: the EPS core is covered with biaxial fiberglass, shield skin, and soft PE foam. Torq longboards are supplied with 2+1 fins.


Which material should my surf longboard be made of?

People with surfboardsFoam Soft Longboards


This type of material is ideal in terms of safety. It limits the risk of accidents for oneself and others. Foam is known for its ability to float and its stability, therefore, it is perfect for the first time you surf. Softech is a surfboard brand that currently manufactures this kind of board. The only downside of having a soft board is that it can cause rashes as your skin rubs on the board. So make sure you have a rash guard and use some Vaseline after your surf session to heal your skin rashes faster.

Soft boards for beginners are made with similar material to polystyrene and allow you to surf safely. Why?

  • If you bump into someone you will not hurt them.
  • As you nosedive and the board rebounds to fall back on your head you’re less likely to get hurt.


If you are a beginner surfer, it’s a good idea to opt for a soft board. Yes, I know you may not feel like you’re living the Californian dream, but it’s the best option you have if you are just getting started because foam surfboards will allow you to stay safe while working on your technique. Forget about cool surfboard designs: leave that till later, when you’re already a rad surfer.

Don’t forget, the main objective that you have as a beginner surfer is acquiring stability. Beginner longboards allow you to be stable thanks to their width and buoyancy.

Epoxy Resin Surf Longboards


Surfboards made with epoxy resin have a polystyrene foam core and are then coated with an epoxy resin.

Epoxy surfboards are stronger because the epoxy resin can be as much as 35% stronger than the resin used on a fiberglass board. This makes an epoxy board an ideal choice for those who are just starting to surf and ding their board to dings.

The polystyrene foam inner used in an epoxy surfboard weighs less than the polyurethane inner in a traditional surfboard.

Epoxy surfboards are very popular with beginner surfers because they are known to be much more durable and have better buoyancy than traditional fiberglass surfboardsEpoxy boards don’t get dinged as easily, they float really great, and they’re very easy to paddle which means catching more waves and an excellent choice for surfers just starting out.


Fibreglass Surf Longboards


Fiberglass surfboards, also known as PU or polyurethane surfboards are considered traditional surfboards. PU surfboards are made from a polyurethane inner and then wrapped in fiberglass cloth. These surfboards can have better flex out in the waves than an epoxy surfboard but are easier to damage. Most surfers prefer the feeling of a PU surfboard under their feet because they can feel the wave better and it gives a better spring, making the board more responsive and performance-driven.

Since the polyurethane blank is a fairly dense foam, it gives you a board that sits lower in the water and makes those rough and choppy days a little smoother as your board will cut through the chop well. This is a benefit not only when you’re paddling out because it will help you keep your momentum up but it will also be smoother on the water when riding.

The polyurethane blanks are less environmentally friendly because they take a longer time to decompose and since they are more fragile, they break more easily and end up in the garbage quicker.


Carbon Fiber Surf Longboards


Carbon fiber surfboards came into the market a few years ago and gain popularity with the worldwide bestseller Hypto Crypto model from Hayden Shapes. Hayden created and patented the first and the original carbon fiber surfboard tech, FutureFlex, back in 2006.

The most common and traditional surfboard tech is PU (Polyurethane) which contains a wooden stringer down the center. As a material, wood has a heap of environmental influences to consider as it is a natural fiber. You can’t really control the precise outcome. ie. knots, grain textures, and the drying process. Carbon Fiber is far more predictable, stronger, and extremely lightweight.

Carbon fiber material reduces the weight of the surfboard while increasing strength and durability.

Eco boards


Most of the popular surfboard companies manufacture eco boards. When we talk about an eco board we refer to surfboards that have at least one of the following characteristics:

  • A minimum of 25% of the blank is made with recycled or biological material;
  • At least 75% of the blank structure is made with renewable materials such as wood;
  • 25% (or more) of the components of the resins are of biological origin.


There are specific parameters a surfboard needs to respect to be an Eco Board. Ecoboard is the first step in the surfing industry that embraces environmental awareness.

In recent years, many shapes have stopped using fiberglass and instead are using other biological fibers such as:

  • Bamboo
  • Hemp
  • Linen
  • Jute
  • Cotton
  • Basalt


Combined at different levels with fiberglass, these fibers ensure sturdiness and performance.


