The essential equipment needed for surfing includes a surfboard, a wetsuit, a surfboard leash, a rash vest and surfboard traction pads or surf wax. In cold water, one may also need boots, gloves and a hood.

It's important to choose the right surfboard for when and where one plans to surf. There are five general types of surfboards: shortboard, longboard, fish, gun and stand-up paddle board.

A rash vest is worn underneath a wetsuit and prevents skin irritation when paddling, especially under the arms. Both traction pads and surf wax are used to provide traction so that a surfer doesn't slip off the surfboard.