Blog posts & pages

View all results (0)
User Friendly Surfboards - what do I need to know?

At Melbourne Surf Board Shop we are experts in User Friendly Surfboards.  Our staff are here to help guide you onto suitable equipment - whatever your level of experience.  Nothing beats coming in store or calling up and having a chat with one of our knowledgeable staff.  If that's not possible or you want to do some of your own research first, I have prepared you a guide to help you find and appropriate surfboard for your level of experience.



The first stage in learning to surf is catching broken waves (or the white water) & standing up.  Longboards, Malibu or Mini Malibu shapes are the best choice of board shape for these initial steps (though smaller, younger surfers may find fish or funboard shapes are forgiving enough). The bigger, broader & more stable your board is, the easier it will be for you to perfect your pop up technique. (As long as you can carry the board and have enough authority over it to spin it around and paddle into the smaller, white wash waves you'll be riding).

User Friendly Surfboards - Softboards Collage


Softboards can be a great option here as they allow you to work out the do's & don'ts of the ocean in relative safety. Remember these bigger boards are a vehicle for you to learn the basic pop-up technique.

Once you have a fairly good strike rate standing up on and riding waves on one of these, you can usually transition onto something significantly smaller and sportier.


Beginners Size Guide



Children 6'0" - 7'6"
Teens 6'0" - 7'6"
Small / Short / Lighter Adult 7'6" - 8'6"
Average Weight Adults 8'6" - 9'0"
Heavier / Taller (90kgs +) Adults 9’0” - Longboards

- NOTE -

Some brands cut corners in the materials they use and the way they manufacture their boards.  Despite the warranties they offer -  these boards are highly susceptible to damage, leaving them riddled with expensive repairs.The price of keeping these poorly manufactured surfboards watertight means that they often end up as a toxic landfill after only 1 season of surfing.

Our staff can help you steer clear of these and assist you in purchasing better construction options for surfing longevity ...which is ultimately less expensive for you and better for the environment.


The board for the intermediate stage is something that you will learn to ride the wave face and make basic direction changes on. Smaller Longboards or Mini Mals, Fish shapes, Hybrid or Fun board shapes are the ones to look at for this stage. (Something a little smaller, sportier and easier to handle)

User Friendly Surfboards - Intermediate

Choose something too small & refined and you will  slow down your learning curve. A board that is too small tends to limit your ability to catch waves and then glide along them once you stand up.  Less successful rides / reps, leads to slower progress & more frustration.

Pick something too big and you find yourself on something overly corky that you don't have much authority over. This will make it harder to paddle it out through broken waves, slow and difficult to manoeuvre and awkward to position when catching waves.

Intermediate Size Guide



Children 6'0" - 7'0"
Teens 6'0" - 7'0"
Small / Short / Lighter Adult 7'0" - 7'4"
Average Weight Adults 7'6" - 8'0"
Heavier / Taller (90kgs +) Adults 8’6” - 9’0” Longboard.


Longboard / Mal or Mini-Mal

User Friendly Surfboards - Longboard / Mal or Mini-Mal shape

Longboard / Mal or Mini-Mal shapes are the most stable. They have the most glide and will catch waves the best of any shape. The will be a little slower and harder to turn than the following options though.

Fish and Funboard

User Friendly Surfboards - Fish Funboard shape

Fish and Funboard shapes haves more manoeuvrability than Longboard / Mals or Mini Mals.  They fit into the wave face better (so will make steeper take offs easier), they're faster and have a tighter turning circle.  Fish shapes have a slightly faster, looser, lively & skatey feel whereas Funboards ( with their narrower, rounded tails) have a more controlled, smoother turning, carvey feel.  Funboards can be great for those that are lighter in weight as their narrower tails allow for more authority over the larger sized boards when up and riding.

- NOTE -

It is quite important to get the size and shape correct here.  You really need to strike a balance between the forgiving (paddle power, stability, glide) and the sportier elements (maneuverability and authority) that will allow you to progress.

Intermediate to Advanced

Once you have a handle of your intermediate board and you're finding it pretty easy to ride it's time to start looking at a board that will allow you to progress your skills.  Make sure you are comfortable catching, taking off and turning your intermediate board before you make this change. Here the main thing you need to do is move onto something that's more maneuverable, that will handle the larger & steeper waves you are starting to tackle.

User Friendly Surfboards - Intermediate to Advanced

Here it's best to take another significant jump down in length, width & thickness. For most people we help in store - something 6" smaller than you intermediate board is good place to start.  6 inches doesn't sound like a lot, but it is a decent leap in performance and challenge.  Slightly more rocker, a livelier bottom contour (deeper concaves etc) and more refinement in the overall shape of the board is important here.  We can help guide you as to what will be suitable.

Intermediate to Advanced Size Guide



Children 5'8" - 6'4"
Teens 5'8" - 6'4"
Small / Short / Lighter Adult 6'0" - 6'8"
Average Weight Adults 6'6" - 7'0"
Heavier / Taller (90kgs +) Adults 7’0” - 8’0”

Broader short board shapes or performance fish shapes are a really good option here.  They'll be significantly faster and more responsive than your previous intermediate board, but you will keep a little of that user friendliness. On this board you'll learn to take off later, on steeper waves and turn closer to the curl at higher speeds.


Remember, broader shaped boards have more margin for error. You do not have to position them as precisely on the wave face to continue riding.  They allow you to run out further onto the face of the wave and onto the flats, without the board sinking & stopping.  When up and riding you'll have a lot more time to turn / redirect. They also paddle easier and catch waves earlier than their narrower shortboard cousins.

Less length & overall size is easier to handle and will gives you more authority over your board.  Larger sizes will mean you’ll need less size & push in the wave to get a ride.

More conservative & easier options are recommended for those that are more infrequent with their sessions. If you intend to start getting in the water it pretty regularly, then you can give yourself a little more of a challenge by selecting a slightly smaller and refined shape.  Smaller boards will require a little more perseverance to get the hang of though.