Top 10 Best Surfboards for Beginners | 2020 Reviews (CBC)

Before you can successfully feel the thrill of catching your first wave, you must start with the best surfboards for beginners first. Even if you’re still planning to take surfing lessons, it would be an advantage to have a surfboard for your experience and style.

Surfing is a fantastic sport, an exciting and exhilarating way to enjoy the ocean. Unless you want your first surfing experience to be a letdown, getting the ideal beginner surfboard is necessary.

Top 8 Best Surfboards for Beginners in Review

The only problem with getting your first surfboard is the countless options available in the market and not knowing where to start. So, we’ve prepared a shortlist of the top surfboards that are beginner-friendly to make your purchase simpler.

  1. South Bay Board Co. Heritage Soft Top Surfboard – Best Overall
  2. Liquid Shredder FSE Soft Surfboard – Best for Kids
  3. Wavestorm Classic Surfboard – Best Value for Money
  4. Verve Surfboard by South Bay Board Co.
  5. Beginner Surfboard by California Board Company 
  6. Hybrid Surfboard by South Bay Board Co.
  7. Wave Bandit Pro EZ Rider Surfboard
  8. Aero Soft-Top Surfboard by Thurso Surf

#1. South Bay Board Co. Heritage Soft Top Surfboard – Best Overall

South Bay Board Co. Heritage Soft Top Surfboard

Specifications:

  • Length – 8’8 feet
  • Board Weight – 23 pounds
  • Weight Capacity – 230 pounds
  • Materials – IXPE foam (top deck); EPS closed-cell foam (core); HDPE (bottom deck); one fiberglass stringer; two wooden stringers; resin
  • Accessories – (3) fins, leash, and hardware

South Bay Board Co. is a famous brand in the surfing community, well-known for producing some of the best surfboards for all types of surfers. Its Heritage surfboard, in particular, is ideal for those who are starting to learn the basics of the sport. This board has a soft-top design that is perfect for newbies.

The Heritage surfboard is super stable and buoyant and can support a surfer up to 230 pounds. It is exceptionally well suited for beginner adults with its 8’8″ size. Plus, the extra thickness, width, and volume that you can get from this board provide better stability while mastering how to float in the water. It’s an extremely responsive board, thanks to its classic longboard design, making paddling out into the ocean a breeze.

Material and construction-wise, it’s another reason why this surfboard made it to our top list. The combination of high-quality foam and resin gives the surfboard its safe soft-top design but with rigidity and strength to last for a long time. The heritage surfboard holds up exceptionally well when knocked around by waves, perfect for newbie surfers. Plus, the soft deck will soften the blow if you fall off and collide with it.

Another excellent feature of this beginner surfboard is the plug on the nose where you can attach a GoPro if you want to film your surfing adventures.

ProsCons
Rounded nose and tail rocker are beginner-friendly
A bit heavy to carry around at 23 pounds
Lightweight and easy to handle
Grippy and no-wax fingerprint texture
Two layers of protective resin
Features a nose plug for your GoPro

#2. Liquid Shredder FSE Soft Surfboard – Best for Kids

Liquid Shredder FSE Soft Surfboard

Specifications:

  • Length – 8’8 feet
  • Board Weight – 17 pounds
  • Weight Capacity – 210 pounds
  • Materials – EPE foam (top deck); polypropylene (bottom deck); (1) fiberglass stringer; (2) wooden stringer
  • Accessories – (3) fins

One of what pro and seasoned surfers do that may be challenging for beginners is waxing the surfboard. Surf wax is an entirely different matter, so it’s always an advantage to have a board that doesn’t require you to put one for it to work well. That convenience is what you can get from the Liquid Shredder FSE Soft Surfboard.

Another advantage you can get from this board is its size. This surfboard is ideal for those who are beginning to learn the basics of surfing with its nine-feet length. Longboards like this one are much easier to handle but also lets you get some awesome rides.

It has an EPE foam top deck, which lessens the blow when you accidentally collide with the board during a wipeout. The tail with rubber tips and round-shaped nose makes the surfboard even more beginner-friendly. It has sleek frames, giving you more convenience and speed when paddling out. For a beginner surfboard, the Liquid Shredder FSE Soft Surfboard offers incredibly high speed, which appeals to surfers of all types and skill levels.

The rocker of the board also caters to newbies. It provides maximum stability, so you don’t fall or slide off the board every time a wave hit. The removable fins also make it easier to stuff the board on your car for transport.

