In this foam surfboard buyers guide, you'll learn everything you need to know about foam surfboards. We start with long boards and then move down to short boards and other concept-type boards.
The only complaint about foam surfboards is the fact that they are too much fun to ride.
Foam surfboards were made based on Duke Kamehameha’s philosophy that “the best surfer out there is the one having the most fun.” Basically, foam surfboards are here to bring happiness with the simplicity of just having fun.
There’s plenty of reasons to get your own (or a few) foam surfboards to add to your quiver.
Foam surfboards offer a spongy, cushioned deck. Currently they're popular among beginner and advanced surfers alike. It is also known as softboard, foam surfboard, or just foamie.
Beginner surfers love it because it offers plenty of stability, durability, and floatation, the main variables involved in the process of standing up and riding a wave for the first time.
Foam surfboards are wider, thicker, and have more volume than a hard top surfboard, making it easier for anyone to catch even the smallest fat wave.
Often recommended as key beginner surfing tips, foam surfboards are more forgiving for people just getting started surfing. In case the board collides with you in the water the board's soft deck is less likely to harm you. As opposed to a regular surfboard.
Also, foam surfboards are easy to paddle due to its volume.
Another perk, foam surfboards are less expensive than normal, fiberglass surfboards, low maintenance, and easy to carry down the beach.
Among intermediate and advanced surfer, the foam surfboards are becoming a more frequent pick.
When compared to traditional PU surfboards, they're cheaper, heavy-duty, and won't break easily.
Foam surfboards often include one or several full-length wooden stringers that add rigidity and firmness to the whole structure.
These foam surfboards come in all lengths. Long and short. Foam surfboards have also resulted in a lot of advanced surfers in surfing longboard waves that were previously seen as too dangerous to surf. The chance of ruining a more expensive surfboard on a rock is greatly reduced.
What are foam surfboards?
The foam or soft top surfboard is a relatively new type of surfboard to enter the market. Unlike traditional surfboards which are coated with fiberglass or epoxy, foam surfboards are not covered with any hard materials. They simply consist of a dense EPS foam, and the base is usually made of a slick bottom, like a bodyboard.
Foam surfboards are ideal for those learning to surf because they provide added buoyancy in the water making it easier to paddle into waves. Moreover, they are safer to use in the lineup as the risk of the board hitting someone (including yourself) and injuring them is far lower than a traditional PU or epoxy board.
Foam surfboards worth buying
The most dominant foam surfboard brands currently are Catch Surf who also own the Wave Bandit line of boards. Catch Surf are biggest brand due to their partnership surfer Jamie O’Brien. Other prominent soft top brands include, Wavestorm, Softech, and Rock-it.
Essentially all the foam surfboard brands make a good product. Foam surfboards you are going to have fun on. You don't have to worry too much about the manufacturing details. Basically, when you're choosing your foam surfboard brand, you choice will be based on the look, design, and graphics.
Liquid Shredder FSE (9ft)
Liquid Shredder surfboards are top of the line, custom made soft top surface surfboards and SUPs. They are hand shaped with and a high tech design to offer fast, streamlined performance. Liquid Shredder is designed specifically to be used by everyone, from pro rippers to new surf wave riders.
The innovative softcore and surface of Shredder surfboard can bring the thrill of surfing to both kids and beginners.
SBBC Verve (8ft)
The 8’ Verve measures in at 96” x 23” x 3”, 74L of Volume. Designed by Surfers, influenced by traditional beginner shapes, the 8’ Verve Heritage is the perfect beginner surfboard for any and all trying to learn how to surf. It’s the #1 selling board here at SBBC, and for good reason too!
Wavestorm is the most recognized soft surfboard brand in the United States. The 8ft classic surfboard is one of the best-selling & performing learn-to-surf boards of all time due to it being light, soft & easy to handle. Years of extensive manufacturing experience create a perfect balance of material and performance all within one board.
Let the Wavestorm 8ft classic surfboard inspire your day at the ocean and promote a new healthy lifestyle. There is no better feeling than catching that first wave and riding it to the shore.
Create memories on the Wavestorm 8ft classic surfboard!
California Board Company 8ft
The California Board Company has been around 2008 and take pride in constructing some of the most durable foam boards the market has to offer. 8 Feet CBC Surfboard with PU Surf Leash and Tri-fin System.
SBBC Ruccus Soft Top 7ft
The South Bay Board Company is completely has a true passion for water sports. They love to see more and more new people getting into surfing every year.
The 7’ Ruccus measures in at 84” x 22” x 2.85”, 49L of Volume. Designed by Surfers, influenced by traditional beginner funboard shapes, the 7’ Ruccus is the perfect beginner surfboard for any and all trying to learn how to surf. It’s the beginner board of choice for kids and younger teenagers.
Made of durable top foam and slick HDPE high speed bottom. It is a strong and responsive bottom skin that adds stiffness and maximizes board speed. This surfboard has durable foam top, EPE deck, EPS core and PP hard slick bottom.
Wave Bandit Catch Surf Retro Fish 5'8″
Catching tremendous speed and popularity in recent years, Catch Surf is an innovator in this foam surfboard space. The Beater Board and Odysea Surfboard series have been best sellers.The Retro Fish is a timeless, classic design perfect for small summer surf. The upgraded quad fin set up gives the board extra drive when the waves get bigger!
