Surfing feels like a tough hobby to pursue at first, but once you master it, it is more like a drug. You cannot resist yourself from jumping into the waves again. One of the most difficult decisions to take after making up your mind to explore surfing is: which surfboard should I invest as a beginner? A Mini Mal is your answer. However, they are not limited to just beginners, even as an experienced surfer one should own at least one Mini Mal. They are not called funboards just for fun, as an expert surfer mini mals can give you unlimited fun. Mini mals, also referred to as hybrid boards, make an excellent universal surfboard.
This versatile surfboard gets its name from Malibu, the initial surfboard. They work for different kinds of surfers in a wide variety of circumstances. Mini mal is a shorter longboard with length varying typically between 7’0 and 8’6. They are suitable when you want to surf on smaller waves and are known as ideal surfboards for beginners. They have qualities from both longboards and shortboards. To be precise, their nose is wide like a longboard. This is combined with a 3-fin set up like a shortboard. This combination gives the beginner surfers a lot of buoyancy and maneuverability to some extent.
Table of Contents
The 6 Best Mini Mal Surfboards in the Market
- 8’0 Verve by South Bay Board Co.
- Liquid Shredder 7’0 FSE
- BIC Dura tec Malibu Surfboard
- Maluku Flying Frog 5 Fin Surfboard
- Torq Mod Fun 7’6 Surfboard
- Hold Fast Mini Mal Foam Surfboard 8’0
#1. 8’0 Verve by South Bay Board Co (formerly Gold Coast)
This is an 8’ hybrid fun board that is a good option for surfers who have just started. It has a foam top, and when you buy its package, you get fins, a traction pad, and a carrying case. It gives you the buoyancy to catch waves between 1’ and 3’ very conveniently. They make an ideal surfboard to perfect your surfing and popup skills. It also provides you the stability that is needed in surfing.
This board has a rounded nose and a squash tail that comes with a rubber guard. It helps in easier and looser turns between the waves.
The core of this surfboard is made of an EPS core with a cross-hatched mesh bottom and slick HDPE. The entire surfboard is vacuum molded with fiberglass or epoxy. There are three stringers two double reinforced marine wood and one fiberglass rod. The fin system in this board is the FSCII 3fin thruster. They are the Gold coast screw-in fins and screws convenient to attach. It comes with the Gold coast 8’ leash and a leash plug screw. The dimensions of this board are 23”x 3.7” and 8’ in length.
If you want to learn surfing on a medium-sized fun board that is easy to maneuver and paddle then this Gold Coast 8’ Verve is a great option.
- Surfing level: Beginner
- Volume: 74 liters
- Riders: 70 to 180 lbs for beginners and up to 230 lbs for experienced
- Surfing Conditions: Waves from 1ft to 3ft
- Construction: EPS foam core with a cross-hatched mesh bottom and slick HDPE
- Dimensions: 8’ x 23 x 3.7
- Fin System: FSCII 3 fin thruster
- Available Colors: Blue, green, gray
|Can be painted with pens (included with the board)||We got nothin'|
|Easy to maneuver and paddle for beginners
|Designed efficiently for good buoyancy
#2. Liquid Shredder 7’0 FSE
This 7’ foam top funboard sticks with the classic shape of a Malibu for riding waves in any condition. It combines the aspects of a long and shortboard in a single board just as a beginner would want it. It gives perfect stability to the surfer in both fast and slow waves. The dimensions of this board are 20”x 2.75” and 7’ in length.
The nose of this soft board is between a full round one and a pointed nose. It really helps when trying to maintain balance while catching waves. Its similarity with longer boards makes it harder to maneuver if you are not on the tail. On the other hand, its similarity with the shortboard is its squash tail, which makes it responsive and lets the surfer take looser sharper turns. The tail is edgy, wider, and angular that gives the advantage to lift more, maintain speed and convenient while facing slower waves. Plus, it keeps the surfer in control of bigger and steeper waves.
All these advantages make this surfboard an excellent choice for a beginner as well as an expert surfer.
This board is made of an EPE deck, PP hard-slick bottom, and EPS core which is laminated together using heat. The surface does not get scratched easily, and the material of the deck decreases the friction while in water and is also anti-slip. The surfboard comes with a Tri-fin thruster and dual wooden stringer. The fins are stiff and firm, just the right amount to work well yet soft enough to not hurt.
