As a great man once said, surfing season is upon us. And no matter if you’re a novice surfer just looking to start out or a professional looking to shred through spring, summer, autumn or winter waves, choosing the best soft top surfboard for you is the first step to having an awesome time. Especially if you’re just starting out, a complex and hard to handle surfboard will do nothing but ruin your confidence and put you through a world of frustration. While the pros can pretty much rock it on any correctly shaped piece of wood, being new to the sport is about being comfortable on your ride. No one became great at surfing overnight, so the first step to having a great surfing career is to just have fun.
If you’re just starting out, or are just looking to have a fun weekend under the sun; a foam surfboard is the easiest way to get into the groove. These surfboards are usually super comfy and offer loads more stability than hard top surfboards along with being extra durable. Most foam surfboards are also much wider and thicker compared to their hard top counterparts. This extra girth provides enhanced floatation ability, making foam surfboards a great choice for first timers.
When you’re starting out, you’ll tend to have a lot more total wipeouts, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Foam surfboards also perform better here as the board’s soft deck will not be as harmful as a standard polyurethane (PU) surfboard that’ on the market. It would also be a good idea to check out our recommendations of the best surf accessories so you know exactly what you need to be the best surfer you can be.
Types of Surfboards:
Based on size and shape, soft surfboards can be separated into 4 types:
Beaters: Beaters are foamies that are just slightly bigger than boogie boards. They come in at about 5 foot in length and are designed like a plain board. These boards don’t usually go out into punishing waves as they are very light duty.
Fish Surfboard: Fish surfboards are usually about 6 foot in length. The defining feature of fish surfboards is their swallow tail. This swallow tail provides greater maneuverability as you can turn away from waves faster.
Soft Top Shortboard: Soft top shortboards also come in around 6 foot in length, but soft top shortboard have thruster fins. These fins give you a stable platform for your ride and may even give you some airtime.
Soft Top Longboard: Soft top longboards are really large surfboards. They can be as long as 8 to 9’6 feet long. These boards are extremely stable to stand or paddle on. The fact is, the longer a surfboard is, the less maneuverability it offers.
Top 20 Soft Top Surfboards
6 Foot 2 Inches
4 Foot 7 Inches
5 Foot 6 Inches
5 Foot 6 Inches
7 Foot 2 Inches
5 Foot 10 Inches
9 Foot 6 inches
If you’re not sure where to start, here is some more information on our personal favorites:
Empire Ehukai Foam Surfboard
The Empire Ehukai Soft Top Surfboard is uniquely designed with a picture of a wave printed in the center of a plainly colored board. It’s shape is a mini log and it comes with a triple fin system that provides great maneuverability. It is a perfect entry level board that comes with an EPS core that saves it from premature wear and tear.
Who makes the Empire Ehukai Foam Surfboard?
Empire Ehukai Surfboards are currently made by Empire. Their boards only currently ship to the Continental USA. These boards are home made in the USA and do not ship to other US territories or PO Boxes.
Easy Rider 7′ Foam Surfboard By Wave Bandit
The easy rider 7’ is a fun retro looking board that gives you a vintage or an 80s vibe. It is designed in a fun egg shape (rounded nose, wide midsection, and even cut-off tail), meaning you will gain maximum comfort while pushing this board. The double stringers that come with the board are made of maple wood and the whole board caps at around 18 lbs. The board has an EPS core and HDPE slick bottom that gives it a slick look and a durable body.
Who makes the Easy Rider 7′ Foam Surfboard?
Wave Bandit soft surfboards are developed in California by real surfers to suit beginner riders all the way up to experienced shredders. The company is heavily endorsed by Ben Gravy who vlogs while surfing adding another layer of brand value to Wave Bandit boards.
