There are three things that people think of when they picture the beach: sun, sand, and surfing. Developed by the Polynesians millennia ago, wave riding is among humanity’s oldest traditions. Western explorers took notice and told everyone about the art. By the middle of the 20th century, surfing had begun to take root in western culture as a favorite sport. It will even be a part of the 2020 Summer Olympics!
Surfing looks, and is, a lot of fun when people know what they are doing. There is more to it than getting on the water and catching the waves. The surfboard itself can influence how good someone does. Since practice makes perfect, here are eight beginner surfboards for the 2020 season.
- Read more: 10 Best Inflatable SUPs 2020
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Top 3 Beginner Surfboards (Summary)
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For more detailed and complete product reviews on benefits and features, keep reading.
How to Choose the Right Beginner Board
Before you pick out the best beginner board, there are a few things that you need to consider first.
1. Bigger is Better
People who are starting with surfing are going to want to get the biggest surfboard they can find. They may look more significant compared to what the pros use, but it is worth it. The bigger the board, the easier it is to catch waves, and boards between 7 and 9 feet will give rookies plenty of legroom. Use this to help learn how to surf before moving on to something smaller.
2. Work with Softer Materials
Not only do softer materials like Foam and the same float better, but they will also hurt less when a wipeout occurs. Surfboards made out of heavier elements could injure someone if they were to be hit or fall off. Until you can hang ten, stick with the lighter material.
3. Your Weight and Height
The height and weight of a surfer can determine how easy it is for them to move and paddle in the water. The more someone weighs, the longer the surfboard needs to be to maintain balance. There are size charts available that can help with this. If someone is between sizes, they should go with the larger of the two.
4. How Fit Are You?
Surfing is a very body intensive sport that needs strength and agility. Someone who has experience with other board-based sports can adapt to surfing faster. Others, though, will need to stick with the longer boards to help them get a feel for it. Even if you do have experience with boards, it will still take months
5. Wave Size
Where you plan to go surfing can make all the difference. People surfing in calmer waters with 1′-4′ waves, then longer boards will work. Do not go for the shorter boards until you have mastered the basics of surfing.
8 Best Beginner Surfboards for 2020
1. Gold Coast Surfboards Soft Top Heritage Surfboard – Best Overall
Los Angeles, home to Hollywood and one of the entertainment capitals of the world. It is also one of the meccas for the world’s surfers. It is no surprise, then, that its home to big surfboard companies, like South Bay Board Co. They make high-tier soft boards for beginners, like the Gold Coast Heritage Surfboard.
It measures 8’8″ long, this soft board’s born to help novices unlock their inner surfer. Everyone one of them is custom molded out of high-density foam. For extra durability, it is covered in two 6 oz. resin layers, among its many features. For extra stability, the Heritage has a rounded nose and squashed tail. It may not be aerodynamic, but it keeps people from falling off the board.
To top it off, the top decks covered in a wax free “fingerprint” foam. That makes it easy to clean without needing to use wax and does not irritate the skin as much. The texture also serves as a way to provide a stronger grip.
This surfboard is the all-around best at teaching people how to surf. The only hiccup in this otherwise perfect soft board is that it weighs 23 pounds. That can be heavy for someone to carry — nothing a little exercise and hard work can fix.
- 8’8″ long, super stable
- Fingerprint texture allows for better grip
- Two layers of protective resin
- Rounded nose, squashed tail provide greater stability
- All-around great surfboard
- Heavy at 23 pounds
2. Wavestorm 8′ Classic Pinline Surfboard – Best Budget/Softboard
People who are learning the basics to surfing will want to stick to soft boards for the time being. Made from foam or similar materials, flexible boards are less likely to cause injury when surfers fall off. Wavestorm’s one of the most recognizable soft board brands in the United States, so people know they aim to please. Anyone ready to learning the ropes can do so on Wavestorm’s Classic Pinline Surfboard.
At eight feet long, almost two feet wide, and made from soft foam material, the Wavestorm Classic is a shining example of longboards. The top is covered in a smooth, water barrier skin to provide for a stable platform for new surfers. The High-Density bottom is slick enough to keep the board’s shape all summer long. The inline graphics on the deck are gnarly, too.
Aside from the board, accessories include removable fins, an ankle leash to keep it with a surfer at all times, and a traction pad. All told, the Wavestorm Classic can hold up to 200 pounds. Combine this quality with its affordable price, and this board is a steal.
The only problem with this board is that more experienced surfers will not have much use for this. Longboards do not offer much for the more massive waves, making them useless. Since this is for beginners, though, that is a moot point.
- 8 feet of foam, water proof deck skin, and slick bottom
- Removable fins
- Gnarly graphics on the deck
- High quality, low price
- Not for experienced surfers
3. BIC Sport DURA-TEC Surfboard – Best for Progression
BIC Sport DURA-TEC surfboards are some of the most durable on the market. Covered in a tight, plastic outer shell, the DURA-TEC can take bumps, dings, and hits and keep on going. Underneath the plastic, the foam core allows for great balance while riding waves. They come in various sizes, but the one on this list is their 7’9 natural surfboard.
For movement, the DURA-TEC has two fins integrated into the bottom. The front even has a nose guard to make it even more robust, while the back has a traction pad. Thanks to the outer shell, the boards bulletproof, it is so tight.
The beauty of the DURA-TEC Line is that it is an excellent way for beginners to learn the ropes. Even if a surfer masters the basics, it is good enough for use long after that.
Thanks to its extra durability, it is not actually a soft board. That means if someone is hit with it, it will hurt — exercise caution to keep from falling off.
- Incredible durability
- Integrated fins
- Front nose guard, rear traction pad
- Great for beginners and intermediate surfers.
- Not a soft board. Will hurt it someone is hit by it.
