The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Beginner Surfboard

Best Beginner Surfboard

Surfing, a sport as timeless as the oceans themselves, offers an unparalleled blend of adrenaline, serenity, and communion with nature. Each wave brings its tale, an invitation to ride, and a challenge to conquer. But for a novice, the journey starts much before the first wave is caught. It begins with a pivotal choice: selecting the perfect companion for the adventure ahead. The beginner surfboard is more than a piece of equipment; it's a partner, a mentor, and a reflection of one's budding surfing aspirations.

beginner surfboard

Why the Right Choice Matters

The ocean, in all its vastness and unpredictability, can be both welcoming and daunting. For beginners, the right surfboard can make all the difference. It ensures:

  • Safety: A well-chosen board minimizes risks, shielding the rider from potential injuries.
  • Confidence: With a board tailored for beginners, the learning curve becomes less steep, imbuing new surfers with confidence.
  • Progression: The right board accelerates skill acquisition, turning novices into adept surfers more rapidly.

A Journey of Discovery

Choosing the best beginner surfboard is also a journey of self-discovery. It demands:

  • Understanding: Recognizing one's own physical capabilities and comfort levels.
  • Research: Delving into the myriad of surfboard types, materials, and designs.
  • Vision: Imagining oneself on the waves, anticipating future growth and aspirations in the sport.

A Time-Tested Ritual

This ritual of choosing the first board is a rite of passage, an age-old tradition that every surfing legend once underwent. It's a decision that melds practicality with dreams, and reality with anticipation.

The Ocean's Call: Understanding the Surfing Experience

The Grandeur of the Ocean

The ocean, a living entity of unparalleled beauty and might, is a realm that has fascinated humanity for ages. For surfers, this vast expanse is not just a body of water; it's a canvas of endless possibilities. Each wave, crafted by intricate interplays of wind, tide, and underwater topography, presents a unique story. A story of power, elegance, and unpredictability. Embracing the ocean's grandeur is essential, as it instills a deep-seated respect for the waves and the intricate ecosystems they support.

Understanding Surfing

Surfing as a Discipline

More than a sport, surfing is a journey of personal growth. It's a dance with nature that demands a blend of physical prowess, mental agility, and emotional resilience:

  • Patience: The ocean operates on its rhythm. Awaiting the perfect wave, understanding when to paddle and when to hold back teaches surfers the invaluable lesson of patience and timing.
  • Adaptability: With the ocean's ever-changing moods, adaptability becomes second nature. From gentle ripples to towering waves, a surfer learns to adjust techniques, ensuring harmony with the water's whims.
  • Determination: The path is riddled with challenges — missed waves, unexpected wipeouts, and the occasional brush with underwater obstacles. Yet, it's this very challenge that fuels a surfer's determination, igniting a passion to master the waves and oneself.

A Holistic Lifestyle

Surfing is not just an activity; it's an all-encompassing lifestyle that influences every facet of a surfer's life:

  • Connection with Nature: Beyond the thrill of riding waves, surfing nurtures a deep connection with nature. Feeling the ocean's pulse, observing marine life, and witnessing the splendor of coastal sunrises and sunsets — these moments of tranquility foster a bond that's both spiritual and profound.
  • Camaraderie: The shared experiences, the collective anticipation of a swell, and the mutual respect for each other's skills — all contribute to the tight-knit camaraderie unique to the surfing community.
  • Mindfulness: In today's fast-paced world, surfing offers a refuge. Amidst the waves, all distractions fade, leaving the surfer immersed in the moment, practicing mindfulness in its purest form.

Dive into Beginner Surfboards: Laying a Solid Foundation

As you stand at the cusp of your surfing journey, the allure of the ocean waves beckons. Yet, before you can ride them with grace and confidence, a crucial decision awaits: selecting your first surfboard. This choice will be the bedrock of your early surfing experiences, influencing not just your performance but also your safety and love for the sport.

best Beginner Surfboards

Understanding Beginner Surfboards

Beginner surfboards are not mere pieces of equipment; they are lifelines for newcomers, intricately designed to cater to their specific needs. When choosing your first board, it's essential to understand its purpose:

  • Stability: These boards prioritize stability, offering a broader surface area to ensure that newcomers can find their balance quickly.
  • Safety: The materials and design considerations ensure that the risks of injuries are minimized, especially during the inevitable wipeouts.
  • Learning Curve: Beginner boards aim to shorten the learning curve, allowing novices to experience the joy of catching a wave sooner.

