While you might be trying to decide between a foamie and a fiberglass surfboard, we think that a good quality foam surfboard is the best choice for a beginner.
Of course, they’re also fun to ride those waves on even if you’re an intermediate surfer.
You can have a lot of fun out in the water with one of these soft top surfboards, so let us help you find the perfect board for your wave catching needs.
Quick Answer: What are the best foam surfboards for the money?
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What To Consider Before Buying
Before purchasing a foam surfboard, there are several considerations that will go into what type and size surfboard is needed or best for you.
If you are seasoned surfer, you probably have an idea of what you are looking for but if you are just starting out in the sport, the unfamiliar terminology can be a little intimidating.
No worries. There are boards designed specifically for beginners that can maximize your learning time.
Determining the types of waves that you typically surf on and whether you can paddle can help narrow down the field.
Also, knowing if are you at the level where you are surfing unbroken waves or the shallower water can help you decide. Lastly, consider whether you will be surfing on a variety of beaches or one in particular.
All of these questions can help you decide which board will best meet your needs. Also think about how often you intend to practice.
If you will be surfing every day, you might select a board that is slightly more challenging as your skills will rapidly improve. If you are only going into the water once a week or less, select a sturdier board that will make every outing fun.
When looking to purchase a surfboard, it really matters who the board is for. If you are buying for a child or teen, the board length will be different than it will be for an adult.
Surfboards are graded for the weight of the rider. If the board is for a young person, consider getting a board that they can grow into over time. If not, they can outgrow a board in a year or so.
Beginning surfboards have a few features that you should look for.
- The length makes it easier to catch smaller waves, are easy to paddle and generate speed.
- Thicker boards float better making it easier to catch waves.
- Finally, wider boards provide additional stability while you are learning. This can get you standing up quickly and more easily.
A final tip is to rent several different types of surfboards so that you can get a sense of what works better for you.
This will give you firsthand knowledge of what length, thickness and width you are most comfortable with and what you aren’t.
Common Features of Surfboards
As people surf in different water and wind conditions, surfboards have developed to address different situations. There are common elements to surfboards, however.
The nose delivers maneuverability and ease in paddling. The tail affects speed and control.
The outer edges of the board are called rails. A stringer is a wooden strip in the vertical center of the board that improves its strength and reduces flexibility.
The flat surface the rider stands on is called the deck. If the board requires waxing, this is where it is applied.
The part of the surfboard in the water, opposite the deck is the bottom or bottom deck. Fins stabilize the board.
They are on the bottom of the board and act are rudders. They also keep the board from moving sideways.
As rudder-like objects, they help surfers control the board, maneuver and change direction. Fins are available in five configurations: single, twin, thruster, four and five.
On the deck of a board, there is a small cup with a metal bar called the leash plug. This is where the surf leash is attached.
There is also design terminology that is encountered when looking at surfboards. ‘Outline’ refers to the shape of the board.
Boards come in a variety of shapes for different experience levels and surfing conditions.
The rate that the board’s thickness deviates from the nose to the tail is referred to as the ‘foil’.
The term ‘rocker’ indicates that amount of curve that board has from nose to tail.
Lastly, the term ‘concave’ indicates the bottom’s contour that channels water when surfing. While you may encounter additional terminology, these are the basic terms for features of all surfboards.
Top Foam Surfboards for Beginners
Here are a few of our favorite foamies that are great choices for first-time surfers. Check out our reviews below to find the right surfboard for you.
1. South Bay Board Co – 7’ Ruccus Surfboard
These three boards are the entry level series from South Bay Board Co making them perfect for young people and adults who are just learning how to surf.
They (7’ Ruccus, 8’ Verve & 8’8” Heritage) are specifically designed with beginning surfers in mind. They are wax free and designed with precise shapes, quality materials and specific design for beginners.
The top deck features a ‘fingerprint’ texture while the bottom deck has HDPE Plastic with impact dispersing netting. Boards come with leash and board fins.
The 7’ Ruccus (84” x 22” x 2.85”, 49L volume) supports riders up to 170 lbs. The 8’ Verve (96” x 23” x 3”, 74L volume) is designed for riders up to 200 lbs. The 8’8” Heritage (104” x 23” x 3”, 86L volume) is for surfers up to 230 lbs.
All three are great for small waves when learning.
These boards have a double concave bottom deck for greater control and speed. Each has a closed cell EPS molded foam core with a custom designed shape.
Style features two wooden stringers and one fiberglass rod stringer, along with a rubber tail bumper for easy upright storage. Two 6 oz. resin layers provide increased durability.
The fin holes are lined with PVC to prevent water entry. The South Bay Board Co. has a 30 day 100% satisfaction return policy.
2. Wavestorm 8′ Classic Pinline Surfboard
This board offers soft foam construction in an 8 ft classic board. It’s designed for beginners up to 200 lbs with easy handling while remaining lightweight.
Wavestorm, a highly recognized US brand, creates beginner boards to promote a healthy lifestyle. This surfboard has a strong EPS cord with a 3-stringer system.
The top deck has a soft WBS-IXL water barrier skin and textured grip. The bottom deck is a HDPE bottom. This aids in maintaining the board’s shape.
The Classic Pinline Surfboards has removable bolt through fins and includes an ankle leash. At only 11.5 lbs., the pinline board has the following dimensions (8’ x 22 ½ x 3 ¼, 86 L volume).
