How To Surf On A Budget

By Christopher Murray

I’m going to be honest: living in Maine, I think the few people who surf during the winter are crazy. But surfing, despite my personal opinions, is done both on the East and West coasts of the U.S. (and obviously other places around the world).

Surfing is a fairly simple sport, at least when it comes to equipment. All you really need is a board and some waves. But, here’s how to surf cheaper.

Buying a surfboard

Beginners are best off buying used boards, particularly softboards (also known as foamies) because they’re easier to learn on. (Here are some dos and don’ts for surfing beginners.)

Softboards tend to be under $100, but the price quickly increases as the size, material, and weight changes— you could be spending upwards of $300 for a decent board, and that’s just for beginners.

Whether you choose to use a long or short board will determine the price you pay.

Lessons will vary in price depending on where you live

Surfers make surfing look a lot easier than it actually is. Like skiing or snowboarding, surfing probably isn’t something you’re just going to go out and learn all on your own.

Plenty of instructors offer equipment-rental options for your first couple of lessons, which can be great if you don’t know if you’ll stick with it.

Just to give you a couple of comparisons, here’s what a surfing lesson would cost on the East Coast versus the West Coast.

You might need a wetsuit

The surfing beginner doesn’t need to go out and blow hundreds of dollars on a wetsuit. Instead, a simple bathing suit will do—unless you’re surfing in cold water (fall/winter is the best time to surf on the upper East Coast because that’s really the only time there are waves).

The type of suit you wear will depend on where you surf. Warm-water surfing obviously doesn’t require an intense wetsuit, mostly just a rash guard to protect you from the sun. This makes surfing on the West Coast a little less expensive than over here on the East.

Unfortunately, buying a used wetsuit at a cheaper price probably isn’t the best idea because of how close in contact it is with your body.

Where do you go?

I’m sure there are some people who travel to surf, but, unless you live near the ocean, you should probably try to find another sport to occupy your time, or else you’re going to be spending a lot just to get somewhere to surf.

But, in case you’re looking to switch things up, here are just two cheaper surfing destinations:

Cape Hatteras, N.C.

Home to the Outer Banks, this North Carolina town is also home to one of the most popular surfing destinations on the East Coast. There are a variety of beaches with waves best for beginners and some only meant for expert surfers.

Since surfing is common, there are plenty of places to rent or buy a board, so you should be able to find a shop in your budget.

Cannon Beach, Ore.

Named one of the 11 cheapest beach destinations, Cannon Beach is just 90 minutes from Portland. While the beach won’t provide you with the most intense waves, it’s a great place for beginners, and anyone looking for an all-around vacation.


Surfers make surfing look easy, but the truth is, the more experienced you get the more complicated (and expensive) it becomes.

Depending on which side of the country you live on, the price will vary, but if you plan where to go, find the cheapest equipment, and have a lot of patience, pretty much anyone can pick up the sport


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This article was written by Christopher Murray from Money Under 30 and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

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