ProsCons
Ideal for use by kids who wants to learn surfing
Doesn’t include a surf leash
No wax needed for maximum grip and stability
Beginner-friendly construction
Affordable surfboard option

#3. Wavestorm Classic Surfboard – Best Value for Money

Wavestorm Classic Surfboard

Specifications:

  • Length – 8 feet
  • Board Weight – 11.5 pounds
  • Weight Capacity – 200 pounds
  • Volume – 86 liters
  • Materials – foam (top deck); HDPE (bottom deck); EPS foam (core); marine-ply stringers
  • Accessories – surf leash, traction pad, removable fins

You won’t go wrong with getting a classic surfboard from Wavestorm as your first board. It is one of the best-selling boards for those who want to learn how to surf and for good reasons.

The Wavestorm Classic Surfboard is a safe choice for beginners, both kids, and adults, who are within its 200 pounds weight limit. It’s a big and full board at eight feet long and around two feet wide, a very balanced option that is easy to handle in the ocean. It also packs 86 liters in volume, making the board incredibly buoyant, so you’ll have a blast riding it.

The Wavestorm Classic is an excellent example of a safe and beginner-friendly longboard with its soft foam material on the top deck. It also comes with a smooth water barrier layer to offer a stable platform to stand on, perfect for new surfers.

Material-wise, this surfboard comes built with quality to last for long. It has a resilient and high-density bottom deck that can handle rough treatment and keep its shape all summer long.

Overall, this surfboard checks all the boxes for all features that will be helpful while you master the basics of surfing, especially if you are looking for an affordable option.

ProsCons
UV protection adds a layer of shield against sunburnDoesn’t offer much for progressive learners
Soft crosslink design provides resilience and strength
Lightweight but has a solid and robust construction
Textured grip for optimum foot stability

#4. South Bay Board Co. Verve Surfboard

South Bay Board Co. Verve Surfboard

Specifications:

  • Length – 8 feet
  • Board Weight – 23 pounds
  • Weight Capacity – 230 pounds
  • Materials – Wax-free fingerprint-textured (top deck); HDPE plastic (bottom deck); EPS cell foam (core)
  • Accessories – surf leash, (3) fins

It’s not surprising that another model from South Bay Board Co. makes it on the list of the best surfboards for beginners. The Verve model from the brand is eight feet long, enough to cater to surfers of all types and sizes, especially with a weight capacity of up to 230 pounds.

What makes the Verve Surfboard one of the best in the market is it caters to surfers of all levels and skills. The nose shape of the board is well-balanced to avoid diving, which is helpful for newbies. That makes it easy to maneuver when catching waves, which appeals to experienced surf riders as well.

This foam board has the ideal shape and size, with its 23 inches width, for catching and riding whitewater waves. The round-shaped tail with rubber tips provides the board its stability, so beginner surfers shouldn’t find it hard to balance on the board while standing. The double concave design further makes the board stable, helping absorb the impact when the wave hits.

Overall, the Verve model from the famous brand is a top contender for the best beginner-friendly surfboard.

ProsCons
PVC lined pinholes ensures water stays out of the core materialsGreat features come with a high price tag
Double concave bottom design ensures high speed

#5. California Board Company Beginner Surfboard

California Board Company Beginner Surfboard

Specifications:

  • Length – 7 feet
  • Board Weight – 11 pounds
  • Weight Capacity – 210 pounds
  • Materials – EPS foam (top deck); HD Polyethylene (bottom deck); (3) laminated wood stringers
  • Accessories – leash, tri-fin system

Surfing is not only for adults. Kids can enjoy and experience the thrill of riding through the waves in the ocean too. With the right equipment, they can experience a blast while in the sea, and the California Board Company has long been providing kid-safe surfboards.

Its beginner surfboard, in particular, is perfect for kids to learn the ropes. At seven feet long, the California Board Company Surfboard is still a longboard that is easy to use for newbies. Plus, the board comes equipped with safety features like the traction pad and surf leash to make surfing fun and secure for kids.

One of the favorite features of this surfboard is its vintage look brought by the wood-inspired design. However, the top deck of this board is high-quality EPS foam, which is soft enough that it won’t cause injuries when you collide with it.

The three stringers made of wood are also high-quality and durable, which should stay in top shape for years to come. The construction of the board is also lightweight at 11 pounds, so it’s not challenging to carry and transport even for kids.

However, don’t forget that this surfboard is for kids. Although it has a 210 pounds weight capacity, it’s only ideal for people who are small enough to balance on the board.