This board from a widely recognized company is specifically designed for beginning surfers.
3. South Bay Board Company Hybrid Surfboards
South Bay Board Company (SBBC) offers seven hybrid foam surfboards. Four are ‘short boards. Two are fun boards and one is a longboard.
They are of varying lengths and designed for semi-beginners but remain durable and perform well.
All of the boards are wax free and feature a ‘fingerprint’ textured top deck. A ‘hybrid’ surfboard is constructed with a soft top and a hard fiberglassed bottom deck.
SBBC offers the only hybrid models in the marketplace. Every hybrid board comes with a 9” single FCS fin, two large FCS thruster fins with key and one surfboard leash.
All have an EPS closed-cell foam core, I-beam wooden stringer and two 6 oz. layers of resin. The sizes vary with board length and style.
- The 9’6” Tortuga (114” x 24” x 3.25”, 84 L volume) supports riders up to 300 lbs.
- The 7’7” Elefante Funboard (91” x 23” x 2.85”, 57 L volume) is geared toward riders up to 250 lbs.
- The 6’8 Casper Funboard (80” x 21” x 2.75”, 45 L volume) can support up to 220lbs.
- The 6’ Razzo Shortboard (72” x 20” x 2.5”, 35.5 L volume) carries riders up to 220 lbs.
- For surfers up to 200 lbs., there is the 5’8” Mahi Fish shortboard (68” x 21” X 2.75”, 38 L volume).
- The 5’5” Big Betsy Shortboard (65” x 20” x 2.25”, 31 L volume) is designed for riders up to 200 lbs.
- At 4’10”, the Huevo Shortboard (58” x 21” x 2.85”, volume 37L) carries riders up to 200 lbs.
Regardless of the style chosen, The South Bay Board Company has a 30 day 100% satisfaction guarantee.
4. THURSO SURF Aero 7 ft Soft Top/Foam Surfboard Package
The 7’ Aero surfboard is a product from THURSO SURF. Their surfboard package comes with three fins, stainless steel swivels and a recycle plastic rail saver ankle leash.
The board (7’ x 21.5” x 3.5”) is designed for surfers up to 210 lbs. The total board weight is 8 lbs. making it easy to transport.
The top deck has been heat laminated for cushioning. The HDPE slick bottom is also laminated and sealed to maximize speed and reinforce board stiffness.
With a high density EPS core, the board is light weight and buoyant delivering hours of fun in the water. Created with three wooden stringers, fins and an adjustable fin box.
This gives the board strength, stability and controllable flex. It is easy to transport.
THURSO SURF backs this surfboard package with a 100% guaranty. If unsatisfied, they will refund or replace the board.
5. South Bay Board Company 8’ Verve Surfboards
A selection of soft top surfboards from South Bay Board Company that are designed for beginning surfers. All boards have a wax free ‘fingerprint’ textured top deck and a bottom HDPE deck with impact dispersing netting.
They feature a double concave bottom deck for better speed and control. The boards are designed with custom closed-cell EPS molded foam cores, two wooden stringers and one fiberglass stringer.
A rubber tail bumper makes is easy to store upright. The body is two 6 oz resin layers for strength.
The fin holes are lined with PVC to prevent water entry. Boards come with fins and ankle leash.
There are three board lengths to select from depending on the weight and style of the rider. 7’ Ruccus (84” x 22” x 2.85”, 49 L volume) supports riders up to 170 lbs. The 8’ Verve (96” x 23” x 3”, 74 L volume) is designed for surfers up to 200lbs. The 8’8” Heritage (104” x 23” x 3”, 86L volume) supports surfers up to 230lbs.
The South Bay Board Company also offers a 30 day, 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of their products.
Foam Surfboard vs Fiberglass
Soft top foam surfboards are great when learning to surf but fiberglass boards are also available. Fiberglass boards are constructed out of foam that is coated with fiberglass material.
This makes them fast, high performing surfboards but they are also fragile. For beginning surfers, the foam surfboard is often the better choice.
They are what many surfing schools choose to use with students. The boards themselves are generally less expensive and more adept at enjoying crumbly weak waves.
Another consideration is that foam boards are safer for beginning surfers. There is less of a chance of being hurt by the board.
It is also less likely that the board will get dinged or break while you are learning to surf. The fins on a foam surfboard with either be hard or soft.
Soft fins can prevent injuries while you are just starting out. Foam surfboards catch waves more easily making every learning experience fun.
They also do well on small waves. Also, they are very buoyant making for an easier learning experience.
For more experienced surfers, the speed and handling of a fiberglass board is attractive. This makes them better for intermediate and advanced surfers.
However, it is easy to ding or even break a fiberglass board. Also, fiberglass boards only come with hard fins.
From a safety standpoint, it is better if they are used by experienced surfers. Fiberglass surfboards also require strong paddling.
For beginners, this may be challenging. While fiberglass surfboards have more maneuverability, they are not as buoyant as foam surfboards.
If you are just starting out learning how to surf, the foam surfboards offer many design features that make the process easier, safer and fun. For more experienced surfers, the fiberglass boards offer a great deal.
Selecting between a foam or a fiberglass surfboard really comes down to the surfers experience and comfort level.
Surfing is a wonderful, enjoyable sport when you have the right surfboard. Beginning surfers who chose a foam surfboard will be able to have a lot of fun every time they go into the water.