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Gearing up: The Best Surfboards for Summer

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With summer fast approaching, you need to get outfitted with the right equipment. There are fish and longboards and short boards and hybrids. All the choices can make your head spin. But what's the right board for you and what will work best this summer surf season? Based on my reviews, here are the boards I think will help you catch the most waves and rip the hardest this summer.

1. Best Surfboard for Learning to Surf

The Supersoft soft board is perfect for beginners and surf instructors. I was impressed with the flexible fins, the robust construction, and the overall wave riding performance. Obviously not meant for high-flying modern moves, the Supersoft soft board has a positive down-the-line speed, and its buoyancy makes it easy to stand and maintain balance even in miniscule surf. To their credit, Supersoft quickly exchanged the original damaged board I received in just a few days.

2. Best Fish for Beginners

The 7S Superfish is a great board for any level rider, but I believe would greatly help newer surfers who may have trouble catching waves or turning their big beginner boards. This board is loose and fast, and its innovative step-deck design gives it the feel of a thinner board while still being maneuverable in small, crappy surf.

3. Best Shortboard for Beginners

The Webber Fatburner is a sturdy, traditional fiberglass surfboard designed for "bigger" surfers who want to catch lots of waves and glide easily across smaller waves. The days I rode it, the Webber Fatburner performed well in the chest to head high range. It was a little tight for me with the 5" FCS fins, so I put in some smaller ones to loosen it up. This wouldn't be a problem for beginners though. It might be fun without the third fin too, sliding around as a twin-fin. These fat Webber boards are computer shaped to the shaper's specifications and distributed world-wide by Global Surf Industries, thus keeping the cost relatively low.

4. Best Overall Short Board for Intermediate and Advanced Surfers

Hands down, the best board I've ridden this year. Based on my trial, the Nitro from Sunova Surfboards is solidly constructed and exceeds company claims. Its innovative construction and high performance design make the Nitro an excellent board for intermediate to advanced level surfers. While I haven't tried any other Sunova models, I can state for the purpose of this review that the Nitro boasts unique qualities such as innovative and aesthetically pleasing construction, flex that ricochets the board through rail turns, and no spin outs even when pushed in the pocket.

5. Best Fish for Intermediate and Advanced Surfers

The Grunion ripped! I had a great session. Its width and thickness made it a wave-catching machine, and its length, deep swallow-tail, and funky quad fin design really opened up loads of possible lines to draw on the wave. I would not recommend this board for a novice only because of its small size, but its thickness is helpful for an intermediate who wants to catch a lot of waves and practice on a board that is easy to handle. Personally, I think the Grunion is best for an advanced rider who is sick of his/her status quo 6’ 4” squash-tail.

6. Best Tiny Wave Hybrid Surfboard for Intermediate and Advanced Surfers

Overall, the Retro Fish is an innovative hybrid that blends the best of several surfboard dimensions. The Retro Fish is a longboard that catches waves like it’s nobody’s business and offers the possibility of noseriding.The Retro Fish is a shortboard that easily maneuvers up and down the face and up on the lip. The Retro Fish is a freak of nature that uses all its unique attributes to create blazing speed that blows through sections like a bomb.

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