Is it Me or the Board?

Any questions about learning to surf, or general questions about equipment, technique or improving your surfing.

Is it Me or the Board?

Postby ROCKORR » Thu Sep 24, 2015 3:52 pm

I'm basically a beginner (surfed maybe 8 times) and am trying to figure out whether my difficulty catching waves is a result of being on the wrong board, or just not being good/strong (yet).

I am 5' 10" and 175 lbs, and I am currently surfing on this 7' foam board: ... ailpages00. I chose this board because I live in New York City and ride the subway to surf, so having a shorter, less fragile board made sense.

Before I bought that board, I took a lesson in Montauk on something much bigger -- maybe 11 feet and hard (not foam). It was certainly easier to stand on, but it also seemed to be much much easier to catch waves, in part because it seemed to be easier to accelerate. (My comparative success during the lesson could also have been a result of the instructor's coaching on timing.) I would love to buy a bigger board to continue to learn on, but I think anything that big is unrealistic where I live.

When I surf my foam board at the Rockaways, I have a harder time standing (which is fine and which makes sense to me), but I also seem to have a much harder time catching waves, including because it's harder for me to accelerate. What I'm trying to figure out is, do I just need to get stronger/better, or would getting a different board make a big difference? I think I could probably manage a slightly longer board on the subway -- maybe up to 8 feet, and would consider investing in a non-foam board in the same 7-8' range if that made sense.

Thanks in advance for any insight!

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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2015 3:38 pm

Re: Is it Me or the Board?

Postby Leven » Thu Oct 01, 2015 1:13 pm

Simple answer's both. This is a bit rudimentary, but basically:

If you've got used to an 11ft board, and you're now trying to surf a 7ft board, you've got way less foam. Imagine adding 4ft of foam in the middle of the board you've got now, right where you're lying...that's what you had a lesson on. You've basically reduced the boards volume by around 1/3. (That's not actually quite correct for various reasons but you hopefully get the point).

As a general rule of thumb, the longer the board, the better it paddles (unless it's a specifically designed for big waves or something).

The other part is you. Paddling a surfboard is completely different to anything you'll do in normal life, and actually slightly different to even swimming. So, if you want to get better/stronger at paddling, train. There's loads of videos etc. on the web. Don't forget, surfing is actually 90%+ paddling, and 10% riding waves....
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Re: Is it Me or the Board?

Postby Malibulongboards » Sun Jan 31, 2016 8:50 pm

When first learning surfing half the battle is just catching the wave. A bigger board makes this happen a lot easier. Otherwise you could just be spinning your wheels until you have some paddle power. Always go bigger if you can if having fun quickly is your goal
Good Luck!
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Location: Venice, Santa Monica, Malibu

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