Best Beginner Surfboard

The Best Beginner Surfboard is the board that will allow you to catch the most waves.

This is the most important factor when learning to surf, as every wave you catch advances your surfing ability.  Beginner surfboards are typically cheaper than more advanced boards and offer enough performance to allow you to progress your surfing sufficiently before you will need to consider upgrading to a more performance-oriented surfboard.

Things to consider

The characteristics of a beginner surfboard are:

Longer length
Higher Volume
Lower Rocker

I cannot recommend enough, that as a beginner you purchase a Longboard, and I believe the best beginner surfboard is a soft top (otherwise known as a foamie).  I regret spending many years learning to surf on a small, hard, fiberglass surfboard that was not suitable for a beginner.  Because of this, the progression of my surfing ability was very slow until I was introduced to more appropriate surfboards for learning.

10 Things Every Beginner Surfer Needs To Know

The barriers to entry for surfing are low, you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment and waves are free.

There are however some things you need to know as a beginner that will make your experience significantly better, and ensure that you are getting the most out of each surf.

Soft Top Surfboards for Beginners

At Soft Top Surf we break the category of Longboards into two sub-categories.

Complete Beginner Longboards

These boards are perfect for first-time surfers to learn the process of paddling into small foam waves, standing up and riding in a straight line.  The downside of these boards is that you have limited ability to progress your surfing as the large rails make them difficult to turn and surf across the face of a wave.

These are the boards you will be given if you take a group surf lesson, with the goal of getting you to stand up on your first lesson.  Complete Beginner surfboards have very high volume and large rails, which makes them incredibly buoyant and stable.

Surfboards in this category are often so buoyant that you can stand up on them without being a wave.

I recommend that if you are purchasing a surfboard to learn to surf and progress, you consider an All Ability longboard.  However, if you are looking for a surfboard to get your first experiences in the surf, or maybe introduce friends, family, and children to the sport, then a complete beginner board is a good choice.

All Ability Longboards

Once you move away from the complete beginner surfboards, there is a good range of longboards you can use, regardless of your ability.  The difference between Complete Beginner and All Ability Longboards is usually that the latter are thinner, resulting in less volume and smaller rails, allowing the board to turn across the wave and progress your surfing.

The Best Beginner Surfboard is in the All Ability Longboard category

There are many differences between these boards (that is why Soft Top Surf exists), however, I have surfed a large number of them, and there are not many that I would say are unsuitable for a beginner, especially if you have taken lessons and learned some fundamentals.

Surfboards in this category are available from as short as 7’0 and up to 9’0 and longer.  There is enough variety to provide choice on every aspect of a board, but there is a sliding scale of surfboard performance vs price. 

Features and Benefits

We only review and recommend soft top surfboards, you can read more about that here.  Soft top surfboards have now expanded into all kinds of shapes, sizes and are suitable for all surfing abilities, however, they started out as beginner only surfboards.  You will see at the beach that every beginner surf lesson is done with soft top surfboards, and if you watch learners in the surf it will be the people on the soft top surfboards who catch the most waves and are having the most fun.

The reason soft top surfboards makes the best beginner surfboards are:

Soft

Soft tops are made with soft foam on the top side of the board.  This makes learning to surf more comfortable, and less chance of a painful collision with your surfboards

Buoyant

Lightweight foam and large dimensions make these boards float high in the water which makes paddling and catching waves easier

Safe

That soft top foam, often combined with soft rubber-edged fins reduces not only the danger to you, but the danger to others.  In countries like Australia, this means you are only allowed to use soft top surfboards between the surf lifeguard flags!

Fun

Light, easy to carry, comfortable to lie on, ok to surf between the flags and on busy beaches and easier to paddle and catch waves.  All of that adds up to more Fun, the most important metric in surfing!


To decide what is the Best Beginner Surfboard for you, you need to work out which of the following statements best describes you and what your surfboard will be used for.

  1. I am a beginner who has never surfed before, and I want a board to catch my first waves on

    You are going to paddle out on the largest surfboard. This board will have the most buoyancy and stability to help you paddle into small waves easily and get to your feet nice and slowly. Click here for more.

  2. I am a beginner who would like to learn to surf.  I think I would like to surf regularly, but I do not want to spend too much until I have more surfing experience

    There is a great selection of boards that are just big enough for your first time, yet with enough performance to allow you to progress. The more affordable options are a great choice, as their limitations are often minor and do not become apparent until you are a much more committed surfer. Click here for more.

  3. I am a beginner who is confident that I want to learn to surf.  I would like to buy a surfboard that will help me progress my surfing ability the furthest

    I love the commitment! A modern soft top surfboard will serve you well, by choosing a high-quality longboard that has multiple stringers, replaceable fins, and moderate performance characteristics. This board will be durable and have enough performance to progress through turning across the wave and beyond. Click here for more.

First Time

My pick for a first-time surfboard is the G-Board Evo made by Bic Sport.

The reasons I love the board for a first-timer are:

  • Made tough for Surf Schools
  • Extra soft foam deck means you do not surf wax
  • Size options from 6’0 to 9’0 so you can get the correct size for any beginner

Budget Progression

As a budget-friendly board that will allow you to progress your surfing as you gain experience, I recommend the Super Magnum Paint Series made by Bic Sport.

This board is made to the same high quality that Bic Sport is known for. Despite being a wide board, it includes a recessed carry handle, making it easier to carry down the beach.

Performance Progression

The Ez Rider by Wave Bandit is the ultimate soft top surfboard for a beginner who wants to progress. The double wood stringers make this board strong enough to have narrower rails, which is what allows you to use this board as you progress and learn to turn on waves.

If you were in any doubt of how far you can progress on this board, then check out the youtube vides below.

Buying a Surfboard

There are a few more things to consider before you buy your first soft-top surfboard. I will cover these in more detail in other posts, so make sure you check out these links:

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