Best Beginner Surfboard in 2021: Comprehensive Review

Whether you’re new to surfing or you would like to learn new tricks and maneuvers, you must use only the best beginner surfboard. We have five of the top beginner surfboards for 2021. Find the one that matches your needs and your expertise!

The Top 5 Best Beginner Surfboards

To find the correct board, you should select a beginner surfboard according to your weight, height, level of expertise, and location. Our top 5 picks will surely take you beyond surfboard training and mastering tricks.

1. KONA SURF CO. Beginners Surfboard

Star Rating: 4.7 out of 5

Best Foam Top Surfboard for Beginners from KONA Surf Co.

Description:

  • Available in different colors and sizes
  • With removable fins plus leash
  • Comes with double stringers for enhanced durability

Features:

  • Dimensions: 4’ 4” length, 15 pounds
  • Material: Foam top
  • Style: custom outline with additional rocker, sleek design
  • Special Features: with removable fins, double wooden stingers, square tail, slick bottom
  • Accessories: fins and leash

The KONA SURF Co. Malibu is the brand’s take for beginner surfboards. It is designed to provide the best and the smoothest movement and safety for beginner users. It is the right size to hold adults as well as kids; it is soft as it is made of tough yet safe foam.

You can find the Malibu in five different striking colors: neon green, blue, pink, red, and grey. These fun neon colors offer added safety for beginners as well as expert riders as you can be readily seen in and out of the waves. You’ll also find the size that’s right for your height and level of experience; just make sure to pick the right size as you shop for the right board.

This KONA longboard surfboard has a custom outline with an additional rocker for improved performance. It also comes with wooden stingers with also enhances the board’s durability. This board provides a larger volume which works best for beginner users.

The shell is soft foam so expect a board that will last as long as you want to surf. It is designed with a square tail that’s optimized for improved maneuverability and speed without losing control. The board has enhanced water resistance plus, the rounded nose offers improved stability. Underneath is a slick bottom which enhances protection from impact and scratches plus, it keeps you quick on the water.

Pros

  • Great size and shape for beginner users and kids
  • This is available in many colors.
  • With a custom outline, enhanced rocker, and larger volume for beginner users.
  • Improved water resistance and speed.

Cons

  • Too small for adults

2. South Bay Board Co Surfboard

Star Rating: 4.4 out of 5

Best Soft Top Foam Surfboard for Beginners from South Bay Board Co.

Description:

  • Can support riders up to 100 pounds
  • With full-length wooden stingers.
  • With a wide chest area for easy pop-ups.

Features:

  • Dimensions: 84 x 22 x 2.85 inches
  • Material: EPS foam core, wooden stingers
  • Style: just the right thickness for kids, the wider chest area
  • Special Features: 2 full-length stringers, wider chest area, with a 6-foot leash, handle and rounded-edge
  • Accessories: leash, fins, fin screws

The South Bay Board Co. basic soft-top foam board is for beginners and kids. It is 6 feet tall and has a larger volume which can carry riders up to 100 pounds weight. This board also comes with a wider chest area that can help beginners balance and have plenty of space to adjust their footing. Pop-ups will be easier and faster with a wider chest area.

Just like all Guppy board, this beginner surfboard has 2 wooden lightweight stringers. These are full-length stringers that help keep the surfboard durable and strong. It is made from closed cell EPS foam that’s very strong and yet light to take anywhere. This material keeps water out and thus, with proper care, your board will last a long time.

The Guppy board is perfect for beginner riders, kids, and teens as it is at the right thickness that makes it easier to move or paddle through the water. Catching waves will be a snap. Meanwhile, the round rails enhance the board’s buoyancy and stability especially when moving in a small wave.

This beginner board comes with a 6-foot leash, a strong easy to carry handle, and safe surfboard fins. You’ll have everything ready plus it’s easy to assemble so you’re ready to hit the waves in minutes.