- Surfing level: Beginner/Intermediate/Expert
- Volume: 46 liters
- Riders: 140 lbs for beginners and more for experienced
- Surfing Conditions: Waves from 1ft to 3ft
- Construction: EPE deck, PP hard slick bottom, EPS core
- Dimensions: 7’ x 20 x 2.75
- Fin System: Tri fin thruster
- Available Colors: Blue, yellow
|Suitable for 1’-7’ waves||Leash sold separately
|Good for beginners||Difficult to maneuver
#3. BIC Dura tec Malibu Surfboard
This everlasting hybrid surfboard combines the perfect stability of a longboard with just the required length of a shortboard. It is among the most versatile surfboards from BIC’s Dura tec range. This 7 ft 9-inch board with the dimensions exacting 22 x 2.9 is easily maneuverable and provides a good amount of floatation in head high waves.
The board is an excellent choice for beginners and intermediates to have down-the-line fun but is also a good board for experienced surfers who want to transition from longboard to a shortboard. As a smaller and lightweight surfer, one can confidently carry this stable and durable board around as it gives the feeling of a big board to first-timers.
This board is known for its versatility, affordability, and lasting qualities. The board has a very complimentary design on the surface, and its volume gives an added paddling power to the surfers.
BIC’s Dura Tec boards are created just like a fiberglass surfboard. It has polyurethane foam in the core which is molded into a polyethylene shell. A fiberglass surfboard gets easily damaged while the construction of Dura Tec boards ensures that the board can survive dings without any damage to the surface. As a first time buyer, this board provides you the durability at a very nominal price.
These surfboards have been in the market for more than 30 years now and are the first choice of any beginner surfer. Even experienced surfers love to own this board simply for its brilliant features.
- Surfing level: Beginner/Intermediate
- Volume: 58 liters
- Rider: Upto 85 kgs/187 pounds
- Surfing Conditions: Waves from knee to head high
- Construction: Dura Tec technology
- Dimensions: 7’ 9 x 22 x 2.9
- Fin System: FCS Thruster Set included
- Available Colors: White with design
|Catches waves that are head level high||Can be a little longer for beginner surfers
|Easy to maneuver
|Carved for a beginner
#4. Maluku Flying Frog 5 Fin Surfboard
Every surfer has a day where they get nothing but weaker and smaller waves. While this might seem a good day for someone who wants to see what surfing is like, it is the cause for frustration among the experienced surfer. Such surf conditions make it harder to catch waves since you need the right speed to ride them. So you look for a board that generates speed and still lets you rail on it and spray around.
A fat shortboard would do the trick, but unless you are a contender at the World surf league, you will not be able to get the shortboard even moving due to their uncontrollable fat tails. The Maluku Flying frog surfboard solves your problem by its one of a kind design. The nose of this surfboard is like a Mini Mal or a traditional egg, and the tail is an all-rounded pin shortboard. All you need to do is a paddle in easily, and early on the front end foam of the surfboard, pump using your front foot on the wide, stable the midsection and once ready weigh on the back foot to put your board on rail exactly like a shortboard. It may sound complicated, but once you are out there, this highly responsive surfboard makes surfing a breeze.
This board is made for a surfer who is starting out or for an expert who wants to polish their skills on a shortboard. The board can be used for catching waves which are 2 to 6 ft high. It comes with three fins that can be switched as per your convenience. You can use a single fin to ride smoothly, add the sides when you need more drive or use the sides, and remove the center fin when you want speed.
- Surfing level: Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced
- Surfing Conditions: Waves from 2 ft to 6 ft
- Construction: EPS Epoxy
- Dimensions: Varying dimensions between 5’10 to 9’ in length
- Fin System: Futures Thruster
- Available Colors: Green White and Black White
|Suitable for small and weak waves||Pricey|
|Fins can be adjusted|
#5. Torq Mod Fun 7’6 Surfboard
This 7 ft 6-inch surfboard is known as the Swiss army surfboard plainly for the reason that it suits surfers of every level in almost any condition for catching waves that are waist to head high or overhead to hollow. It is the one board you will need if you passionately travel around the globe to surf in any condition.
It has been the perfect choice for the longest time due to its size as a board to learn surfing on. It is big just enough to glide smoothly and catch waves yet not cumbersome for a beginner to handle.
It has a medium-full nose with a shallow mid-entry and the right volume when there are smaller and weaker waves. For days when the waves are durable and high, you need to step back and manage your foot, and the board will give you unpredictable handling and excellent performance like a shortboard. This board comes with a Futures Tri fin set up.
