Pro surfer Laura Crane on how to buy the perfect surfboard
by Interview by Zoe Dickens
A great surfboard is one water toy no yacht should be without but, whether you’re just starting out on the waves or are a seasoned pro with years of experience under your belt, choosing the perfect surfboard for your needs can be a hugely difficult decision. Professional surfer Laura Crane, who has represented Great Britain internationally and won ambassador contracts with the likes of Billabong and Nike, knows a thing or two about investing in the right board. Here she shares her expert advice for riders of all levels…
The first thing to consider when buying a surfboard is its length. It’s worked out based on height. If you’re shortboarding, your day-to-day board should be the same height as you or slightly smaller. The width of the board is determined by how advanced you are and the thickness is based on your weight (the heavier you are, the thicker the board). For your first board, you want something that you can progress into rather than something that might feel right for you straight away. Depending on your height, I would recommend a 6’2”- 6’6” length with lots of buoyancy!
When it comes to materials there is a vast range to choose from. A lot of professional surfers I know have started using Epoxy as opposed to traditional fibreglass and foam boards because they’re lighter and therefore better for smaller waves. Of course, you can have the best board in the world but you’re not going to be able to catch a great wave unless you look after it properly. Try your best to not let you board get too hot - keep it out of the sun when you’re not using it and don’t leave it in a hot car for longer than necessary. Heat is a big factor in board care because the resin on the top of the board can start to separate from the foam base if it gets too hot which will ruin your board.
So now you know the basics, it’s time to start shopping. Here are my recommendations for all rider levels:
My first board was from Swell and I would definitely recommend them. Designed specifically for newbies its baords are highly buoyant and stable which makes standing up for the first time much easier. Available from six to eight feet in length, the basic model is available in both standard and ‘Widebuoy’ versions and can be customised with your choice of skin.
Beginner surfboard, from £178, Swell
Fishtail boards are flatter and wider than a normal shortboard and are great for when you’re ready to start catching bigger waves. The Mod Fish board from Torq is made for waves between two and six feet and is available from 5’11” to 7’2”. A great all-rounder that performs well on solid and choppy seas, it’s a brilliant option for those looking to take their skills to the next level.
Mod Fish surfboard, from £334.99, Torq
The more comfortable you are, the shorter your board can be so as you upgrade test yourself with something a little less lengthy. Also, professionals tend to use fibreglass boards that are harder and more difficult to balance on. Fourth Surfboards (based in Newquay, UK) are my go-to - the Charge is a great board for more confident riders as it’s designed for high performance on big waves making it the perfect choice if you have a solid skill base and are looking to challenge yourself.
Charge surfboard, from £469.99, Fourth Surfboards
Small softboards or ‘foamies’ are best for kids to start on because they will be able to carry them easily and have better control in the water. This foam board from Osprey is 5’8” making it perfect for rapidly growing children and features an easy to control three fin system and swallow tail.
Foamie surfboard, £99.99, Osprey