The Allure of the Foam Surfboard

Among the myriad of choices available, the foam surfboard stands out as a beacon for beginners. Here's what makes it a favorite:

  • Buoyancy: Crafted predominantly from foam, these boards excel in floatation. This buoyancy ensures that even the slightest of waves can be caught, providing ample opportunities for practice.
  • Forgiving Nature: The soft foam construction is forgiving, especially when beginners tumble or fall. This softness drastically reduces the chance of injuries, making the learning phase safer.
  • Resilience: While they are soft to the touch, foam surfboards are remarkably durable. They can withstand the rough handling and frequent tumbles that are part and parcel of the early learning stages.

Soft Top Surfboards: Blending Performance with Safety

In the vast spectrum of surfboards tailored for newcomers, soft-top surfboards have carved a niche for themselves. These boards, often lauded for their unique blend of performance attributes and safety features, have become increasingly popular among both novices and seasoned surfers revisiting the basics.

What Makes Soft Top Surfboards Special?

At first glance, soft tops might seem similar to their foam counterparts, but delve a little deeper, and their distinct features come to the fore:

  • Hybrid Construction: While they boast a soft, forgiving exterior, the core of these boards is rigid. This dual nature offers the stability beginners need, coupled with a degree of responsiveness often associated with more advanced boards.
  • Versatile Performance: Soft tops are a bridge between beginner boards and performance-oriented boards. They offer novices a taste of advanced maneuvers, allowing them to progress and refine their techniques without switching boards.
  • Safety First: Despite their performance edge, soft tops haven't compromised on safety. Their plush exterior ensures that accidental collisions are far less daunting, minimizing the risk of injuries.

soft-top surfboards

Is a Soft Top Right for You?

Choosing a soft top surfboard can be a game-changer for many beginners, but is it the right choice for you? Here are some considerations:

  • Your Surfing Goals: If you envision a rapid progression in your surfing journey, want to attempt more advanced moves sooner, a soft top might be your ideal companion.
  • Local Wave Conditions: Soft tops are versatile and can handle a variety of wave conditions. If your local beach offers a mix of small to medium waves, these boards can be a perfect fit.
  • Budget: Soft tops often fall in a mid-range price bracket. They offer excellent value for money, given their blend of beginner-friendly features and performance attributes.

Charting the Path: Insights and Tips for Beginner Surfers

Stepping into the world of surfing is both exhilarating and challenging. As waves beckon and the horizon calls, beginner surfers often find themselves navigating a sea of information, advice, and countless tales of oceanic adventures. Here's a distilled guide to help newcomers chart their path with clarity and confidence.

Embracing the Learning Curve

Every surfer, irrespective of their current prowess, started as a beginner. The initial stages are marked by:

  • Discovery: Understanding one's own strengths, limitations, and comfort zones in the water.
  • Experimentation: Trying different techniques, adapting postures, and finding what works best.
  • Persistence: Not every wave will be perfect, and not every attempt will end in success. Embracing failures as learning opportunities is key.

Respecting the Ocean

The vast blue isn't just a playground; it's a force of nature:

  • Understanding Tides: Grasping the basics of tidal movements can significantly influence your surfing sessions, ensuring you're at the right place at the right time.
  • Weather Watch: Keeping an eye on weather forecasts, understanding how different conditions affect wave formations, and recognizing potential hazards are essential.
  • Environmental Responsibility: The ocean gives surfers endless joy. In return, adopting eco-friendly practices, from using sustainable surfing gear to participating in beach clean-ups, is a surfer's way of giving back.

Joining the Surfing Community

Surfing isn't just an individual sport; it's a community:

  • Local Surf Clubs: Joining a local surf club or group can be invaluable. It's a gateway to collective knowledge, shared experiences, and local surfing etiquette.
  • Learning from Peers: More experienced surfers often have a wealth of tips and insights, from recommending hidden surf spots to advising on techniques.
  • Participating in Events: Many coastal areas host beginner-friendly surfing events, competitions, and workshops. These are not just learning opportunities but also platforms to connect and bond with fellow surfers.

The Surfboard: More than Just Equipment

For many, a surfboard is not merely a piece of sporting equipment. It's a trusted companion, a tangible connection to the ocean, and often a canvas that captures the essence of one's surfing journey. Let's explore the multi-dimensional relationship surfers have with their boards.

Emotional Bonds: Significance and Memories of the First Board

Every surfer has a story about their first surfboard. It's a rite of passage, an emblem of the commitment to the waves.

