The right moment to change surfboard size
As a beginner surfer you are most likely going to start on an 8ft softboard and probably you will hate carrying it to the beach as well as deal with it in the ocean.
Next to you, you´re gonna see all those long hair dudes running along the beach with their light shortboard, having no problem with lifting it up and when the wave comes they will just simply duck dive under , making it look easy and more desirable than your tanker below your arms.
You´re just gonna feel you want to get there as soon as possible. But having an 8 ft softboard is a big key in your learning process, so use it until you learn all the fundamental skills.
First of all, you are having a softboard because of safety reasons , the material is made out of foam and the fins are all plastic and flexible, so even if the board hits you it is not going to be too dangerous.
Until you don’t learn how to carry your board don’t think changing for hardboards.
To change size you have to be stable laying down on your recent board , not falling to one side or another. You have to learn how to line up your body and be straight to have a good balance.
If you have lack of confidence with your paddling just stick to your recent board and try to master it first on a bigger one, since it is much easier to move the later.
Last but not least comes your style. The way you ride a wave.
First you want to catch waves and ride straight. Once you become stable and fast you can start riding the waves to different directions, and this part will be easier to do with a shorter board.
Be aware that all individuals have their own timing with the learning process so try not to rush your board change , just enjoy the ride. Whenever you feel things just became too easy and you are ready for a challenge go one size smaller.
If you are having a professional surf coach right next to you, he/she can give you the right opinion on when is the right moment to change your board.