What to think about when buying foam surfboards
The design of foam surfboards
Foam surfboard designs are mostly longboard or mid-sized lengths and shapes.
Length and Width are usually on the larger side when it comes to foam boards. The idea of a foam board is to make catching waves as easy as possible for surfers of any skill level and longer, wider boards are a much better choice for that than shorter and narrower boards.
- Longboard Design – A board at least 8’ long with a round nose and a rounded or squash (flat) tail with a relatively wide deck and rounded rails are par the course for the majority of foam boards.
- Mini – Log / Torpedo – Mini-Logs / Torpedo shapes are essentially the same as a longboard, but they are shorter (7’ – 8’ max) and often have a deck that’s more narrow. These boards sacrifice a small amount of stability and speed for an increase in maneuverability.
- Fish Shape – Foam Boards with a fish shape are shaped like a shortboard (6’2 – 6’6”) and will be much more difficult to stand up on. The hit to stability is more than.
Volume of foam surfboards
Volume will determine how buoyant your board will be in relation to your weight on the board. The higher your board floats you out of the water, the less resistance you’ll encounter and thus the more speed you’ll have when you’re paddling. The faster you can paddle, the more waves you’ll be able to catch. You can calculate the volume you’ll need with this chart.
Durability of foam surfboards
Durability is referring to how much of a beating the board can take without being effected. Most foam boards are extremely durable thanks to improvements in board construction and increasing quality of the materials used in constructing foam boards. The true struggle of the foam board is not sacrificing performance entirely for an indestructible board.
Material of foam surfboards
There are a handful of foams that are used for the foam decks on top and the slick bottoms of soft surfboards. Some key materials to look for are
- IXPE (Irradiated Cross-Linked Polyethylene) – Irradiated cross-linked polyethylene foam (IXPE foam) is very fine celled microcellular foam. The surface is more smooth and flat and it outperforms other foams in regards to thermal insulation, being waterproof, and shock absorption.
- PP (Polypropylene) – Polypropylene is a strong, durable, and lightweight plastic. Unfortunately it’s not as easy to recycle as HDPE.
- EPE – Expanded polyethylene foam, is a molded semi-rigid, non-crosslinked & closed-cell type of polyethylene foam that is non-abrasive, flexible, strong and lightweight.
- HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) – High Density Polyethylene has become the industry standard for the bottom of most foam boards. Aside from being extremely strong, impact resistant, weather resistant and light weight, HDPE is also recyclable. Soft tops are notoriously difficult to recycle so this is a step in the right direction.
- EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) – Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam is a version of polystyrene foam. It’s the same material that’s used in packaging or the day coolers you buy at the grocery store. EPS is the lightest foam material used to make surfboards and is typically the most prone to water absorption as well but technological improvements (like Heat Pressed Closed Cell EPS) have removed any serious threat of water absorption
Common questions about foam surfboards
Are Foam Surfboards Good For Beginners?
Foam Boards are ideal for beginners! They are more durable, stable, and overall easier to catch and ride waves with than a fiberglass board!
Should I Get A Foam Surfboard Or a Regular Longboard?
This solely depends on what your intentions are with surfing. If you’re unsure about whether it’s something you really want to do, if you don’t have regular access to a beach, or if you just want to surf for fun, a foam board is a better place to start than a regular longboard.
Do You Have To Wax A Foam Surfboard?
Some boards are specifically designed with decks that do not require any wax at all.
Most foam boards will also provide enough grip sp that you don’t have to apply any wax, but it would benefit you if you did.
Finally, some decks will require wax without exception.
Read up about the materials and texture of the deck of the board you’re going to purchase first and purchase a bar of base wax and surf wax regardless. Every surfer needs to have wax on deck.
How Do You Take Care of a Foam Surfboard?
Water absorption and Sunlight and Heat Exposure are the biggest threats to a Foam board’s longevity. The industry standard for foam core is becoming closed cell EPS , which prevents from any serious water damage in the short run. Simply put if you ding your board and you know water has gotten in, you need to find a dry warm area the board can completely dry out over time. Then you will need to repair the board, usually using Epoxy resin.
Heat on the other hand is even more simple. The temperature of your board has to stay under 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid contact with direct sunlight using a silver reflective board bag or keeping in the shade. Board socks will cause the board to cook faster when left in the sun and should be avoided entirely.
Where to Buy?
Local Surf Shops, Amazon, and of course, the foam surfboards at Costco are classic Wavestorms!
Final thoughts about foam surfboards
The advantages of a foam board are simple. They’re fun, indestructible, and are easy to catch waves with!
Foam boards are a ton of fun! They’re stable, they paddle fast through the whitewater, and they make catching waves and standing up incredibly easy. Their sole focus is to enable as many people as possible to experience the joy of simply riding waves.
Foam boards are also a million times less likely to suffer any real damage or break in a way that will make them completely unusable. They’re more likely to eventually absorb too much water and lose their structural integrity. This makes them an ideal choice for the summer surfers around the world who just need a board for catching waves occasionally without having to risk too much
Fiberglass boards on the other hand, are a reflection of what it means to constantly be pushing your surfing to new limits. Even the process of making fiberglass boards is constantly undergoing different tweaks in size, shape, materials, and techniques.
A fiberglass board is much more susceptible to breaking in a way the requires replacing your board entirely. They are significantly lighter, faster, and able to outperform foam boards by miles. The fiberglass board is the tool of one looking to push themselves and their skill as a surfer every time they paddle out.