Posted on July 30, 2019 by Doug Robichaud
I totally understand your predicament -- there are two amazing options for beginner surfboards and you can’t decide which one is right for you. You have to make the difficult funboard vs longboard decision. Each beginner surfboard design is an ideal option if you want to start surfing on a regular basis and want to advance your skill level more efficiently. However, deciding whether a funboard or longboard is right for you will depend on how you want to surf and the surf breaks you live nearby.
Today, I’m going to decode the mysterious surfer language you might have heard at your local surf shop, and clearly define the ideal rider for a funboard and a longboard.
Buying your first surfboard is a big deal and can be extremely overwhelming. Choosing a surfboard that is right for you before you paddle out is also very important. You don’t want to buy a funboard (or longboard) and then realize after a couple of surf sessions that it’s not your preferred style of riding, or that your local surf breaks don’t offer the correct waves for it.
It’s important to realize that the beginner surfboard you end up choosing will determine how quickly your surfing progresses. So please, whatever you do, avoid shortboards at all costs at first. Shortboards are too thin and narrow for learning to surf. A shorter board doesn’t have enough volume for you to progress your beginner surfing abilities efficiently. Consider this rule of thumb -- if you want to become a better surfer as fast as possible, get a funboard or a longboard to help with the learning curve.
From a distance, you might not be able to tell the difference between a funboard and a longboard, but to tell you the truth, each beginner board shape holds contrasting capabilities and features.
A funboard is a surfboard that’s 6 to 8 feet long and has a rounder/wider outline than shortboards (in-between a longboard and a fish). If you have ridden a soft top surfboard before, otherwise known as a foam board, a funboard is the fiberglass version of it. This type of surfboard is commonly ridden by beginner surfers who have already learned the basics on a soft top and are now ready to advance their surfing skills.
This surfboard is called a funboard because it has the ideal dimensions (volume, length, width, and thickness) to have an incredibly fun time surfing. Even though funboards are not thin, narrow, or short enough to maneuver like a high-performance shortboard, they do have a good amount of pivotal and rail turning ability. If you imagine yourself wanting to learn how to do a bottom turn, cutback, or get barrelled in the years to come, a funboard is an awesome gateway to learning how to do so. Ultimately, funboard surfboards are a great stepping stone to riding performance shortboards, if that's your cup of tea.
A funboard will work well in most conditions, from small and mushy waves to head-high surf. If you live in an area where the surf is consistent year-round, a funboard will be great to have because it will be easier to control and duck dive in bigger waves than a longboard.
Pros: Great for learning the skills to advance to a shortboard in the future. Funboards combine the ease of paddling a longboard with the responsiveness of a shortboard. They are great for teaching you shortboard maneuvers like bottom turns and cutbacks. In addition, funboard surfboards work well in most surf conditions -- from small (2-3 feet) to overhead surf. Cons: Funboards are not as easy to ride as longboards and will not work as well in smaller surf conditions. They will also be harder to catch waves and stand up for beginners. This is what you will have to sacrifice for more control and maneuverability.
A longboard is a surfboard that runs 9 to 12 feet long. Beginner to advanced surfers around the world enjoy riding longboards because they make 1-2 foot days in the waterway more fun thanks to easy paddling. Consider this rule of thumb -- if you want to surf as much as humanly possible, get a longboard. While other surfers are waiting for bigger surf with their shortboards, funboards, etc., you can enjoy your favorite local spot with just you and a few friends (unless you’re surfing Malibu, San Onofre, Swamis, etc.).
Longboards have special small wave capabilities that other surfboards do not have because of their extra length, volume, and low rocker. All three of these characteristics make longboards super stable, easy to ride, and great for learning the basic techniques of surfing. If you enjoy the old school style of cruising and walking the wide nose, rather than pumping down the line and doing a cutback, then a longboard is right for you. However, surfing a longboard is not only for beginner surfers. Many advanced surfers still ride longboards and perform progressive maneuvers -- from nose rides, trimming, turns, and riding switch. If you’re worried about growing out of a longboard, you won’t. Your longboard will keep you excited about surfing, unless you waterlog it.
A longboard will work best in 1-2 foot and 2-3 foot surf. Even in average to poor surf conditions, a longboard will offer you a smooth, clean ride. In surf destinations where the surf can get too big for a longboard, like California and Hawaii, it will still come in handy when there are lulls between swells. For surf destinations that are more seasonal, like the East Coast, a longboard is a must-have in your quiver during the inconsistent summer months.
Pros: You will have so much fun surfing a longboard. They are stable and easy to ride which will help you learn the basic techniques of surfing much quicker than other types of surfboards. Furthermore, you will never grow out of your longboard. There are so many new advanced moves and techniques to learn once you master the basics.
Cons: Longboards are more difficult to surf than funboards when the swell is bigger. As mentioned earlier, longboards are nearly impossible to duck dive due to their size, so you will need to learn the turtle roll technique to effectively get under bigger waves. Since these surfboard designs have tons of volume and low rockers, longboards are hard to maneuver when cruising down the line, unlike funboards.
Longboards and funboards are both excellent options for beginner surfboards. Depending on your objective with surfing, one of these surfboards will be right for you. A longboard is for the surfer who wants an easy, stable ride that can be enjoyed all the time, even when the conditions in the water are small. Then there’s a funboard, which is a smart option for those wanting to learn the basics of shortboard techniques to eventually graduate to a shortboard and do maneuvers like cutbacks and getting shacked. If you're still having trouble settling the funboard vs longboard issue, you can't go wrong with owning both! Check out all available ISLE surfboards for sale.
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