No matter how reliable the foam soft board is, there is going to be that person who makes fun of you because you are a beginner. It can be embarrassing to be singled out as the rookie, but fish surfboards are a good remedy. They are as thick as soft boards and work well in most waves — all the advantages without the look of the soft board.
This is the NSP Soft Surfboard, a 6’4 fish board. The nose and tail are pulled in on the board, allowing for greater control of the board. The outside is foam, but the innards are vacuumed layered fiberglass laminated using a high-quality resin. This board offers all the qualities of a soft board without the actual shape.
The drawback is that it is not as big as some of the other surfboards on this list. Someone taller and heavier may have a hard time trying to balance on this, so keep that in mind before purchasing.
- Offers all the traits of a soft board
- Durable inner workings made out of fiberglass and resin
- Pulled nose and tail allows for greater balance paddling
- A bit on the small side
5. California Board Company Surfboard – Best for Kids
Kids love surfing as much as adults do. After all, it is a fun way to spend time on the water and at the beach. Therefore, the California Board Company based in Vista, California has dedicated itself to a bevy of water sports like surfing. To help kids learn the ropes, they even make surfboards for kids, like the CBC surfboard.
At seven feet long, the CBC board is still a longboard. It comes complete with a traction pad, surf leash, and three fins to move around in the water. The big draw, though, is its appearance. With that wooden look to it, it gives off the feeling of a vintage wooden surfboard. It is made out of foam, though, but the appearance is a callback to classic surfboards.
It does, though, have three wooden stringers in it to help keep it in working order for years to come.
Do not forget, though: this is a board meant for kids. That means that it will only work for kids or people who are small enough to balance on it. The classic look it boasts, though, will make an excellent first surfboard for the little surfer in your life.
- Measures 7′ long
- Comes with traction pad, surf leash, and three fins for mobility
- Wooden stringers provide durability
- Appearance is callback to classic surfboards
- Meant for kids.
6. Giantex 6′ Surfboard – Coolest Looking Beginner Board
At 6′, the Giantex is the smallest board on this list, but it is also the coolest looking out of them. Made from a durable top foam and sensitive bottom skin, The Giantex has all the standard bells and whistles of a surfboard. It has the surf leash, fins, and a traction pad. Despite its size, though, it can hold up to 200 pounds of weight at one time.
The big draw to this surfboard, though, is the color scheme available. It comes in three combinations: yellow and blue, red and blue, and white and blue. Each one comes with fantastic flame decals running along the deck of the board. At the nose, there is a tropical flower that matches the color of the flames, making for a nice complement to the details.
According to the description, this surfboard is great for kids. Despite this, though, one customer reported that this might be a misleading statement. The customer in question did not explain why it was not suitable for children, so take it with a grain of salt. Other customers have said the opposite, that’s it better suited for children. Given the size of the board, the latter is more likely.
- All the standard features of a surfboard: traction pad, surf leash, and fins
- Can hold 200 pounds at once
- Comes in three color schemes with flowers and flame decals
- Not really suited for most adults due to small size
Surftech calls itself a global community of surfers, and they have been striving to make the best surfboard since 1989. They take pride in their craft and aim to make it great for the newest rookies of seasoned veterans. With their 8′ Soft Top Surfboard, they want to reach across to every level of experience.
Made from a lightweight and robust core held together by three maple-ply wood stringers, this soft board is stiff as they come. At the nose and tail, rubber bumpers increase its durability, so beginners can afford to make some mistakes. Accessories include removable safety fins and a leash.
The beauty of this surfboard lies in its simplicity, but that is also its weakness. This is about as barebones a surfboard as they come. Given how beginners are the ones who use it the most, though, that should not be much of a problem. It is a great stepping-stone to more advanced models.
- 8 feet long, plenty of room for error
- Rubber bumpers on nose and tail
- maple-ply wood stringers make it very stiff and tough
- Pretty barebones as far as surfboards go.
Made by the same company as the DURA-TEC, the PAINT is another example of a surfboard with colors that pop. Made from the same material as DURA-TEC surfboard, the main thing separating them is the size and the color scheme.
The PAINT board is available in three sizes: 5’6″, 6’0″, and 6’6″. It is a lot smaller than the DURA-TEC, but it is just as good. Kids and teenagers can fit right on this surfboard and practice for what can be a lifelong passion, or have fun.
The color scheme for the PAINT board lives up to the name. The boards come in three available color combos: red/green, white/purple/green, and white/blue/yellow. The splashed on colors at the tail of the board make it very appealing to the eye, increasing appeal as a whole.
This board’s on the small side, so only small adults are going to be able to use this to its greatest extent. Kids and teenagers will be perfect for this board. Keep in mind, this does not have a surf leash, and the top can be very slippery and lack grip. Do not take this too far out, or you could have trouble getting back to land if you fall off.
- Cool color scheme
- Comes in three sizes: 5’6″, 6’0″, and 6’6″
- Made by BIC Sport
- Great for kids and teenagers
- Slippery top
- No surfing leash
Beginner Surfboard FAQ’s
Do soft boards need any wax?
As shown in this list, not all soft boards will need wax to work.
Can a Beginner Skip the Foam Boards if They Want to?
It is not recommended to do that, especially if they are only getting the hang of surfing.
Why do Foam Boards do Poor on Big Waves?
The larger foam boards sacrifice aerodynamics in favor of stability. As such, they cannot hold up to the pressures of the waves that pro surfers like to catch.
Since being introduced on a global scale, surfing has become ingrained in the lives of countless people. All over the world, people gather on the beach in search of their dream wave. These surfboards mentioned here could be the first steps towards a new world, a world we have only glimpsed in movies and TV. Grab your boards and get ready to start paddling, or else you are going to miss the big one.