Ordering Surfboards, Do’s and Don’ts
Photo: ASILDA Photography.
How to Order A Custom Surfboard
There is something about a custom surfboard. I don’t know what it is about getting a custom, but the anticipation of something being hand-made for you seems to make it that much better.
Imagining the attention to detail that’s being put into your custom by your shaper makes you want it that much more…
When the shaper can really visualize who is ordering the board – your actual height, weight and other characteristics – and make the necessary tweaks needed for that particular board to suit what you really need, that’s when you know you’re getting your own magic stick.
So what’s the best way to order a custom then? Let’s have a look at some important things to keep in mind when ordering one.
Al Emery of Emery Surfboards making sure your custom is dialed for you.
1. Be Honest with Yourself
Honesty goes a long way when finding the right board.
We all get older, we all get rounder. It is just the way things go. Be honest with yourself and your shapers about your weight.
It’s a lot like buying a new pair of jeans. I used to have a 32 waist, I could still have a 32 waist if I ate right and worked out everyday, relentlessly. I have the intentions of working out everyday but in reality that is not going to happen. If I bought those 32 waist jeans with the intention of motivating my self to get back down to that size, chances are they will sit in my drawer until I finally give in and give them away.
Same goes for you board. Don’t order a board too small or with not enough overall volume for your current weight.
There seems to be a stigma that people commonly have… boards too small for themselves simply because they think a smaller board makes you look like a better surfer.
The reality is that is does the exact opposite.
Nobody really cares what you look like while holding your board. The way you are able to surf will speak volumes (no pun intended). If you are constantly kooking out paddling into waves and going over the falls over and over again, your board is too small. Get something appropriate for you height and weight and actually spend time ripping a wave up!
2. You’re not pro (unless you are a pro).
Chances are, if you are on this website and reading this, it is because you have to buy your own boards.
You are not a pro surfer, don’t get boards for free, and more than likely don’t have a close personal relationship with a shaper dedicated to dialing in your equipment for you.
So, don’t ride exactly what the pro’s are riding.
For most of us (not all) professional surfers are in way better shape than we are. They surf at a much higher caliber than we do, so don’t get the exact same board they ride. Sure you can order the same model that they are riding, but order it scaled to suit your size and ability. And with a glass job built to make the board last.
Clay Marzo gets free boards from SUPERbrand. You don’t, so make sure you order the right board.
Not all of us have the luxury of surfing perfect waves all the time. Mick Fanning’s Sweet Spot will look great under his feet when it is 6-8 foot and hollow, but it’ll look like shit under your feet when it is 3 feet and mushy.
Unless you are ordering a board specifically for the good days, look for one more suitable to all conditions and your size. If you want what Mick rides, a better all-rounder like the Skeleton Key in the right size for you with at least the standard glassing, 4+4×4 (two layers of 4oz on the deck and one layer on the bottom) instead of the team lite 4×4, which are much more vulnerable to snapping.
3. Try Before You Buy
By “try before you buy” we don’t necessarily mean finding a demo model somewhere and surfing the exact same board you want to order (not a bad idea if you happen to find one the right size), but we actually mean for you to try a bunch of different boards before making you decision and placing an order.
In our last few articles, How to Keep Your Surfing Fun and The Secret to Surfing Better, we put emphasis on the benefits of surfing a wide range of boards. Not only does it make a better surfer all around, it really allows you to feel out different design principals.
You will quickly learn what attributes from different surfboards appeal to your surfing style. Take this experience and really think about what you are about to order and see if it will really appeal to you apart from the marketing behind it.
Max Stewart of Eye Symmetry will make sure your board is unique and suited for you.
The great thing is, that not one style or model of board is perfect for you.
You should spend your life building a good quiver of boards that you could take out in any condition and to suit whatever mood you may be in. You may find that sometimes you are just stuck on a particular style or feel you want out of surfing. Run with it when you are thinking about ordering a new board and check out some different blank options. That particular stoke may fade into another in a few months or so, but don’t feel that your new board is wasted. You will feel the pull towards that board again.
All your boards will revolve around you over time, it’s just a part of the quiver building experience. Just make sure you go back to square one and make sure that particular style or model is suitable for your abilities and size.
4. Surf It
That’s pretty much it, it’s not rocket science after all. It is pretty simple, just common sense thinking that can, at times, be clouded by cleaver marketing appeal.
When it comes to dropping hard earned cash on a new stick, it’s pretty good idea to make sure you can actually enjoy surfing it.
Experiment with different boards, build your quiver, buy custom boards and have fun with it!
Make sure you check out the Board Engine to find a range of boards all made in America by professional shapers at the top of their crafts. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your details for a detailed report of board recommendations for you.