  • The First Ride: The exhilaration of riding waves for the first time, feeling the ocean's power beneath you, is a sensation like no other. That initial ride, however shaky or short-lived, becomes a cherished memory.
  • Marks and Scratches: Every ding, scratch, or mark on the board tells a tale. From the adventurous attempts at catching waves to the unexpected wipeouts, the board bears witness to the surfer's evolution.
  • Shared Adventures: From sunrise sessions to beachside camaraderie, the board is a constant companion. It's there during the quiet moments of introspection and the exhilarating times of triumph.

Technical Aspects: Balance, Wave Catching, and Safety Considerations

Beyond the emotional connection, a surfboard's design and construction play pivotal roles in the surfer's progression.

  • Stability and Balance: Especially for beginner surfers, a board that offers stability can be a game-changer. Whether it's the width, the length, or the type of tail, every design element influences the board's balance on the waves.
  • Wave Catching Abilities: The board's shape, rocker, and volume significantly impact how it catches waves. For instance, a foam surfboard or soft top surfboard is often recommended for beginners due to its buoyancy and forgiving nature.
  • Safety First: The materials used, be it EPS foam or a fiberglass surfboard, can influence safety. Soft tops, with their cushioned exteriors, are particularly favored for reducing the risks of injuries during the initial stages.

Beyond the Board: Essential Gear and Recommendations

While the surfboard is undeniably the star of the show, the supporting cast — the additional gear — plays an equally crucial role in ensuring a smooth, safe, and enjoyable surfing experience. From protecting you against the elements to enhancing your performance, the right gear can make all the difference.

surfing gear

Gear Essentials: Elevating Your Surfing Experience

Stepping into the world of surfing is more than just picking the best beginner surfboard; it's about gearing up right. Here are some essentials every surfer should consider:

  • Wetsuits: Depending on your surfing location and water temperature, a wetsuit can provide the necessary insulation, letting you surf longer without getting cold.
  • Leash: This tether keeps your surfboard close, ensuring it doesn't drift away after a wipeout. Essential for safety, especially in crowded waters.
  • Sun Protection: The sun's rays can be relentless. Arm yourself with sunscreen, rash guards, and hats to guard against harmful UV exposure.
  • Traction Pads: Enhance your foot grip on the board, facilitating better control and maneuverability.

Surfing Tips: Navigating the Waves with Confidence

Every wave brings a lesson, and every tide a new challenge. Here are some insights to guide your journey:

  • Local Conditions Matter: Familiarize yourself with the local wave conditions. Some spots might be perfect for riding waves on a foam surfboard, while others might demand the agility of a shorter board.
  • Respect the Lineup: The surfing community thrives on respect. Understand the unwritten rules of the lineup, give way to the surfer closest to the peak, and always wait your turn.

Budget and Brands: Navigating the Surf Market

Investing in your surfing gear is much like choosing the right wave to ride. It requires observation, understanding, and a bit of intuition. Here's how to ensure your investment rides the wave of value and performance:

  • Determine Your Budget: Surfing, while exhilarating, can also be an expensive pursuit. Before diving into the market, set a clear budget. This will help filter options and prevent impulsive overspending.
  • Recognizing Quality with Good Wave: In a sea of brands, some stand out for their consistent quality and commitment to surfers. Good Wave is one such beacon, known for its superior craftsmanship, innovative designs, and unwavering dedication to enhancing the surfing experience. When you invest in a Good Wave product, you're not just buying gear; you're becoming a part of a legacy.
  • Exploring Pre-Loved Boards: There's a growing market for second-hand or pre-loved surfboards. If you're on a budget, this avenue might offer some gems. While exploring this option, ensure a thorough inspection for any potential damages or wear and tear.

Understanding Surfboard Materials and Construction

The art and science of surfboard construction have seen monumental shifts over the decades. The materials chosen play a pivotal role in the board's performance, durability, and suitability for different skill levels. Let's unravel the layers behind what makes a surfboard tick.

Traditional vs. Modern: How Materials Have Evolved

The transformation from the ancient wooden boards of Hawaii to today's high-tech constructions is a testament to humankind's relentless pursuit of innovation.

foam surfboard vs wooden surfboard

  • The Age of Wood: The earliest surfboards, used by Polynesians, were carved from trees. These boards, while sturdy, were heavy and lacked the maneuverability modern surfers enjoy.
  • The Fiberglass Revolution: The 20th century saw the advent of fiberglass surfboards, which combined a wooden core (or stringer) with a fiberglass shell. These boards were lighter, more agile, and allowed for advanced surfing techniques.
  • Modern Marvels: Today, surfboards harness a range of materials — from eps foam to carbon fiber — offering surfers a plethora of choices tailored to their needs and the waves they ride.

Benefits of Foam: Why Foam Surfboards Are Beginner-Friendly

Foam, particularly in the construction of foam surfboards or soft top surfboards, has emerged as a game-changer for novice surfers.

