The holidays are here. When did that happen? You have 30 days to step your game up and pick the perfect present for the loved ones in your life or forever be known as the donkey of the family.
Or, you can forget your high-maintenance family and spend all that money on a killer new surfboard for yourself and find some true happiness.
I'll break down some basics so that even if you're a beginner, you'll know where to start and what questions to ask. All right, let's go.
So you just moved here a few months ago for college and you've seen people surfing as you stand in the hourlong line at Kono's on Sunday mornings. Looks fun right? But where do you start? I recommend doing some groundwork.
Visit a few of our local surf shops and ask questions. Most of the people working in the shop will be surfers from the area who know what will work best for you. Ask to see the used boards first. You don't need to spend $700 on a new surfboard when you are learning. Not ever.
Start with something used anywhere from 7-foot-6 to 8 feet in length. This size range is ideal for learning as it offers proper length, width and thickness to catch waves easily and provides the necessary stability to get to your feet.
By no means is this the board you will keep forever if you're looking to advance in the sport. But if you know you're going to be a lifelong weekend warrior or fair weather surfer, then this will be all you ever need.
The price range for a good used surfboard made of fiberglass and foam will range from $250 to $350, while the body-board material option from Costco retails new for $99. This is comparable to buying knock-off golf clubs. Sure they work, but they're a far cry from the actual experience of using good equipment.
Where to buy
When looking for a surf shop, find one that is run by knowledgeable surfers who emphasize customer service. These shops are highly recommended and have been providing the best service, brands and selection for decades.
Clairemont Surf Shop
Address: 6393 Balboa Ave., Clairemont Mesa
Phone: (858) 292-1153
Mitch's Surf Shop
Address: 631 Pearl St., La Jolla
Phone: (858) 459-5933
Address: 974 N. Coast Highway 101, Encinitas
Phone: (760) 452-7687
Address: 1909 South Coast Highway, Oceanside
Phone: (760) 433-4020
Address: 1105 S. Coast Highway 101, Encinitas
Phone: (760) 753-6395
Intermediate (Legend in Your Own Mind)
You've put in your time and have mastered your first surfboard, and now you're thinking of stepping up your equipment to the next level. Look at you go.
At this point you have visited all the surf shops in town and have found your favorite store where you feel comfortable shopping. Talk to your salesman and discuss what you're looking for and ask him his opinion.
Dan O'Connell at Clairemont Surf Shop offers a suggestion: "When ordering a custom board, have an idea of what brands and models you're interested in, but be honest with yourself and what your ability is." He's right, you're not Kelly Slater after all.
Being realistic will result in a product that is made exactly for your ability and one that will help you advance your skills. This has everything to do with what spots you surf, the size of the waves you ride and what kind of surfing you want to do. Answer those questions and your salesman should be able to point you to the model that will be perfect for your next phase of surfing.