The board is made using Epoxy technology and EPS material. The EPS core makes it lightweight, and with the biaxial fiberglass cloth, Epoxy resin, and Torqs unique shield skin, it is a reliable and durable board. It has an advanced and unique high-tech construction, which makes this mini mal the highest performing board while being lightweight and responsive.
- Surfing level: Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced
- Volume: 52.4 liters
- Rider: 50-100kgs / 110-220lbs
- Surfing Conditions: Waves from waist to overhead
- Construction: EPS foam core molded in Fiberglass and Epoxy resin
- Dimensions: 7’ 6 x 21.5 x 2.875
- Fin System: Futures Thruster Set included
- Available Colors: White (Matte finish)
|Suitable for all levels of surfing||We got nothin'|
|Can catch waves of any length|
|Most advanced technology
#6. Hold Fast Mini Mal Foam Surfboard 8’0
Introducing the Hold Fast Mini Mal, which we consider to be one of the best surfboards for a beginner, designed with the sole purpose of learning to surf easily. The soft foam top should not be mistaken for a cheap board. If surfing is something you want to get your hands on, this board is your best friend. Buy it once and from the very first wave you will go crazy about this for the rest of your life.
It has a wide deck providing the required buoyancy and stability and makes paddling easy while catching waves perfectly. You can also be sure that whenever you wipe out, you will not hurt anyone in the water. The soft top surface is designed to make standing on the board easily and provide a tighter grip.
The board is constructed with HD durable and soft closed-cell foam and Polyethylene slick bottom for maximum sliding on the wave. This board comes with a leash and rubber safety fins that are safe even if you fall over them. Plus, this board comes with a 12-month warranty.
- Surfing Level: Beginner
- Volume: 70 liters
- Riders: 209 lbs
- Construction: HD Durable closed-cell foam with Polyethylene Slick Bottom
- Dimensions: 8’ x 22 x 3
- Fin System: Rubber safety fins
- Available Colors: Blue
|Soft top gives good grip||Not the best for advanced surfers|
|Suited for beginners
Our Top Pick
We recommend the Torq Mod Fun 7ft 6 Surfboard undoubtedly. If you need a mini mal irrespective of your experience in surfing, these make the best choice. This board is perfect for any surfer in any condition and more importantly, for any wave. As a surfer, one only wants to enjoy in waters and catch as many waves as possible. The other tricks and techniques are an added benefit to learn. The fundamental reason why surfing is preferred as a hobby is so that you can ride on the waves. This can be done only when you have a board that is suitable for all kinds of conditions.
Having a board that suits a particular condition can keep you at a loss on the days where the conditions are not in your favor. However, when you own this Torq fun board, you can be assured to catch waves irrespective of the conditions. The company has mastered the most advanced technology in manufacturing their surfboards, making their products very strong and durable than the others.
The size of this board is perfect to handle and transport and not too short of gliding on it. It is also lightweight, which makes it suitable for younger surfers. All in all, we suggest this board as a must-have as a surfer if you travel and want to surf in waters across every country and continent.
Pros and Cons of Owning a Mini Mal
- They are smaller than the longboards which makes them portable
- Easier for paddling
- Excellent choice for beginners when compared to other foam tops
- Great versatility
- Suitable for smaller water conditions
- Easier to catch waves using these
- Difficult for surfing in larger water conditions
- When compared to shortboards they are less maneuverable
- Lesser speed than shortboards
- Harder to duck-dive
Ideal surfing conditions with a Mini Mal
Mini mals are the perfect boards to learn surfing in summers, so when the waves are smaller and weaker, they perform the best. For waves that are no longer than the height of your waist or chest, you can start learning on your mini mal. When the weather conditions are the opposite (in winters), these boards become challenging to manage.
What qualifies as a Mini mal surfboard?
- Typically has a wide and round nose with the square-shaped tail
- Length between 7’0 and 8’6
- Resembles a longboards’ shape
Types of Mini mals
- Soft top: Soft top mini mals are the most elementary form of these surfboards. The top layer of this surfboard is made of foam and is very helpful in wiping out. In case of strong impact, the fins provide the support required due to their flexibility. They are mostly used to teach in surfing schools, the first choice of beginners and surfers who want to surf only a couple of times.
- Pop-out: Also known as molded boards, their performance is one level over the soft tops. They are challenging to master when compared to the soft top as they are performance-oriented and not very forgiving when on the waves. They are also heavier and harder than the foam top boards.
- Epoxy: Epoxy made funboards, and mini mals are very similar to the pop-out boards but are lighter in comparison. This makes them easy to surf and make progression in the waves. Once you have had a basic lesson on soft-top boards, these are perfect for developing your skills further.
