The 10 best beginner surfboards for 2023

Beginner surfboards: learn how to buy your first stable and soft-top surfboard

Surfers never forget their first surfboard. Beginner surfboards are the key to a long surfing life, so it's important to make a wise and rational choice before riding your initial waves.

Surfboards for beginners have special and unique features that you should know before making an investment.

If you're learning to surf or introducing a friend/relative to the sport of riding waves, check our surfboard size chart featuring weight and height options for all participants. They are the first variables to have in mind.

And they're linked to several board anatomy characteristics. One of the most important ones is flotation - and flotation requires volume.

A good beginner surfboard has high buoyancy, so errors and mistakes surfers make while finding balance are easily "forgiven" or tolerated.

Stringer technology has also been added to increase stiffness and resistance to all sorts of impacts.

In the end, surf novices need to ensure they're getting soft-top surfboards that will help them catch as many waves as possible in the early white water stage.

Beginner surfboard: flotation is key to start riding waves fast | Photo: Loiterton/Creative Commons

Flotation Is Key

So what makes a good beginner surfboard?

Despite being bigger and heavier than traditional shortboards, surfing beginners will paddle faster and rapidly pop up on highly stable longboards.

Yes, quality foam surfboards are always a wise pick and can last forever. They range from 6' to 9' sizes.

An average adult should get into surfing with an 8' or 9', while a child can learn with a 6'.

The bigger the board, the faster you'll be enjoying the pleasures of wave riding. After all, the more waves you catch, the faster you evolve and progress.

As a rule of thumb, if you're learning to surf, get yourself a board that is three to four feet longer than your height.

For instance, if you're 5'7'', buy a board in the 8'7''-9'7'' range.

Surfboards for beginners are quite affordable, and your first model will always be useful, even after progressing to an intermediate surfing level and you start building a quiver.

Here are the main variables you should be looking at when buying a beginner surfboard:

  • Size;
  • Width;
  • Thickness;
  • Volume;
  • Template/Outline;
  • Core materials;
  • Price;

The alternative to the foam surfboard is pop-out surfboards made of molded plastic or very thick resin.

Beginner surfboards: surf schools use long and wide surfboards for getting pupils to start surfing fast | Photo: Traa/Creative Commons

Beginner Surfboards: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Beginner surfboards can be fun and extremely helpful. Plus, they allow you to make a quick transition from long to shortboard via the so-called funboards.

Here are some of the most popular questions regarding boards for those who are new to surfing.

Should I get a hard-topped surfboard or a foam surfboard?

It depends on your surfing ability level and personal preference.

Foam surfboards, also known as soft top surfboards, are a good option for beginner surfers because they are more forgiving and easier to learn on, due to their softer, more flexible construction.

They are also a good choice for surfers who are concerned about safety, as they are light enough that they won't cause injury if they hit someone during a wipeout.

Hard-topped surfboards, on the other hand, are more durable and generally perform better in more advanced surfing conditions.

They may be more challenging for beginner surfers to learn on, but they can offer a more precise and responsive ride for experienced surfers.

Ultimately, the decision between a foam surfboard and a hard-topped surfboard will depend on your individual needs and preferences.

How much does a beginner surfboard typically cost?

Prices for beginner surfboards can range from around $120 to $1,200, depending on various factors such as size, shape, model, and condition.

In general, it is not necessary to spend more than $400 on a beginner surfboard, and it is often possible to find a suitable board for between $200 and $600.

It is important to keep in mind that the cost of a surfboard is not necessarily an indicator of its quality, and it is possible to find good beginner surfboards at a wide range of price points.

What should I consider when choosing a beginner surfboard?

Your current surfing ability level, height and weight, the typical wave conditions in your local area, and your budget are all important factors to consider when choosing a beginner surfboard.