  • Forgiving Nature: For a beginner surfer, mistakes are part of the learning curve. Foam boards, with their soft construction, reduce the risk of injuries during those inevitable wipeouts.
  • Buoyancy and Stability: Foam naturally offers buoyancy. This property ensures that beginner surfboards made of foam provide a stable platform, making it easier to catch and ride waves.
  • Durability: Foam boards are resilient. They can take a beating and still perform, making them a cost-effective choice for those just starting out.

Exploring Other Materials: From Fiberglass to Epoxy

While foam dominates the beginner market, other materials cater to intermediate and advanced surfers.

  • Fiberglass: A classic choice, fiberglass surfboards offer a great balance of flexibility and strength. They're responsive and are often the go-to for many seasoned surfers.
  • Epoxy Boards: Made with an epoxy resin, these boards are lighter than their fiberglass counterparts. They're durable and offer a unique feel on the water, making them a favorite among many modern surfers.

Hybrids and Innovations: Today's market also sees hybrid constructions, combining the best of materials like foam, fiberglass, and epoxy. Innovations continue to push the boundaries, ensuring there's always something new on the horizon for wave riders.

Product Reviews: Top Beginner Surfboards

AQSS Mahi Mahi

Mahi Mahi - Mini Mal - White Surfboard 

The AQSS Mahi Mahi is a sleek, performance-oriented Mini Mal designed specifically with both progression and performance in mind. Crafted for surfers of all skill levels, especially beginners, its EPS foam core ensures buoyancy and superior paddle power. With a timeless outline, this board stands out as an exceptional choice for those new to surfing, offering a stable and forgiving ride.


  • Beginner-Friendly: Tailored design for beginners, ensuring easy wave-catching, stability, and a generous margin for errors.
  • EPS Foam Core: Provides maximum buoyancy and an enhanced paddle experience.
  • Versatile Design: Rounded square tail and forgiving rail shape ensure maneuverability.
  • Bamboo-Reinforced Deck: Combines strength, durability, and aesthetic appeal.
  • Bottom Contours: Single to double concave for a dynamic ride.


  • Fins Not Included: Additional purchase may be necessary.


The Mahi Mahi surfboard is emblematic of thoughtful design and quality construction. Its beginner-friendly attributes make it an optimal choice for newcomers, ensuring a smooth learning curve. While the absence of complimentary fins is a drawback, the board's overall quality offers great value. For new surfers keen on steady progress, the Mahi Mahi is a dependable wave companion.

Random X 54” Twin

Random X 54" Twin Hybrid Foam Surfboard Bodyboard Combo

The Random X 54” Twin stands out as a unique hybrid, combining the functionalities of a foam surfboard and a bodyboard. Crafted for family-centric adventures, it introduces versatility to the shore, offering multiple riding experiences in one resilient design.


  • Hybrid Design: Seamlessly doubles as a foam surfboard and bodyboard, expanding ways to enjoy the waves.
  • Family-Friendly: Loved by families, it ensures hours of fun, catering to diverse preferences and skill levels.
  • Ready to Ride: Comes with 2 soft fins, facilitating surfing with or without them and even skimming in deeper shores.
  • Durable Build: Features a 100% waterproof EPS foam core, double wooden stringers, and an advanced HD bottom slick.


  • Specific Use Cases: While versatile, it might not cater to surfers looking for a specialized board experience.
  • Size Limitation: At 54", it's designed more for family fun rather than competitive or advanced surfing.


The Random X 54" Twin Hybrid is a gem for those looking to maximize their beach adventures. Its adaptability, allowing users to surf, skim, or bodyboard, sets it apart. The inclusion of soft fins and its durable build ensure that both beginners and enthusiasts can indulge in the thrill of the waves. For families and casual surfers, this board promises endless hours of exhilaration.

Good Wave best beginner surfboard

AQSS Flying Fish Funboard Softboard Foam Surfboard - Blue

The AQSS Flying Fish is masterfully designed to tackle less-than-perfect surfing conditions. Boasting a fuller outline and rail section, this board maximizes stability, speed, and control, making it apt for both confident beginners and seasoned surfers. Its construction, utilizing a bamboo eco sandwich with timber reinforcement on both the deck and bottom, speaks volumes about its durability and strength. Versatility is this board's middle name, thanks to the double concave tail and the option for both thruster or quad setups. This board is a quintessential addition to any quiver.

