5 tips on how to find your perfect surfboard

Enjoy the Algarve’s one tip would be: find one that floats. That advice is absolutely useless. So we’ve asked Rik Dejonghe who has over a decade of surf coach experience. Because of his engineering background, he’s always had a great interest in how the design of a surfboard influences its performance. 

Rik is also founder of Magic Board Center in Lagos, where you can test, try before you buy and rent one of the more than 60 different boards that cover all surf conditions. His aim? To guide surfers to their ideal board. 

All pictures courtesy of Rik Dejonghe

See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine July 2017



1. Beginner? Try a mini Malibu

If you’re a beginner and want to buy your first surfboard, then you might want to consider a mini Malibu. This is an easy board to catch waves with and once you are up and surfing it gives enough stability to forgive minor mistakes.

Depending on your weight, choose a board between 7’2” long (if you weigh 50kg) and 8’ long (for a 95kg surfer). A lot of surfers that have bought a mini Malibu as their first surfboard, end up keeping it as you can still have fun on it when you’re out of shape or when the waves are small.


2. Does it suck? Swap it!

If you already have a surfboard, but it isn’t really what you like (for example: you don’t catch enough waves with it / it’s too slow / you can’t turn it) then don’t stick with it forever.

Don’t think that if you surf it for long enough, it’ll become a good board for you. You easily lose a couple of years in your learning curve if you surf the wrong board. It’s much faster to change a board than to gain surf experience or change your surfing style.


3. Be more specific

If you want a new board, make sure to take your old one with you to the shaper or the surfboard shop. Let an expert analyse your board and try to explain him/her what you feel when surfing this board and what you want differently.

Be as specific as possible. This gives the expert a starting point to work from. With your specific explanations, it’ll be more likely that the new surfboard is exactly what you’re looking for.


4. Try something different

In order to understand surfboards, experiment with them (try boards from friends or demo models in shops). Often prejudice hinders you in having a board for the right conditions. By experimenting you’ll understand better why a surfboard acts the way it does. Look at them, rub them, measure them.

Surf different boards in the same surf session and try to find out what has changed in your surfing. Let somebody film you to see what actually happens (it can be very different to what you think happens). Same goes for the fins, try different ones. Fins have a bigger influence on your surfing than generally assumed. They can make or break a board.


5. Know the volume

Try to understand the volume you need in a surfboard. It’s a compromise between catching enough waves and having enough maneuverability. As a rule of thumb you should catch 8 waves out of 10 attempts in average surf conditions.

If it’s less, consider more volume (or flatter rocker); if it’s more, you might consider moving onto a shorter and more maneuverable surfboard. Once you know the volume you need, it’s much easier to compare different models.


See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine July 2017

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