The Mini-Mal surfboard (short for mini Malibu) is a versatile surfboard that has gained huge popularity amongst surfers of all abilities over the years. Not just limited to beginners, these boards are extremely universal and renowned for their guarantee of fun.
Dating back to the 1960s, the Mini Mal surfboard emerged as a sort of combination of the longboard and shortboard. Whilst the Mini Mal is known for its longboard inspired volume and wide nose, it features the classic 3-fin set up of a shortboard.
This mixture of qualities makes the Mini Mal a perfect board for a beginner who is looking for something as stable as it as maneuverable.
Typically between 6 and 8ft long, the Mini Mal surfboard retains all of the benefits of a longboard but is easier to control, and much easier to transport. Mini Mals are a wonderful option for entry-level surfers because they are not only sturdy and easy to paddle with but are extremely versatile when it comes to catching waves.
This best-of-both-worlds style board would be a wonderful option whether you’re a beginner looking to dip your toe into the waters of surfing or whether you’re an experienced rider looking for a bit of fun.
There are endless reasons why you should consider adding a Mini Mal surfboard to your collection, but we know the buying process can be overwhelming. To help you, we thought we would run you through a few of the best options out there, answer some of your questions and remind you of the sorts of things you should be keeping in mind when browsing.
Top 5 Best Mini Mal Surfboards
OUR TOP PICK
The 6’8 Casper by South Bay Board Co is a fantastic Mini Mal board that is currently the #1 best-selling hybrid soft-top surfboard on the market. This fast board works perfectly for all levels of surfing and ensures you will have a great time in the water, even when the surf is on the smaller side.
Whilst these boards are great for beginners, they also easily exceed the demands of the more professional and experienced riders.
Like all of the South Bay Board Co hybrid boards, the 6’8 Casper is custom-designed to be extremely durable, performance-focused, and beginner-friendly.
Made of incredibly high-quality materials such as the EPS watertight foam top deck and the fiberglass bamboo bottom deck, this board is bound to keep you happy for several years.
Its wide shape makes the 6’8 Casper a great board for anyone who struggles with paddling or popping up. It moves effortlessly through the waves and allows for the same sort of seamless carving that you would expect from a top-tier, high-performance board.
Its pulled in swallow tail, thruster-style rounded nose and rockers makes this board a lot more reactive than your typical longboard. To ensure even more durability, this board is fitted with I-Beam wooden stringers for optimum core strength.
With this Mini Mal surfboard, not only will you be able to catch all types of waves, but you will be able to practice and perfect your tight, high-performance turns and tricks.
Sold in a pack that provides everything you need to get going, this board is a gem of a buy.
- Wax-free soft top deck
- Closed-cell foam core for prevention of water build-up
- Extremely durable
- Available in a range of classic designs
- Perfect for even the smallest of waves
- Some buyers reported issues with packaging
- [Performance Focused Hybrid Surfboards]: All SBBC Hybrid Surfboards are custom designed to be semi-beginner friendly, incredibly durable, and very performance focused. Check other ‘Performance’ soft top boards and you’ll find NOBODY offers the incredibly high quality shapes, materials, and design like SBBC does. ‘Fingerprint’ Textured Wax-Free Foam Top Deck + Fiberglassed Bottom Deck + FCSII Fin Boxes + Shaka FCS Fins + Leash = The Ultimate Wave ready set-up.
- [What is a “Hybrid” Surfboard? ]: The Hybrid Surfboard series is the ONLY Soft-Top + Hard Fiberglassed Bottom Surfboard on the market - The crafting of the board is the same as traditional high performance fiberglassed board with a Wax-Free Foam deck resined to the top deck. Every shape is custom designed and tested to ensure the most fun performance shapes possible.
- [Why SBBC Hybrid Surfboards?]: All SBBC Hybrid Surfboards feature ☑️Wax-Free Soft Top Deck, ☑️Hand Glassed, Wood bottom Decks, ☑️CNC-Machined EPS closed-cell foam core, ☑️FCSII Fin Boxes & FCS Fins, ☑️ Full length I-Beam wooden stringer, ☑️ 6oz layers of resin for extra durable boards, ☑️Tapered Rails + Proper Nose/Tail Rocker for the size/style of the surfboard
The Torq Mod Fun 7’6 Surfboard is known for its ability to satisfy surfers of all levels, whether you’re a beginner or an expert. Perfect for waves between 2 and 6 ft, this board works well in virtually all conditions, making the perfect option for anyone looking for an every-day surfboard.
No matter where you live or where you will be traveling, this board would be the perfect companion.
Featuring a 2+1, tri-fin set up and a medium-full nose, this board offers a particularly even balance, making paddling and popping up somewhat of a breeze. Its volume and length make it large enough to catch a variety of waves and glide smoothly through the water but it is still maneuverable enough for someone just starting in the surfing world.
Considering these factors, it comes as no surprise that this Torq Mod Fun has been so popular amongst the surfing community over the years.
