Surfing School - Surfing - Surfboard Selection
Find an old surfboard that is big for your size and floats you well. A good starting size for a 120 lb surfer is 6'10", 7'2" for a 140 lb surfer, and 7'6"+ for a 170 and above surfer. The board should be rented or borrowed from a friend if possible. New boards should not be purchased when learning to surf. Beginners cause a lot of wear and tear on boards, plus the bigger board may become cumbersome as the surfer gains more ability. In addition, new boards loose considerable resale value after they are dinged or shattered a few times. Once the beginner is able to catch a few waves on a regular basis, finding an acceptable design and size will become much easier.
Take the board to an uncrowded beach break to start with. Uncrowded conditions may be difficult to find, so go to the beach early or plan to stay late, when the wind dies down just before dark. Nothing is more upsetting to an experienced surfer than having a beginner paddling around in the surf line on a crowded day (don't become labeled a goof-ball). It is also dangerous for the beginner since you may loose your board and have it hit someone else, or have a less experienced surfer not control his board and hit you. Small breaks and shore breaks are usually a haven for beginners, so you will have a lot of company. In all cases, make sure you use your leash.