As a student at Blair Academy, Sam Chandler of Rumson, New Jersey, balances his academic responsibilities with pursuit of various work experiences and personal interests, including athletics. Rumson’s Sam Chandler is an avid surfer, having taken up the sport on a trip to Costa Rica a decade ago.
For the beginning surfer, choice of board can make the difference between a rewarding and a frustrating learning experience. Most beginners do best with a soft board, often known as a “foamie.” Light and buoyant, these boards allow beginning surfers to catch waves more easily and are less likely to cause injury if the surfer should be hit by the board.
Foam boards make good purchases for the occasional surfer, though most people who ride waves regularly will need a better performing board after about 20 sessions. For this reason, many new surfers choose instead to purchase a plastic board, which can be useful to the surfer through the intermediate level.
Regardless of style, the beginner surfer will most likely prefer a longer board, though specific length will depend on the surfer’s height and weight. Adults over 150 pounds may do best with an 8-foot board, while lighter or shorter individuals may prefer a board of 7 feet 6 inches to 7 feet 8 inches long. New surfers should avoid the popular short boards, which are difficult to maneuver when a surfer’s skills are still developing.