California Board Company 6’2” Foam Fish Surfboard
The California Board Company 6’2” Fish is a true shortboard foam board. This board is made especially for beginners but also provides great service for professionals. Staying in line with the company’s heat laminated everything construction, the board consists of a heat laminated IXPE deck, HDPE slick bottom and EPS waterproof core. The board also comes with a fish tail and a tri- fin system. If you want to check out some more awesome Fish Surfboards then take a look at our article on the best Fish Surfboards
Who makes the 6’2” Foam Fish Surfboard?
California Board Company is a subsidiary of Keeper Sports Products, LLC. The company currently operates out of Vista California and is run by a group of friends who started the company in September 2008. They pride themselves in making high quality retail products that they sell to loyal customers at fair and affordable prices.
Liquid Shredder FSE Soft Surfboard
While the name suggests something a lot more destructive, the Liquid Shredder FSE is a wonderful cruiser board with a whole lot of speed. The board has a slick HDPE bottom like a lot of the other boards on this list. The board sticks to simple polypropylene and expanded polyethylene is their foam of choice. While the board requires extra waxing, the paddling on this board is second to none and water entry is surprisingly fast.
Who makes the Liquid Shredder FSE Soft Surfboard?
Liquid Shredder is a subsidiary brand of Soft Surfboard Inc. which is a Family Owned company, founded in 2000 by Scott McClain. The first boards made by Scott were in 1999 and over the last 20 years, the technology and research that goes into these boards have only gotten better. All liquid shredder surfboards also come with pre pre-written warranty.
Wavestorm 8′ Classic Pinline Soft Top Surfboard
The Wavestorm 8’ Classic Pinline Surfboard is one of the most famous soft top surfboards on the market. It is an ultra lightweight board that is extremely easy to handle. This board comes featuring an EPS core, three marine-ply stringers, and a robust bolt-thru fin system. Also commonly referred to as the Costco foam surfboard. HDPE slick bottom provides extra durability and the textured skin gives you the extra grip you need to hold on. Although not high quality, the board does come with a leash and a thruster fin setup.
Who makes the Wavestorm 8′ Classic Pinline Soft Top Surfboard?
Wavestorm is one of the icons of the foam soft top surfboard trends. The company’s motto from day one has been to build boards that are fun and durable. Wavestorm is a brand subsidiary of AGIT Global and has board designers and shapers who hail from all over the US. The company has a rich history of providing the best value boards in the market.
South Bay Board Company 7’ Ruccus Soft Top Surfboard
Another one of South Bay Board Company’s great products is the Ruccus 7’ Soft Top. This board is made for lighter and smaller surfers coming in at only 10 lbs. The board is designed with squash tail and a narrow, pointed nose that gives extra maneuverability. The body is IXPE foam coated with fingerprint texture, meaning there is no extra waxing required.
Who makes the Ruccus Soft Top Surfboard?
The Ruccus comes from the South Bay Board Co, the same family owned Beach and Board business that provides the Tortuga and the Verve. They currently operate out of South Bay in Los Angeles, California. Every part of the boards they produce are custom designed for their models and customers and they have an excellent track record of customer service.
BZ Blackball 55” Shortboard
This is probably one of the smallest surfboards available on the market. This board was made especially to be compact and lightweight. Even though it’s small, it still carries a tough EPS core. It comes with dual stringers and a squash tail.
Who makes BZ Blackball 55″ Shortboard?
BZ was started by Bobby Szabad who was one of the first backyard factory workers of Tom Morey, who invented the first bodyboard. BZ boards are highly regarded as extremely aesthetically and durable for their price.
Giantex 6’ Soft Top Surfboard
The Giantex 6′ is a soft-top version of a standard shortboard. However, I’d recommend that this board be used by children as it performs poorly when it’s used by those weighing above 100 lbs. The core of the board is made of EPS and the bottom from Polypropylene (PP). A leash and fin are included with this surfboard. The board also has a wider surface area from rail to rail to provide greater stability.
Who makes the Giantex 6′ Soft Top Surfboard?
