How Do Surfboard Rentals Work? | What To Know

With a growing population of 12% per year, the surfing community is expanding faster than ever. With a combination of this and a slowly dying economy, fewer people are willing to front the average of USD 640 to get into a new sport.

This, along with the ever more popular surf tourism industry, has made surfboard rentals more popular than ever.

Renting a surfboard is, in theory, as simple as things get. You walk into a surf store, choose the board that is best suited for you and the current conditions, pay the rental and deposit, and you are off to catch some waves for the day.

If you are planning to go on a surf trip but want to avoid lugging your surfboard travel bag with all your gear along with you, then renting a surfboard may be the answer you are looking for.

Pros and Cons of Renting a Surfboard

Before diving into how to rent a surfboard and what to expect, it is worth understanding the pros and cons of doing so. 

This will allow you to make the best decision on whether renting a surfboard is right for you.

Pros 

  • Cheaper than buying a board.
  • Large choice of different surfboards.
  • All surfboard gear is included.
  • Easy advice if you are new to surfing.
  • No need to carry your surfboards around the globe.
  • No need to clean and store your own surfboard.

Cons

  • Breakage fines are often high.
  • Renting a board multiple times can be more expensive than buying.
  • Rental boards are often low quality.
  • You may not be able to find a board that suits you.
  • You will be limited to surfing in spots that have surf and rental shops.

Things to Keep In Mind When Renting a Surfboard

Before running into the first surfboard rental shop you see and grabbing any old hunk of junk, you should keep in mind the following.

Although renting a surfboard is easy, it is also easy to get screwed over by high prices, low-quality surfboards, and unfair deals.

Choose the Shops Location Wisely

The location of your surf shop will make a big difference to your day’s activities.

Choosing a surf store on the beach, right in front of the break you want to surf is always better than needing to drive to a rental store, hire a board, and then drive back to the break.

That being said, surfboard rentals close to the beach are often more expensive than those further away as there is often more competition.

Look at the Surf First

Before you even consider stepping foot into a rental shop you should spend some time watching the waves.

This is true whether you are planning to rent a board or if you have brought your own.

Without watching the waves, it is impossible to know what surfboard you will need, where you will paddle out, and if the conditions suit you and your abilities.

Slow down, take a breath, watch a couple of sets roll in, and then make your decision on what type of surfboard you would like to ride for the day.

Compare Prices and Rental Times

Once you have a good idea of how the waves are breaking you should take some time to consider which rental shop you will use.

There will likely be fierce competition between rental stores at popular surf beaches, which means you will be able to find an array of different deals.

It is worth popping into a few and asking about their prices and rental times.

Surfboards are usually rented for 1-hour, half-day, and full-day periods, although weekly rentals are sometimes possible.

Surfboard rental prices average around the following, although prices always differ depending on the country and even location within a country:

  • 1 – 2 hour rental: $10 – $20
  • Half day rental: $20 – $30
  • Full day rental: $30 – $50

Decide how long you will need the surfboard, and choose a price range that suits your budget.

It may also be worth finding a deal that allows you to swap out your board at any time.

This is especially helpful when you rent a surfboard for a long time as the wave conditions are likely to change.

Look For a Full Setup

If you walk into a rental store to find that fins, leashes, or wax are rented separately, then kindly give the owner your middle finger and walk out.

Surfboards for rent should always be ready for pick up and include all the necessary accessories.

Some shop owners will try to take advantage of those who are new to an area or when they look like a tourist.

Never accept a rented board that is not ready to walk straight into the water.

Deposits and Restrictions

As with most things in the world, it is unlikely you will be able to rent a surfboard if you are not 18.

This might be an annoyance, but it is simply the way things are. If you are under 18 then ask your parents, guardians, or older friends to rent the board for you.

Furthermore, you should be prepared to pay a deposit.

These deposits can be as little as simply paying for your rental upfront to leave a larger sum of money to cover any damages that may occur to the board.

Although this is common, do not allow a shop to charge an extremely high deposit or to keep any of your essential travel documents such as your passport.

Choose Your Surfboard Wisely

Once you have assessed the waves and have chosen a rental store with good deals, it is time to choose a surfboard.

When you choose a board you should pay attention to how big the board is, what size board you are comfortable using, and the quality of the board.

Choosing the incorrect surfboard for the waves will not provide the most amount of fun.

Similarly, choosing a damaged or low-quality board could leave you with problems in the water, and potentially being blamed for the damage.

Before you take a board from the store, make sure you take note of any damages and point them out to the store owner.

Be Aware of Penalties

One of the biggest disadvantages of renting a surfboard is that you are not only responsible for it, but you are also responsible to pay for any loss or damage that occurred to the board while it is in your possession.

Before renting a board it would be wise to take note of breakage fees.

These fees will likely differ depending on the damage.

For example, a small ding may put you back $20 – $30, while a snapped or stolen board may cost you up to $300.

Conclusion

Renting a surfboard is not a complicated process. When everything goes well, it should not take you more than a few minutes to walk into a store, choose a board, pay your deposit, and hit the waves.

Although it is easy, it is equally as easy to find yourself with the wrong surfboard or to pay for a poor deal.

Remember to consider the above tips before renting a surfboard and you are sure to find the best deal around and have the most fun with your day.

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