  1. Safety: Beginner surfboards should be sturdy and easy to handle, to minimize the risk of injury during wipeouts. Soft-top surfboards, also known as foam boards, are a good option for beginners because they are softer and more forgiving than traditional hard-topped surfboards;
  2. Size: Beginner surfboards should be longer, thicker, and wider to make them easier to paddle and stand up on. Funboards and longboards are popular choices for beginners because of their size and stability;
  3. Ability level: Consider your current surfing ability level and what type of board will be most suitable for you to learn on. For example, a longboard may be a good choice for someone who is just starting out, while a shortboard may be more suitable for someone with more advanced surfing skills;
  4. Local conditions: The type of surfboard that is best for you will also depend on the typical wave conditions in your local area. For example, if you live in an area with small, slow-breaking waves, a longboard may be a good choice. If you live in an area with larger, more powerful waves, a shortboard may be more suitable;
  5. Budget: Determine how much you are willing to spend on a beginner surfboard and look for options that fit within your budget. It is possible to find good beginner surfboards at a wide range of price points, from around $120 to $1,200 or more;

What is the proper technique for catching a wave on a beginner surfboard?

Transfer most of your weight to your back foot and aim for the steepest part of the unbroken lip. Once you reach 3/4 of the wave's height, begin to look down.

Turn your upper body back to the beach, use your backhand as a guide (pinky up will help you turn), and allow your hips and legs to follow.

Is it safe for kids to surf on beginner surfboards?

Yes, as long as the surfboard is appropriate for their size and ability level and they are supervised by an adult.

Some beginner surfboards for kids even have removable fins for added safety in bigger waves.

What are some good brands to look for when purchasing a beginner surfboard?

Some popular brands for beginner surfboards include WaveStorm, South Bay, Rock-it, Catch Surf, and Kona Surf Co.

Where to Buy Beginner Surfboards?

There are several places where you can buy beginner surfboards:

  • Online retailers: There are many online retailers that sell beginner surfboards, including Amazon. These retailers often have a wide selection of boards available and may offer free shipping or other discounts;
  • Surf shops: Local surf shops are a good place to look for beginner surfboards. They may have a selection of new and used boards available for sale, and the staff can often provide helpful advice and recommendations based on your specific needs;
  • Manufacturer websites: Many surfboard manufacturers have websites where you can buy beginner surfboards directly from the manufacturer. This can be a good option if you want to support a specific brand or if you want to customize your board;
  • Secondhand shops: Thrift stores, consignment shops, and garage sales can be good places to look for used beginner surfboards at a lower price. Keep in mind that used surfboards may not be in the same condition as new ones, and you may need to do some repairs or maintenance before you can use them;

The best soft-top/beginner surfboards for the 2023 season are:

Wavestorm 8' Sunburst

Wavestorm 8' Sunburst

Wavestorm 8' is the best-selling surfboard in the United States. It is soft, light, and easy to ride.

The board features an HDPE slick bottom and a textured traction pad for stable foot placement. It comes with a leash and a set of fins, and it is a board for riders weighing up to 200 pounds.

  • Length: 8'
  • Width: 22.4''
  • Thickness: 3.25''
  • Volume: 86 liters
  • Weight: 11.5 lbs
  • Surfer's Weight Range: up to 200 lbs (90 kgs)



South Bay Board Co. | Verve 8'

South Bay Board Co. | Verve 8'

The Verve 8', by South Bay Board Co., is an 8-foot entry-level foam surfboard for riders weighing up to 180 pounds.

The package comes with a traction pad, a travel bag, customization pens, a thruster fin setup, and a leash.

  • Length: 8'
  • Width: 23''
  • Thickness: 3''
  • Volume: 74 liters
  • Surfer's Weight Range: up to 190 lbs (86 kgs)



South Bay Board Co. | Ruccus 7'

South Bay Board Co. | Ruccus 7'

The Ruccus 7', by South Bay Board Co., is a 7-foot beginner surfboard for light apprentices weighing up to 150 pounds.

It features one fiberglass rod stringer and two double reinforced marine wood stringers and comes with a leash and fins.

