Beginner boards are just as important to the surfing experience as high-end/high-performance boards. If you’ve ever picked up the Hyperlite Broadcast or the Byerly Speedster, the first thing you would probably notice is the weight. These boards are constructed using a compression mold, similar to a wakeboard. In general, weight is the enemy when it comes to surfing; however, weight can be an advantage in a beginner board. By having extra weight, the initial action of pushing the board down into the water when starting to stand up becomes much easier. Once standing, the extra weight in the board allows the board to sink deeper into the water which helps the board become more stable when learning how to drop the rope. Furthermore, the weight and construction of these boards make them extremely durable. These boards are made to withstand the hard impacts from handling them out of the water.
Many people new to the surfing community aren’t sure whether they prefer skim style or surf style. To help make that decision easier, manufacturers have developed what we are calling crossover boards. These boards have characteristics of both skim and surf style boards. The concept here is that the rider will be able to get a sense of both styles from one board. Take for example the Hyperlite Shim, this board is a tri-fin setup that is thick like a surfboard; however, the rail on this board is sharp like a skimboard. Hyperlite packages this board with two large fins and one small fin. The idea is that, by running with the two large fins in the board, the board will ride more like a traditional surf style board. On the other hand, if the two large fins are removed and only the small fin is used, the board will ride more like a traditional skim style board. The Liquid Force Primo takes a slightly different approach to the crossover concept. This board is a tri-fin setup and has a rounded edge like a surfboard; however, the board has a thin profile like a skimboard. Similarly to the Hyperlite Shim, Liquid Force packages this board with two large fins and one small fin. This way, the rider can run with all three fins for a more traditional surf feel or just run with the small fin in the back for a more traditional skim feel. What’s nice about these boards is they don’t break the bank. Both of these boards are under $500, so you can get a board that will perform relatively well in both skim and surf style for a good price.
Whether you are pulling on the rope for the first time or trying to figure out which style of riding you like best, crossover and beginner boards both serve an important role in the overall surfing experience.