Giantex is a leading Service-centric e-retailer in North America. Unlike the other producers in this list, Giantex isn’t a surfboard only company, as they produce everything from furniture to hardware. While they are known for producing fairly priced products that protect the pocket of the consumer, the Gianter 6’ is the only noticeable board they have on the market
Wavestorm 5’6” Original New Modern Swallow Tail Surfboard
While the 8’ classic is a crowd favorite, it is also somewhat of a longboard. The Wavestorm 5’6” is the ideal shortboard and excels at performing as exactly that. This is the scaled down version of the larger one and comes with all of the good things. This model features reinforced fin-plug inserts to act as a water barrier water. While not being very suitable for heavy riders, it is an ideal pick for small and light riders.
Who makes the Wavestorm 5’6” Original New Modern Swallow Tail Surfboard?
Just like the 8’ Classic, the 5’6” Original is produced by Wavestorm. Wavestorm is one of the icons of the soft top surfboard trends. The company’s motto from day one has been to build boards that are fun and durable. Wavestorm is a brand subsidiary of AGIT Global and has board designers and shapers who hail from all over the US. The company has a rich history of providing the best value boards in the market.
Boardworks 5′ Froth Soft Top Shortboard
The Boardworks 5’ Forth Shortboard is made for riding small two to four feet waves with ease. This foamie is targeted towards children and amateur riders with it’s fun egg shaped body and easy maneuvering skills. The outer skin is EVA and the skin encloses a fully waterproof EPS core. The board itself is light and made with very durable construction which makes it user friendly and just an overall fun experience.
Who makes the 5′ Froth Soft Top Shortboard?
Broadworks finds its origins in the early 90’s. Today, they have evolved into one of the top Stand Up Paddle (SUP) and surf companies worldwide. The company is known for redesigning it’s boards constantly to stay ahead of the curve and produce innovative and top of the line boards that never go out of style.
Paragon 5’6” Mini Simmons Foamie Surfboard
If you’re looking for a small surfboard that looks fun and caters to all experience levels, the Paragon 5’6” Mini Simmons is your way to go. The front third of the board is flat, meaning the board almost transitions to a double concave one. The top deck and rails are vacuum sealed with EVA foam.
Who makes the Paragon 5’6″ Mini Simmons Foamie?
Paragon surfboards started out as a group of friends who started selling surfboards only by using word of mouth marketing. From Baja Mexico to the rest of Central America, Paragon boards are made from surfer experience and loads of innovations.
Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07M6D8X2X/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=soft-top-surfboards-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B07M6D8X2X&linkId=9a9c7ccaa2825665634a3bdf5ba367ed
BZ 6ft Soft Top Surfboard
The BZ 6ft is a wonderful variant of the 5’5” blackball. Slightly larger than the previous model, the Ripper provides better handling in rough situations and comes with all the pros of it’s smaller counterpart. It also comes with a leash and a FCS tri-fin system.
Who makes the BZ 6ft Soft Top Surfboard?
As we mentioned previously, BZ was started by Bobby Szabad. He was one of the first backyard factory workers of Tom Morey, who invented the first bodyboard. BZ boards are highly regarded as great looking boards and durable for their price.
California Board Company 8’ Surfboard
California Board Company makes some slick boards, and their 8’ one is no different. The wood deck design on the body is wonderful and is complemented by heat laminated HDPE bottom and EPS core. Also consists of 3 multilayered stringers.
Who makes the California Board Company 8′ Surfboard?
Keeper Sports Products LLC operates out of Vista California and was started by 4 friends. The company started operation in September 2008 and provides one of the best retail experiences out in the market with a diverse collection of surfboards.
Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/California-Board-Company-Surfboard-Assorted/dp/B0077WAAD6?tag=surf1-20
Thurso Aero 7’ Soft Top Surfboard
The Thruso Aero is designed with a focus on stability and glide. This makes the recipe for a perfect entry level board. The packaging comes with three fins, 6′ high-end double stainless steel swivels and a triple rail saver ankle leash made with strong recycled plastic.