ProsCons
Ankle strap made using neoprene materials is comfy
Weight capacity could be higher
Design and appearance get inspiration from classic surfboards
Expensive surfboard option
Small dimension for easy transport and ideal for kids
High-quality fishboard structure and construction
Wooden stringers offer optimum durability

#6. South Bay Board Co. Hybrid Surfboard

South Bay Board Co. Hybrid Surfboard

Specifications:

  • Length – 6 feet
  • Board Weight – 8 pounds
  • Weight Capacity – 200 pounds
  • Materials – Wax-free foam (top deck); EPS closed-cell foam (core); fiberglass (bottom deck)
  • Accessories – four-fin system, fin box, fin key, surf leash

If you want to get serious with learning how to surf, getting a surfboard that is good for progression is the best investment. Like other boards from South Bay Board Co., it’s Hybrid Surfboard offers the same top-notch quality that the brand is known for in the surfing community.

However, unlike the beginner boards from the company, this Hybrid surfboard offers a performance-focused design. It is more of a shortboard for when you’ve mastered the basics of surfing with its six-feet length.

The soft-top design of the board is a welcome feature for newbies. It reduces the risk of injuries when you fall off or collide with your board when a wipeout happens. The hard fiberglass bottom, on the other hand, makes this surfboard sturdy and long-lasting.

The best part of this model is its full-length wooden stringers combined with six ounces of resin, which gives you an extremely durable board to ride on. You’ll also get the best possible speed while riding the waves, thanks to the surfboard’s rocket-shaped nose and tapered rails.

Compared to most beginner surfboards that feature tri-fin systems, this one has a quad-fin arrangement for more surfing success. Another advantage of this board is you don’t need to put a surf wax on it to get maximum traction. The top-deck material already provides optimum grip, so you’ll stay in place while riding the waves.

ProsCons
Top deck materials and construction is tough enough against wavesComes with a high price tag
Wax-free top deck provides optimum traction level

#7. Wave Bandit Pro Easy Rider Surfboard

Wave Bandit Pro Easy Rider Surfboard

Specifications:

  • Length – 8 feet
  • Board Weight – 16.93 pounds
  • Weight Capacity – 200 pounds
  • Materials – HDPE plastic (bottom core); EPS foam (core); double Maple wood stringers
  • Accessories – tri-fin setup

Wave Bandit is another well-loved name in the surfing community, and like its name, this Wave Bandit Pro Easy Rider Surfboard is easy and straightforward to ride even for beginner surfers.

At eight feet long, this surfboard offers plenty of room for newbies to master their surfing basics. Its unique egg shape is also an advantage for all types of surfers looking for a stress-free and smooth wave riding session. This longboard doesn’t need a lot of maneuvering for a more rhythmic paddling and relaxed wave catching experience.

Although you may not use this for quick runs and sharp turns, this surfboard offers top-notch quality for getting some quality rides in the ocean, enough to become a confident surfer.

It ticks all boxes as one of the ideal surfboards for beginners. This model has a high-quality EPS core and dual stringers to provide stability while floating in the ocean. The HDPE material at the bottom is durable as well, making the board long-lasting.

Its round-shaped nose and flat tail with a broad middle make the board impressive in maintaining low to medium speed.

Plus, it can carry a weight of up to 200 pounds, perfect for adult beginners. The only downside of this surfboard is it doesn’t include a surf leash, which most other beginner boards have. It also requires surf wax to get maximum grip on the board, which can be a bother for newbies.

Overall, the board’s shape and dimension with impressive construction appeal to surfers of all types and levels.

ProsCons
High-quality construction appeals to both beginner and seasoned surfers
Requires surf wax for getting maximum grip on the board
Double maple wood stringers provide optimum stiffness
Removable 4.5 inches fin set

#8. Thurso Surf Aero Soft Top Surfboard

Thurso Surf Aero Soft Top Surfboard

Specifications:

  • Length – 7 feet
  • Board Weight – 8 pounds
  • Weight Capacity – 210 pounds
  • Materials – IXPE (top deck); EPS foam (core); HDPE plastic (bottom deck); wood stringers
  • Accessories – surf leash, (3) fins, double stainless-steel swivels

A lightweight surfboard is always an advantage for newbies in surfing. Lighter boards are more comfortable and faster to paddle out into the ocean, letting you catch more waves. The Thurso Surf Aero Soft Top Surfboard is a must-have when it comes to the lightest surfboard in the market. At eight pounds, you’d wonder why it can carry as much as 210 pounds of weight. The brand itself has been in the business for over two decades, well-known for its top-notch soft board technology.

