Surfing seems like the perfect idyllic hobby. There seems to be nothing better than waking up on a sunny morning and diving into the water where it’s just you, your board, and the waves.
Unfortunately, as many surfers know, the reality is much different than this.
People starting out in surfing often don’t realize the hidden costs that come with this hobby. It’s not just about the board, you also have to invest in a wetsuit or other clothing, wax for the board, and general maintenance of it all, and the costs quickly pile up.
But before you buy all these extras you need to buy the board, so…
How Much Does A Surfboard Cost?
On average the price of a surfboard can range from $100 to $1200, but many factors can affect this price. The type of board you buy, whether it’s new or second-hand, what’s it made from, and where you buy it, can influence the price.
You may not have realized how many choices of surfboard there are out there, or which one will be right for you and your skill level. Each board can have a different effect on the way you surf, and some will be unsuitable for beginners just because of the amount of skill it takes to use them.
So let’s take a deep dive into the different types of surfboards, and help you find the one for you at a price you can afford.
What Are Surfboards Made From?
The first thing you have to consider is what your board is made from, as this will have an impact on the way you surf as well as the price. There are two main types of surfboards, those made from polyurethane foam, known as “poly boards”, and epoxy boards.
Poly boards are known as the traditional surfboard, as this was the main type of board used by surfers up until 2005 when the main manufacturer of polyurethane foam closed its doors, forcing innovation within the surfing community.
Though not as widely used anymore, poly boards are still used by the traditionalists of the hobby.
Though poly boards are heavier than other boards, they’re more responsive in the water, and it’s easy to make turns and built up speed when you paddle quickly towards a wave. Despite their dense core and fiberglass sheathing, these boards feel soft and flexible on the water.
There are a few downsides to this type of board though. Poly boards can develop pressure dents faster than other types of boards, which are the result of standing in the same place on the board as you surf. This is an issue that will happen to all boards eventually though.
Another downside is that poly boards lose their brightness quickly as the polyester resin can turn yellow from the UV rays of the sun. This doesn’t impact the surfing experience however so you may not mind this issue.
Depending on the size and shape of these boards, the prices can often range between $400-$1200.
These boards are made from expanded polystyrene foam (known as EPS), epoxy resin, and fiberglass cloth.
Epoxy boards are some of the lightest and strongest boards on the market. These boards let you paddle faster and keep up that speed better compared to poly boards.
The foam used in these boards is less dense, making it more reactive in the water. They’re also more buoyant so even if the water is choppy you’ll have an easier time staying on, making these boards some of the best for beginners.
A downside to epoxy boards is that they’re more susceptible to dings and cracks, which can let water seep into the board and cause damage. These can be easily repaired with a ding repair kit, though you may have to stop surfing for the day.
Like poly boards, epoxy boards are also sensitive to sunlight. Epoxy expands in sunlight which could damage the board beyond repair. To avoid this it’s advised to store epoxy boards in a surfboard bag to shield them from the sun.
Like with poly boards the size and shape of the board will have an impact on the price. Depending on what you get you could be paying around $350-$1000 for an epoxy board.
Which Type Of Material Is Best For Beginners?
If you’re just starting out then the epoxy board will be best for you. These boards are designed more with beginners in mind, with soft foam on top of the board making it easier for you to grip, and plastic fins which are softer than normal surfboard fins.
Hard-topped surfboards need a lot of care and maintenance for them to work their best. You’d need to learn a lot of new skills before you even stepped foot in the water like how to wax the board and how to maintain it.
Hard-topped boards can also break easily, which can cause injury to you and other surfers around you. You need a lot of skill to prevent this from happening, and if it does then you need to understand how to repair it if that’s possible.
As a beginner the epoxy board lets you build up your skills without you having to worry about learning all the extra things that come with learning how to surf.
Types Of Surfboard
Now that you know what surfboards are made from and how this can impact how you surf, you need to decide what type of surfboard is right for you.
The shape and design of a surfboard can impact your surfing style and experience, with some being designed more for beginners and others needing a higher skill level. Here are the main types of boards you need to know about, and how much they cost on average.
These are the boards most suitable for beginners. Longboards are on average 8ft long, and the buoyancy they provide, as well as the large surface area underfoot, makes them a very stable board. Their length also helps the board glide on the water, making it very easy to build up speed when paddling.
There are a few downsides to longboards that beginners should be aware of however. Even though their huge size and weight are beneficial in the water, on dry land it makes them difficult to transport and st
ore. This also makes them dangerous if you were to fall off, which is why it’s recommended you build up your skills in calmer waters before moving on to rough waves.
Also due to their size and the amount of material it takes to construct them, longboards can be quite pricy.
On average they’ll cost you $750-$1500, but they also do very well on the resale market so if you wish to upgrade to a new board you may get some or all of your money back.
Also known as egg boards due to their shape, these boards are great if you’ve grown out of the longboard stage and want to learn new skills. Usually 6-8 feet long funboards are thinner than longboards which makes them easier to maneuver both in and out of the water. These boards can catch almost any wave in the water, whether broken or unbroken. They also let you duck dive – a technique used by surfers to sink their boards underwater so they can dive underneath waves.
The only real downside of funboards is the safety risks that come with surfing in general. If you want to get yourself one they usually cost $350-$1000 depending on what they’re made of and if they’re new or second-hand.
Although these are the most common surfboards you’ll see on the beach, shortboards are unsuitable for beginners because they’re not as stable as other boards. These are the fastest and most responsive boards built for high-performance surfing.
Shortboards always have 3 fins, a pointy nose, and are the shortest boards you can buy, which is partly why they work so well with different wave sizes.
Thanks to this structure they allow for more maneuvering and agility on the waves, and the fin setup builds up speed so you can go up and down waves smoothly. They’re also very durable as they’re most often made using epoxy/EPS.
While they can be very fast, building up speed can be difficult on shortboards as the lack of volume makes paddling strenuous.
A good shortboard will usually cost you around $500-$800.
These boards are typically 6ft long and wider in the middle than at the edges which helps with stability.
You can easily pick up speed by paddling because they don’t have many rockers – the curves that make up the shape of the board. They’re also very agile thanks to their shape and are a very lightweight board.
Fish boards do have a slight buoyancy issue however due to the lack of volume, though with the right skill level this may not cause you trouble.
They’re also more fragile than other boards especially at their tail so this part needs to be protected both in and out of the water.
Fish boards typically cost around $250-$800, but may cost more depending on the material used and if you’re buying new.
Gunboards are for professionals only. They come in various sizes but are usually 7ft or shorter. They have a pointed nose and tail and are quite thick making them more buoyant in the rough seas.
These boards are built for survival and can handle the biggest waves the ocean can throw at you. If you’re brave enough to paddle into one of these waves, thanks to the design of the gun board you’ll be able to very quickly build up speed.
The only downside to this board is how special it is. Most surfers won’t even need to buy this board as it definitely isn’t for everyone, but if you want to try and catch a 40ft wave then this is the board to do it on.
Gun boards are one of the more expensive boards, costing around $650-$1300 depending on the quality.
Surfing can be a very fun hobby for those who love the ocean, but given how expensive it can be just to buy the board, many people choose to get their first one second-hand.
While this is a good way to keep costs down you’ll want to make sure to examine the board carefully to make sure there’s no damage that could cause injury, and that you’re buying the right board for your skill level.