  • Length: 7'
  • Width: 22''
  • Thickness: 2.85''
  • Volume: 49 liters
  • Surfer's Weight Range: up to 170 lbs (77 kgs)



South Bay Board Co. | Heritage 8'8''

South Bay Board Co. | Heritage 8'8''

The Heritage 9', by South Bay Board Co., is an 86-liter surfboard for beginner riders weighing up to 220 pounds.

Features three stringers, waterproof EPS foam at the core, a reinforced HDPE double concave hull, and a removable thruster fin setup.

  • Length: 9'
  • Width: 23''
  • Thickness: 3''
  • Volume: 86 liters
  • Surfer's Weight Range: up to 220 lbs (100 kgs)



Kona Surf Co. 7'6''

Kona Surf Co. 7'6''

The Kona Surf Co. 7'6'' is the perfect beginner surfboard for riders weighing up to 180 pounds.

It features durable and rigid wood stringers, a stiff high-density EPS core, an outer epoxy shell, an HDPE slick bottom, an adjustable fin box, and a heat laminated deck for maximum cushion.

The pack includes three removable fins with rubber safety edges and a quality ankle leash.

  • Length: 7'6''
  • Width: 22''
  • Thickness: 4''
  • Volume: 80 liters
  • Surfer's Weight Range: up to 180 lbs (81 kgs)



South Bay Board Co. | Guppy 6'

South Bay Board Co. | Guppy 6'

The Guppy 6', by South Bay Board Co., is the perfect board for young surfers weighing between 50 and 150 pounds.

It features a shape well-adapted to beginners and a heat-laminated IXPE foam top deck, a rounded nose, and a semi-squared out tail for maximum safety, stability, and performance.

  • Length: 6'
  • Width: 21''
  • Thickness: 3''
  • Surfer's Weight Range: up to 150 lbs (68 kgs)



Rock-It 8' Big Softy

Rock-It 8' Big Softy

The Rock-It 8' Big Softy is a highly buoyant and easy-to-paddle soft-top board that is ideal for first-timers and beginners.

It features three marine wooden stringers coated with epoxy nano-coating to resist water absorption. The EPS foam is UV resistant and doesn't necessarily require wax.

  • Length: 8'
  • Width: 22.7''
  • Thickness: 3.3''
  • Volume: 81 liters
  • Surfer's Weight Range: up to 190 lbs (86 kgs)



Giantex 6'

Giantex 6'

The Giantex 6' was designed to handle first-time mistakes beginners make and features a durable top foam and a slick HDPE bottom.

It's a good beginner surfboard for kids and very light novice surfers and comes with a leash and removable fins.

  • Length: 6'
  • Width: 20''
  • Thickness: 3''
  • Weight: 10 lbs
  • Surfer's Weight Range: up to 100 lbs (45 kgs)



Liquid Shredder EZ-Slider 5'10 Fish

Liquid Shredder EZ-Slider 5'10 Fish

The Liquid Shredder EZ-Slider 5'10 Fish offers a soft foamy deck with a super-fast bottom and wooden stringers for stiffness.

It's the right choice for a very young child.

  • Length: 5'10
  • Width: 21''
  • Thickness: 2.5''
  • Surfer's Weight Range: up to 95 lbs (43 kgs)



Catch Surf Odysea Log Kids 6'

Wave Bandit Ben Gravy Performer 6'

The Wave Bandit Ben Gravy Performer 6' features a classic fish shape, a double wood stringer core, and a dual-composite core of high-pressure construction.

With its thruster setup, it will quickly transform a beginner surfer into an intermediate wave rider. It is also an excellent option for young surfers wishing to maximize wave count.

  • Length: 6'
  • Width: 26''
  • Thickness: 3.125''
  • Volume: 48 liters
  • Surfer's Weight Range: up to 154 lbs (70 kgs)


The beginner surfboard review has been updated on January 4, 2023.