Who makes Thurso Aero 7′ Surfboard?
Founded by Shenglong You, Thurso’s aim is to produce high quality surfboards at a low price. Materials used in Thurso boards are high quality and go through extensive research before being put on the market.
Raystreak 7’2” Soft Top Surfboard
Raystreak’s 7’2” Soft Top Surfboard is a wonderful board to go for if you’re just starting out. Made to compete with SBCC’s boards, it has an IXPE and Crockskin body that requires no waxing. It is constructed with double reinforced epoxy sealed stringers and has a glassed internal core.
Who makes the Raystreak 7’2″ Soft Top Surfboard?
Raystreak is known for it’s hard, durable and reliable surfboards. What their product lacks in flexibility, they make up for it with excellent construction and indestructible boards.
Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/RAYSTREAK-Softboard-Beginner-Board-Surfboard/dp/B07DQSWC45/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8
Rock It Shortbus 7′ Soft Top Surfboard
The Rock it Shortbus is a mid-size foamie that weighs in at around 72 liters. The board is known for its environment friendly material and unique design. It comes with 3x removable performance fins and a sea camo zebra striped HDPE slick bottom.
Who makes the Rock It Shortbus Soft Top Surfboard?
Rock it Shortbus is operated under Rock it Surf, founded by Nick Naylor and based in Virginia Beach in VA. The company also pledges that 2% of their profits will go to humanitarian causes and they produce boards that are environmentally friendly.
Thurso Surf Lancer 5’10” Soft Top Fish Surfboard
The Aero’s little brother, the Thurso Surf Lancer comes with twin Fins , double Stainless Steel Swivel and a leash. It is also composed of an EPS Core, IXPE deck, HDPE slick bottom and a built in non slip deck Grip. The leash is made of recycled materials.
Who makes the Thurso Surf Lancer 5’10” Surfboard?
Founded by Shenglong You, Thurso has one specific goal and that’s making surfboards that are high quality at low prices. Materials used in Thurso boards are high quality and go through intense research before being put on the market.
South Bay Board Co. 9’6” Tortuga Soft Top Longboard
For anyone starting out, the South Bay Board 9’6” is absolutely perfect. The board is designed with an extra wide rounded nose that gives you better stability during wave impact. A very broad chest area on the board body gives you a better paddling experience. This model is CNC shaped and is complimented by a double I-beam stringer system and a heat release system. The board also comes with extended durability due to bamboo layers on the top and bottom deck that provide head damage prevention to help your board last. This specially designed longboard includes 2 FCS Fins along with a 9″ FCS longboard single Fin. These come with a fin key and a 10 foot leash.
Who makes the 9’6” Tortuga Soft Top Longboard?
The 9’6” Tortuga comes from the warehouse of the South Bay Board Co. They are a family owned Beach and Board company that currently operate out of South Bay in Los Angeles, California. Every part of the boards they produce are custom designed for their models and customers and they have an excellent track record of customer service.
South Bay Board Co. 8’0” Verve Soft Top Surfboard
For users looking for a smaller board to tear through the waves, South Bay Board Co. offers a 8’0” Verve model. The board comes with a rounded rubber tail that provides extra stability and much greater vertical storage. There’s a nose rocker attached to the front that helps beginners avoid nose diving. The body is IXPE foam coated with fingerprint texture, meaning there is no extra waxing required. The board is suitable for riders up to 180 lbs or 80 kg in weight.
Who makes the 8’0” Verve Soft Top Surfboard?
The 8’0” verve comes from the same home as the 9’6” Tortuga, the warehouses of the South Bay Board Co. They are based out of their headquarters in South Bay, California. The company has custom designed every part of the surfboard as a specialized, SBBC only experience and thus have great user reviews. South Bay Board Co. is currently family owned.
