Board Retailer Guide 2018
The British board market is one of the most competitive in the world with the product of skilled homegrown shapers sitting alongside the best offerings from the world’s top shapers. However with fast paced design innovations and a huge amount of differing combinations of rocker, bottom contours, volume distribution, rail shapes and lengths come difficult choices. Just which combination suits your style? The key lays in knowledge. Here are few pointers to help you on your way:
Online board reviews are great, if you know the person writing them (or recording them in the case of video) is a surfer and has extensive hands-on knowledge. If you can’t prove this then they are marketing spiel and next to useless. The best board review on a board is one that you can trust. Find someone you know who has one and ask them, ask a reputable surf shop assistant or a shaper.
Volume measurements are a guide. A great guide but not the only means to establish what size board you should ride. You may ‘like 26 litre boards.’ but do you like the foam, rocker and volume distribution, the rails and bottom contours all of which determine the boards ability to paddle out and into waves, ride on the face, plane and turn? EPS blanks with epoxy will also feel way different than PU boards with polyester resin of the same volume. The same applies to a board that has a flat rocker and a concave compared to say a rolled vee bottom board with loads of rocker. There are many other factors that need to be considered which are equally important. Volume is just one variable to consider when buying a board.
Not long ago surfers only had two styles of boards; shortboards for everything from one to eight foot and guns for eight foot plus. That was it. Now there are boards for every condition from one foot onshore up to waves like mountains. You need to know exactly what waves you want the board for. You can get boards that excel in gutless waves and every conceivable condition above that. Talk through all the options with your shaper or experienced surf shop salesman. Tell them what boards you like and why you like them. Tell them what boards you don’t like, and why not. Tell them the waves you want it for and be honest about your ability. The biggest gains (i.e. getting a magic board) come through honestly assessing these factors, and then finding someone who can apply years of knowledge to get you on the right board. Not only does it take the risk out of the increasingly big investment but it increases the chance of you scoring the best board of your life.
The choice of boards online now is infinite. Without professional guidance chances are you will end up with board that doesn’t suit you. Always, whenever possible, visit your store or shaper. 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. Talk to the experts. If this is not possible then pick up the phone and talk to the person in the store or factory. Ask them 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.
Don’t be the secondhand sales person.
There are more “nearly new boards” on secondhand board sites than ever these days. The reasons? Customers bought boards that didn’t suit them. Knowledge is power. Reputable surf shop owners and shapers have years of knowledge and experience of thousands of boards and their owners. Use it. It works. They like nothing better than a stoked surfer coming back into the shop and telling them that their new board flies!
See this as a long term relationship.
It’s more important than ever that you build a good working relationship with your experienced surf shop owner/salesman or shaper. They build up encyclopaedias of customer knowledge. They will be able to direct you to models that will suit you and let you know which ones you probably won’t like with the net result of saving you a fortune.
You and your surfing style are unique. Shapers and experienced board salesmen can help. It is that simple.
Check out our 2018 surfboard guide here
Bathsheba Surf is a long established surf shop that stocks a large variety of surfboards from near and far. Including Skindog Surfboards, Fourth, Lost, Hayden, 7S, LibTech, Cortez, Hawaiian Soul, CBC and many more. Whatever you need, we should have it covered!
Blacksheep Surf Co
We work closely with Wax On Surfboards – over 20 models all made on site in Ireland, custom built to size and tried and tested with Mullaghmore chargers such as Conor Maguire. Available in Galway, Sligo and worldwide with express shipping. Plus Aloha, Clayton, Simon Anderson, Chili, Mctavish, Vision Soft boards.
We have been designing and shaping custom surfboards in Newquay, Cornwall since 1983. Our resident shaper Tim Mellors has been shaping for the last 35 years, specialising in Longboards, Mini Mals, Fishes, Eggs and Mini Simmons. Our shapers and designers are on hand to help you get your dream custom board.
Secret Spot is one of the oldest surf shops in the country, supplying a huge range of boards from Lost, Slater Designs, Firewire, Walden, Catch, Channel Islands, Pyzel and Hayden to name just a few! We are all surfers and offer the best kit, as well as expert advice.
Offaxis stock a range of surfboards and accessories from Lost, Almerick, Pukas O’shea, Surftech, NSP, Catch Surf, Alder, O&E. Plus custom board orders on LOST, Almerick & Pukas boards. If we don’t have it we will try our best to get it, just give us a shout.
Europe’s largest range of surf hardware, in store and online. Wetsuits by Tiki, Patagonia, Rip Curl and O’Neill. Surfboards by Torq, STACEY, McCoy, DVS, LSD, Vampirate, CJ Nelson, Wilde and more – many available in our Test Centre. Plus factory outlet store for ex-demo and end of line bargains!
bigsurfshop.com is Irelands largest watersports online and retail store. We specialise in watersports equipment, and work with brands like RipCurl, Quiksilver, Beachbeat, etc. FREE advice and FREE delivery options too. Click and check us out!
Boardshop has around 400 boards available right now. Firewire, Slater, Bradley, Lost, Channel Islands, Pukas etc, we’re not surfboard snobs we sell foamies too! We do stuff differently, online surfboard trade ins, custom boards, 0% finance and our world’s first 30 Ride Our guarantee. Visit our showroom or shop online.
down the line
With over 600 boards in stock, Down the Line Surf Co. has the largest selection of surfboards anywhere in Europe. All boards on display from the world’s top shapers.
The Board Barn
Custom surfboard specialists. we cater for all levels and tastes from learner to pro, from shortboards and fish to longboards, guns, tow boards and SUP. Plus custom artwork, resin tinting and polishing.
Does size matter? We might not have the biggest stock but we sure know how to make you happy…Channel Islands, Lost, Cabianca, DHD, Fatum, Buster, Softech, Lib Tech, Catch Surf, Hayden Shapes Kun_tiqi and more we have almost every surfboard brand plus lots of pads, leashes, bags, fins & wetsuits.