- Hand shaped and PU: The hand-shaped boards are on the higher side of pricing but are lighter and progressive than the rest. Polyurethane boards (PU boards) are almost the same weight and perform equally as hand-shaped. However, they offer lesser resilience in the waters, which is very important while learning.
Advantages of a Mini Mal Surfboard
We are listing out a few benefits of mini mals and why every surfer should own at least one mini mal.
- Great for learning: For a beginner, these make the best boards for catching waves, paddling, and experiencing stability like a longboard. For a person with an average built and height, it gives you an excellent performance. It is also a good option if you are a quick learner, athletic, or have a little experience in surfing before. It is a good option when you want to shift from longboards and wish to explore other surfing boards as well.
- Versatility: No matter your skill level in surfing, these boards give you all the versatility you need. They are the best board a beginner can comfortably learn to surf and are fun to use for experienced surfers. Its wide nose, like that of a longboard, gives you the ability to paddle and nose ride while the smaller size gives to added control and maneuverability.
- Easier to handle: Longboards are bulky, difficult to carry, and transport regularly. Mini mals are the best choice while traveling. They are also easier to carry when you have to walk for a mile to the beach. Even while waiting for the waves or in the lineup, they are convenient to handle and move around than the longboards.
- Small surf conditions: There might be days when there is no swell, and the ocean is filled with small waves. Shortboards will be of no use at these times, and owning a mini-mal will give you the freedom to surf on such days. This is why a lot of short boarders own a mini mal stashed in.
- Occasional surfing: If you hit the ocean only for a few times every year and do not want to invest in a full-fledged surfboard, mini mals are the best way to enjoy occasional surfing.
- Good resale value: Once you have mastered the fundamentals on a mini mal, you can always resell it and get a good amount of money back.
Best Mini Mal Surfboard Brands
A famous name in the pen industry, BIC has made it huge in the surfing business. With the passion for surfing the owners of these companies invested their profits from other companies into surfing. They started BIC surf around the early 2000s with the best shapers in this industry. They wanted to create durable surfboards, give high performance, and also be affordable at the same time. They dreamt of matching the performance of their boards with the best surfboards companies in the world. Within a few years, their products became the choice of surfers in world-wide competitions. Their Dura-Tec technology gave way to surfboards that were indestructible and left their competitors way behind. Today they are a common name in any surf shop.
Fun, durable, and wave catching is how you can describe every surfboard from Liquid Shredder. Their Foam special edition surfboards are fast, easily maneuverable, and sleek at the same time. The shape and design of every surfboard from them is on par with the fiberglass boards in the market. The ding resistant and slick bottom boards generate speed than an average fiberglass board is incapable of. The flexible fins are rubber sealed to resist leakage, and the construction of closed-cell foam resists the water absorption. Their boards make catching waves easier due to the excellent buoyancy. They weigh less, which makes them quick and agile in the water.
Gold Coast Surfboards
Named after the Australian Gold Coast, this company is based in South California. They take pride in themselves for sourcing the best materials for their products to manufacture every surfboard to give higher performance. Every model is tested and designed specifically for the blue waters on the pacific coast. Their boards are clean and straightforward yet highly functional and stylish for both beginners and experienced surfers.
Their products are versatile and durable. No matter what the personality of the surfer, there is a product for you and every type of wave condition. They believe in selling their products directly to their customers, so you are sure to get the product at the best cost possible. They ship worldwide with a wonderful customer service team at your service at all times.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):
Q: What are the best conditions to use a Mini Mal?
Q: Which Fin Set-up works best with a Mini Mal?
Q: Are square and squash tails different?
On the other hand, when you want a Mini Mal to be used as a shortboard you should buy one with a squash tail. It is a variation of a square tail but helps in tighter releases and turns. It makes the board more maneuverable while providing the same dig and lift as a square tail. It offers better control when surfing in bigger waves.
When compared, the squash tails have proven to be more versatile, making them the first choice among surfers.
Q: Can I do some tricks using a Mini Mal?
- Surfboard Travel Bags
- Surf Wax
- Fish Surfboards
- Longboard Surfboards
- Bodysurfing Fins
- Surfboards for Intermediate Surfers
- Foam Surfboards
- Surfboard Brands
Torsten Bird is a talented and adventurous waterman from Western Australia, passionate about surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, hydrofoiling, skimboarding, snowboarding and skateboarding. Torsten has spent countless hours mastering his skills and his dream is to one day represent Australia as an Olympic athlete. Follow Torsten’s adventures on Instagram.