Foam surfboards are the perfect way to ease yourself into the waters as a beginner. These lightweight, buoyant boards present fewer risks to not only the surfer but the riders around them. They not only enable you to catch more waves than you would be able to with a standard hard-top boards, but they allow you to build high speeds and perform tight, sharp maneuvers.
Unlike the more traditional surfboards that are constructed of epoxy and fiberglass, foam surfboards are not composed of any hard materials. They typically consist of a high-density EPS foam and a slick bottom deck. This combination of materials makes for an extremely flexible and maneuverable board that is still incredibly strong and rigid.
There are a plethora of foam surfboards available on the market today in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit all types of riders. The majority of major surfboard brands now offer some kind of soft-top/foam board collection that is directed towards those who are new to the world of surfing.
Whatever your budget may be, there will be a foam surfboard out there for you. We thought we would introduce you to some of the wonderful soft top options that are available on the market today across the various surfboard categories.
We are also going to be taking you through a few factors that you should be considering before buying a soft-top board and answering some of your big questions
Top Pick Foam Surfboards
Longboard Soft Top
The South Bay Board Co.8’8 soft-top longboard is of the best foam surfboards on the market today. Constructed of a lightweight EPS closed-cell foam core and a slick, HPDE plastic bottom deck, this board is not only durable but lightweight and incredibly buoyant. The foam board is also covered with one layer of 6oz fiberglass and bamboo armor which works to further improve the board’s resistance to heat and water damage.
The board is also equipped with a triple stringer system which means it is both extremely strong and flexible. Its top deck is covered with a ‘fingerprint texture soft top foam’ which is not only highly tractive but comfortable under the skin. This traditionally shaped longboard is perfect for beginners because of its large surface area and rounded nose rocker that allows for easy entry into the water.
Each 8’8 Heritage Soft Top Surfboard comes readily equipped with a 9’ Shaka Surfboard Leash, an FCS thruster fin set up, and an EZ carry handle.
- -Extremely well built
- -Equipped with all the equipment you need to get started
- -From a reputable, recognized brand
- -On the more expensive side
- The Heritage longboard is 104" x 23" x 3" with 86L of volume and supports riders up to 260 lb
- The double concave bottom deck helps to efficiently channel the water to the board's fins and the entry level rocker helps prevent pearling
- Each board includes a wax-free fingerprint textured soft-top foam deck, carry handle, 9' leash, and 3 surf fins (2+1 fin system) plus a fin key
- A 6 oz resin layer on top and bottom helps prevent against impact damage along with our triple-stringer system, HDPE plastic netting, and rubber bumper
- Our heat-release valve and bamboo layers on top & bottom helps prevent heat damage such as bubbling
Shortboard Soft Top
The Boardworks Froth 5’6 Soft Top Shortboard is a very reasonably priced foam board that has been designed with fun and versatility in mind. The board is available in four different sizes, including a shortboard, funboard, and a longboard meaning there is an option for every rider out there.
The board is composed of epoxy foam blanks and coated in a premium soft HPDE skin meaning it is not only lightweight but extremely durable and rigid in its construction. The high impact areas of the board such as the tail and nose are built with a sheet of high-density EVA which works to provide maximum safety and durability.
The board comes equipped with real Future fin boxes and a thruster configuration which is great as the extra fin provides an extra element of stability which is always appreciated in entry-level boards. This foam board is a wonderful option for beginners, rippers, and wake surfers who are looking for the perfect companion to take to the beach all year round!
- -Reasonably priced
- -Available in four sizes
- -Thruster fin set up for extra stability and hold
- -Extremely versatile and can be used in a range of conditions
- -Some buyers have reported issues with delamination
- Created for fun and versatility with generous volume
- Can be used by beginners, rippers, and wake surfers
- Light, yet durable construction makes it Super user friendly and fun for all abilities
- Froth brand recognized in the wall street journal's gear & gadgets column as "game changing gear"
- Soft EVA outer skin wraps a fully glassed EPS foam core
Fish board Soft Top
The Thurso Surf Lancer 5’10 Fish Soft Top Surfboard is another great foam board for kids and entry-level surfers. This board is composed of a high-density EPS foam core and a HPDE heat laminated slick bottom and is further strengthened by the dual wood stringers that run through its core.
Fish boards are great because they allow you to get into waves that you wouldn’t typically be able to. They are extremely buoyant and light which makes them great for paddling and maneuvering in the water. Fish boards are popular with beginner surfers as their high volume and wide body allows for a slightly slower glide than narrower models.
The fishtail shape allows for increased hold and traction in the waves whilst the dual fin configuration works to provide extra stability and direction. This board is perfect for younger surfers who are looking to practice their turns and tricks in smaller, mushier waves. It is also equipped with an adjustable leash and a non-slip deck which means that it has been designed with safety in mind.
