In Naima Green’s, An Insider’s Guide to Surfing, published in 2014, Green said, “One of the greatest things about the sport of surfing is that you need only three things: your body, a wave, and a surfboard.” Two out of the three elements mentioned are a given. The third is the one that you should pick sensibly. It is the connection between the first two elements. Therefore, you should be on the lookout for the best surfboard brand for that superior surfing experience.
From longboards to shortboards, fish to fun-size, groveler to the glider, the list goes on for the different kinds of surfboards. Each has its differentiation in every detail – shape, outline, fin system. Manufacturers engineered that to get surfers that effect of ultimate feels during rides.
Don’t get too overwhelmed with all the surfboard brands out in the market. As with most things, just because a brand is used by someone popular doesn’t mean they’re the right one for you. The coolest part about finding the best surfboard brand is that among the many you will see, there will be that one stick that just resonates with you. As if calling your name and telling you to “Buy me!”
You must’ve typed in your search box as you’ve asked yourself, “What is the best surfboard brand?” The surfing gods must have been watching you and sent you over here to the right place! We’ve listed down the top-of-the-line brands that specialize in the surfboarding industry, companies that mastered products like materials for the surfboard and even related apparel.
Read on and you just might find the right brand for you!
Table of Contents
The Best Surfboard Brands in the Market Today
- South Bay Board Company
- Chilli Surfboards
- FireWire Surfboards
- Channel Islands Surfboards
- Lost Surfboards
- JS Industries
- Haydenshapes Surfboards
- BIC Sport
- California Board Company
- Liquid Shredder
Based out of the South Bay in Los Angeles, California, South Bay Board Co. is a soft-top surfboard company that specializes in beginner surfboards, hybrid surfboards, SUP boards, and a wide range of beach accessories. They are one of the best surfboard brands for beginners, mainly because of their hybrid collection. This collection includes entry-level soft top surfboards, hybrid soft top surfboards, and paddleboards.
Their hybrid soft top surfboards are the go-to boards for advanced riders in smaller waves. If you are still trying to get accustomed to the waves, you can hop on their paddleboards.
The technology they use to keep up with the mainstream surfing culture includes relying on high-density IXPE foam construction. Added is their stabilizing tri-fin system with spherical rockers that help boards rip through waves with so much ease.
Official Site: www.southbayboardco.com
Our In-Depth Review: South Bay Board Co.
#2. Chilli Surfboards
James Cheal has been surfing since he was 13. He braved his way during his late teens to Sydney to start working at a surfboard company. He sanded and swept floors for next to nothing. It was in 1995 when he first shaped his surfboard. He was 22.
Without much expectation, he rode it on waters and was surprised it worked how he wanted it to. 2 years later and more than a couple more boards he shaped since his first, he founded Chilli Surfboards in a small factory in Brookvale, Australia.
Chilli surfboards brag attention to detail that you won’t find in such places. They put much time and effort into making certain their one-of-a-kind boards are unique and powerful. From the Futures fins designed leash plug to the Colan carbon inlays, the fabrication is exceptional.
Chilli surfboards cater for every level of surfing and every kind of surfer. There’s that Chilli surfboard that your neighbor’s 7-yo son is riding and there is also that Chilli surfboard that Andy Irons ripped with when he competed in the 2004 WSL.
Official Site: www.chillisurfboards.com
#3. FireWire Surfboards
FireWire is combined designs of surfboard enthusiasts/designers Rob Machado and Dan Mann. They are dedicated to elevating surfing experience while minimizing waste in landfills. Their efforts are focused primarily on repurposing waste.
As with any manufacturing process, building surfboards and its accessories generates waste. They are pushing to achieve the goal of zero landfills by 2020. Over the years, they have been keeping EPS foam dust out of landfills. They do that by turning them into walkable surfaces.
FireWire Surfboards use a patented sandwich blank construction to produce a lighter and sturdier board than the conventional PU (polyurethane) surfboards. This technology results in a minimal density with only 1 pound of EPS (expanded Polystyrene) foam. FireWire Surfboards shells are composed of fiberglass and epoxy resin
Their surfboard variations include the FST-Springer model and the Rapid Fire. The Springer is their variation where there is an added balsa stringer in the center of the surfboard for more stiffness. The Rapid Fire is that where an extra pound of EPS foam. This makes an air valve unnecessary due to higher density and less air in its core.