This board is constructed of premium materials such as Epoxy resin, biaxial fiberglass cloth, and an EPS molded foam core making the board both lightweight and extremely durable. Its bottom contours will allow the board to carve effortlessly through the waves whilst its size offers both speed and optimal stability.
This board not only performs incredibly well, but its sleek and classic design makes this board a true all-rounder. Whatever your ability, the Torq Mod Fun 7’6 Surfboard will not disappoint.
- Perfect for all-level surfers
- Equipped with a leash and wax
- Futures Thruster fin set included
- Works perfectly in a wide variety of conditions
- Difficult to duck dive
This foam top Mini Mal would be an ideal surfboard for anyone who is just getting started. Influenced by traditional beginner-friendly boards, this soft-top model is easily one of the best beginner-friendly boards available on the market today.
Its wide, thick profile allows for easy paddling and stable pop-ups, whilst its longer length ensures you won’t have any difficulty catching the majority of waves.
Its rounded-out tail gives this board both stability and buoyancy whilst the rockers work to keep the board maneuverable whilst preventing pearling.
The board is equipped with hand-tapered rails than run around the entire board, thinning out near the nose and the tail. This design allows for cleaner, sharper transitions and turns in the water.
The board is composed of a custom fingerprint textured IXPE foam top deck that requires no waxing and a diamond-weave HDPE plastic bottom deck. For extra durability and heat-damage prevention, this board is armored with a single layer of bamboo wood on both the top and bottom decks.
It is also fitted with a triple stringer system which ensures maximum stability and core strength whilst retaining a lightweight feel for optimal maneuverability.
This board is incredibly hard to fault, and at the lower side of the price spectrum, a truly perfect contender.
- Easy to get used to
- Three stingers for optimum core strength
- Squash tail
- Designed for heavier riders
- Not as buoyant as other models
- [Performance Focused Soft Top Surfboard]s: All 7’ Ruccus, 8’ Verve, & 8’8 Heritage Surfboards are custom designed to be beginner friendly, incredibly durable, and very performance focused. The best Premium Beginner Surfboards will feature custom ‘Fingerprint’ Textured Wax-Free Top Deck, Slick HDPE Double Concave Bottom Deck, Perfectly molded shape with Hand Tapered Rails, Durable 3 Stringers, Heat damage Prevention Valve + Bamboo Lining, complete with FCS Compliant Fin Boxes and Fins + Leash
- [8’ Verve Surfboard]: 96” x 23” x 3” - 74L of Volume | Designed by Surfers, influenced by traditional beginner surfboard shapes with a twist of modern design and improved performance aka the Foam Torpedo | Trust us, it’s WAY EASIER to learn how to surf on an 8’ Verve than the squared out, floppy Costco surfboard | Supports Beginner Riders Up To 200lbs - Ideal for older kids and adults to learn to surf on - Perfect for making the most of any small/crumbly summer wave- Also still Wax Free!
- [Why SBBC's Premium Beginner Soft Top Surfboards?]: ☑️Wax-Free Top Deck, ☑️Full Double Concave Bottom Deck reinforced with Slick, Woven HDPE hard plastic, ☑️Custom, Perfectly molded, Closed-Cell EPS Foam Board Shapes (not generic chinese cookie-cutter shapes with pretty prints), ☑️(2) Wooden + (1) Fiberglass Rod Stringers, ☑️Tail Bumper, ☑️ Auto-Heat Release Valve +  6oz Resin Layers +  Bamboo Body Armor Layers for extra durability, ☑️FCS Compatible Fin Boxes and Fins + Leash
The Bic Mini Malibu Surfboard is one of the best entry-level surfboards available in the industry. Not only perfect for the less experienced, this board would also be a brilliant addition to any surfer’s quiver who is looking for something to keep them happy on small surf days.
One of the most versatile boards of Bic’s collections, the Mini Malibu ensures stability, speed and can catch a vast variety of wave types. Coming from a brand that claims to provide answers to everyday needs, this simple and reliable board provides you with all the stability and durability you need at a very reasonable price.
Its DURA-TEC construction is composed of a polyethylene shell and a polyurethane foam core making this board not only extremely lightweight but almost indestructible! It is a great option for anyone looking for a fun, nippy ride that will perform wonderfully through all the seasons.
At 7ft 3, this board is a smaller model compared to some of the others. It is highly buoyant, flexible, and easy to maneuver but its solid construction ensures that you won’t have to worry about your board getting damaged in an impact situation.
It is no wonder that Bic’s reliable boards have been on the surfing market for over 30 years. If you are a beginner looking for somewhere to start, we can assure you that this classic board would be the perfect companion.
- Designed with beginners in mind
- Very durable
- Lightweight and easy to maneuver
- FCS fin system
- Not as good for experienced riders
The 6ft 4 Liquid Shredder Element Soft Surfboard combines all the desirable elements of the longboard and the shortboard. Best known for performing well in medium surfs, this board would be a perfect choice for a younger rider who is slightly more experienced in the water.
Like the majority of Liquid Shredder Surfboards, the sleek design of this board makes for a seamless, maneuverable experience in the waves.
