Knowing which dimensions you should go for can be a tricky job, whether you're getting your first board, or your twentieth. Should I add another foot for paddle power or take one away to increase my shredability? Do i want a conventional preformance surfboard, or something with a bit more volume in the middle? Fish tale or squash tail? Round nose or pointed? Choosing a surfboard that works for you seems more like research than a good time. Well wipe away your tears, and get ready to walk into the offices of your local shaper with confidence and poise.
To start off, its good to keep in mind that you alter your dimensions according to your abilities. There isn't a specific size or volume that is made exactly for your height and weight. In the words of DVG founder, David van Ginkel "Finding the board that works best for you revolves around your surfing experience and style". There is a general guide to follow Beginners usually start off with a 9 foot longboard, just to learn balance and basic skills. As your surfing becomes more fluid and your confidence builds, the next step would be progressing to a minimal at around 7 to 8 foot, and eventually ending off with a 5 to 7 footer designed for quick bottom turns, high octane carves and the occasional chunky air section.
Of course this isn't the only option, if you have a stoke for longboarding, there is no need to go for something shorter. If a minimal is your perfect medium, don't let anybody tell you differently. This is your ride, your tranquil conversation with mother nature, and no grom or ballie can tell you that you're doing it wrong.
Shapers don't exist to simply carve out the dimensions given to them. These are people who have spent their lives shaping for every Tom, Dick and Twiggy aching to find the perfect ride. Spending a few minutes having a quick chat with a shaper will provide you with a wealth of info on what dimensions are suited for you. According to DVG, there is no set formula. However, with volume now added as a fourth dimension, you can choose a board that is well suited to your weight and skill level. It's going to take time. Perhaps it will be years before you feel more at home on your board than on your couch, but this isn't some big annoyance. It's part of the journey. As you broaden your horizons to new surf spots or bigger swells, your knowledge and abilities grow too. What's good for you becomes quite obvious.
So all in all. The dimensions of your board are up to you. This may not seem like the greatest advice, but with a little guidance from your shaper and some confidence in your decisions, you will be on your dream board in no time.