Carve Surfboard Guide 2021

57 of the funnest boards around, and how you can avoid the pitfalls of board buying. Click through below to your future rides.

Mark Phipps

how to buy your perfect board

There are far too many boards being listed on the second-hand board forums these days. Unfortunately, it is a sign that many surfers are not matching their needs with the correct equipment. There are so many models and size ranges these days that changing boards or finding the magic board for most people needs thorough research AND a long term relationship with a shaper or qualified board salesman with encyclopaedic knowledge of the ranges available, your surfing style and ability and your surfboard history. An online review just doesn’t cut it, neither does most well-meaning advice on forums.

To give you some idea of how well you can dial this relationship, I can literally pick up a phone and ask either of two friends, a shaper and a surf shop owner: “Will the board suit me?” And because we have chatted boards since forever they can tell me right away: “Yes” or “No”. Or just laugh. Which is somewhere between, “No” and the comedic verbal abuse I suffer most phone calls! When ordering a board I literally just say: “‘6’5”, or  a gun, or a twin fin,” and they can do the rest. 99% of the time they are right. And they don’t mind chatting about boards and models they don’t sell that I may want to try, because at the end of the day I always go back to them for unbiased trusted advice.

Shapers are like artists: they all refine and define shapes in their own particular style. Not all top shapers in vogue ‘model’ boards suit everyone, and sometimes their hand shaped style won’t match your style either, no matter how many times you try. There’s no right or wrong in this, it’s just a complex equation. It’s about finding what is right for you. And it’s worth the homework. A magic board can change your whole surfing life, and a bad board can hold you back for years.

Reviews: Online board reviews are great, if you know who it is who is writing them. The best review on a board, one that you can trust, is from someone you know (in person) who has one and ask them!

Volume: Volume measurements are great but shouldn’t be the only means to establish what size board to ride.

A 26L EPS blank with epoxy will feel way different in the way it paddles and surfs than a 26L glossed PU board with polyester resin The same applies to a board with flat rocker and a concave compared to say a rolled vee bottom board with loads of rocker. Use volume as a guideline only, as it is just one variable to consider when buying a board.

Buying online: Online is cool, but always, whenever physically possible, visit your store or shaper and feel the board. Stick it under your arm and feel it! Feel the balance, check out how the volume is distributed, and also the most important part – how the rails are. Or ring up and ask about the board you are thinking about purchasing – ask about the rails, the volume, how it compares to what you are currently riding etc.

Eliminate as many chances of getting things wrong as possible. Knowledge is power. Real surf shop owners have years of knowledge and experience… Tap into it! They like nothing better than a stoked surfer coming back into the shop and telling them that their new board flies!