- -Includes twin fins and an adjustable leash
- -Fish-shaped tail for increased hold and traction
- -Adjustable fin set up
- -Works brilliantly with small, normally ‘un-surfable’ waves
- -Won’t be able to support riders above 200lbs
- THURSO SURF Lancer 5'10" kids fish tail soft top surfboard package includes one surfboard + twin fins + 6' high-end double stainless steel swivels and triple rail saver ankle leash made with strong recycled plastic / Board sizes: 5'10" x 20" x 2.75" (155 cm x 51 cm x 7 cm) / Board volume 33.6 Liter / Board weight: 6 lbs / Recommended max rider weight: 200 lbs
- The board is designed with a focus on stability and glide for easy riding with maximum enjoyment. High density EPS core makes the board very light and buoyant. The stiff and durable EPS core is the perfect core for hours of surfing fun
- HDPE slick bottom (heat laminated) is a strong and responsive bottom skin that adds stiffness and maximises board speed / High density durable IXPE deck (heat laminated) makes the board well cushioned and sealed to reduce risk of delamination
- Two wood stringers will provide greater longitudinal strength, rigidity and controlled flex / Two fins adds stability / Adjustable fin box makes the board good at changing performance and easy to transport
- Fish tail gives the board more hold and traction, provides more surface area from rail to rail, and allows for planning speed and lift. The board is popular among some high performance surfers in the nitro-small-wave hotdogger range
Mini Mal Soft Top
The South Bay Board Co. 6’8 Casper Soft Top is currently the #1 best-selling hybrid foam board on the market today. This board is renowned for having all the benefits of a high performing longboard but in a much shorter size.
It is perfect for not only beginners but intermediate and advanced surfers who are looking for that every-day fun board to play around with on the mushy days. Like the rest of South Bay Board Co’s quiver, the Casper soft-top board is custom designed and made of extremely high-quality materials such as EPS watertight foam and fiberglass bamboo.
The combination of materials that make up this board ensures that it is both lightweight and incredibly tough. You can ride this board amongst even the wildest of waters and won’t have to worry about it getting damaged from impact or abrasion. Its swallowtail and round nose mean that this board is much more reactive than your typical surfboard.
These features along with its compact size make for an amazing highperformance board that can be enjoyed by riders of all abilities.
- -Tractive upper deck eliminates the need for wax
- -Works well in a variety of surf conditions
- -Available in a range of designs
- -Lightweight and maneuverable
- -Some buyers have 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
Foam Surfboards Buying Guide
Soft top surfboards come in a vast variety of different sizes and shapes. Because of this, it can be difficult to know exactly which foam board is going to work best for you. Before you make that decision, there are several things that you will want to consider. To help you, we thought we would highlight a few of these key factors in a short buyer’s guide.
Foam surfboards vary in size from between approximately 4ft 10 to 9ft. The size you choose will depend entirely on your abilities as a surfer and the kind of experience you are hoping to have in the water. Generally, the longer the board, the easier it will be to surf.
Shortboards are typically designed for surfers of an intermediate to professional level as they are slightly harder to control and have the ability to reach higher speeds. In terms of width, each soft-top board will differ. Mini-mals and fish boards will typically be a lot wider than the more traditional longboards and this can make for a much more stable popping up and paddling experience.
Traditional surfboards are constructed of polyurethane or expanded polystyrene foam and then covered or wrapped with an epoxy or polyester resin. This combination of materials is what makes these surfboards ‘hard top surfboards’. Soft top surfboards, on the other hand, are generally made with an EPS foam core and are wrapped in a soft, flexible sheet of Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA).
Combined, these materials make for a much lighter, buoyant board that is a lot easier to control and maneuver in the water. Another thing that you will want to consider when buying a foam surfboard is whether or not they are equipped with a traction pad. Traction pads are designed to stop your back foot from slipping off the board so are great for beginners and the less confident riders out there.
If you have found the perfect soft-top board but it doesn’t have a traction pad, you can buy them separately to fit on your board, or you can stick to good old-fashioned wax!
Fin set up
Foam surfboards are available with many different fin setups. Fin setups are important to consider when choosing your board because they are what gives the board its direction, stability, and control. There are four main fin configurations that you will see on soft top surfboards: a single fin set up, a twin fin set up, a thruster fin set up and a quad fin set up.
Single fin setups are commonly found on longboards and are great for small-medium surf or medium-big, weak, fat waves. They provide high speed and prevent drag in the water. They are maybe not the best option for entry-level surfers as they can sometimes feel a little unstable.
Twin fin setups are slightly more stable than the single fin setups but still allows for an extremely loose feel. They are perfect in small-medium surfs and will enable you to reach high speeds.
Thruster fin setups are one of the most popular fin configurations as they work well for surfers of all abilities. The extra fin provides increased stability whilst allowing for greater maneuverability which is why this set up is so popular amongst technical and professional surfers. It is important to note that the extra fin will provide an element of drag which will essentially slow you down slightly.
Quad fin setups combine all the characteristics of twin fit setups with thruster fin setups. They work amazingly in a vast range of conditions but will perform at their best in large, powerful surfs. This fin configuration is brilliant because it is both incredibly stable and able to generate impressive speeds.
Luckily, foam surfboards are typically cheaper than the more traditional hard-top boards. Generally, soft top/foam surfboards tend to fall within the price range of $170 and $600 so whatever budget is, you will be sure to find a foam board that works perfectly for you.
Foam Surfboards FAQ's
Do I need to use a leash with my foam surfboard?
We would advise you to always use a leash with your foam surfboard due to the board’s buoyancy. If you were to fall off and your board wasn’t attached to you in any way, you would be much more likely to lose it in the ocean. Another reason why leashes are important is that they will ensure that you always have something to hold onto in the water. Surfing can be an exhausting sport, especially for newbies so to constantly be within arm’s reach of your board can be a huge help.
Do I need to use wax on my foam surfboard?
Whilst some foam surfboards are already equipped with a gripped surface, we would still recommend that you use wax. This is because when these boards become wet, their tractive pads will become slippery. An extra layer of wax will simply add extra grip to your surfboard.
Who are foam surfboards best suited to?
Foam surfboards are a great option for beginners as they provide increased stability and buoyancy in the water. Their soft construction makes them safer for both their riders and the surfers around them. This makes foam boards a great option for those out there who might be a little bit more likely to experience a fall!