Wooden Surf Longboards


Wooden surf longboards are most commonly made with:

  • Balsa
  • Paulownia
  • Cedar
  • Sequoia


Wooden surfboards are without any doubt incredibly sustainable. In a wooden surfboard, apart from vinyl glue and resins, there is no trace of derivatives of other synthetic materials. The characteristics that make wood an appreciated material are:


  • Its resistance
  • Its excellent buoyancy


Today, Paulownia wood is the most commonly used in the realm of surfboards.

Wooden surfboard

Should I buy a new or a secondhand surfboard?


If it is your first time trying out surfing, buying a secondhand surfboard could be the right choice: buying a new longboard will not make you a better surfer and will not provide you with a different experience. 

It could be a good idea to learn how to surf and practice on a used beginner longboard: this way, you can save money and invest more in your next surfboard. As you are just starting to surf, you probably will damage the board a few times; and if you progress fast, you will not want to be stuck with a board that is keeping you from progressing.

Tip: start by renting a few surfboards, try different brands and shapes so that you can have an idea of what type of board you prefer.

second hand beginner longboards and advanced surf longboards

How much should I spend on a beginner’s surfboard?


At this point, you might be asking yourself what an appropriate amount to spend on your surfboard is. This is entirely a subjective matter and it depends on your resources. Generally speaking, a used longboard that is in good condition should be around $350-450 and a longboard between $500-1000. However, several things can affect the price of a surfboard:

  • The quality of the materials, their consistency, and their durability.
  • A surfboard that is made by an internationally recognized brand usually has higher prices compared to other products on the market.
  • The all-around state of the board: if it had many repairs, if it’s still looking new, its weight (old secondhand boards tend to be heavier because water went in after being damaged).
  • The length of the surfboard (more material has been used for a 10ft longboard than a 6ft shortboard).


Finally, if you are buying (or renting) a secondhand surfboard, make sure it has never been broken in half (look for a line in the middle of the board or spray paint that is not original to the board’s design), as this significantly lowers the board’s value.

Try to ensure that you are purchasing high-quality products. If you do this, you will have a better chance of maintaining your board’s value and getting a good price when you decide to move on and sell it for an advanced surfboard.


What Are High-Performance Longboards? (HPLB)


High-Performance longboards are surfboards that look like a longboard and are optimized to work like a shortboard. Performance longboards are ideal for those who want to carry out the rad maneuvers that are typical of shortboards.

The rocker is one of the main components in a surfboard that affects your speed and the way you ride a wave.

Take as an example a flat longboard: since it does not have a rocker, it will be hard to perform on a big wave since the nose of the board tends to sink into the water rather than follow its curve. On the other hand, having a rocker will increase your maneuverability and gliding.


Should I get a longboard with a rocker if I’m a beginner?


Not necessarily. If you are not a high-performance surfer and you are just starting, having a rocker on your surfboard will just slow you down.

Flat longboards are easier to manage because they allow you to go faster when you paddle and when the waves are not steep.


High-performance surfers need to have a rocker on their surfboard because they surf in the wave’s pocket, which is the part of the wave that is more steep and powerful. To be able to do this, you need a lot of practice so that you can develop confidence and a strong technique.



A nose rider longboard has more volume and a flat rocker. These surfboards allow you to surf with extreme ease. They work well when the waves are very small.

To master this type of longboard, you need to already have a good technique, good timing and you need to be able to more or less predict the waves.

Therefore, nose rider longboards are not the best suitable boards for beginner surfers.

Performance longboards


These types of boards are optimal for when you are working with high waves. A performance longboard allows you to ride all types of waves. You will feel comfortable in critical conditions.


A Gun Surfboard


Gun surfboards are great for large waves that are higher than 4m. The Gun has a fine and pointy design. Beneath, it has either three or one fin. Normally, these types of surfboards are used in Hawaii, or other areas with huge waves.


In Conclusion


Diving into the world of surf isn’t as easy as you imagined. Sure, a lot of new information can seem intimidating. However, don’t let it distract you from your main objective: learning how to surf some rad waves and catching as many waves as possible!

If you know people who surf, ask them questions, advice, tips, and use their expertise to your advantage. You’ll be surprised at how fast you can learn if you go surfing with a friend or if you take a few surfing courses.

If you are still uncertain in regards to which beginner longboard you should purchase, rent, rent, rent!

This way, you will be able to test which surfboard suits you the best without having to spend hundreds (or thousands) of dollars beforehand.