Surfing just isn’t as easy as it looks. It takes skill, excellent balance, coordination, and plenty of practice. But newbies tend to have a difficult time picking out their new board, unaware that there are many specs and features to consider before they hit that buy now button.
How long should the surfboard be? Should it be made out of fiberglass or epoxy? How much weight can a board handle?
How We Chose the Best Beginner Surfboards
First off, you shouldn’t run out and buy an expensive epoxy or fiberglass board. As a beginner who doesn’t have any experience surfing, why would you spend hundreds of dollars on a sport you’re not sure you’ll enjoy? Additionally, epoxy and fiberglass boards are solid and heavy. Beginners can expect to fall off their board constantly in the beginning and boards made out of these materials can pose serious injuries if the surfer gets hit in the head or slammed against the board in rough waves.
The solution? A foam surfboard. Considered the best surfboard for beginners, foamies are built tough but they consist of a durable EPS foam design that provides the type of padding the newbie needs when they’re struggling to learn how to ride waves and practice pop-ups.
Additionally, these foam surfboards are much more affordable than their fiberglass and epoxy counterparts.
Last of all, their lightweight design makes them easy to transport and carry to the water, which is why they’re also a good choice for children.
To make your search easier, we’ve reviewed some of the best beginner surfboards, taking a closer look at their design, fin systems, buoyancy ratings, durability, and generally how they handle light and tough waves.
This lead us to choosing the top five models that will work the best for the newbie surfer.
Each of these models has something special to offer in terms of feature, design, and performance, so we’re confident that you’ll find the board you’re looking for in our top five lineup.
Now, let’s begin by taking a closer look at some of these leading models, starting with the Casper by Gold Coast Surfboards. This company has been a leader in the industry, producing a wide range of foamie boards designed for every weight class and skill level. Their model, the Casper is our top pick and for all the right reasons.
Gold Coast Surfboards Heritage Soft Top Foam Surfboard:
This reasonably priced foam board can handle a variety of water conditions like a champ. Versatile, fast, and well-built, you’ll love a board that was designed with safety and speed in mind.
California Board Company 7 FT. Foam Surfboard:
Newbies can enjoy a tough, stable board that floats well in any type of water condition, while the board’s highly portable design makes transporting and carrying this board a breeze.
Liquid Shredder 70 FSE EPS/PE Soft Surfboard:
A board that’s designed with the smaller adult or child in mind, this model is stable, buoyant, easy to handle and available at a reasonable price.
Raystreak 7’2″ Crocodile Groove Soft Surfboard:
A unique foamie design that you won’t find anywhere else, this innovative model by Raystreak takes the cake when it comes to a well-designed beginner-friendly surfboard that handles like a dream.
Gold Coast Surfboards Casper Hybrid Soft Top Surfboard:
The leading foam surfboard for beginners in the industry, newbies will fall in love with the way this board handles, how it seems to just slice through the waves, and how easy it is to carry and transport.
The Casper foam surfboard is designed for surfers of all skill levels, but beginners will really benefit from learning how to surf with a board that can handle waves of any size. This is a lightweight model that can easily handle tight turns and carve down the line. A rigid board without a lot of flex, the Casper is our top choice for beginners looking for a safe, comfortable, yet highly durable board that’s designed for speed.
Equipped with a squash tail and round nose, this board by Gold Coast Surfboards is designed for easy handling, offers a stable ride and is highly maneuverable in ideal water conditions. The texturized surface makes it easy for beginners to learn how to ride waves and practice their pop-ups, while the innovative fin system improves the board’s tracking and handling. This board comes with everything the newbie needs to start catching waves ASAP.
3. Runner-up for Best Soft Top Surfboard for Newbies- Raystreak 7’2″ Crocodile Groove Soft Surfboard
This seven-foot long board is the perfect length for the beginner. This board handles well, offers decent acceleration, and comes equipped with a textured surface and a rigid design that makes it easier for the beginner to practice carving the line and riding waves. A buoyant board that comes equipped with a tri-fin setup for increased speed, this model by Raystreak is a great buy for beginners and intermediate surfers alike.
An incredibly durable foamie by California Board Company, this model comes in at seven feet in length, features a tri-fin system and a heat laminated EPS foam core that makes this lightweight board buoyant and stable in rougher water conditions. It offers a higher than average user weight capacity and a lightweight design that makes it easy to transport, store, and carry.
This board by Liquid Shredder features a smaller weight capacity and a lightweight design that makes this board a perfect choice for kids or smaller adults. Complete with a heat laminated design, EPS foam core and EPE foam deck, this model can easily handle daily use in gentle or moderate water conditions. This is a great board for beginners in need of a model that’s easy to handle, reliable, and durable.
