How To Choose A Surfboard Size: Beginner’s Guide


Buying a surfboard isn’t always as straightforward as it seems. There are plenty of factors that need to need to be considered, one of which is the surfboard’s size. So what things need to be considered when it comes to how to choose a surfboard size? Are tools like the surfboard volume calculator really necessary? The guide below answers these questions and more.

Choosing a Surfboard Size: Volume

Regardless of the types of surfboard, you plan to get, the first consideration on how to choose a surfboard size is the volume. This refers to the amount of space or area that a surfboard occupies and is measured in cubic liters. You can calculate the volume by using a surfboard volume calculator or by simply looking at the manufacturer’s spec sheet or website. Volume is important because it affects stability, control, speed, and other performance factors, hence affecting your overall surfing experience.

There are both advantages and disadvantages to choosing low volume surfboards and high volume surfboards. For instance, lower volume surfboards (volume lower than your personal suggested volume) offer a more sensitive riding experience and are suggested for veteran surfers because it maximizes maneuverability and speed.

On the other hand, higher volume surfboards (volume higher than your personal suggested volume) allow you to catch waves easily and are far easier to ride and balance, making them the better option for beginners. The trade-off here is that you’re sacrificing maneuverability and control for stability and ease-of-use.

Choosing a Surfboard Size: Length

On the topic of how to choose a surfboard size, many beginning surfers usually focus on the surfboard’s length. Should I get a longer surfboard? What about a shorter one? To answer this question, one must consider his or her height and skill level. Being familiar with the pros and cons of each helps.

Longer surfboards hold a longer waterline, which in turn helps with stability. As a beginner, you’ll want to consider using a longer board while learning. The extra surface area also helps make the board feel less shaky when tackling bigger waves. Their size can make them more difficult to put in their surfboard travel bag and lift onto surfboard racks for cars, but such issues rarely bother most surfers.

Shorter surfboards are easier to maneuver especially in small waves. Changing direction is also much quicker because they create less water resistance when going from side to side. Their small size also means that you won’t quickly use up all your surf wax. Along that line, the smaller surface area makes them less stable, which then makes them more suitable for experienced surfers.

To make things easier for you, here’s a little cheat sheet:

Surfer Height Surfer Weight Recommended Surfboard Length
< 5 ft. < 55 kgs. 6’8” – 7’2”
5’1” – 5’4” 55-65 kgs. 7’2” – 7’6”
5’5” – 5’8” 65-75 kgs. 8’ – 8’6”
5’9” – 6’1” 75-85 kgs. 8’6” – 9’2”
6’2 – 6’4” 85-95 kgs. 9’2” – 9’6”
6 ft. and taller 95 kgs. and heavier 9’6” and above

Keep in mind that these are just suggestions and recommended for the average person (we all know that there people who are too heavy for their height). 

Choosing a Surfboard Size: Width

A surfboard’s width is measured from one rail (edge) to the opposite rail at the widest point of the surfboard, which can either be at the center of the surfboard or several inches ahead or below.

Most surfboards for beginners are wide since they provide more flotation and surface, which then translates to greater stability and helps improve balance. This will make things easier for beginners who are still learning to position their feet perfectly on the surfboard when they pop up on the surfboard.

On the other hand, narrow surfboards are best suited for advanced surfers. Less surface area compromises stability, but it greatly enhances their ability to make tight turns and advanced maneuvers especially in the steeper parts of a wave. Reduced width also reduces drag and increases the rail-to-rail speed when pumping the board.

Choosing a Surfboard Size: Thickness

Surfboard thickness is often overlooked, but it is an important factor in how to choose a surfboard size. Like length and width, the thickness is also factored in when computing volume using a surfboard volume calculator. Thicker surfboards allow for faster paddling, easier wave catching, and are more forgiving for beginners when they ride too far from the pocket or curled part of the wave. Thinner surfboards are suitable for advanced surfers since it makes it easier to dig the rails into the water allowing them to make solid bottom turns and advanced carving.



Q: What size of surfboard do I need?


Your height and weight are key factors in determining what surfboard size will fit you best. You can also use a surfboard volume calculator, many of which you can find and use for free online. Obviously, the bigger you are the bigger your surfboard will have to be.

Q: What size surfboard should a beginner use?


Beginners are recommended to go for a bigger surfboard size because this will offer better stability and buoyancy. Generally, this will mean going for a longboard. A bigger surfboard has more surface area which translates to better stability and balance, two factors that beginners usually have trouble with.

Q: What size soft top surfboard should I get?


A soft top surfboard or foam surfboard about 11 feet to 12 feet is what most adult surfers use. Surfboards of these are what most beginners in surfing classes use because they offer excellent balance and paddling abilities that make learning how to surf easier. 

Q: What size short surfboard should I get?


Generally, short surfboards can measure anywhere between 5 feet and 8 inches to 6 feet and ten inches. As it is with choosing any surfboard, choosing a shortboard will depend on a variety of factors including your weight, height, skill level and others. Also, keep in mind that wider shortboards will be shorter than their narrow counterparts.

Q: How tall should your surfboard be?


For beginners, it is recommended to choose a surfboard that is at least 3 feet taller that their height. A thicker and broader surfboard is also a good idea because they are more stable and makes balancing easier. Intermediates and advanced surfers generally choose shorter surfboards because of their enhanced performance features.

Globo Surf Overview

The surfboard’s size can greatly affect its performance; hence, make sure that you study how to choose a surfboard size so you don’t end up with a surfboard that is too big or too small for you. Take advantage of computing technologies like the surfboard volume calculator or ask a professional for help if needed. Finding the perfect surfboard size will allow you to better enjoy your time in the water.

More Surf Reviews:

Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!