AQSS Flying Fish


  • Versatile Design: Suitable for both beginners and experienced surfers.
  • Optimal Stability: Fuller outline and rail section ensure balance and control.
  • Durable Construction: Bamboo eco sandwich with timber reinforcement promises longevity.
  • Tail & Fin Versatility: Double concave tail and options for thruster or quad setups cater to varying surf conditions.


  • Price Point: Some might find the board a bit on the pricier side, but it offers value for money.


The AQSS Flying Fish stands out as a beacon of versatility and durability. Its design ensures adaptability in various surf conditions, making it a reliable choice for both newcomers and pro surfers. While its price might seem steep, the board's features and construction warrant the investment. For those looking to enhance their surfing experience, regardless of the ocean's mood, the AQSS Flying Fish is a top contender.

Bom Bora 6'0 Softboard

Bom Bora 6'0 Softboard Foam Surfboard - Lime

The Bom Bora 6'0 Softboard is an all-rounder, catering to surfers across different skill sets. With its forgiving design and advanced features, it promises safety, stability, and a rich surfing experience. It's particularly enticing for beginners, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable learning curve.


  • All-Level Suitability: Perfectly tailored for both beginners and intermediates, ensuring a wide appeal.
  • Safety First: Designed for use between the flags, making it an ideal family pick.
  • Wave Mastery: Engineered for easy wave-catching and utmost stability.
  • Refinable Design: Features EVA rails that can be shaped and refined, enhancing wave face performance.
  • Durable & Speedy: Boasts an advanced HD bottom slick with integrated mesh, ensuring durability, speed, and momentum.


  • Tail Type Ambiguity: The "assorted" tail type might leave some buyers uncertain about the specific design they'll receive.
  • Fins: While the board comes with a starter fin set, advanced surfers might need to invest in more specialized fins for optimized performance.


The Bom Bora 6'0 Softboard emerges as a top contender for those diving into the world of surfing or even the intermediates looking to enhance their wave game. Its construction, emphasizing an EPS Foam build and EVA rails, promises durability and adaptability. The option to refine the rails is a standout feature, allowing users to customize their experience further. For anyone seeking a blend of safety, affordability, and performance, the Bom Bora stands tall as a remarkable choice.

FAQ: Addressing Common Beginner Queries

How do I choose a surfboard for beginners?

When selecting a beginner surfboard, prioritize stability, volume, and durability. Typically, longer and wider boards offer better balance, making them ideal for novices. Foam or soft-top surfboards are commonly recommended due to their forgiving nature and safety features.

What's the easiest surfboard to ride?

For beginners, longboards or soft-top surfboards tend to be the easiest to ride. Their extended length and width provide added stability, helping newbies catch waves with greater ease and confidence.

Is it worth buying a beginner surfboard?

Absolutely! Investing in a beginner surfboard tailored to your needs can significantly enhance your surfing journey, ensuring a safer and more enjoyable experience. As you progress, this board can still serve as a fun alternative on smaller wave days.

What board should you learn to surf with?

It's recommended to start with a soft-top longboard or foam surfboard. These boards provide the stability needed for beginner surfers, allowing them to focus on mastering the basics without the added challenge of balancing on a smaller board.

Are foam surfboards worth it?

Yes, foam surfboards are a popular choice among beginners due to their buoyancy, safety, and affordability. They offer a forgiving ride, reducing the risk of injuries, especially during the early stages of learning.

Do you put wax on foam surfboards?

While foam surfboards often come with a textured deck that provides some grip, adding wax can enhance traction. It's advisable to wax the areas where your feet and chest will be positioned, ensuring a non-slip surface.

What is the difference between soft top and foam surfboards?

Both terms are often used interchangeably, but there can be distinctions. While both have foam cores, a "soft top" refers to the board's textured surface, and a "foam surfboard" emphasizes the foam core. In essence, all soft tops are foam surfboards, but not all foam surfboards have the traditional soft-top surface.


Embracing the world of surfing is a transformative journey, one that's as exhilarating as it is enlightening. From the early thrills of catching waves to the camaraderie forged with fellow surfers, the experiences are truly unparalleled. However, like any adventure, it begins with the right preparations.

Choosing the best beginner surfboard is not just about acquiring a piece of equipment. It's about finding a trusty companion that will support, guide, and nurture your nascent skills. With the insights provided in this guide, from understanding the various board types like foam surfboards and soft tops to addressing common queries, we hope to simplify this decision-making process for you.

As you stand on the precipice of this exciting endeavor, remember that every pro surfer was once a complete beginner. With the right board under your feet, the right gear, and an unwavering spirit, there's no wave too big or challenge too daunting.

May your surfing journey be filled with endless waves, beautiful sunrises, and memories that last a lifetime. Ride on!

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