Essential surf kit for beginners – what to buy
Starting a new hobby or sport can be a daunting task at times. Once you have bit the bullet, tried it out and decided ‘yeah, I can do this’, you have to kit yourself out.
But where do you start? Surfing doesn’t need much to get started. In fact, all of our surf holidays come with equipment included in the price. But for those ready to take surfing further or not keen on wearing a rented wetsuit (!), how do you know what surfboard and suit are best for you and your level?
We spoke to Tim, owner and surf instructor at our amazing surf and SUP (Stand Up Paddle Boarding) camp located just a 5 minute walk from the white beaches of Bangtao, on the island of Phuket, Thailand.
It is a wonderful surf and SUP location, as the lessons and conditions are ideal for any level; from total beginner surfers to a seasoned surfer looking to improve their skills. It’s also affordable, friendly, and run by passionate surfers who love getting newbies up in the water, and helping their local community thrive. Who better to ask about getting your kit on for your beloved water sport?
Tim reckons surf equipment can be a life investment if you choose wisely so he shared some advice for the beginning surfer, or the more experienced surfer ready to purchase their own kit and really get to know it.
What are the differences in surfboards, and how do different boards vary (in materials and size)?
Beginners are best using a longboard, preferably lightweight or a soft top surfboard around 8 foot in length. This well help them with their paddling technique and balance while learning to ‘pop up’ on the surfboard into a standing position.
If your moving towards an intermediate surfer, you will want something light and shorter in length so you can paddle through the waves easily, duck dive waves, and start to learn to maneuver turns on the wave. It’s obviously going to get a bit challenging at first, but as you surf more you will get used to the smaller surfboard.
Depending on your height & weight, dimensions you could go for are something around 6’2 feet in length, width 19.5 inches, and thickness 2.5 inches. This is something they would be happy to help you with in any surf shop.
Also while your learning to surf, you’re definitely going to bash the board around a bit so I would recommend an Epoxy made board, as they are strong and will last a lot longer than a normal fiberglass board. You can find lightweight Epoxy made boards nowadays; some good brands include Torq & NSP.
What should you look for in a good wetsuit? Do you find there is a big difference in quality between certain brands or types?
As with anything, you get what you pay for. Wetsuits are expensive but will last you a long time. It also depends on the temperature of the water you surf in (again, never be afraid to question while shopping).
You want to find a stretchy wetsuit so it can give you mobility while paddling & standing up.
Do you have any favourite brands of boards and suits that you swear by? Any that you avoid from a bad experience?
Not really… there are so many good ones out there. If you have a local surfboard shaper in your area, buy one from them and support your local community.
What else should a surfer consider investing in for this sport?
You don’t need to rush out and buy every surf accessory that is available; start cheap, rent, find out what you like, then purchase.
We really advocate working closely with our community and buying locally to build up businesses and work as one thriving area.
Find out more information about Tim’s surf holidays in Thailand here.
Or feel free to browse our full range of surfing holidays here.