Pros

  • With improved balance and faster pop-ups.
  • Durable and strong because of its enhanced material and construction.
  • Prevents water damage thanks to its foam core.
  • Improved stability in water

Cons

  • Only for light riders and kids

Wavestorm 8′ Surfboard

Star Rating: 4.7 out of 5

Best Soft Foam Surfboard with a Classic Design from Wavestorm

Description:

  • With a strong core and classic style.
  • With removable fins and leash.
  • With a slick bottom made of polyethylene.

Features:

  • Dimensions: 8 x 22.5 x 3.25 inches, 11.5 pounds
  • Material: EPS core
  • Style: classic style, removable fins, slick bottom, crosslink deck
  • Special Features: crosslink top, sunburst graphic art surface, removable fins, 3-stringer system
  • Accessories: fins

The Wavestorm 8-feet surfboard is a colorful and inspiring beginner board with a soft foam material. It has a classic design that will help beginners learn and quickly adjust to the water. This longboard has a very durable and impenetrable yet soft EPS core. This material keeps water out and prevents damage.

The top deck has a crosslinked design, what Wavestorm calls “Water Barrier Skin.” Together with the rails, it makes the top more durable easy to slice through the water and can keep you safe on your feet. Meanwhile, the bottom is slick HDPE.

You can easily move through the water and keeps the bottom protected from scratches, marks, and other damage caused by handling and natural elements in the water. This Wavestorm surfboard comes with bolt-thru fins, traction pad, and ankle leash. Everything is easy to assemble and will just be a few minutes to do so.

Pros

  • This is a soft and flexible surfboard.
  • Very durable and strong core.
  • Water-resistant skin, slick yet safe in the water.
  • Easy to assemble

Cons 

  • No other size available

California Board Company Surfboard

Star Rating: 4.3 out of 5

Best Soft Beginner Board from California Board Company

Description:

  • This is a soft beginner surfboard with an EPS foam core.
  • Polyethylene sticky bottom.
  • Comes with a surf leash.

Features:

  • Dimensions: 84.65 x 21.46 x 2.36 inches, 6.5 pounds
  • Material: EPS foam core
  • Style: vintage style, slick bottom, soft-top surface/deck
  • Special Features: with traction pad, triplefin system, tail cap
  • Accessories: PU leash, removable fins

The California Board Company beginner surfboard is 7 feet tall and is made from EPS foam. This is a durable, efficient board with molded laminated wooden stringers. Underneath this board is an HD polyethylene bottom that slicker and therefore faster. Slicker boards get to move faster in water and offer added protection from the elements as well.

You would think that it is made from wood because of its faux woodgrain graphics. This cover also protects the top and bottom surfaces of the board. The top has a traction pad to keep the surface grippy and safe for riders, especially beginner riders. This comes with easy to attach fins and a long and durable surf leash.

Pros

  • Tough and durable foam core.
  • Moves faster but stays stable.
  • With a cool faux wooden surface.
  • Easy to assemble.

Cons

  • Available in only one size.
  • No other color and style available

Giantex 6′ Surfboard

Star Rating: 3.7 out of 5

Best Beginner Board for Kids and Adults from Giantex

Description:

  • Made from durable foam and HDPE bottom.
  • Removable fins, easy to assemble.
  • Available in different styles and colors

Features:

  • Dimensions:  72 x 30 x 3 inches
  • Material: foam, HDPE bottom
  • Style:  triple fishtail, classic shape, different designs
  • Special Features: durable top, slick bottom, responsive bottom, removable fishtail
  • Accessories: fishtail, safety leash

Available in three fun and striking color combinations, the Giantex beginner surfboard is designed for newbies, adults, and kids. The top is made from foam while the bottom is made from HDPE. This is very durable, responsive, and makes the board quicker.

The top comes with a transaction pad to keep you on your feet and stable while in the water. The fins are removable and are designed for enhanced traction and hold. The fins make you quicker and enhance lift. The most important thing to consider before you get a Giantex beginner surfboard is your weight as this board can only hold lighter riders and children.

