Surfing vs. Snowboarding: What Is the Difference?

Are you looking for a new way to exercise this year? Thrill-seekers have often pitted surfing vs. snowboarding because both are exhilarating sports activities you can do outdoors. However, one is done next to the shorelines, while the other is done on mountaintops and ski resorts.

While both of these sports are extremely different from one another, both surfing and snowboarding have pros and cons that every beginner should consider. Which sport is easier for beginners, and which one is more rewarding?

The objective today is to be able to answer these legitimate questions with certainty. To be able to enjoy the new sport without worries. So, which activity is perfect for you? Are you destined to ride the waves or descend the mighty slopes?

Equipment and Gear

Surfing equipment can be quite expensive for beginners and the best gear can cost a fortune. However, if you are looking for the bare minimum equipment, a quality surfboard with fins, a leash, and some decent clothing are all you need to get started.

Unfortunately, snowboarding requires more. Snowboarding essentials include the snowboard, boots, goggles, thermal clothing, bindings, and more. These aren’t very expensive if you’re talking about entry-level gear. If you want top-tier gear, expect them to cost more.

How much does it cost?

If you are looking for the basic necessities for snowboarding, then expect to spend around $1,400 bucks. That includes the snowboard and some quality gear. For surfing, expect to pay around $1,500 bucks for a surfboard and quality gear.

Skills and Techniques

Surfing requires coordination and balance, wave-reading, and weather forecasting skills, plus a lot of paddling. As you keep improving, you will also have the chance to learn how to carve and perform tricks at your own pace.

With snowboarding, it’s all about edge control and balance. Knowing how to gain speed and decelerate are skills that you will learn automatically over time. If you are also a fan of big jumps, there’s a whole avenue available to learn at your disposal.

Learning Curve

Surfing: the trickiest part of surfing is knowing that this sport is not for the faint of heart. This sport demands so much from you. From learning how to paddle to catching the waves and riding them all require such complex lessons that make it difficult to learn all in one session.

Snowboarding: compared to surfing, snowboarding’s learning curve is much more forgiving. In a few days, snowboarders can easily learn snowboard turns of different complexities. Imagine what more you can achieve within 3 months. 

Ride Feel

Surfing is all about mastering the waves while looking as graceful as you can. Your surfboard will ride through every wave it comes across and your job is to control the chaos while keeping yourself balanced until the water brings you back down. 

Snowboarding is an adrenaline junkie’s delight. As soon as you ride your board, it’s all downhill from here – literally! The feeling of gliding through the snow as you pick up speed on a descent is a heart-pounding experience. Eventually, you’ll add tricks to your arsenal as you go downhill.

Safety Precautions

Surfing risks are always present regardless of the weather conditions. The second that you paddle away from the shore, your chances of drowning are exponentially raised by a lot. As long as you are aware of the surfing dangers and guidelines, you’re already being a safe surfer.

Snowboarding, on the other hand, is equally as fun as it is terrifying when risks are involved. While you are less likely to encounter wildlife, the chances of hitting another snowboarder are always present. In some rare cases, chances of avalanches are always a grave threat. 

As long as you follow the surfer and snowboarder etiquette to the heart, then you can finally focus on all the fun parts.

Culture and Community

The best thing about surfing and snowboarding culture is that their communities are active, thriving, and engaging. While the surfing community has more members across the globe, the snowboarding community is very much alive and kicking.

Regardless of the sport that you choose, you can expect plenty of like-minded people that you can interact with, online or in real life. In fact, you can see both surfers and snowboarders that have been consumed by the sport and has become their lifestyle.

Health and Fitness Perks

Both snowboarding and surfing have a myriad of perks for your body and mind. If you choose surfing, expect a full-body and cardiovascular workout each time you hit the waves. With snowboarding, expect to improve your core, and lower body with each session. 

As for mental benefits, both of these activities provide a shot of adrenaline and dopamine that will keep your spirits up before, during, and after your session. It’s one of the many reasons people are so addicted to these sports.

Pros and Cons of Surfing

The Good: Amazing culture everywhere you go. Riding the waves is incomparable to any other board sport. Provides an exceptional full-body workout every session you make. You get to explore the beautiful (and daunting) beaches around the world.

The Bad: Highly dependent on the weather, wind, and swell conditions. Surfing gear is relatively more expensive than snowboarding. It has a steeper learning curve compared to any other board sport. There is a higher risk of marine life encounters regardless of season. 

Pros and Cons of Snowboarding

The Good: It is an easy sport to learn, and it will always leave room for improvement after every session. You’ll have the pleasure of regularly seeing amazing scenery from afar. Perfect for speed freaks. The equipment isn’t very expensive for starters.

The Bad: It can be quite dangerous for beginners who can’t handle speed. It is not an all-year-round activity in multiple areas. Some slopes tend to be crowded. Avalanches and other risks are also around the corner. Concussions and other injuries can be fatal.


Surfing vs. Snowboarding comparisons aren’t really needed for these two remarkable activities. There’s really no downside when you have the skills for both of these sports. Doing both would give you versatility, whether you’re conquering mountains or flowing with the waves.

While your savings may take a hit because fueling both hobbies can be quite expensive, especially once you know more about each sport, is there really a price to pay for your happiness and mental freedom? Either way, you can always stick to one sport.

Regardless of what sport you prioritize, you can expect the same health benefits, the same risks, and the same bustling community. Now that you have a general idea of what to expect with surfing and snowboarding, it’s time to get up and shred.

The snowy slopes and the playful waves are waiting for you.

James Davis

Written by James Davis

I'm a true California local, and I've spent my life riding the waves along our stunning coastline. Surfing has always been my greatest love, and in my writing, I try to capture its genuine essence. My words aim to transport you into the heart of the surf culture, where the ocean and surfers come together in perfect harmony.

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