Q. Our family takes a vacation to the beach every summer. I’ve been boogie-boarding for the past several years, but now I want to try surfing. I know you can rent surfboards, but I want one of my own. Any advice?
— Stoked Stephen, Raleigh, N.C
A. Gnarly question, dude. Surfboard rentals at most beaches typically cost about $25 to $30 a day. So it might make more sense to buy one since you should be able to get a good used surfboard for about $200 either in a surf shop or online at eBay or craigslist.org.
Here’s what to look for in a starter board: The longer, wider and thicker the board, the easier it’ll be to stand up on. Surfboards in the seven- to nine-foot-long range are perfect for the average teen.
Unless you’re an advanced surfer, try the INT Semi-Long (intsoftboards.com). This eight-footer is covered on the top and sides with soft foam so you can’t ding it (or your head). Best of all, the bottom of the board is made of hard fiberglass resin so it’s fast and rides almost exactly like a regular hard-shell fiberglass surfboard. A new one runs about $450, but it’s super durable so you can expect to be surfing it for many years to come.