Every surfer has had trouble picking the right board to ride. There are so many factors, such as ability, athleticism, wave quality, board type, and so on and so forth. Many companies have come out with volume calculators to make this easier but just makes it twice as hard for most average surfers. The most common issue I see is an overconfident surfer riding a way too small of a board in really sh*t surf. Now, I do find this comical. But, I want people to be stoked in the water and not draggin my vibe down.
Many are super deterred from riding soft boards for basically every reason. Yet, foam boards are realistically the most viable option for 99% of people. Our soft tops ride nearly exactly like a hard board with double the paddle power.
So the question what board is right for YOU? (Ryley's Best recommendations for those wanting to improve)
Mega Beginners: First time catching white water/ First-timers
9'6 Tortuga, 9'0 Panda Log, 8'8 Heritage, 8' Verve/Guppy
All these boards are perfect for those starting. They won't break the bank and ride nearly identical to a hard board. For smaller or weaker people or kids, definitely should be on the 8' as this will be safer and more manageable.
* Also, I highly recommend getting a bodyboard like the 42 in Onda. This will instill fundamental wave knowledge and translates to surfing very well.
Beginners (Those who now can stand up without trouble and can ride the wave with some sort ofdignity)
7'7 Elefante, 7'6 Funky Bus, 7' Ruccus
Intermediate ( Rarely will fall popping up, can get down the line with zero issues, and is starting to grasp maneuvers)
7'0 Ruccus, 6'8 Casper, 6'6 Fish Beef, 6' Mahi, 5'8 Lil NocheThis phase of surfing is crucial to focus on rail control and maneuvering. This stage is most important. If you are a bigger person or in the lower range of intermediate would only recommend the 7'0 Ruccus, 6'8 casper and the 6'6 Fish Beef.
I believe the 6'6 fish beef the best pick for the majority as this board has plenty of float yet tons of maneuverability. This board will build the fundamentals for bottom & top turns, cutbacks, and carves.
Advanced ( You don't need my advice but hey Ill give it)
5'8 lil noche,5'5 Betsy, 4'10 Huevo Out of these, the most fun is the 4'10. It basically rides like skate board and can turn a mush burger of a wave into a canvas for you to paint on. If you have ridden a mini Simmons, this is a very similar experience, and you'll always have a good time.
For myself, I weigh 195lbs and would be considered an advanced surfer. I like riding anywhere from 28L - 33L for steep and powerful waves. My standard shortboard dims are 19.5 x 2.5 x 5'10 @ 31L. Yet, I live in Santa Monica, where the waves typically are softer than baby poop. So riding my standard shortboard is not necessarily an option most days out of the year at my local breaks. (Even though I still do it and have a miserable time)
To restore my happiness in surfing, I have been riding the 4'10 Huevo and the 5'5 Big Betsy. These boards have been a total game-changer when it comes to small wave ripping.