Official site: www.firewiresurfboards.com
Our In-Depth Review: FireWire Surfboards
#4. Channel Islands Surfboards
Created by Al and Terry Merrick in 1969, Channel Islands Surfboards has been committed to performance and quality employing perseverance, innovation, and originality. They have grown from local grass-roots operations to a progressive organization, continuously catering to surfers regardless of their level of experience.
Al Merrick has been one of the most significant and influential personality in the surfboard shaping history. He grew plans for the growth of shortboard from when they were still 12 feet long and made from cheap plastic. Since then, they have been innovating the most cutting-edge designs in the market.
Channel Islands Surfboards consistently maintains itself as one of the best brands in the business. With their “Surfboard of the Year” award for their Average Joe model, it is no surprise that the best surfers in the world like Taylor Knox, Kelly Slater, and Lisa Anderson. Shaun Tomson won his 1977 world title using an Al Merrick surfboard.
45 years later, they remain on top of their game. Even when Merrick had to let Burton Snowboards acquire them in 2006. The unexpected closure of Clark Foam was a huge blow to Channel Islands Surfboards. Fortunately, with the new technologies and with Burton’s expertise in research and development, the surfboards survived and have still been hitting wave after wave.
Official Site: www.cisurfboards.com
Our In-Depth Review: Channel Islands Surfboards
#5. Lost Surfboards
When Matt Biolos got out of high school in the late 80s, he has been working around surfboards. He was into snowboarding then. He and his bunch of friends have got themselves in as a team for skateboarding and football. They weren’t too worried about winning any games, thus they called themselves “Team Lost”.
Eventually, he started learning more about surfboards. His first attempt in 1985 at shaping surfboards got him to sell 20 boards in the first year. He thought a logo could help attract more buyers so he started hand-painting “Lost” wherever he could.
His working environment included master shapers like Tim Patterson and Jim Fuller, as well as some good surfers. As his hand-painted logo became popular, surfers like Christian Fletcher and Matt Archbold got him to do paint jobs on their sticks. By 1992, they ventured to produce shirts with his hand-painted logo, Lost.
One of the most appealing and one-of-a-kind aspects of Lost Surfboards has been the range of board colors and visual designs. Such artistry has been achieved through the efforts of famous surfboard graphic artists like Sean Spoto and Drew Brophy.
Official Site: lostsurfboards.net
Our In-Depth Review: Lost Surfboards
#6. JS Industries
JS is the initials of the Australian shaper Jason Stephenson. With his many years of experience in the surf world, he set himself for success when he launched JS Industries in Australia. Joel Parkinson, a pro-surfer, is Jason’s partner in this venture.
Jason’s fondness in surfing started when he was five. He owes it to the world that he’s fortunate enough to do the things related to surfing – surfing itself, traveling, competing, and shaping surfboards for every surfer in the world.
JS Industry’s high-performance surfboards made its brand respected and highly sought after. Everyone wants their hands on the JS Monsta and some JS Lowdown too! These are well-reviewed for their speed and maneuverability.
Surfboards from JS Industries have been ridden by some of the best surfers worldwide. Some of them include Bruce Irons, Joel Parkinson, Luke Egan, and Marc Occhilupo. In Jason’s own words, he describes their products as a culmination of his life experiences, combined with concepts that work with best waves worldwide.
Official Site: us.jsindustries.com
#7. Haydenshapes Surfboards
Founded in 1997 by Hayden Cox, Haydenshapes Surfboards is a modern performance surfboard brand inspired by design, technology, innovation, and simple/clean aesthetic. This brand is known for its award-winning and global best-selling surfboard design Hypto Krypto. Hypto Krypto made this brand Surfboard of the Year 3 times, both in the United States and in Australia.
Haydenshapes’ manufacturing process is unique to their brand. Their patented FutureFlex technology and customized PE application are being undertaken by their skilled craftsmen across their custom facility in Sydney. They also have their outsourced production line in Cobra, Thailand.
