Funboard (aka minimal)
Funboards, otherwise known as minimals, will usually be the first board a learner will start on. High in volume, this floaty board is the ideal platform to start catching waves and getting to your feet faster. Never underestimate the importance of the minimal when learning to surf. Sure they're not as cool as a shortboard - but the quickest way to progression will be with the help of this board. Generally similar in shape, no matter what brand or length - minimals will often be available in different forms of construction.
For first timers, the most popular form being the "soft top" which nearly all surf schools will use. As the name suggests, the soft exterior (on the deck) is a spongy surface that's very forgiving when it comes to wiping out. Even the fins are more flexible if accidentally landing on them. It's a great board to learn on for your first half dozen surfs - or if you choose just to surf a few times a year.
Those looking for increased performance should consider a moulded board. These "pop out" boards are generally more responsive to basic manoeuvres but still hard wearing. The next level up again would be an epoxy construction like an NSP, slightly lighter and even more responsive. These are also extremely tough in construction and probably the most popular board on the market in terms of value for money. Other minimals are also available such as traditional PU hand shaped boards or Surftechs using their patented Tuflite technology. These are at the higher end of the market, and offer the lightest most responsive shapes available.
Choosing your first board can be difficult as there are many factors to consider such as age, fitness and weight. A good starting point is to have a lesson first, to see if you like it. Then, if you've caught the bug, most adults will be looking at a board somewhere between 7'0" and 8'2". Smaller riders will be looking around 7'0-7'6", larger riders 7'8"-8'2" and medium sized adults somewhere in between. Remember volume is your friend - so if in doubt, go a little bigger. We also advise renting a board after you've had a lesson or even better, try a few boards out. And when it's time to buy your first board, buy second hand. Learner boards, especially funboards, minimals and long boards - keep their value. And if you look after your board - there's every chance you'll get your money back
- Ideal for learning to surf.
- Catches waves easily.
- Performs well in weak, flat faced, sloppy surf.
- Thicker boards generally don't snap as easily.
- Gets you in the surf in marginal conditions.
- Still rides well in onshore conditions.
- Ideal for those looking to surf just a small number of times each year.
- Excellent resale value.
- Hard to duck dive.
- Not suited for hollow or large waves.
- Limited performance.
- Hard to travel with.
Size range: 7'0" - 8'4"
Optimal riding conditions: Generally small surf conditions.
Cost New: $325-$650 (average price $400-$500)
Cost Used: $200-$400