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When you’re watching surfers plough through meters-high waves in their wetsuits or board shorts, you’d probably think that it’s one of the easiest sports to gear up for. All you probably need is a trusty surfboard and proper swimming attire. While these two things are very much part of your beginner surfing gear list, there are also a few other things that you need to consider before heading out to catch some waves – not only for your own comfort but also for your safety. 

A comprehensive list of beginner surfing equipment can, in fact, help you better navigate the waves and avoid possible repercussions especially when you inadvertently commit a few beginner surfing mistakes on your first time out at sea. In this article, I’ve created a list that you can use to complete your beginner surfing kit so that you come prepared!

A man holding a surf board standing in the sea

Beginner-Friendly Surfboard

At the top of your beginner surfing list is a beginner-friendly surfboard since surfboards basically are the primary gear for this sport. For beginners like you, the general rule of thumb in choosing a surfboard is to find one that’s about 3 feet taller than you, so beginner surfboards often come at about 8 to 9 feet in height. There are a few reasons why longer boards are easier to use for beginners, including better balance control and easier manoeuvrability.

As for surfboard material, try to look for foam surfboards first while you’re still learning. Not only are foam surfboards lighter and more stable, but they also give you enough leeway to not get seriously hurt when you go off-board and accidentally hit your leg or any body part on the way down. As you start to get the hang of surfing though, you can consider switching to a fibreglass or epoxy surfboard for easier turns.

Osprey Foam Surfboard Soft Foamie Complete with Leash and Fins, Wood Effect, 5 ft/6 ft/7 ft/8 ft.

Surfboard Leash

When you’re out catching waves, you don’t want your surfboard to go out of control when you wipe out, since you’ll be left with no floatation device out in the ocean. This is especially since rip currents are common on some beaches and can pull you farther into the ocean – sometimes a bit too far for you to swim back to shore. With a surfboard leash, you’re technically tethered to your surfboard, allowing you to never lose track of it even if you fall off-board.

In addition, loose surfboards can also serve as a hazard for other beachgoers and surfers since they can accidentally strike them when a wave carries them out. As a responsible surfer, you need to keep your surfboard close to you to avoid causing accidental harm to other people. Taking this into account, a surfboard leash should be a non-negotiable part of your beginner surfing gear checklist.

Elderly surfer couple


You’ve probably seen a few surfers enjoy a sunny day out in just their boardshorts or any typical swimming attire while catching some waves. While this attire is also acceptable in this type of sport, beginners can get a lot of advantages if they choose to add a wetsuit to their beginner surfing gear list. While wetsuits may be a bit costly and hard to put on and take off, they can actually help keep you warm if you’re surfing in cold waters, as well as protect you from the impact of waves and other elements that may be painful on bare skin. 


Next up in our beginner surfing gear checklist are earplugs. You might think that earplugs actually aren’t too essential, especially if you like to savour the sound of the waves crashing and water splashing as you surf. However, while earplugs do block out the water sounds that you might enjoy, they also protect your ears from developing surfer’s ear – or a condition where bony growths develop in the ear canal due to consistent exposure to cold water. Not only is a surfer’s ear uncomfortable, but it can also cause hearing loss if left untreated. 

So, if you’re a beginner, consider investing in a new pair of earplugs that you can use while you’re out surfing.

High-Strength Reef-Safe Sunblock

Did you know that surfers are much more likely to develop skin cancer due to constant exposure to UV rays? This isn’t a statement that’s supposed to scare you, but it’s an important fact that every surfer needs to consider every time they head out. Because of the sand and water reflection, the damage that UV rays cause is significantly magnified, leading to more severe skin damage.

Safe Sea SPF50+ lotion 4oz. Anti-Jellyfish Sting Protective Lotion Sunscreen, Protects against Sea Lice Stings, JellyFish Stings and Fire Corals. Eco-friendly and Reef-Safe Sunscreen.

This is the reason why you should have high-strength sunblock on your beginner surfing gear checklist. Find a reef-safe sunblock option to avoid causing coral bleaching, which is one of the culprits of widespread coral damage in the oceans. Additionally, for broad-spectrum sunblock so that you’re protected from both UVA and UVB, the latter of which is purportedly the cause of most sunburns and skin cancer in people.

Start Your Surfing Journey Prepared!

As with other types of sports, it’s always important to come prepared with a little bit of knowledge and a complete list of gear. With surfing, not only will a complete beginner surfing gear list help you stay on top of your game, but it will also ensure that your first few surfing escapades will go on without a hitch. With the beginner surfing gear we’ve listed above, you’ll be able to navigate the waves easily and safely. Good luck and I hope you enjoy the start of your surfing journey!

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