Surfing used to be only for bleached blonde, perpetually-shirtless, and decidedly serious surfers.
But over the past few summers in New York, it's seriously caught a wave. And it seems like everyone is hopping on a board—whether in the water or in a fitness studio.
"More people want to take up the sport right now," says Global Surf Industries Northeast rep Ed Gerbino, whose domain includes the Hamptons and the Jersey Shore. "Beginner lessons and surf-board rentals are definitely up right now, because it's more for fitness and fun."
And surfboard manufacturers have taken note, creating thicker, wider boards that are easier to stabilize, and are therefore super beginner-friendly.
Ready to paddle out? We asked Gerbino to share the 5 hottest boards for summer, and he offered picks for every surfer under the sun—from the newbie surfer to the serious sport-focused. —Lisa Elaine Held
FOR THE ECO-CHIC SURFER CHICK
The NSP Coco Mat Fish is made with natural coconut husk fibers, which give it an eco-chic look that will go beautifully with your floppy hat. The husks are a byproduct of the coconut industry, says Gerbino, so this board isn't doing any green-washing while riding the waves. Its light, strong design makes it suitable for beginners, although more advanced surfers won't mind this board's perks a bit.
FOR THE FIRST-TIME WAVE RIDER
Gnaraloo's Softshell and Fatty boards have a whimsical, kid-friendly appeal, and for good reason. "They're both geared towards pure beginners—the first-time adult or the kid who just wants to go down to the beach and have fun and be safe," says Gerbino. They're extra thick and wide for stability and have higher buoyancy to make paddling out easier. And the soft surface protects you from serious bruising if you face plant the first time out.
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FOR THE TECH-OBSESSED
Brand-new Australia-based brand Haydenshapes makes a line of boards that incorporate totally new technologies. The high-performance "future-flex" system allows the board to flex and twist from tip to tip. It's the gold standard for the advanced surfer who's forward-thinking and just has to try the next big thing.
FOR THE STYLISH WEEKEND SURFER
The 7S Superfish II is a recently updated, refined version of a tried-and-true surfer fave. It's easy to ride, but built for speed, so it's perfect for surfers who feel comfortable on a board but aren't going to make it their day job. Plus, its West Coast-cool design is impossible to resist.
FOR THE STAND-UP PADDLEBOARDER
Sure, everybody's gone surfing, but for those who prefer the slightly more leisurely pace of stand-up paddleboarding, the NSP Surf Betty SUP is the perfect choice. Its large surface area makes it easier to stand on than a bumpy subway train, and the colorful flower motif screams summer.
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