Tofino surfing - Surf Equipment for Beginners visit the photographer's website

Tofino surfing: Surf Equipment for Beginners

by Jayson Bowers, Tofino


Hello again to all of you who are entering the surfing world and to those of you who have started to immerse yourself in our frigid waters. 2003 brings us into yet another year of wonderful surfing opportunities.

Lets start off on the right foot for the new season by getting you all in the water with the right equipment. Surfing–as many other sports in this world of ours–has a ton of different equipment options. This can be very confusing for the beginner and very hard on the old pocketbook.

The first thing you should look at is your choice of rubber. There are many different brands of wetsuits, booties, gloves etc. and they all fill different individual needs. Without going into details about different styles and fits, I suggest you try on at least 2-3 different brands of suits and you will see for yourself which brand works for you. A wetsuit must fit very tight and with the new materials that suits are made out of this is particularly important. The new neoprene is very stretchy and will shape to the contours of your body in time, but if the wetsuit is to big to start with you will run into some very chilly days down the road! The suit should fit snug around your shoulders, armpits and down your lats at your side. The next most important area is the small of your back (your lower back). If your suit does not fit snug, you end up with gaps of empty space between your skin and the suit, and this is where bits of the cold Pacific will sit and send a chill through your bones! If you are lucky and have that special body, a certain wet suit will fit perfectly, nice and snug all around, but if you are like me, you get it as close as you can to snug.

If money is an issue (and to most of us it is) I suggest you put the better part of your budget towards new rubber as opposed to a new surfboard. Sure, boards are pretty in and out of the water, but in the early stages it is not the most important thing (more on that later). A new or used suit you ask? Well that is up to you and your budget. If it were my choice, I would spend all I could afford on a new suit and booties. After all–if you drive all the way to the beach and only last an hour in the water, learning to surf will take you that much longer. This doesn't mean that a used suit is the wrong way to go. There is a huge selection of used suits out there and the more this sport grows, the bigger the selection will get. Just make sure you get the suit that fits the best–not the cheapest relic you can find from 1982!

Now to surfboards...

Ahh the beautiful surfboard... I would love to tell all of you to go out and drop $700 on that sexy new board, but the truth is–a new board is not what you really need to start out with! (Apologies to my best friend Allister who owns the surfshop). Learning to surf takes a huge toll on your surfboard. Knees, elbows etc. are constantly slamming and sticking into the deck of the board, drastically reducing the life of your best friend in the water. A new board would look like some thing out of a war movie in a few weeks, so I suggest a used surfboard, and there is a heap of them out there. Your first board should have a lot of foam in it, it should be thick and it should be no shorter than 7ft long. A long board (minimal or a fun shape) is what you are looking for. There are many boards out there that are 7ft long but many are what we call 'gun shapes'. A gun shape has a very pointy nose and in most cases a pointy tail (pin tail). These boards are for big-wave riding–definitely not for learning to surf. You want a lot of foam in your board so it floats well and makes paddling as easy as it can be. You need the length to get you into waves, so in the early stages of surfing, we say at Pacific Surf School: "When it comes to your board: The bigger the better!"

I hope this gives you some heads up when you are shopping for some new or newish gear. Until next time...

Jason Bowers runs the Pacific Surf School in Tofino. Visit his website at You can reach him by phone at 1-888-777-9961 or by email at

Tofino Surfing Articles 

Tofino Time Magazine February 2003

tofino | tofino time | activities | accommodation | events | directory
maps | travel | food | art & artists | photos | horoscope | tides
search | magazine | issues | articles | advertising | contact us

hosted in tofino by & studio tofino
© 2002-2014 copyright Tofino Time Magazine in Tofino Canada
© 2002-2011 Tofino Time Magazine & ThinkTank Design Inc.

Introduction to surf gear - from surfboard and wetsuit to gloves and boots. By Tofino surf instructor Jay Bowers of Pacific Surf School, for Tofino Time Magazine.

tofino time february 2003

quick links:
tofino accomodations
tofino calendar

tofino surf report
tofino horoscope
september horoscope
tofino map
tofino fishing report
tofino tides
tofino weddings

tofino events:
tofino concerts
tofino events
tofino movies
tofino festivals
tofino yoga classes

tofino time magazine:
tofino time september 2012
captain vincente tofino
readers choice: the best of tofino
floating gardens at freedom cove
tofino event listings for september 2012
tofino concerts in september 2012
tofino movies in september 2012
tofino tide table for september 2012
tofino surf reports for september 2012
cox bay | wickaninnish beach
chesterman beach
tonquin beach
tofino brewing co.
horoscope for april 2013
tofino wedding guide

tofino accommodation:
tofino cabin
tofino camping
bed & breakfasts in Tofino
tofino hostels
tofino motels
tofino hotels
tofino vacation rentals
petfriendly accommodation

tofino bike rentals
tofino bear watching
tofino bird watching
tofino boat charters & cruises
tofino fishing
hot springs cove
sea kayaking in tofino
tofino storm watching
tofino surfing
tofino whale watching
tofino yoga

tofino art galleries
tofino books
tofino boutiques & gift shops
food stores in tofino
tofino outfitters

tofino yoga, spa & wellness
tofino restaurants
tofino internet cafes
tofino travel & transportation
tofino real estate
tofino vacation rentals
tofino weddings

tofino events
tofino concerts
tofino movies
tofino calendar
tofino cabins
tofino maps
tofino jobs
tofino media