How many different categories of surfboards are there and when should you be riding these different surfboards? Is there a best surfboard type for you and does it really matter?
I like to break down the surfboard edulize categories as follows:
· Standup Paddleboards (SUP)
· Tow-in Surfboards
Choosing which type surfboard for you to ride depends on quite a few different things, but mainly the available surf conditions and your personal desires for surfing. Here are some of the things you will have to consider:
· Where are you going to be surfing
· What type surf will you be surfing
· Is there a variety of wave types
· What is your physical condition
· What is your talent level
· What are your surfing goals
The two most predominant categories of surfboards are Soft Surfboards and Hard Surfboards. The initial choice you have to make is normally from one of these two categories. Surfboards come in all different sizes, which results in sub categories known as longboards, shortboards, and funboards.
The beginner surfer will probably choose a soft surfboard to get started. Beginners are in all age groups, but the very young and the more conservative older surfers and most of the gals will normally choose a soft surfboard. However, as in anything else, there are exceptions, which are driven by your peer group, your athletic ability and your mental and physical stature.
If there is decent surf to ride, you will be surfing your favorite surfboard which suits the conditions.
If there is no surf, you can gravitate to one of the other categories such as your SUP, your paddleboard, your skimboard, or maybe your wakeboard if you have a boat to pull you on a lake, bay or calm body of water.
It seems that, these days, surfers are gravitating to their SUP in most cases. Riding these standup paddleboards has become a very popular sport because just about everybody can ride them with some level of success. They are good for sightseeing, cruising, getting a good physical workout or just hanging out with your paddling friends.
The other surfboard categories which are fun, but not as popular as those I have mentioned, are Paddleboards, Skimboards, Alia boards, Tow-in Surfboards, and Kneeboards.
Paddleboards are ridden from the prone or kneeling position. If you want a good workout, go Paddleboarding. These boards are used by many of the city and county lifeguards because they are fast and you can get to the rescue site fast, which make them a good water rescue vehicle. They are also good for racing.
Skimboarding is for the young. The sport is conducted on the shoreline and involves high energy running to a point where you drop the board in water that is very shallow like a thin sheet and then jump on it and ride it out into the surf, catching the wave back into shore. This sport requires endurance, strength, agility, and lots of practice. It can also be extreme and dangerous. However, the kids love it!
Alia surfboards are very flat wooden, foam or carbon fiber, finless boards, which were made popular by the Hawaiians before fins were invented. There are quite a few surfers who are experimenting with these finless surfboards. Having a surfboard that is finless makes it easy to do spins on the waves and also to develop more speed because there is no drag on the board caused by the fins attached underneath. An Alia is more difficult to ride, especially since the board is so flat, which makes it hard to catch the wave and keep the nose of the board from digging into the water. The board is also hard to paddle since it is very thin and narrow.
Kneeboarding is riding a surfboard on your knees instead of standing up. A pad is normally added for support and in most cases the board is shaped with a concave deck. It’s a fun sport and a fun way to ride waves that used to be more popular back in the ’70s and ’80s. You paddle into the wave lying down, as if you were on a surfboard and then get up on your knees instead of standing up. You can also wear swimfins to help you catch the wave.
As you can see, you have many fun surfboard categories to choose from. You probably will end up owning more than one surfboard in order to take advantage of the water conditions; waves or no waves.
In any event, get out in the water and have fun surfing, paddling or skimming. Remember that surfing is a way of life. So my friends, Surf Life no matter what you are doing. It will put a smile on your face and make each and every day a pleasant experience.
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