What is the Best Surfboard to Learn On?

I know it seems the choice in surfboards is limitless. Here's the good news. At this point, your choice in surfboards to learn on is easy. You're only concerned with catching a wave and standing up on the surfboard.

The best choice for a surfboard as a beginner is a funboard (also known as a Mini Mal) or a longboard. Don't try to learn to surf on a shortboard (they are under 7 feet in length). You may think they are smaller and therefore easier to maneuver but shortboards are difficult for a beginner. They are slower to paddle and are less stable on the waves.

Before we go further, I need to say, for your first few lessons, the best surfboard to learn how to surf on is a softboard. The use of safe softboards in many surf schools has become standard surfing equipment. Softboard technology has come a long way recently. Softboards consist of a strong, EPS core, that ride much like a traditional surfboard.

Improvements in Softboard Surfboards

In the past, softboards flexed and twisted too much to be responsive. The new materials in the modern softboard provide enough overall stiffness to be ridden on the face of a wave.

These improved materials and construction give a much better surf feel to the softboard surfboards.  These safe surfboards for beginners make an excellent choice for a surfboard for younger children.  For teens or adults I would only recommend a softboard if you do not intend to surf more than a few times a year.  If you intend to surf consistently and will be going out surfing at least once a month, I would suggest considering a funboard or a longboard as your first surfboard.  You will be happier with the surfboard for a longer period of time.

So other than possibly your first lesson, you're going to learn how to surf on a funboard or a longboard.

What is the difference between a longboard and a funboard?

Surfboard Design:

  • Longboards have a rounded nose, wide tail and straight mid-section. In the past, a longboard had only one fin, but you may now also see them with a tri-fin set-up. This allows for better turning and thrust. The size of a longboard primarily is from 8 feet to 12 feet.

longboard surfboard

  • Funboards - Mini Mals, are a hybrid of shortboards and longboards.  Their length is from 7 to 8 feet.  They'll have a round nose and the tail is usually round. This is why some shapers call their funboards eggs, because they resemble an elongated egg. You will also see funboards with a squash tail design.

Funboard surfboard

Surfboard Performance:

  • Longboards offer the best performance when it comes to paddling ease and stability. You will catch more waves with a longboard than any other style of surfboard. However they are less maneuverable than a funboard.
  • Funboards - Mini Mals offer a blend of the paddling performance of a longboard and the maneuverability of a shortboard.

Making the Choice:

What surfboard design is best to learn to surf? Funboard or Longboard?
  • Longboard - for beginners who want the easiest board to catch waves and to stand up on the surfboard, the longboard is the best choice. Longboards are the easiest boards to paddle and they provide the most stability.
  • Funboard - Mini Mal - if your goal is to maneuver you should choose a funboard. They are almost as easy to paddle as a longboard. You will learn to turn while riding a wave sooner on a funboard than on a longboard. Having less length makes it easier to turn around to get into position to catch a wave.
The frequency you will be surfing is a deciding factor too. If you only have time for one day and won't be surfing again for some time, I would recommend the longboard. If you will be surfing several days close together, a funboard will provide more of a challenge and you will learn to turn sooner.

Learn To Surf Beginner

Learn to Surf Intermediate

Surf travel

Surf Costa Rica

Surfboard Info

Surf Articles