I wonder if you, like me, ever made the connection between the ubiquitous BIC pen and surfing? Up until recently, I didn't realise there was one. Then a mate, landlocked in London, asked me for some advice about boards for beginners. This is when I discovered that the French company that makes the pen also makes Bic Surfboards. There's a useful little "Go Surfing" essentials guide that the Bic blokes offer up on their site that's aimed at newbies.
Along with NSP (New Surf Project), these two manufacturers must have well-oiled (should that be waxed?) marketing departments since ads for their boards pop up (pun intended) on any Google search that combines "beginner" with "surfboard".
There's a host of on-line shops out there happy to deliver boards like these to your door. The Boardshop.co.uk is running a promotion at the moment that includes free delivery, board bag, leash and a block of wax.
Here in Cornwall, the guys at Piran Surf will set you up with a good beginner's board. Being able to walk into a shop where the staff all surf is a bonus when you're buying your first stick plus there's the opportunity for a trade in when you want to graduate to something fancier.
My first board was a chunky Circle One with lots of flotation but which needed a forklift to get it on the roof-rack after a days' action. They've come a long way since then - and they're tougher too - as this little video shows.
The term "pop out" was used to describe the early mass produced surf boards that "popped out" of aluminium moulds. These boards are indeed mass produced but using epoxy resins, crafty laminating and finishing techniques, they're a good place for the beginner to start.