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How to Choose Surfing Gear

Surfing doesn’t require a lot of gear, but it’s important to choose the right gear. Ability, location, and climate are just a few factors that determine the best surfing gear for you. A Surfboard, most likely a wetsuit, and a few accessories are really all you need.

There are many types of surfboards. Longboards are 9ft or longer. These are definitely the best kind of surfboards to learn on. They float well and catch slow moving waves the best. Funboards are shaped like longboards with wide tails and noses, but shorter at 7ft to 9ft in length. These are best for longboarders moving on to something smaller or for less than full sized adults that are learning to surf. Fishboards are very short but wide surfboards that make for a good progression from funboards. They work great in smaller, weaker surf while offering more manuevarability than longboards or funboards. Shortboards are for more advanced surfers and offer the most performance. They are also the hardest boards to paddle and not the surfboards to learn on. The two main construction types of surfboards are epoxy and traditional. Epoxy is becoming very popular because of the lighter weight and high strength, but many lack the same drive and performance of traditonal construction. Fin setup is also a major consideration for surfboards. Tri fins are popular with many surfboards. Twin fins and Quad setups are common with fishboards. Single fins come with many longboards. Of course you need some surf wax for that surfboard.

For colder climates , which is most of the US most of the time, wetsuits are a mandatory part of your surfing gear. There are two types of common wetsuits for surfing, full suits and spring suits. Full suits are for water temps in the low sixty degrees (fahrenheit) and lower. 3/2 mm thickness are used from about mid sixties to mid fifties. 4/3 mm thickness for mid fifties to high forties. Below that full suits with 5/4 mm thickness are in order. Spring suits, depending on your comfort level, are used in the low seventy degrees to mid sixties. Booties and hoods are also used with colder temps. Some major brands of wetsuits for surfing wetsuits are Quicksilver, O’neill, Rip Curl, and Billabong. All wetsuits should be checked very carefully for fit. There are size guides for almost all brands but it’s best to try several wetsuits as they are all cut slightly different.

The most important surfing accessory is the leash. Usually they have a standard thickness and a thinner one called the “comp” leash. The comp is lighter but breaks more easily and should be avoided for beginners. The other basic but useful surfing accessory is the surfboard rack. There are soft racks that travel easily and hard racks which are easier to use but are more permanently affixed to a vehicle.

Although surfing is not an equipment intensive sport, it’s important to choose your surfing gear wisely. With so much time spent looking for surf and time spent in the water, you don’t want bad surfing gear reducing your wave count. Spend the time asking other surfers their opinions about gear. Also consider that most people working at your local surf shop should be able to steer you in the right direction.

For great deals on more tips, see surfing gear for sale in the US, UK, and Australia.

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