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16 October 2014
Wales Surfing - Learn

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Longboard - Caws


Here at OTL we constantly strive to tackle your most taxing questions...

Which Board For Learning?

Jammy Bevan:"Which board is good for learning on, other than a longboard?"

Sandy: I'm a beginner also, and find the 7'6" minimal I use is really good. It can catch the smallest of waves and although it would feel really unresponsive to a shortboarder, it feels really fast and turns well for me!

My bro is 6ft and he loves it too. Also because it's a Bic, so you can be a bit clumsy with it and it never gets dinged! The other day I misjudged it's length and hit it into a wall but when i inspected it I couldn't even tell which part had hit the wall! lol, I'm such a muppet!

I think they are about £200 and normally come with free bag etc, and since they are hard to damage and hold their value well you can prob sell it on for a good price when it's time for a shortboard.

nick flack out the back: Bics are easier to catch the waves on but I soon got frustrated on mine. I got a mate make me a board with a little extra width through the middle and tail and a little more thickness.

Sounds a bit like you want to sprint before you can jog, I was the same. It's a harder road to learn on a shortboard but you will get there with a lot of effort, tired arms, aching back and if anything like me, near death experiences. (I'm not kidding!!!)

Have a look at a fat boy flyer or a good fish if you want to stay a little shorter, about 7ft, maybe 7'2" with a lot of width in the tail and a flatter deck (less rocker) to help with paddling.


Jed Cohen
Im a grom pretty experianced now in use a 5'7but started on a 6'10 mini mal

Steve Swansea,
I started on a 6'1 and it was a riot, surfeds for years dreaming of being the next kelly slater, fought for waves and was generally a rude boy, the i got lazy bought a long board and find that style, grace and smooth turns are so much more fun than tearing around on thruster, i say dont bother messing around with the middle of the road stuff, wach people surf, have a guess at who's having the most fun, and get a board that appeals, long or short, style or performance, whatever you want. Just stick to what you choose, for a few years at least!

Rick Cardiff
Ivw spent the last 8 months learning on a 7"6 at rest bay, alot of wipe outs and its been almost demoralising at times but I now know where the sweet spot on the board is and feel I have progressed loads. recommend 7"6 for learning..its hard going at times but the pay off is worth it..

c hay hayman from sunshine coast
i never started on a minimal for me it was short bords the whol way i started on a 6'3 and now ride a 6'1 i have never turned to minimal as the are boring and slow

Matt, Portrush Northern Ireland
Yeah I'm 6ft 4 and I started out on a 7ft 8 circle one, its a pricey board but its like chris from NZ says its a great universal board and a cool way of encouraging newbies in to surfing I love it, but looking for a second board for uni in Scotland need someing a buy shorter maybe at 7 ish foot fat boy flyer. But ne thing I will say is don't go too long in your minimals, I've tried mine in some pritty big stuff over in ireland and nose divered her when the gradient of the wave got to much. I'd go for 7ft 4 if I was buying agian.

chris, wiltshire
hi all, can anybody help. i bought a 9ft o'neill board on e-bay and it's a beauty, it has however no loop and swoop for the leash and instead has a hole in the fin slot. has anyone seen this before? thanks

Des Portsmouth
Hum I always wanted to surf a short board so I learnt on a short board 6.6. Minimals give you lots of waves but the timing and balance is so different as boards get smaller. It took me about a year to get the hang of it but is well worth the effort. If short is what you want you have to commit yourself to it!

Sean, Dublin Ireland
The 6.7 Bic Shortboard is the perfecting learning shortboard. It will catch most waves and is more fun then a minimal.

rob from newport
dudes, you all need to just sling back and get a nice long board - ideal for me - getting older and fatter!! still catching 'em though!

Kate - Pembrokeshire
i also learn't on a 7'3 Bic minmal... so i'm done with the being able to stand and ride a wave..perfect for me to learn on!.. now for the 6'3..this should be amusing...

Chandler, Oahu
Like young Rick Cane you should start on an ancient Hawaiin wooden board as ridden by the Duke then progress through the boards of the ages until you understand the many moods of the ocean and how different boards react. Only then will you be able to ride a modern shred stick and win the Pipeline pro, unless Burkhart grabs your leash. This should take no more then about 2 weeks assuming you have some Arizona wave pool experience.

