Can You Start Surfing On A Longboard? And Should You?

For aspiring surfers taking their first steps into the world of riding waves, the choice of equipment plays a pivotal role.

A question that often arises is whether one can, and indeed should, begin their surfing journey with a longboard. While traditional longboards, such as those around 9’0″, might appear daunting due to their size and weight, beginners can still start surfing with them. Let’s explore this topic and explore the joy of starting your surfing adventure on a longboard.

The Wisdom in “No Board Too Big” “

An adage common among beginners is “There is no too big of surfboard for a beginner.” This phrase resonates with the idea that opting for a larger board initially can be a wise choice, even if it feels a bit unwieldy. But what are the advantages of beginning your surfing journey on a longboard, and how might it be the right choice for you?

Unveiling the Perks of Choosing a Longboard

  1. Effortless Wave Catching The cornerstone of surfing progress lies in the number of waves caught during practice. Think of it like perfecting your golf swing or tennis serve – the more repetitions, the better. Yet, waves don’t follow a predictable pattern, making repetition challenging. Here, the importance of catching as many waves as possible becomes evident. Longboards’ enhanced paddling ease helps novice surfers seize more waves, ultimately aiding skill development.
  2. Stability and Balance. Standing tall on a wave requires balance and time on the water. Especially while mastering the basics, you’ll likely spend a good amount of time in the whitewash. Here, a longboard’s generous platform shines, providing stability and buoyancy that keep you on the wave for extended periods. The wider surface area keeps the board steady, allowing you to hone your skills without constant interruptions.

When is a Longboard Too Big?

While longboards offer numerous benefits, it’s important to find the right fit. Generally, a surfer should be able to carry and maneuver the board comfortably. While hoisting the board overhead isn’t necessary, the ability to control the board when the whitewash hits you is crucial. Moreover, being able to make slight maneuvers to avoid collisions adds to a safe and enjoyable surfing experience.

It’s important to at least try on a longboard. I have known intermediate surfers who are only 65 kg and have gone up to 9’6″ longboard and said they get used to it pretty quickly. Furthermore, going long early might be a great choice if you aim to noseride.

Conversely, it’s not just about you and your board.

The condition may not allow you to ride a longboard. When the wave height reaches 4ft, on a regular beach break without a definite rip, taking a board longer than 7 feet can be extremely hard work, often near impossible. You will get constantly washed towards the beach unless there is a long break between the sets.

If you want to find out about choosing the right length longboard, please read here.

Size matters. Find the sweet spot in mid-length/minimal.

Weight and size are intertwined factors in board selection. For most people, opting for a board in the 7’6″ to 8’0″ range strikes a balance between having enough volume for wave-catching while still being maneuverable. This range often proves ideal for novices – providing ample buoyancy without sacrificing control.

Most surf shop owners in Sydney advised me that no strict rules exist for choosing the minimal length. It depends on the surfers’ weight, strength, car – to transport the board, and intention to go on a shorter board or stay with a minimal and longboard.

From personal experience, it also depends on the colour and brand of the board. Not all colours you like will be available, and some people will love to purchase high-end longboards because they generally are good-looking and has high resale value.

Softboard vs Fibreglass longboards?

While starting on a soft or foamy board is an excellent way to begin, a fibreglass board becomes an economical choice as your proficiency advances because people generally progress beyond the soft board within six months to a year of starting surfing.

Thinking of starting on a soft board longboard? read here

Now, let’s look at one of the most common issues among beginner longboard surfers faces: Nose dive.

How Do I Avoid Nose Dive On A Longboard?

A nose dive often results from suboptimal positioning and insufficient paddle force. Delving into the nuances of these aspects can considerably improve wave catching without nose dive.

  1. Angle the board. The longer board’s tendency to nose dive when a wave lifts it from behind demands careful consideration. By positioning the board at the right angle, you can avoid nosedives and set yourself up to ride the wave gracefully.
  2. Strategic Positioning to improve paddling. Positioning yourself on a longboard can be a puzzle to solve. When paddling, placing your feet closer to the tail may seem intuitive, but it can tilt the nose upwards, hindering both paddling and wave-catching. Instead, aim for a slight lift of the board’s nose above the water when lying on it. Experimentation will lead you to the perfect tilt for your specific board.
  3. Standing up even if you think it’s a little too late. When you feel you are already too late, and the wave feels like it will swallow you, jump onto your feet to engage rail into the wave face. This often helps keep the board going and ride the wave.

With sound paddling technique and proper positioning, wave-catching on a longboard becomes more intuitive as you refine your skills. When taking off, embrace the learning challenge and develop some resilience feeling unfordable in the steeper part of the waves.

In conclusion, while longboards might seem daunting, they hold the key to a smoother entry into surfing. Their stability, buoyancy, and wave-catching prowess can significantly aid beginners. So, if you’re eager to embark on an exciting journey atop the waves, consider the allure of starting with a longboard – a decision that might just lead to some unforgettable rides.


My name is James, the person behind With 15 years of experience in surfing, I am excited to help you on the journey to becoming a competent surfer.

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