The SPY Guide to the Best Surfboards for Beginners
So you’ve just gotten to the beach and you’re itching to check out this crazy sport called surfing that everyone seems to love. But what’s the difference between a beginner surfboard and one that pro surfers use?
Fiberglass boards are made of foam and resin coated on top, which creates a solid surface. They’re better for high-performance surfing, like pulling airs and turns. Beginners should use foam boards, or soft tops, preferably 8ft or 10ft in length.
These soft-top surfboards are more durable, softer to land on when you wipe out and easier on your wallet. When you start your surfing adventure, you’ll need three important things: a wetsuit, a foam board, and a proper surfboard leash. So if you’re searching for the best surfboards for beginners, keep reading and check out our best options for soft foam boards below.
Often a popular choice at rental shops and surf camps, the Wave Storm can be purchased cheaply at your local Costco for $179. A smooth, lightweight foam board, this model will get you up and surfing a wave quickly. It fits directly into most cars because of its smaller size (relative to some of the more mammoth boards on our list).
The Wave Storm it’s a great option for beginners because it’s soft, doesn’t require any wax and is so thick that balancing on a wave won’t be difficult. Plus, thanks to its massive size, catching a wave will prove to be easy as well.
2. Ocean and Earth
Every size is a different color from this brand, which can be fun if the entire family purchases one. Their 8ft board comes in an eggplant color and is a firm, durable soft top choice for any beginner. If you take this board out to the beach, it’ll be sure to last through the entire summer — and beyond. The rounded body shape of the board is great for adults and will hold more weight easily.
3. SouthBay Board Co
BEST FOR KIDS
This soft top is a unique game-changer: instead of a flat, soft surface, it has bumps or ridges along its surface for easy control on the wave. When you’re out there with a big wave coming at you, these fingertip grips will really help you feel in control while you navigate the ocean and paddle into the wave. Another perk is never having to apply surf wax. Other foam boards require wax for a better grip, but this one is always ready to ride. Another unique feature is the closed-cell technology: it prevents water from soaking into the foam, which would make it heavier over time. Coming in at just 15 pounds, this water-tight board will be a great choice for beginners and kids. A bit on the pricier side, this board is priced around $395-$439.
Buy: South Bay Board Co. - Premium Beginner Soft Top Surfboards - 8' Verve - The Best Foam Surf Boards for Beginners, Kids, and Adults - Wax Free Soft Top Surfboards for Fun & Easy Surfing (Blue) $419.00
4. Wave Bandit
Another solid foam board choice, the Wave Bandit is a smooth ride once you’re up on the wave. Though smaller than many offerings on our list, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. A small (yet buoyant) foamie like the Bandit allows for beginners to get past the set (the waves) more easily as they don’t have to lug around a huge log into pounding waves. What’s more, the smaller size allows for greater mobility on the wave. Instead of just going in a single direction on your Wave Storm (namely: straight), the Bandit allows for carving up waves (almost) like the pros. For beginners with a history of skateboarding and snowboarding, the Wave Bandit is a great option.
5. California Board Company 6’2 fish
BEST FOR ADVENTURE SEEKERS
If you’re feeling really adventurous or have some wakeboarding experience, this is the board for you. Once you’re up on a wave, you can make turns further out and more wild in style than your friends on their 8ft foam boards. You can do anything on this board: grab some air, do a 360-degree turn or surf past your friends into the whitewash. A much smaller board makes for less durability or space taken up on a wave, so once you get to your feet, you better start grooving.
6. NSP Elements Longboard
BEST FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
Coming in an 8ft, 9ft, or 10ft option, NSP has created a versatile longboard for all stages of surfing. This gem is great for swooping bottom turns or just catching the whitewash and cruising into shore. A unique element to this board is its environmentally-friendly design and manufacturing. Recognized by the Sustainable Surfing Foundation, this board is an excellent choice for the environmentally conscious surfer. With its soft exterior and excellent finish, this is a great board for nose riding.
7. Stewart Surfboards 8’6 Mighty Flyer
BEST FOR THE ADVANCED BEGINNER
For the surfer with a little bit of experience, this high-performance longboard will exceed expectations on its rail game, tail design and smooth finish. Take this longboard out to any beach and you’ll be gliding on one wave after another. Slim and narrow, this board offers sharp turns with the ability for a smooth noseride. It’s great for paddling out to further breaks but don’t forget your surf wax! This is the priciest option on our list, but it’s also one of the best and longest-lasting surfboards available. If you’ve already caught some waves and are looking for an upgrade, this is an ideal choice for your first fiberglass longboard.
8. Catch Surf Odysea Log-Jaime O-Brien Surfboard
The Catch Surf Odysea surfboard is a great foam board for beginners or for more advanced surfers looking for a versatile, lightweight board. With three stingers to hold the board in place beneath the foam, it is very durable and likely won’t splinter if you crash it into the sand or into a pylon on the pier. Don’t be afraid to get pumping on this board, it won’t let you down. With a squash tail, it will give you some speed as you cruise into the wave. With a slick HDPE bottom to help you glide, this 8-foot foam board will be a sure summer enhancer.
9. Liquid Shredder 7-foot Fun Board
A funboard is the awkward size in between a longboard and a shortboard usually in the 7-foot range. The Liquid Shredder is exactly 7 feet which is a great size for those looking to move up or down a size without taking a big leap. It’s also a great board for those seeking sharper turns and easier slides with quick fin flashes. The Liquid Shredder has a smooth bottom and a foam top for a firmer grip — no wax required. Take this board out for the summer and hone your skills in the water.
10. Kona Surf Co. Beginner’s Foamboard
BEST FOR THE FAMILY
The Kona SurfCo. has created a unique beginners board. It has removable fins and comes with a leash. As a foam board, it’ll be easy to learn on in smaller waves and still be a lot of fun when a bigger set comes in. With various lengths available from 7 feet to 9 feet, this is a versatile board that can be enjoyed all summer by the entire family or throughout the year for beginners.