Their surfboards are characterized by centering itself in modern builds, offering innovation and functionality to the surfer. Most well-known models from their line include Holy Grail – apt for all kinds of waves, Hypto Krypto – the most versatile board according to Australian Surf Industry Awards, White Noiz – guarantees versatility and fun with small waves, and Plunder – a lot of speed and many styles to your surfing.
Their main office is in Sydney, Australia but they are expanding and opening their first US branch in El Segundo, CA.
Official Site: www.haydenshapes.com
Our In-Depth Review: Haydenshapes Surfboards
Despite the roller coaster ride in Wavestorm’s popularity, it is still undeniable that they are among the best in the list of surfboard brands in today’s market. First-time surfers, novices, intermediate surfers, and even advanced surfers are what Wavestorm caters for. Even surf schools acquire training boards from them.
As Bloomberg reported, Wavestorm sells no less than five hundred thousand boards each year. It isn’t so hard to understand why. Their sleek design and unparalleled features win hearts of surfers at any level.
Wavestorm builds their boards to challenge conventional ones and making it easily accessible to children and beginners. They can be seen and sold anywhere at a price more affordable than the others. This doesn’t mean quality is compromised. Wavestorm boards are built safer and with high-quality materials.
Year after year, they come up with new models for surfers to try and have fun with. Some of the most popular from their line of surfboards include Sunburst Graphic, Brushed Graphic, their 8’ Classic Longboard (Anniversary Edition), Pinline Classic Longboard, and Tri-color Classic Longboard.
Official Site: www.wavestormboards.com
#9. BIC Sport
From the BIC pen fame in 1979, Bich Family grew BIC Sport from their family’s passion for watersports along with their expertise in sustainable manufacturing. Before the 90s, BIC Sport started getting recognized as one of the world’s leaders in windsurf manufacturing. In the following 20 years, living by their core values of quality, durability, and affordability, they improved their technological manufacturing skills on other projects that included surfing and kayaking.
BIC Sport’s transition to success came from their efforts to differentiate themselves from other surfboard brands. During the 80s, the surfing world was in so much action. The scene for longboards and shortboards were big. And, BIC wanted to excel elsewhere that they perfected the funboard.
While they rose to fame with funboards, they have a lot of sizes available to make it fit everyone. Their specialized technology crafts their products to be the right one for different kinds of surfing requirements.
Two of the most popular from their brand are Dura-Tec and Ace-Tec. Dura-Tec is a light and maneuverable board at an affordable price. Ace-Tec is a little pricier than the latter as it is 30% more sturdy from its Epoxy composite construction.
Official Site: www.bicsport.com
Our In-Depth Review: BIC Sport Surfboards
#10. California Board Company
As a daughter company of Keeper Sports, California Board Company is fairly new in the surfboard business. Only founded in 2008, it has continuously been working to achieve and maintain its spot on the list of the best surfboard brands. The name California Board Company is a representation of the California lifestyle where it is 75° weather all year round.
This brand sells various types of surfboards that are tailored to fulfill every need of your surfer soul. Skimboards, stand-up paddleboards, wakeboards, bodyboards, surfboards, name it, they have it. Their manufacturing process includes EPS foam core that ensures their boards are tough enough to surf with waves of different shapes and sizes.
California Board Company surfboards are custom-molded with three multi-layered laminated wood stringers. Its bottom is made of high-density polyethylene and robust IXPE (Irradiation cross-linked polyethylene) and XPE (Cross-linked Polyethylene Foam) graphic deck that is heat laminated.
Their leash is composed of polyurethane with precision molded fittings. It has neoprene padded ankle strap, and double swivel or rail saver for added safety, and a molded-in nylon leash plug.
Official Site: www.californiaboardcompany.com
Our In-Depth Review: California Board Company
#11. Liquid Shredder
You’ll hear some of the experienced surfers tell you a story of how they started and more often than not, their tale included a foam surfboard they got from Liquid Shredder. This brand is everyone’s transition brand from longboard to shortboards. The challenge in balancing during a surfboard switch is considered by coming out with hybrid surfboards.