Meanwhile, assembly of the bolt-thru fins is easy and set-up is quick. You don’t need to have this professionally assembled as it comes with an easy-to-understand user’s manual.

Pros

  • With a safe and secure top.
  • Quicker and has improved lift.
  • Very responsive and is great for learning tricks and difficult maneuvers.

Cons

  • Only for beginners and light riders

How To Choose the Best Beginner Surfboard?

Selecting the ideal beginner surfboard is a tedious task. Most end up being frustrated after the first and second try but eventually find the board that fits their needs. Finding the right surfboard can also be costly if you can’t find the ideal one right away. The key to finding the right beginner board is to consider the surfboard’s dimensions, shape, and construction. 

General rules in finding a surfboard

A beginner surfboard must be taller or longer compared to the user. It should have at least 20 inches in width or more. This will help improve the board’s buoyancy. Some surfboard manufacturers claim that their boards are for beginners but unless the board falls under these general rules, the board is not for beginners.

Surfboard dimensions

Selecting a beginner surfboard is critical for the user’s ability to adapt and learn the sport. The board must not be too small that will prevent you from catching any waves and it must not be too big that you’ll find it hard to control especially when you’re learning how to surf on a wave that leads to shore.

Beginner surfboards are also called minimal surfboards and are best for beginners. A beginner board belongs to the mid-range size of surfboards with a length of 7 to 8 feet and thickness of 2 and 5/8 to 3 inches. The surfboard width depends on the rider and usually, it is from 20.5 to 22.5 inches wide.

Bigger riders need a bigger board, something similar to a longboard surfboard that is 9 feet in length. You may think that this is too tall but it can help you paddle better and catch high waves compared to riding a smaller or narrower board.

Surfboard shape

Beginner surfboards come with a rounded nose. This design helps enhance the board’s buoyancy from the front and it becomes easier to catch waves and paddle. The back of the board must be adequately shaped and must not be too thin. A narrow back will only make it hard to ride a wave.

There are 7 surfboard shapes. The gen board is 8 feet long with a pointed nose and rounded back. The longboard is 10 feet long with a rounded nose and back. The hybrid is 8 feet long and comes with a round nose and slightly pointed back.

The shortboard is around 6 feet long and has a pointed nose and slightly-rounded back. The egg has an egg shape and is a shorter version of a longboard. This is 8 feet long with a very round nose and rounded back. The fish is 6 feet long with a pointed tip and a fish-like tail. The tow-in which is 6 feet long is the smallest and the narrowest with a pointed nose and flat back.                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Surfboard material/construction

Wood has been the best material for surfboards for many years but eventually, new and better materials were discovered which have replaced wood. Nowadays, the most popular materials are epoxy, polyester, and soft-foam.

Surfboards made from epoxy and polyester are classified as hard boards. These materials are best for beginner surfers especially those who want to enhance their skills and learn new tricks and maneuvers. Hard surfboards can last a long time if cared for correctly. A surfboard made from polyester and epoxy will last until a beginner learns new moves.

Another type is a soft-foam board. This is a very common surfboard used in surfing schools and training schools. However, this board is not recommended for beginners because it allows little progression for beginner users.

Soft-foam boards are forgiving and will never cause the user and the people around him injury as it’s not heavy and not as hard as hard surfboards. Because of this quality, foam boards make a good beginner surfboard and are also recommended for kids.

However, if you’re planning to learn surfing and become an expert, you should consider a hardboard as foam boards will affect your overall performance.

It’s natural for beginner surfers to feel undecided as to what type of surfboard works for them. And this is when you should decide on your instincts. If you find hard boards better because of their durability and buoyancy then go for it. If you think that soft foam boards are better because of their weight and form, then you may start learning with this kind of surfboard.

A new or second-hand surfboard?

