I’ve been looking around for my daughter’s first surfboard and there’s very little advice on buying surfboards for kids.
With 20 years surf experience and hours of internet research, here’s my advice:
If your child is under six there’s little point in buying them a proper surfboard, as they won’t be able to carry it to the shoreline and it‘ll be unwieldy in the water.
So be patient, buy them a bodyboard to play with in the shorebreak or rock pools. There’s nothing on a bodyboard that will hurt them either. However my daughter did almost strangle herself on the leash after a nasty wipeout, so always beware.
When your child is taller and used to waves, get a small softboard (also known as a foamy). I say small, because it helps if your child can carry it and control it in the water.
The main advantage of softboards is in the name, they’re soft!. So they’re unlikely to hurt your child. The fins are rubbery so shouldn’t cause more than a bruise. If you rush things and start with a shortboard or bigger foamy, your child could get scared or hurt by the board once in the water.
If your kid is keen, you could progress from softboard to proper surfboard in a summer. But it’s important not to rush things and go get a custom board made. Buoyancy and stability are still important.
A fish or mini-mal will make a good beginner board, as they make catching waves easy, turn easier than a softboard and perhaps more importantly for a teenager – they look cool.
When your heir is ripping with the rest of the them, it’s time to save up for best birthday present they’ll ever have. Their first full-on surfboard.
Buying a kids surfboard
Having had a good look around online for kids surfboards, I think BoardShop probably have the best range in the U.K.
In the U.S. you’ll struggle to beat RTD Kids for their amazing range of children’s surfboards. I wish they had a U.K. distributor.
As always check out your local surf shop, if you don’t use them we’ll lose them.
Here’s a quick summary of my kids board buying advice:
|Age range||Board suggestion||Pros||Cons||Cost|
|0-6||Body board||Soft & no fins||Hard to stand up & it ain't a surfboard||£10 - £40|
|6-12||Small softboard||Soft. Blunt flexible fins. Easy to catch waves. No wax required||Difficult to turn. Short lifespan||£70 - £300|
|13-16||Softboard Mini-mal Fish||Lots of choice||Softboard - quickly out grow. Mini-mal - tough to turn. Fish - unstable.||£150 - £500|
If you have any top tips for buying a kids surfboard please add a comment below.