As a new shortboard rider, you might be wondering how to take those first steps into riding the water with a new board. There's many facets to shortboarding, from choosing your board, the location, and the weather. Here's a list of things to consider when you are looking into shortboarding as a beginner.
- A shortboard is different from a longboard. The most obvious reason for this is the length, but also in the types of waves you will be riding. Typically, shortboard surfing isn't for everyone as it is generally more difficult than using the more stable longboard. Shortboards are used in tighter sections of the wave to provide snappier turns and higher response times, leading to the user needing to be more experienced or at least quick on their toes (or in this case, quick on the water).
- Start with the selection of the board itself. Head on over to your local surf shop and grab yourself a staff member. Alternately, if you're lucky enough to have an expert or two in your arsenal of friends and family, bring them along for the trip. Their experience and expertise will be very valuable to your choice of a new board.
- Steer clear of high performance boards or what the professionals are using. Choose a thickness, weight, and length of board based on your own body type and personal abilities. What the pro's are using are, more likely than not, far above what you are capable of handling at this point, so stick to the basics. Trying out a new board is similar to trying on a new pair of jeans – if it doesn't fit, it doesn't work.
- Some companies can create custom boards. These boards are based on your personal needs-height, weight, the waves you'll be experiencing, as well as your skill set-so just look around online and at surf shops and you'll beable to have a custom beauty created that is just begging to be taken out into those sparkling waves.
- Continue to customize your kicking new board. Make it the best fit for you by outfitting it with different fins. The fins on a surfboard are what do the work – they grab the waves and either move your forward or help you turn, depending on the waves and your own movements. If you have surfed before, you're aware of how the board reacts to your body and the waves you are riding, so try to take it up a notch and alternate the location, thickness, and angle of the fins underneath your board. Just keep messing with the configuration until you've got the perfect combination.
- Location is key. After you have your board and a set of fins customized for your skills and body type, scope out good areas for surfing. Any tourist and fellow surfer clogged areas are highly discouraged for those just learning. You need plenty of room to learn and correct any errors. Also be sure to avoid areas that usually contain sandbars-the small 'islands' of sand created by low tides-these sandbars disappear from view when the tides are high.
- Weather is important. Pay attention to the weather reports and signs in the beach area indicating rip currents, high and low tides, strong winds, and storms. More experienced surfers may be more comfortable tackling larger waves created by heavy storms, but the novice should not attempt these until they are more seasoned in the sport.
It all sounds complicated, we know, but working with all these aspects will get you on the right path to having the best ride on your new shortboard.
So good luck and remember to ride one for us!