As the calendar inches closer to Spring and eventually to Summer the Evolve team is gearing up for another great year of fun in the sun in the water. In order to maximize our time and fun in the water we have designed, developed, tested and produce a full range of boards to fit every style and need. This includes race style boards, cruiser, fishing, inflatables, and of course a few gnarly surf styles as well. And that is the topic for today's discussion. How to choose the correct surf style SUP board for you!
Our Evolve team spans the globe in regards to ambassadors and where we ship our boards, which means we get a lot of different questions from a variety of different people. However, a large portion of the questions we receive from our fellow water lovers centers around that of surfing. Surfing is an activity that conjures images in the imagination for anyone who has ever tried doing it or even thought about doing it. The effortless gliding, the quiet mind, and the pure stoke of being one with a wave is something people are drawn to no matter their skill level or where they may be located on the globe. And one of the best ways to get involved in the sport is on top of a SUP surf style. But this is also where the questions come in.
If you are not familiar with surfing it can be difficult to narrow down what shape, style, size and thickness you will need in order to succeed at the sport. This can lead to disheartening experiences in the ocean. We have seen it a few times- inexperienced paddlers trying their best to catch a wave not designed to be out in the swell, their rugged effort met with plenty of nose dives and a strong pull of the leash dragging them back to shore. These problems, though, can be mitigated with the proper equipment. Let's break it down in order to provide the best guide in choosing your surf style board for when you are ready to charge the waves.
The first category we should always discuss when buying any board is your skill level. What to consider is how long you have been paddle boarding, how many times you have been in the ocean, and especially how often you will be able to get in the ocean in order to improve your skills (this is a big one).
The longer you have been paddling, more than likely, the better your balance will be as well as being more comfortable paddling in rapid succession in order to catch waves. If you are an experienced paddler and feel comfortable in the ocean then a smaller board will fit you better. Something in the range of our Stokester, which comes in at 9'4''x30'' or our Deej XL which is 9'6''x33'' or if you are very experienced the original Deej at 8'4''x30'' or the Goosebumps 7'11''x28.5''. These boards work better for the experienced paddlers as they are under 10' which gives them maneuverability in the water but also decreases stability when it's rough on the ocean. So make sure when you downsize your board, you've spent plenty of time on the water.
Sometimes skill level can compensate for body size. If you are an experienced paddler and have spent years on the water and the ocean, and have exceptional balance, then skill reigns supreme. However, for the average paddler, this is often not the case. The basic rule is simple: the bigger your body, the bigger your board has to be in order to float you. We have seen plenty of paddlers who get on boards that are too small for their body type and subsequently they end up fighting the board the entire time in the water instead of actually surfing. It can be frustrating for those on the board as well as those watching. Often times this will lead to the paddler giving up on surfing, proclaiming it is just not something that is for them. But, if they had started on a board that matched their size, they would at least been able to stand up in the ocean which is a huge first step.
Luckily, Evolve produces boards that fit every body style. For those that are inexperienced and bigger the 10'10''x35'' is the best board to start on. The 5'' of volume combined with the increased width gives the paddler plenty of space to stand on, which maximizes balance. A step down from there in the 10'6''x32'' Paddilac. Though labeled as a cruiser style board, the Paddilac can also be used as a longboard style surf board in the ocean. A step down from there is the 10'x30'' Perfect 10. Which is, coincidentally, the perfect board for the bigger paddler or inexperienced paddler to enjoy a surf style tailored to cruising down the line in a smooth fashion. However, if you're still looking to go smaller but keep a longboard style that's where the 9'5''x30'' Juice comes into play. The shorter board increases maneuverability but the rounded out nose increases stability.
As beginners start to become more comfortable in the ocean they tend to develop a certain style when it comes to surfing. And this style will often times determine what type of board they choose. Now, it is quite common for surfers to change styles depending on the day as well as what they feel like surfing, which only means you need to purchase additional boards! But the basic difference is between a longboard style cruiser/glider or a short board slashing style. Evolve produces such board types. If you're into longboarding we offer the Perfect 10 and the 9'5'' Juice. They both have the rounded out noses as previously described, a lower rocker (which is the curve of the nose going up) which produces a smoother glide on mushy waves, and the added volume to make walking on the board within everyone's capability.
But, if you are more of a short board style surfer, with quick cuts, strong bottom turns, and hitting the lip of the wave with aggression look no further than our smaller board such as the 8'4'' Deej or 7'11'' Goosebumps. These boards offer more rocker for bigger, steeper waves, pulled in noses and tails and lower volume for easy, quick turning. You'll be able to power onto waves for hours on end with one of these boards.
As your style develops so will your choice in boards. Most people, when they are learning to surf, opt for a longboard style as they provide an easier entry point into the waves with their added length, volume, and stability. So if you're brand new to surfing and don't have a preferred style, stick with the longboard until you progress!
Surfing is one of those activities which benefits greatly from time on the water. The more you go, the better you will become at it. Unfortunately most people become discouraged after a few tries, often times chalking up other people's success at the sport to 'natural talent'. And while it may be true, some people are naturally gifted surfers, it is decidedly untrue that certain people will never be able to succeed at it. After all, it takes time, patience, discipline, a will to succeed, a love for the ocean, and most of all, the correct board just to get started! Hopefully this post will help you in the beginning stages as you start to develop the rest of those necessary qualities.