Complete Guide to Ordering a Custom Surfboard
Ordering a custom surfboard requires a bit of extra patience, but allows you the unique opportunity to get the best board to suit your surfing—in the length, color, and finish that you like.
Here are a few steps to make your custom surfboard ordering process go smoother than hot butter on a polish finish.
Step 1: Decide where you want to take your surfing in the next season.
We get a lot of emails from people who are very specific about their height, weight, and surfing history, but not always a super clear sense of where they hope to go, or where they feel their quiver is lacking. It is helpful for us to know the kind of boards you have ridden in the past—but what is more helpful is knowing what you want to experience more of in your surfing.
"I want to improve my noseriding"
"I want to step down from a longboard to something smaller"
"I've been riding a shortboard most my life, but I want to increase my wave count"
"I want a board under 6'0 that I can ride when the waves are soft and gutless"
"I've been riding a soft top, but feel like I'm ready to switch to a hard board"
Step 2: Don't be afraid to mind-surf
As you browse surfboard models and boards you like, try to envision surfing each one. This might sound like a silly exercise, but you can infer quite a bit about how a board might feel by looking at the outline and imagining how it might surf in your local break. Obviously, it's much easier to envision what a board will feel like when you have tried a large variety of shapes and sizes. If you feel like you need more different boards under your belt, don't be shy about asking friends to trade for a few waves on days when its not crowded.
Or, if you want to boost your baseline understanding of board design, read this free "Almond's Guide to Surfboards" that we put together.
Step 3: Narrow your focus in on the board that you're 90% certain is the one you want, and the one you're 10% still curious about.
Read the descriptions, read the reviews, mind-surf the photos, and run that all through the filter of where you want to take/improve your surfing in the coming year—you should be pretty darn close to making up your mind about what you want your next surfboard to be.
But don't stop there.
We know our boards really well, and have guided a lot of people with your same questions through the process of selecting the right board. Let us know what your goals are, and what kind of waves you generally surf, and see if our recommendation lines up with your conclusions to the same question.
Step 4: Length
We can help make some suggestions for length, based on our own experiences and the experiences of past customers. If you're debating between a 9'2 and a 9'4, we will generally say "go with the slightly longer option", but the reality is so much of it is what you get accustomed to. If you spend a year riding a 9'4 and then jump on a buddy's 9'2, you'll feel a bit of a difference. If you have been riding a 6'1 thruster and you're moving up to a 9'2 or 9'4 Surf Thump, it's almost a coin toss.
Step 5: The Aesthetics
We strongly encourage the K.I.S.S. method—keep it simple, surfer.
When deciding what you want your custom surfboard to look like, my strongest recommendation is to go with one idea.
A resin tint is a beautiful thing.
Swirling two resin colors together can be lovely.
A nautical chart of your home stretch of coast can make a surfboard into a nice memento.
Hot-coat panels creates an unmistakable, classic look.
Trying to layer all of those ideas into a single surfboard is like when your kid draws an animal with a giraffe's neck, a tiger's body, a zebra's legs, and an elephant's tail. Lots of beautiful animals, just not together.
The simplest idea is typically the one that will look appealing for the longest time. The more complex a board is, the longer it takes to build, and the more opportunities there are for things to get—weird.
A few common questions regarding the look of your board:
- Resin Tint vs. Opaques?
- Does the number of stringers matter?
- Why are the rails darker than the middle of the board?
- Why is it hard to match a color exactly with a resin tint?
When in doubt, go with the simple option and you'll thank yourself later.
Step 6: Let's write it up!
Every custom board we build gets written up and entered into the master binder. We take a 50% deposit and your board goes into production.
Turnaround times on boards can vary quite a bit, based on seasonal demand, but we are building boards daily, and completing boards weekly. We will call you as soon as your custom board is ready for pickup or shipping.
Next Article: You Ordered A Custom Surfboard—What Happens Next?