However, despite its very lightweight feature, this surfboard is stiff and sturdy. The top deck is high-density IXPE material that makes the board comfortable and safe to use. On the other hand, the bottom layer features a slick HDPE plastic material for durability and improved speed.

Meanwhile, if you worry about slipping or falling off your surfboard, this Thurso Surfboard shouldn’t be a problem, thanks to its two wooden stringers that provide maximum stability. Balance is natural on this board, even when you are standing. Another excellent feature of this board is its adjustable fin box, making it convenient for transport and for accommodating your surfing performance as needed.

The surfboard comes with a surf leash too, which is always a bonus, and with the seven feet length, you get plenty of room for error, perfect for beginners overall.

ProsCons
Heat laminated bottom deck minimizes the risk of delaminationMay not accommodate taller surfers
Extremely lightweight but robust construction
Easy to balance on while standing

Top Pick – Best Surfboards for Beginners

Checking all the boxes for the best beginner surfboards and more is the South Bay Board Co. Heritage Surfboard. The brand itself is one of the well-rated names in the surfing community, and its Heritage model is a high-tier option for beginners.

The 8’8” long surfboard provides a lot of room for novices to practice and master surfing basics and more. However, the magic that makes this board beginner-friendly lies in its material and construction.

It features high-density foam with a layer out of six ounces of resin for optimum durability. This surfboard got built to last for a long time. The squashed tail and rounder nose provide maximum stability that even beginners will find balancing on the board a breeze. What’s even better is the wax-free foam on the top deck, which doesn’t irritate the skin and offers maximum traction with no surf wax needed.

It may be a bit heavy to carry and transport at 23 pounds, but that’s nothing like hard work, and a bit of exercise can fix.


Types of Surfboards for Beginners

Having a professional surfboard can be an appealing prospect. However, it may not be the best option to start learning how to surf for beginners. The surfboards that professional and seasoned surfers use got built to provide high maneuverability and speed through the biggest waves, which a novice doesn’t need.

As a surfing beginner, here are the top choices for the best types of surfboards.

Foam Boards

Traditional surfboards are brittle with hard construction, which can be a hazard for beginners who accidentally collide or fall off the board. The ideal surfboard for beginners is soft and comfortable but durable, like foam boards.

This type of surfboard catches waves without issue, and it won’t hurt if you collide with them as you get wiped out by the waves. Another advantage of using foam boards for beginners is it doesn’t require surf wax as them mostly already comes with textured soft tops for optimum grip. It ranges on length from seven to nine feet.

Foam boards are also a low-cost and low-risk investment for those trying to try their hands at surfing. The only downside with foam boards is they don’t last very long compared to epoxy of fiberglass boards. They also tend to be heavy, which can often make it challenging to paddle out.

Longboards

If you don’t want to start learning how to surf using a foam board, your next option is to get a longboard. Although it is a bit pricier than foam boards, this type of surfboard is more responsive and provides better maneuverability and speed.

Longboards are ideal if you are serious about learning the sport, it can tackle a much wider variety of waves, fast-tracking your skills and progression. This type of surfboard also lasts for a lifetime when well taken care of, and it holds its resale value.

The only disadvantage with longboards is its size, which can be between eight to nine feet, making it challenging to load in the car.

Performance Shortboards

This type of surfboard is more fitting if you’ve already established some surfing skills. Performance shortboards are the most responsive and fastest surfboard in the market. It’s incredibly lightweight with a small and compact size that makes it easier to transport inside the car.

Performance shortboards provide a much better paddling experience compared to broader and longer boards. The only downside is it requires excellent balance, so you don’t easily get tipped over.

Funboards (Magic Carpets)

Funboards or what other surfers call the magic carpet typically feature a single fin as opposed to a three-fin system in most boards. They have small construction that easily fits inside most cars.

Funboards are stable in the surf, especially with the option for thruster configurations. However, they are best for use in knee-high wave faces to those with an overhead height.

Guns

This type of surfboard is similar to performance shortboards but is best for use in bigger waves. It has better stability and speed that a shortboard, ideal for tackling powerful waves if you’ve got the skills for it. Guns are also easy to transport in the car.


Features to Consider When Buying ­Surfboards for Beginners

Not all surfboards are equal. Some are beginner-friendly, while others are best for experienced and professional surfers. So, before you choose the best surfboards for beginners, there are several things you need to consider first.