Its high-tech construction which consists of a closed-cell foam aircraft quality vinyl covering and a full-length Peruvian hardwood stringer makes this Mini Mal style surfboard extremely durable and sturdy. Its unique hybrid soft design and shorter length make this board impressively lightweight and child-friendly.
With a tri-fin set up and a wide rounded nose, this board will ensure you move swiftly through the water whilst the patented aluminum stringer makes for a rigid, durable core. Conveniently, the board’s patented soft vinyl outer isn’t laminated meaning there is no chance of de-lamination in the sun, which is a common issue in many surfboards.
The simple but effective construction of this board and its vibrant, classic design makes the 6’4 Liquid Shredder Element Softboard a brilliant choice for anyone looking for a cheaper Mini Mal that simply does the job.
- Great for beginners
- Anti-slip, tractive surface
- Tri-fin thruster
- Works well in a variety of waves
- Leash sold separately
Best Mini Mal Surfboards Buying Guide
There are hundreds of different Mini Mal surfboards available on the market. With so many different shapes and types, we know it can be hard to distinguish exactly what surfboards qualify as true Mini Mals and which do not.
To save you some time (and hopefully some money), we have put together a short guide to help you make your decision. We have outlined some of the factors that you should be bearing in mind before making a purchase and have answered some questions that we think you may find helpful.
Size and weight
A Mini Mal will generally range from between 7ft to 8ft 6. Whilst bigger boards will typically be more stable and allow you to catch more waves, they will be more difficult to maneuver and control.
For adult men, it is generally recommended to choose a board that is around 8ft, whilst for adult women, it should be around 7ft 6. For kids and petite adults, it would better to choose a slightly shorter model that is no higher than around 7ft 2. As a rule of thumb, novice, less experienced riders will need extra floatation and stability, so thicker, longer Mini Mal boards will work better.
When buying your board, you should always refer to the provided sizing charts to choose the right model for you. You will also want to keep the weight of the board in mind when it comes to transportation. In terms of maneuverability, lighter boards will be better for younger riders.
Types of Mini Mal Surfboards
The Mini Mal surfboard comes in four different types. The most common form of the board is the soft top. As the name suggests, the top of the board is built of a cushioned, foam layer, making the soft board a popular choice amongst beginners who are more likely to fall. The pop-out Mini Mal surfboard is better for surfers who can perform at a slightly higher level.
These boards are significantly heavier and tougher than the soft-top boards. Epoxy Mini Mal boards are lighter than the pop-out boards, offering a much easier and progressive surfing experience. Finally, the hand-shaped and PU boards are the lighter of the bunch, and whilst they tend to offer less resilience in the water, they are typically on the pricier side.
If you are a surfer looking to downsize from a longboard, a thruster fin set up would be ideal. The thruster set up consists of three equally sized fins and can be set up in a variety of ways. Thruster fins are not only light and highly durable but are known for maximizing the speed and power of the board.
They are extremely popular in Mini Mal boards because of their versatility, strength, and ability to perform well in a wide range of conditions. Generally, Mini Mal surfboards work best with a 2+1 Thruster set up, which allows for a smooth, stable and controlled ride.
On Mini Mal boards, you will typically find either a square or squash shaped tail. The two shapes achieve entirely opposite effects. Whilst a square tail will cause the Mini Mal to behave like a longboard, the squash tail will be more beneficial to someone more familiar with the shortboard.
The square tail will allow the board to dig further into the waves, whilst the squash tail will enable easier maneuverability and sharper turns.
The squash tail is generally more popular amongst surfers because of its versatility and ability to work well in larger, more aggressive waves. It simply depends on your personal preference, but generally, a square tail will provide more stability whilst a squash tail will provide you with more maneuverability.
Best Mini Mal Surfboards - FAQ's
Can I do tricks on my Mini Mal surfboard?
Yes. Whilst the Mini Mal surfboards are renowned for their paddling ability and stability, they are also a great option for anyone looking to try their luck at surfing tricks. Typically easier to maneuver and control than regular boards, Mini Mal’s are more than suitable for trying out some classic stunts.
Just ensure that you are comfortable with the basics of surfing before trying anything too complicated!
Do I need to wax my Mini Mal surfboard?
Unless your Mini Mal is already equipped with a particularly gripped deck, waxing is essential. The wax will provide you with the traction and grip you need to ensure you remain on the board as much as possible.
Even if your surfboard appears to be rubbery, it can become extremely slippery when wet, so to stay on the safe side, it is always best to wax.
What are the best conditions for Mini Mal surfing?
Mini Mal surfboards are designed to work best in small surf conditions. Unlike shortboards that can be quite useless when the ocean consists of smaller waves, the Mini Mal will ensure you much more freedom and flexibility.
Mini Mal boards perform particularly well with waves that reach somewhere between your chest and waist, which is why Mini Mal’s are great for summer rides. If the waves are much larger or more powerful, the board will be much more difficult to manage and you will likely find it harder to progress.