Beginner Surfboard Buying Guide
The best surfboard for beginners can be a matter of personal preference, considering there are so many designs, lengths, and styles, available today. It can also be a matter of how often you surf, where you normally surf, and how much you’re willing to spend.
If you’re a beginner in search of your first board it can also be a good idea to ask the experts for advice, and that’s where we come in.
We’ve designed out buyer’s guide with the beginner in mind. Here, we’ll cover some of the major features and specs to look for in a new surfboard that’s very beginner friendly.
An increased or higher nose rocker is usually found on boards that are designed for hallow, big waves. The increased rocker on the nose gives the board the type of shape that can prevent it from plunging into a steep wave face. A rocker that’s more relaxed and flat can encourage the board to plane at a faster rate, but it can also have a negative impact on maneuverability.
Higher nose rockers are typically found on boards designed with maneuverability in mind. The board’s tail bends off of the surface of the water, resulting in a model that’s highly sensitive and one that offers more lift in the tail, allowing the surfer to easily turn or guide the board.
With a standard board, minimal center rocker translates to a board with improved gliding action and one that’s easier to paddle. These boards are a great choice for beginners. A board with more rocker works for more advanced surfers.
Turn up the Volume
The word volume is used to describe the amount of space the board occupies. A board’s thickness, width, and length make up the volume of a board.
The volume can be displaced in several ways. Determining the right volume for you based on skill levels, fitness level, body weight, and personal preference can ensure that you don’t end up with a board that has too little or too much volume. Choosing the wrong board size can have a major negative impact on your surfing.
A board with too little volume can mean that you’ll have trouble generating speed and catching waves because of the increased drag. Too much volume can leave you with a board that feels too bulky and one that’s difficult to turn and maneuver. The more drag a board has, the less acceleration power the surfer will have. The less drag a board has, the easier it is to catch waves and paddle.
With a little less rocker and more volume, you’ll have a board that can help you accelerate and paddle faster and more efficiently.
Length is Everything
A board’s length involves the distance from the tail to the nose of the board. A board’s length can actually be critical to a surfer’s progress because many beginners often make the common mistake of purchasing a board that’s too short, which makes it difficult to ride, turn, and maneuver.
The new surfer will need a board that’s highly durable considering how many wipeouts you can expect in the beginning.
Best Beginner Surfboard Options
Depending on skill level, weight, and height, you’ll want a board that’s easy to paddle, control, catch waves with, and above all, a board that’s stable.
Foam Boards: Foam surfboards are typically seven feet to nine feet in length, they’re priced affordable, very easy to control, and perfect for surfers who only need a board they can use a few times a year. Since these boards are soft they’re also a good board for the beginner to practice with since it won’t hurt to get hit with one of these boards when you fall off it into the water.
Now the downsides.
These beginner-friendly boards are pretty long, which can make them difficult to transport, hold, or get into the water. They also won’t last nearly as long as surfboards made out of epoxy or fiberglass.
Longboards: These boards are eight to nine feet in length. They’re more maneuverable and responsive than foam boards and much more durable Additionally, a longboard can also handle bigger waves than foam boards.
In terms of disadvantages, these boards are bulky and heavy, which can make them difficult to carry for some users. Transporting a longboard can also be a problem.
Mini-Mal: These boards are seven to eight feet long. Since they’re smaller than a longboard they’re much easier to carry and they can even fit into most types of small cars. They’re also much easier to paddle out in big surf compared to a foam board. Mini-Mal boards that are made out of epoxy are incredibly durable.
But they can also make it more difficult to catch waves because they’re not as fast as smaller boards.
Funboards: These boards are very similar to mini-mal boards in design and handling. Considered very stable, they’re great boards to learn on. Their lightweight design makes them easier to paddle as does their short length which ranges from six to eight feet.
However, they can be more challenging for some people to learn on compared to longboards and foam boards, because they have less volume, so the beginner will need to use more effort to catch a wave. They’re also not as fast or maneuverable as a shortboard.
Finding the Right Board
As you can see, there are many specs and features to consider, that can make it tough to choose the board that’s right for you. Before you buy, consider where you’ll be surfing, in terms of water conditions. Do you need a board that can handle rough waves? As we mentioned, the length of the board will also play a major factor, as will the board’s weight capacity. A model rated for its easy handling and acceleration will be your best bet.
We hope our site has helped you choose the best surfboard based on your skill level, height, and surfing style. Choosing the best board is a matter of personal preference and mainly depends on the type of waves you’ll be surfing. The boards we have reviewed are very solid, versatile, and designed with the beginner in mind, so we’re confident that you’ll find the right model for you in our top five.
If you’re still not sure which style of board is right for you, we recommend checking out some surfing forums where you can get advice from seasoned surfers.
And remember, learning how to surf takes plenty of practice, so why not learn the ropes using a board that’s durable, safe, and designed with the beginner in mind?