South Bay Board Co. 6′ Guppy Softboard
The Guppy gives you everything and more you can expect from an entry level foamie. A rounded nose and a wide chest area gives you greater stability while the deck texture ensures easy waxing. The board also comes with two stringers for extra stiffness, and three safe, round edge fins.
Who makes the 6′ Guppy Softboard?
There isn’t much that can be said about the South Bay Board Company that hasn’t been said already in this list. That tells you how reliable they really are and their products scream ‘quality’. Based out of South Bay in CA, they are undoubtedly the most popular manufacturer in this list.
Soft Top Surfboard FAQs
Why Soft Surfboards?
Soft surfboards are usually gateways into the world of surfing. Foamies are extremely light, durable and safe for amateurs just starting out, or even professionals looking for a chill weekend.
What Should my Budget be when Buying a Soft Top Surfboard?
Like most good questions in life, this one can’t really be easily answered. The price range of foamies vary vastly depending on build quality, material, brand value and packaging add-ons. If you’re a bit short on cash, it’s never a bad idea to start out with a mid range foamie as they allow you some breathing room while getting into the sport.
How to Pick a Good Soft Surfboard:
A good surfboard consists of a multitude of parts and materials and often it might get confusing as to what is really important and what is not. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a soft top surfboard:
Fin boxes vs bolt-thru fin: Bolt thru fins are significantly easier to install when you’re setting up for surf. However, fin boxes allow you to access a wider array of stiff fins. Thus, the choice on this one is completely yours.
Leashes: Leashes are the small ropes with velcro strap that keep you attached to your board. It’s always a good idea to have an extra leash even if a stock leash comes with your board as continuous use means they tear.
Stringers: Stringers run the length of the board and gives it some much needed stiffness that helps it maintain shape. Some materials are better than others, but it comes down to which one gives you a better feeling.
Waxing a Soft Top Surfboard
As you would have seen from our recommended soft top surfboards above, many soft top surfboards don’t require waxing. The main reason for this is that the materials used are specifically designed to allow you to grip without needing to wax. If, however, you have a soft top surfboard that does require waxing you’ll need to know just how to do it. It’s pretty simple, but here is a step by step guide to waxing a soft top surfboard:
- Find a shady area and lay your surfboard flat, being careful not to put too much pressure on the fins or else you can damage them.
- Clean the surface of the board with a clean cloth to remove dirt & grime. If it’s a new soft top surfboard then you can give it a quick wipe to remove any dust.
- Apply your basecoat wax by dragging the edge of the block of wax at a 45 degree angle across the areas of the board that you’ll be placing your feet when standing on the board, from the tail in the direction of the nose. Generally that will run from above the fins to up to 2/3 of the board, depending on the size of the board. If you have a traction pad do NOT wax the traction pad. Once you have done that, go the opposite way back so that you create a crisscross affect ensuring that the whole area is covered by wax. You will also need to repeat this process on the areas where you’ll be placing your stomach & chest when you’re lying flat on your board. This is to prevent you from slipping off the board while paddling.
- Once you’ve completed the process of applying the base coat it’s time to finish waxing your board by applying the top coat. Take the large circular bottom face of your wax stick and rub the wax lightly over the areas that you’ve just applied the basecoat to. This will give you a top coat layer over the basecoat.
- You’ll probably find that the top coat will rub off after a single surf session, so you probably have to apply another top coat layer before your next session
We hope that this has helped explain how to wax your soft top surfboard. If there’s anything else you need to know about soft top surfboards that we haven’t covered please contact us & let us know.
Are High Performance Surfboards Bad?
Not at all. But if you plan on becoming the next Kelly Slater you have to start out slow and cut yourself some slack when you’re starting out.
The soft top surfboard you’re starting out with can make or break your confidence. A good surfboard will give you confidence and breathing room, while the wrong pick will only make your job a whole lot harder. Surfing can be a very fun and stress relieving sport. But remember, the first step to becoming a pro is to forgive yourself for making mistakes and just having fun.
I’ll end with a quote by Phil Edwards “The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun”