Is Surfing an Expensive Hobby?

2 adults learning to surf

All hobbies have a cost to them when you are starting out. No matter what you choose, you will need some equipment or a uniform. Many people are attracted to surfing as a hobby because they love the beach and the water. It is also a great pastime for those looking for an adrenaline rush, but is surfing an expensive hobby?

Surfing is expensive if you only surf a couple of times a year. The total cost of a board, wetsuit, leash, roof rack, and bag is under $1000, which is a one-time cost. If you surf 100 times over a couple of years it works out to $10 a day plus transportation costs.

It is never too late to try something new, So, read on to find out more about what it costs to start surfing, including the cost of a surfboard and wetsuit, if buying or renting a surfboard is better for beginners and more.

How Much Does a Longboard Surfboard Cost?

Surfboards for beginners range in price from $300-1000+. Buying an expensive one when you are learning is not a good idea because it will wear out quickly and you could decide at any time that you do not want to continue surfing.

Longboards are recommended over shortboards for beginners because they are wider and therefore easier to balance and pop up on. Being able to keep your balance and stay standing on the surfboard is essential for riding waves. Foam surfboards are also a good inexpensive option that is soft and will minimize the impact if you fall off your board.

You can find good-quality foam surfboards for $300 or less. You can also check out your local surf shops to see if they have discounts on decent-quality boards. Some foam surfboards are sold for as little as $300

Should You Buy or Rent a Surfboard When Getting Started?

One of the biggest questions new surfers have is whether buying or renting a surfboard from a shop is the best option for them. On average, renting a surfboard will cost you about $30 per day at the least and $50 a day at most. Renting is a good option for those who are unsure if surfing is something they want to pursue long-term or those who do not have the space to rent a surfboard.

Renting is also a smart choice if you live farther from the ocean than you would like and do not want the extra stress of having to take your board back and forth to the beach. The only downside to renting a board is that you will not be able to practice your technique at home.

If you want to buy a surfboard expect to shell out anywhere between $99-$450 for a foam board of average quality. Buying a surfboard is best if you know that surfing is going to be a long-term hobby for you, and so it is not recommended by experts for beginners. Buying a surfboard has many benefits including the ability to get used to your board and progress quicker.

Buying a surfboard also prevents you from renting every time you decide to go to the beach, gives you the ability to have the exact surfboard you want that meets your needs, and guarantees there will be a surfboard for you to use as long as you don’t leave it at home. The only negative aspect of buying a board is that you are fully responsible for any damage and subsequent repairs to it.

How Much Does a Wetsuit Cost?

Wetsuits are the official surfing uniform. Although you can get by in a bikini or a pair of board shorts when you are learning the ropes, you will eventually need to invest in a wetsuit if you are serious about improving your surfing. 

A good-quality wetsuit usually costs between $100 and-300 for the upper end before heading into the ultra-high-performance styles, but you can usually find some for as low as $40 if you are shopping second-hand. Wetsuit prices vary depending on the brand, style, and thickness of the material used to make the wetsuit. 

Wetsuits are usually necessary because they provide warmth to surfers at all times of the year, especially when the ocean begins to get cold. The thicker the wetsuit, the more it will help you conserve heat. The ocean water temperature gets significantly lower than the temperature on land.

Buying a wetsuit to help you conserve heat while surfing will allow you to spend less time thinking if you are warm enough, and more time focusing your energy on learning the sport of surfing and improving your skills. The more advanced you become in the sport, you will need better and better quality wetsuits.

Qualities to Look For When Buying a Wetsuit 

When you are new to surfing, it can be difficult to choose a wetsuit from all the different brands and styles available. Here are some of the most important characteristics to look out for when buying a wetsuit for the first time:

The Fit of the Wetsuit is Key

Since you are moving a lot while surfing, a wetsuit should be snug but not tight. If a wetsuit you try on is either too tight or too loose, do not buy it. Every brand has different materials and styles and although a wetsuit may look like it fits on the rack, you may have a different opinion once you try it on. They will feel tight at first but naturally stretch out as you wear them.


Make sure you pick a wetsuit that you feel comfortable in. Ideally, this means that you like it so much you would wear it all day if you could. You will never regret buying a wetsuit you feel comfortable in

Choose the Right Style for You

Wetsuits have a selection of styles, each that has a different amount of body coverage. Certain styles are better for certain areas, times of the year, and weather conditions. Styles include the spring suit, long john or jane, full suit, and a hooded full suit. The style also includes wetsuit thickness. The colder the water is where you surf, the thicker the wetsuit you’ll need.


Wetsuits should be made from a high-quality fabric that conserves warmth. Most wetsuits are made of neoprene which is light, flexible, and weather-resistant. The environmentally friendly alternative to this is Yulex natural rubber made from hevea tree roots


The way the material is sewn together on a wetsuit informs its performance. Four seam types can be used when making wetsuits: flatlock, glued and blind stitched, fluid sealed or welded, and taped stitching. 

Flatlock stitching is most prone to having water seep in, while welded stitching does not allow water in at all. The best-constructed wetsuits are also durable and flexible. The thinner a wetsuit is, the more flexible it will be for a surfer.

The Entry System

This is how the wetsuit opens and closes which dictates how easy it will be to get in and out of it. Wetsuits can either have a chest zipper, a back zipper, or no zipper, which means you will have to do your best to slip in and out. Chest zips are the most widely available and preferred by surfers, whereas no zips are best avoided 


Wetsuits range in price based on the factors listed above and more. The less expensive wetsuits start at $50 for short suits and $75 for long suits. The most expensive wetsuits are usually around $500

What Other Accessories Do You Need to Buy For Surfing?

Although a good surfboard and wetsuit are the two main pieces of equipment you need to start surfing at the most basic level, there are other accessories and tools you can purchase to use when surfing. Although some surfers may not consider them a necessity, they do help make life on the waves easier. These are some of the top must-have surfing accessories.

Surfboard Roof Racks

Roof racks are storage devices that attach to the roof of your car and allow you to travel with your surfboard without having to make room in the trunk. These are ideal for surfers that want to test their skills in different bodies of water and that would not mind spending the extra gas money to go on those excursions,

They cost anywhere from under $30 for the least expensive, to nearly $150 for the most expensive with the most features.

Surfboard Wax

Surfboard wax gives surfers the ability to have a steady grip and keep their balance on their surfboard. Without the wax, tricks while surfing would be impossible. A surfboard has to be re-waxed every time you surf or whenever you feel your grip on the board weakening.

The wax is applied in a thin layer all over the surface of the board after adding the basecoat. Surfing wax has varying degrees of stickiness and temperature to suit different surfing needs. On average, surfing wax costs $2 per bar and you will go through several of them annually depending on how often you surf.

Surfboard Leash

Adding a leash to your surfboard adds an extra layer of safety in a wipeout and ensures that your board does not go floating aimlessly into the sea. They can be priced at anywhere from $25 to $35 depending on the size of the leash, the brand name, and its style or design pf it.

Surfboard Fins 

Surfboard fins help your board stay balanced in the water, and give the surfer more control of the board. However, not all surfboard types have them. 

There are two main types of surfboard fins: swappable and unswappable or glassed-in. Glassed fins are permanently laminated into the board, whereas removable or swappable fins can be taken on and off at the surfer’s discretion. Glassed fins have the disadvantages of being difficult to repair and lacking in versatility.

There are also two types of fin boxes, with different compatibility with a surfboard. The dual tab is the most used and accepted fin system with backward and forwards compatibility with surfboards making it extremely versatile. 2 tabs that screw into either side of the board 

On the other hand, the single tab base stretches the whole box length to give a better fit and last longer. Screws keep the fin in position.

To determine what fin is right for you and your surfboard, consider the following characteristics:

  • Your weight- bigger fins carry more weight 
  • The size of the box on your surfboard that it will fit into
  • Make sure the fin you choose matches the configuration and style of the board 

Surfing Lessons 

Many people who take up surfing get lessons to help them start on the right foot. This is an especially smart decision for people who have never thought about during before but want to start. Lessons can range in price from $25-$100 depending on the experience the instructor has and the length of the lesson. The area that which the lessons are taught also plays a factor.

Wetsuit Travel Bag or Storage 

Wetsuit bags provide a convenient place for you to store your wetsuit, and keep sand and ocean water from getting in your car. They are waterproof and have a shoulder strap, making them easy to carry when you have to bring a surfboard and your other gear. Wetsuit bags range from $10 to more depending on how well they are made.

Beach Towels

Towels are an essential tool that can be overlooked. They will help you dry off and stay warm after a long day on the water. You can use any towel you have around, buy a new one for surfing, or purchase a surf poncho. Towels cost 10+ or more.

When you start thinking about the extra equipment you need to surf regularly, it can start to get a little pricey. Fortunately, if you know you do not need all of the equipment, there are ways to cut corners and save money.


If you want to buy just a wetsuit and a surfboard, which are the basic supplies needed to start surfing, it is an affordable hobby. However, if you want to go pro and spend extra on surfing accessories to improve your experience, it can become expensive.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recent Posts