Switching to a Shortboard

Many beginner surfers often wonder when they can transition from their longboard to something shorter.

It’s a valid question, and as you progress through your surfing experience, you’ll certainly feel the desire to experiment with new boards and equipment.

If you’re just getting started, the longboard is a great choice for learning how to surf. However, you may find that as you progress, you want something with some more maneuverability, or maybe you want to try surfing some bigger waves that would be difficult on your log.

When to Transition from a Longboard to a Shortboard

If you are beginner surfer, you’ll want to be sure you’re ready before you make the switch.

Once you step down to something smaller, you are certainly going to notice the difference in foam.

Here’s the first things you’ll need to realize:

  • Your longboard is easier to paddle, easier to balance, and easier to catch waves with.
  • There is going to be an adjustment period of relearning some of the basics on a shorter surfboard.

With that in mind, you’re probably ready to try a shorter surfboard if:

  • You are a strong paddler and can get out into the lineup and catch waves with ease.
  • You feel comfortable with the fundamentals of popping up, dropping in, and picking lines on the waves.
  • You’re able to angle your board, do some basic turns, and ride along the face of the wave rather than straight to the beach.

It is not a good idea to switch directly from your longboard to a high performance shortboard.

You’ll want to reduce size and volume in your surfboard gradually.

Some logical transitions to surfing shorter boards may look like this:

  • Longboard to mid-length or funboard.
  • Mid-length or funboard to higher volume hybrid.
  • Higher volume hybrid to lower volume hybrid or fish.
  • Hybrid to fish or shortboard.

If you can make the transition gradually, you’ll build your skills and get better at surfing all types of boards naturally. Go slow and respect the process.

Experimenting with Different Surfboards

A good surfboard quiver includes a full spectrum of different types of surfboards.

When you’re able to surf comfortable on vastly different boards, your overall surfing ability and style will improve.

However, making the switch back and forth and back and forth does take some getting used to.

If you’re used to riding shortboards, jumping on a log is going to feel very different – even if you are an experienced surfer.

Take some time to get to know your boards and feel them out. Push their limits to see which board excel in which types of waves and maneuvers.

Remember that you’ll need to adjust your stance, weighting, and positioning depending on what board you’re riding and what you’re trying to do.

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