Size

For those who are starting to learn the basics of surfing, the bigger surfboard you get, the better. The board’s size will define how easy it is to catch and ride ways and maneuver, especially for newbies. A surfboard between seven to nine feet long should offer beginner surfers enough legroom.

Bigger surfboards may look like ones that pro surfers are using and can be intimidating for first-time users, but they are much easier to use than smaller boards.

Materials

Surfboards come in a variety of materials, which affects the board’s performance and overall durability. For a surfboard for beginners, you should stick to the materials that are easy to handle.

Foam boards or longboards made of softer materials are best for newbies. They float better, and with a softer deck, you minimize the injuries when a wipeout happens. Boards made of solid and sturdier materials can easily injure you if you hit or fall off of it.

Until you develop better surfing skills, it’s better to stick with surfboards made of lighter and softer materials.

Height, Weight, and the Board’s Capacity

Each surfboard comes with weight capacity, so choose one that is ideal for you.

Also, your weight and height can determine how easy or challenging it is to paddle in the ocean or ride the waves. You need a longer surfboard if you weight more to maintain the balance while in the water.

Skills

Another thing that you also have to consider when buying a surfboard for beginners is your skills. It’s better to stick with the basic beginner surfboard if you are surfing for the first time. Sticking with more extended and softer boards can help you get a feel while you brush up on the basics of surfing. However, if you are not new on the sport and need a board to improve your surfing skills, getting one that is ideal for progressive learners is best.

Wave Size

Different types and sizes of surfboards have designs to tackle different types of waters or waves. Where you are planning to go for surfing also plays a massive role in what kind of surfboard you should get.

For example, if you are planning to surf in flat and calm waters with waves one to four inches high, longer surfboards will work best. If you are confident with your surfing skills and plans to tackle bigger waves, smaller and slimmer boards could do.

Rails

Rails of a surfboard can either be low, medium or high and determine the deck’s width and volume. Soft and fuller designs are ideal for beginners as it’s easier to paddle out and is more lenient when making turns.

On the other hand, hard and thinner rails cut better into the water for better surfing performance, ideal for pro and seasoned surfers.

Fins

Fins are the primary steering instrument of the surfboard. Depending on the board, the fin setup may vary from a single-fin, tri-fin system, or quad-fin arrangements. They can also be a removable or permanent mechanism.

Most surfboards have a three-fin system. The first two fins work in steering the board while the third is responsible for the direction. When choosing the best surfboards for beginners, getting one with removable fins is ideal for traveling.

Rocker

This feature defines hoe upturned the surfboard is from the tail to the nose. The rocker of a board affects both its turning capacity and speed. A flat or small rocker is ideal for use in calm and flat water, while large rockers are better for rough seas with higher waves.

Most longboards feature a flat rocker, which is ideal for newbies since it is much easier to paddle out and ride.


Conclusion

Surfing is one of the most exciting activities you can do in the ocean. However, using improper equipment can hinder the enjoyment and fun of the sport. For the best chance to start learning and enjoy surfing, getting the best surfboard for beginners is necessary.

Our top pick for that is the South Bay Board Co. Heritage Soft Top Surfboard. It’s soft but durable construction is safe and easy to paddle and ride for beginners.

Above everything else, choosing the best surfboard should depend on your specific needs and preferences. This guide should serve as a reference for choosing the best beginner surfboard to give yourself a great surfing experience.


FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: Can I skip using foam boards even if it’s my first time learning how to surf?

You can, but it’s not advisable to do that, especially if it’s your first time learning how to surf. Foam boards are much easier to deal with when you are still learning the basics. They are far safer to use for beginners as well.

Q: How thick should a beginner surfboard be?

The general rule regarding the thickness of surfboards is that the thicker it is, the easier and faster it is to paddle out and ride in the ocean. The faster you paddle in the water, the more waves you can try to catch and ride. Thicker surfboards will let you ride soft waves too, which makes it ideal for beginners. However, the thickness of the board will give you less control over it, limiting its performance.

Q: Do I need to put wax on my surfboard?

Like some of the surfboards reviewed above, not all of them will need waxing to work. Some boards feature specially textured materials that already provide maximum grip and stability without the help of surf wax.

Q: Can I learn surfing by myself? Should I enroll in surf lessons?  

Learning how to surf can be tricky, especially if you don’t have any background. Getting lessons from someone who knows the ins and outs of the sport is always a good idea. The tips and help that you can get from a pro surfer will go a long way when it’s time for you to hit the ocean. However, it’s not utterly necessary as you can now find a lot of information about surfing on the internet. You can also ask for pointers from other people who surf.

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