Buying your board
The moment you have been waiting for, getting a shinning new stick! Consider your budget and also the standard you are at. Try not to buy a softboard as a beginner as you will out-grow it very quickly. Spend some time on a softboard and get comfortable making turns, taking long rides before you consider buying anything. Also remember to try different boards before you buy, if possible! Think about this; you need to catch lots of waves to progress, so get a board you know you can stand up on, often! Get advice from experienced, approachable people who you trust.
As a novice get something fairly wide, at least nineteen inches across the belly of it, and around two point five inches thick at least. Try not to go for anything shorter than you until you rip! No seriously, as a novice head for something about a foot taller than you as a rough guide.
Fins may baffle you but don’t worry too much, just mind out for them because they are very sharp and fragile! Whether you like one big one or three little ones is up to you, they all stabilise the board and provide the drive as you pressure your back foot and tip over in order to make a turn happen. Three fins were developed to get as many turns in the wave as possible during surfing.
Fins developed from the traditional single fin which is very stable on larger boards and provides a good hold for the board when travelling through water.
Having three fins loosens up the turn in a wave and makes it ‘snappier’. Try to avoid two fins as a novice since these are very loose, a little unstable, and generally used in smaller conditions as a sliding platform with less hold.
Don’t forget a vital safety component, The Leash!
Always wear one since it protects you and others from the board and also keeps the board near you, which is an important buoyancy aid. Never get lazy, relying on your leash by letting go of the board, this is very dangerous to others behind you in the line-up. If you have to let go of your board to get through a wave you should not be in conditions of that size, since it probably means you can’t handle it. Hold on!
Get a leash at least six foot in length, any shorter and your board may hit you in a wipe out. As a rough rule get a leash the same length as your board but no less than six feet long. A must is also a rail saver which is a piece of flat nylon that attaches on the part of your leash linking onto the board. This stops the cord from ripping through you spanking new rails. Always keep your leash in a good state and look out for damage or cracks, replacing it immediately if you suspect damage.