Liquid Shredder’s hybrid surfboards are a combination of foam and fiberglass. Putting these two offers stability and buoyancy benefits of the traditional foam board, with the shred-ability of the fiberglass board.
Scott McClain, the founder of Liquid Shredder started designing his surfboards in 1999 only to get his kids into the water. The rest is now a history of a family-owned business that is still running up to these years. This brand produces some of the best handcrafted entry-level boards in the market.
Official Site: liquidshredder.com
Our In-Depth Review: Liquid Shredder Boards
There are almost a hundred brands of surfboards in the market and picking one from this range could be overwhelming. You want to make sure each penny you spend is of value to what you are getting.
If I were to ride the waves or feel like adding to my surfboard rack, I will pick something from FireWire Surfboards. Their efforts in saving the environment are just as important to keep the oceans healthy and the surfers enjoy them for a long time. But, that’s just me. You can always go with the brand that offers a ray of surfboard that suits your style and level of expertise.
A few other brands that didn’t make it to this list but can be considered as runner ups are;
BZ Company – They pride in superior PH core and dual maple wood stringers that help effortlessly in surfing and give peace of mind even in harsh conditions.
NSP Surfboards – New Surf Project design and produce surfboards with high-performance and grip during more time than the conventional boards.
Lib Tech – With more than 30 years of experience in producing surfboards, Lib Tech, an American brand is composed of a team of creative dreamers in board sports.
Thurso Surf – Their eco-friendly boards with classic and elegant graphics all pride in having the stability and buoyancy of a starter surfboard. They use strong recycled plastic materials that create lesser harmful VOCs than standard polyurethane. Such technology results in long-lasting products.
What to Consider in Choosing the Perfect Surfing Brand
If you are just starting, consider some factors in picking the best surfboard brand. Don’t just go for a brand just because you’ve seen it on the poster at the last surfing competition you attended. Many times, surfers, especially beginners end up unhappy as they picked the board that is not right for their riding skills.
Be honest with yourself about your level of experience when making this decision. Aside from costing you more than a few hundred dollars, getting one that isn’t suitable for you may cause you to get discouraged.
The best surfboard brand should match your level of surfing experience. If your experience is minimal, you might find it hard to paddle or balance on a high-performance board. Ask yourself these questions.
- Do I know/Can I paddle?
- What kind of waves will I ride?
- Will it be the same beach, or I’ll try out other beaches?
- How many times am I going to go surfing?
Reflect on your answers before making the next step.
Don’t spend too much, the right surfboard brand for you can adjust to your price range. Usually, the best brands have the widest selection of surfboards to choose from – according to your level of expertise to the waves you wish to conquer.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: Do I have to be a good swimmer to surf?
Q: How old should someone be to start surfing?
Q: What materials are used to make surfboards?
A: Surfboards can be made from a variety of materials, including foam, fiberglass, epoxy, carbon fiber, and wood.
Q: What are the advantages of foam surfboards?
A: Foam surfboards are typically more affordable and easier to learn on than traditional fiberglass boards. They’re also more durable and can withstand bumps and dings without breaking.
Q: What are the advantages of fiberglass surfboards?
A: Fiberglass surfboards are generally lighter and more responsive than foam boards, making them a popular choice for more advanced surfers. They can also be customized with different shapes and designs.
Q: What is the difference between a longboard and a shortboard?
A: Longboards are typically longer and wider than shortboards, which makes them more stable and easier to paddle. Shortboards are designed for more advanced surfers and are typically narrower and more maneuverable.
Q: What is the difference between a thruster and a quad fin setup?
A: A thruster setup has three fins, with two smaller fins on the sides and a larger fin in the center. A quad setup has four fins, with two smaller fins on the sides and two larger fins in the center. Quad setups are generally faster and more maneuverable, while thruster setups provide more stability and control.
Q: What are some eco-friendly surfboard brands?
A: Some eco-friendly surfboard brands include Firewire, which uses sustainable materials and practices, and Grain Surfboards, which uses locally sourced and sustainable wood.
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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.