If you are just beginning your surfing journey, it’s a good idea to go back to where it all began.
Longboards or Mals (Malibu surfboards), as they are often called in Australia, are the original surfboard, and today are similar in design to those used by ancient Hawaiians over 1,500 years ago. They are a great board choice for beginner surfers, but also for anyone interested in the surfing tradition.
The first point is obvious: they are longer. Longboards are longer than a Mini Mal, and shorter than a Gun style board.
But longboards have other determining features as well. They are typically single-fin boards, but modern variants also use three-fin (thruster) style configurations. Longboards are sometimes made from materials less commonly used on other board types. Traditional Mals are sometimes made from wood and are great for riding on smaller waves and performing noseriding manoeuvres. It’s important to note that the term longboard can apply to surfboards of many different lengths and shapes. As a general rule, longboard surfers will usually go for a board that is around 3 feet taller than they are.
Length: Longboards can range from 9-10 feet and even longer in some cases.
Width: They are wider than other board types and traditionally feature a curved nose and tail making them good for riding waves that shorter boards would struggle to catch.
In Australia when you hear the term Mini Mal, surfers are referring to mid-length surfboards that range from around 7 to 9 feet in length. They are a great board to transition to once you have learned the basics, and are ready to start making turns on the wave.
But longboarding is not just for beginner surfers. Experienced longboard surfers can often be seen standing towards the nose of their board, controlling it at the front end. This is called noseriding or ‘hanging ten’, and if you manage to get all of your toes over the edge, you might just get some applause from the beach. Noseriding is possible due to the greater surface area of the board and stability that it can therefore provide, even when weighted at the front.
While your new board is certainly the most important item to help you get started, there are a few other pieces of kit that you'll need.
A board leash is essential for ensuring that your board stays with you, and (even in warmer conditions), a wetsuit will help you to stay in the water for longer. A rash vest is a great alternative for warm surfing conditions, whereas if things get really cold, you may need to throw on some booties, a hood, and gloves.
We’ve made it easy for you to narrow down your options when looking for the perfect longboard. Outdoria’s sophisticated search engine allows you to sort boards by fin type, brand, condition, price, and length saving you time and bringing you closer to that first session at the beach.
You’ll find a huge range of great surf brands all in one place at Outdoria. But before you checkout, make sure you head over to our dedicated editorial section for great advice and surfing tips from industry experts and passionate surfers.