Almost all surfing equipment
is unisex, except for wetsuits. However, if you get a custom
board you can add your preference in cool graphics. Because
women are generally smaller and lighter than men are, they
can use smaller and less buoyant boards.
There are several types of boards. The most familiar
are the shortboards that are able to make tight maneuvers
over the face of the wave. They're also called sinkers
because they're not very buoyant. Because of their speed
and agility they don't make for a good learning board.
Shortboards are around 6 feet to 7 feet in length.
The other well-known style of surfboards is the tankers.
This was the style for decades. They're also referred
to as longboards. Longboards are the surfboards of "Beach
Blanket Bingo", where you can ride the nose, "hang
ten", or ride tandem. They are a lot of fun and are
coming back into style as a lot of retro things are. Tankers
are 10 to 12 feet, about 22 inches wide, and have a rounded
The in-between boards, sometimes called fun boards are
smaller and lighter versions of the tanker. They're around
7 to 9 feet long, about 22 inches wide, and have a rounded
nose like a tanker. These make the best learning boards.
You'll also see plastic beginner boards that look like
they're made from Nurf Football materials. They're softer
than a regular board but not much less expensive. Your
best bet is to go with the "real" surfboard
that is made of fiberglass. If for no other reason, it
just looks cooler.
Surfboards range from about $300.00 to $600.00 new.
Check out the local surf shop for used boards on sale.
If you go with a used board, make sure that any dings
are patched. None of the core foam should be exposed.
If the patches leak or the foam is exposed, it will absorb
water. This will make the board heavy, water logged, and
hard to ride. This goes for any dings that a new board
gets. Patch them before you go back out in the water.
P.O. Box 60549, San Diego, California 92166-8549 USA.
Surfboards designed and shaped by Shannon Payne-McIntyre.
Fins also known as skegs provide stability and turning
capabilities. You may have seen a tri-fin arrangement.
This improves the turning capabilities allowing the board
to make tight carves in the waves. Multiple fin arrangements
are usually seen on shortboards.
Leashes attach the board to your ankle. This prevents
you from loosing it in the surf and having to swim back
to shore to retrieve it. They're made of a shock cord
or surgical tubing material and use a Velcro strap around
your ankle. The strap should be attached to your back
foot. Of course you need to determine which foot will
be on the back of the board. The right foot back is "regular"
footed and the left foot back is "goofy" footed.
Now how do you determine if you're regular or goofy?
In surfing you put your controlling foot back. To find
your controlling foot, ask your buddy to give you a shove
forward. The foot you step forward on to stop yourself
from falling is your controlling foot. This should feel
natural. If the stance you choose doesn't feel right,
just switch it.
Long leashes are for riding big waves and short leashes
are for smaller waves. Leashes are unisex, cost around
$20 to $25, and are available at surf shops.
A wetsuit will help protect you from the wind and cold
water. How cold the water is will determine the style
of wetsuit. For cold water you'll want a full wetsuit
with arms and legs covered. For cool water, 70º,
you'll want a shorty. A shorty has short sleeves and covers
to the thighs like shorts.
They do make women's wetsuits, which are much more comfortable
than squeezing into a man's shape. Few surf shops stock
a wide variety of women's wetsuits. Your best bet is to
look in scuba shops and windsurfing shops.