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Board Sports: Which Type is for You?

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When talking about board sports, people usually mean the big three: skateboarding, surfing, and snowboarding.

While there are tons of other board sports out there for every terrain, just choosing one of those three can be tough. If you’re interested in picking up one of these three, there are a few differences between each of them to consider.

Location, Location, Location

Now, this one might seem a little obvious, but location is probably the most important factor to consider when picking a sport. Those living in tropical places may be hard pressed to find a snowy mountain to ride down. Similarly, those in the Rocky Mountains might not have any ocean waves nearby. If you’re not near snow or waves, then something like skateboarding may be your best bet. But if location is no problem for you, well, you’re in luck!


Skateboarding is for those who want to pull off complex technical tricks and precise maneuvers and is definitely the easiest to get into of any of the big three.

Skate parks are probably the most prime locations to practice at, but skating can be done in any place that has a smooth, paved surface. And, while all board sports have their own set of risks for physical injuries associated with them, skaters are perhaps the most prone toward cuts, scrapes, and sprains.

While tricks certainly take time to practice, it’s easy to learn how to ride a skateboard, so skating is perfect for both those experienced in sports and those just starting out. It’s also great for those looking for something they can do throughout the entire year, at any time of day, and in most outdoor environments. The gear required is simple, too: you just need a helmet, pads, either a premade skateboard or one you assemble yourself, depending on your preferences.


Snowboarding was first called “snurfing,” as a combination of “snow” and “surfing.” Your feet are usually strapped down and you can either do tricks or just coast as you like.

Probably the most important requirement to be a snowboarder is a love for the cold – or at least the ability to tolerate it. The second most important requirement is bravery because launching yourself down a mountain or off a snowy cliff isn’t for the faint of heart.

Snowboarding can also get expensive quickly, as costs include not only gear like goggles, coats, and boots, but also passes to snow resorts and lifts. But for those willing to trek up a mountain in freezing temperatures, there’s no better feeling than cruising down the snow.


Surfing is the original of the big three, developed and refined by those living in Polynesia hundreds of years ago. The basic equipment requires a board, a leash to tie your board to your ankle, and your choice of swimwear.

Boards come in all kinds of shapes and colors, so you’re sure to find something out there to fit both your tastes and riding style. But there is such a large variety, and everyone’s body type (height, weight, etc.) can also play a role, that doing your research before making a purchase will be important. Resources like can help with the selection process.

Those with experience in the water – especially in the ocean, not just swimming pools – are best suited for surfing, as mingling with waves twice your height isn’t for everyone. But more than anything else, surfing requires patience. Waves come and go, and some surfers might spend an entire day out in the water, waiting for something that might never come. Even then, waves are short, so each opportunity to ride one only lasts a few moments. For some, all the effort and patience surfing require is absolutely worth it for the 10 seconds on a wave.

If you have the opportunity to try all three out, do it! You might be surprised at which one you like best.

Though all three have their differences, there is one common thing they all require: lots of practice, and a love for the thrill.

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