Greg Jaimes, Orange County, CA
I have a 7'3" and it's a Sh#t load of fun. i have almost worn it out completely, and have done just too many repairs. It is always a good idea to start on a board that is above 6ft. I belive it is more relaxing to start off on a long board, beacuse i have caught at least double the waves my surf buddy has caught on his 6'3". The most important thing while surfing is, make sure you wipe out alot and get back up. No matter how many times you throw-up ocean water from nasty spills.

lauren swansea
ive got a 7'3 bic minimal and i find it to unsteady any tips on what board i should get to help prevent that, or what i could do to my boad to stop that.

Tom Yorkshire
What board suits you depends alot on your weight. I'm about 11 st and I learned on a 7"6, Its nice and wide with plenty of float. I recenyly bought a 6"10 egg which is a really easy board to progress to. Its still got the float and stability but its faster and more manouverable. The fin set up is 1 plus 2 soits pretty versatile and can be used as a 1, 2 or 3 fin. I'm keeping the 7"6 for smaller days (although the 6"10 does ok). Ask a shaper or someone with experience for advice and be honest about your ability. You'll progress much quicker if the board suits you. Theres nothing worse than a prat who buys a short board because they wanna look cool and then find they can't ride it and end up lookin stupid!

Stuart - Aberdare
I learnt on a 7'2" Freebird pop-out(for those that remember them!) After that I went to a local shaper (Session in Porthcawl- don't know if they are still there?) who gave me all the advice I needed. They take into account your height and weight, and they make boards for the local waves. They didn't try and sell me a 6'2" Qstick imported from Oz that was meant for more powerful waves and would be almost useless round here - unless you're the successor to Kelly Slater!

Abi, Liverpool
It isnt fair to say dont try hired boreds, cos when you are new to the sport, that is what you have to do. A few goes on a swell board to get the hang of handling a board in the water, then a quick go with a soft top a then onto something like a bic 7'6. Once you are standing on that it is ideal to find a good custom board, perhaps a 7', so it fits in the car!

Chris from N.Z.
Don't think that the Longboard is just going to suit you for learning, if you invest in a good one it will be your friend for life and you will take it everywhere with you. If you're a bit knackered from throwing yourself around on a shortboard the day before but still want to surf, use the Mal. Small waves but still keen to get out there, use the Mal. Got a new girlfriend and she wants to try surfing, use the Mal. It's the one board that all surfers should have as it can go just about anywhere.

Dave Queensland/Cornwall
You want a 5'9" knife edge keel fin michael peterson. This will alow you heaps of time on the face of a wave and will give you the speed you need to make sections. Only messing i say go big over 9'6" more time up and riding is thebest way to improve definately, you can get a feel of water running under the board and the more of the board you have in the water the more forgiving the ride will be.

Turtle from Chandlers shaping shack
If your fit, agile, have good coordination and balance there is no reason you can't learn on a shortboard. My first board was a 5'11" twinnie (I am and was 6ft) and I had no problems learning on that. If your goal is to surf a shortboard then you may do yourself a disservice by spending too much time on a longer board as the change down in size may seem like a step back in your ability and deter you.

When I was learning I had a 7'3" bic minimal and it was great to learn on. You can bash it about alot more than the other types. It's harder to manouvre but great to catch the waves with. Isn't that what you do at beginner level?!

lewis mcgregor from barry
i only just started to surf and i got a 6.7 board and its perfect for me to ride

James from Pembrokeshire
I learnt on the 6`8" Bic and I did fine! I also learned top turns, off the lips and snaps on it. I am so close to learnng cutbacks on it too!!! Then again I am only 10st...... :-D

Abby from Cardiff
The first board i used was a 7"6 , i have now been surfing for a few years and i now have a 6"5 board which is tough but i can ride it

Go to a shaper for this cos he/she will be able to sort you out objectively and will not be tied into one or two brands of ready made board that my not be suitable. Also a well designed board will be good enuff for you to learn on and then progress a bit on, maybe you will never need to buy another ! Support your local shaper !

Nathaniel Barber from Lincoln
Although minimals are good, I find that learning on them just for catching waves can get a bit boring. However, i find that for any serious learner they need a big (ish!!) shortboard and have to take the falls. Don't what ever you do use the rented boards tho, they are an absolute disaster.

Which board is good for you to learn on?

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