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How to Pick the perfect surf board me and my family

How to Pick the perfect surf board for me and my family ?


It's wonderful to get out on the water. "I need it!" he gestured toward the ocean. "It's the last free place there is, the sea" - EH. More true now than ever before. The energy, excitement and thrill of catching some juicy waves. The way you feel after your session and a great day of catching waves. After all, this is about having fun and experiencing true consciousness and bliss in nature. Yes I know that sounds a little esoteric. But this has been my experience with great friends and the togetherness, mutual respect and a dependence on others to share and keep each other safe in the waves. Sunsets with family and friends silhouetted in the background until the sinking sun disappears. We always say one more wave, just one more ride, again and again and again. The energy and excitement makes you want to do an auto turn around for one more wave. It's addictive and healthy. Get those kids off the phone and into nature!


I have worked in the surf industry for over forty years as a sales rep for the top surfboard and surf manufactures and distributors as well as doing some consultation work for surf companies. I was one of the first 50 reps to work in the then fledgling Action Sports Industry (surf Industry). It has been a great life surfing and meeting some of the best surfers, shapers, and innovators in the water sports world and traveling to exotic locations in other countries.

I have owned and operated Hot Wax Surf Shop in Emerald Isle NC for 38 years and sold thousands of surf boards and taught surf classes to over ten thousand students.

Yoga is also great for surfing when you think about it. Balance, flexibility, the breath and agility are a real plus for surfing. I have had a CYI certification for over twenty years.

I have seen a lot of changes in that time and some things have remained the same. One thing that has not changed is my desire to help customers find the perfect surf board for them and their families.

This includes price, size, performance, and the best value for your needs and we offer all these at Hot Wax Surf Shop. Over all, we have the best product offerings in the market place. TORQ and GSI have great selections for you to choose from. I have seen other shops sell the wrong board repeatedly to unsuspecting wannabe surfers. My aim has always been to help you find what will work for you and not for status or just to make a sale but also so you will return when you want to upgrade and add to your quiver.

So lets talk boards. When it comes to boards everybody seems to have an opinion.

There are a lot of folks who think they know a lot about the board makers and value because they read something by someone with a bias towards product lines.

Be careful what you are told to believe nowadays.

Reviews can really be misleading - "great for beginners" or "this is the best board I have ever had". That's probably because it is the only one they ever had! Also, YouTube videos from amateurs - they say "get a fish they're really cool". Surfing is definitely not the easiest sport. Thinking you can learn on your own is not a great idea. Surfing takes a lot of effort, skill, determination and some danger is involved and you have to take risks. Take a lesson and be sure your instructor is legit. About half or more are not. Book far in advance because good instructors stay booked up.


If you have been surfing for a long time then you may know exactly what kind of board you want. However, you may believe you know what another beginner, your friends or their kids needs are. Find an experienced board seller.

How many times have you heard "Oh just get a longboard". Longboards are great but you're gonna need to shift your center of gravity up and down the board with the two step and its often harder to ride and control in the waves since they have a lot of volume. There are many well balanced boards available today in more compact sizes. A longboard can be a lot to deal with especially if you're a lighter or younger surfer. Your athletic ability, strength and aggressiveness also count a lot.


Surfing is a lot like full court basketball and no one blows the whistle to stop. Your endurance and determination matters. It can be exhausting for most people. Younger students often do best in our classes. Most people are not going to be short boarders which are made for surfing bigger waves. But everyone can have some fun on those small 3 foot wave days on midsize boards - my best sellers. What could be more fun than picking out your first surfboard. We have all size surfboards available at Hot Wax.


TAKE GOOD ADVISE: Today everyone thinks they are an expert? If this is your first board seek out good advice from an experienced shop. Someone who has lots of experience selling and taking all these things into account.


Weight, liters of board volume, athletic ability, goals, aggressiveness, age, and even style and how often and how long you have been in the water surfing determine what's best for you. Great surfers are full time watermen. There is surfing shape and there is everything else. Let's take a look at some boards types.


SHORT BOARDING: This is the hardest thing to do. You will need to ride bigger waves with more power and be very aggressive. Be a stronger experienced paddler. It can take years for most folks to get to this point. If you are younger and have great athletic skills your learning curve can be shorter. Even so, take a lesson and find a partner/mentor to surf with who is better than you. Hint: your mentor may not be the best coach to teach those initial skills.


MID RANGE SURFBOARDS: Most people are not short boarders. The best place to start is a midrange if you're older. A board with higher liters of volume. If you're young a size you can handle when paddling out and recovering (back out to the line up position) past the waves. This is the best board for beginners and most riders. I sell mostly mid range surfboards for a reason and they are a great size for a shared family board. Best for all conditions and the most fun for all riders. As you progress you can add to your quiver with a shorter more responsive board later.


LONGBOARDING: This is great fun. These boards can be harder to handle and control as the waves get larger. Longboards are bigger and bulkier. On a smaller day, say two feet, you can easily stand up and ride. As you progress you will have to learn the two step to move your weight and center of volume up and down the board. The learning curve for all surfing is being a great and powerful paddler.


LITERS OF VOLUME: Volume of the board. Most local surfers buy their boards this way and know how many liters works for them. Based on their weight, paddling, duck diving and riding style abilities and the conditions and waves on any given day..


ATHLETIC ABILITY: Goals and Aggressiveness. Some surfers are aggressive and like the dog pack and will be on the main peek. Some are more laid back and off to themselves.

If you don't have the ability, skills or you are a beginner stay off the peek.

Give Respect - Get Respect!


AGE and STYLE: As a beginner buy a board that meets or slightly exceeds your abilities if you want to work your way into it. I like to ride a board that makes for a fun session. At my age that's usually a mid volume cheater that can work in mixed conditions. Style is a cool thing and you can tell who a surfer is even from a far distance by the way they ride a wave. Kind of cool really when you think about it.


TIME IN THE WATER: This is important. Surfing consistently will create great sessions, wave counts and exhilaration as well as having overall health benefits. If you surf a few times a year get a higher volume board so you can enjoy yourself no matter what the conditions are.


BEGINNER TIP: The real challenge in surfing is the paddling back out and controlling the board when riding and recovering after falling off. If you are in a crowd of people they tend to get quite upset with you if you let the board fling and flop around at the end of the leash. Your leash is for emergency recovery and not a catch all. Control your board otherwise it can become very dangerous!


There has never been a better time to buy a board and hit the waves. There are many boards to choose from with better designed templates and greater value than ever before starting at $250 for a soft short board and $450 for an epoxy board. Soft boards are kind of wonky so be carful what you buy. Again, always seek good advise and don't spend your money on junk from the mega corporate stores. My average board prices are $550 - $799. With upgraded short boards you will need to add a set of fins which are not included. Long boards are also in a higher price category. Stand up Paddle Surfing is popular with about thirty percent of our local surfing community as an addition to their quiver. (see my article on SUP surfing here)


Be realistic about your surfing abilities and needs . Rentals and instructions are a good way for you to start. I can help you pick the right board or have it ready for you to buy when you come in the store. Remember Shipping rates can be high and damages are always a possibility. Let me save you money and take these risk for you. A professional consultation is free when you buy from us. Check out the great linked sites below. Click and see which board you like and give me a call so I can get you in the water.

My Best Sellers


Michael Crews ,Hot Wax Surf Shop



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