Beginners may decide whether a new or a second-hand board is best for them. Consider the following advantages of a new board. A new surfboard has never been used and thus, you’re certain that it’s stable, sleek, and smooth. However, new boards cost a lot more and for someone who’s still getting the hang of surfing, a beginner may abandon the sport anytime he finds it too complicated. Buying a new surfboard that costs a small fortune, would be a complete waste.

But if you are completely decided on learning surfing and becoming a pro then there’s no reason to keep you from buying a new surfboard. A new, high-quality surfboard will help you learn the basics and help you move from a beginner to an expert. As long as you take good care of your surfboard, you can expect this to last for as long as you are able to surf.

Meanwhile, a second-hand surfboard may be a practical choice especially if you’re still undecided if surfing is the right sport for you. A second-hand surfboard is cheaper, therefore, a good value but you should be very keen on checking the quality of the board before you buy.

It’s good if you are buying a second-hand board personally. You can inspect the overall quality of the board including the stability, parts, surface, and accessories that came with the board (fins, extra fins, leash, and surfboard handles/bag.

Another cost-effective way to learn surfing with a beginner board is to borrow one. Surfing schools have beginner boards for their students to use. You can also ask a trainer or expert to help you out with some tips and to lend their boards.

FAQs

The following are the most frequently asked questions about buying a beginner surfboard

Is there a surfboard according to a rider’s size?

A surfboard should be at least 12 to 24 inches taller than you. However, the style and shape of the board matter a lot like the fish surfboard which is 2 to 4 inches shorter than a shortboard. When it comes to selecting a shortboard, the board should be at least 2 to 6 inches taller than you.

Is a longer/taller surfboard better?

Some experts say that longer or taller boards are better for beginners because these are easier to catch a wave and are the easiest to paddle.  These boards are also better at moving through large swells and huge waves. Meanwhile, smaller boards are more efficient, easy to maneuver, and more responsive. Because of these, skilled and expert surfers prefer shortboards as they can perform all kinds of tricks easily.

What are intermediate surfboards?

A minimal surfboard is best for intermediate users, next on the list is a shortboard. A shortboard can be used by beginner and expert users as these are just 6 to 12 inches taller than the rider and have a lot of volumes. However, if you want a surfboard with higher specs, choose an Egg or a Fish surfboard.

Is it hard to use a shortboard?

A shortboard is fast and thus, works best for competitive surfers. Because of the shortboard’s design and size, it is easier to move in all kinds of waters. It acquires speed faster and is able to perform all kinds of tricks and techniques in water. If you want to be fast and aggressive in water then a shortboard is for you.

What’s faster, a longboard or a shortboard?

A longboard is harder to maneuver but is faster especially when you’re paddling. Longboards are faster than shortboards and thus, it is preferred by users who just want to go faster.

How long will you need to wait to surf very well?

Surfing requires dedication and patience. Learning how to surf can take anywhere from a few hours to a month. Be sure to practice daily and to ask for help from an expert to evaluate your form and skill. You should master how to balance and lie on a surfboard; this can be accomplished in just a few hours.

How young does a child need to be to learn how to surf?

Anyone can learn how to surf at any age however, kids can start learning how to surf even as early as 5 years old. At this age, kids are fearless and very agile so they will be easier to train. But of course, you should get a properly-sized board to match a child this young.

Conclusion

The best beginner surfboard is durable, easy to maneuver, and requires very little maintenance. You should pick a board that’s right for your size, weight, level of experience, and your budget. From our list of the 5 top boards, the KONA Malibu and the South Bay Board Co beginner surfboards are the best-rated and most popular.

These boards are designed to provide the safest, the most efficient, and the quickest response. These beginner surfboards are durable as they are made with an EPS foam core and slick bottoms. Both boards come with removable fins and leashes for added safety. Finally, both are longboards and thus, are faster but are easier to maneuver for basic movement and tricks.

There are so many beginner surfboard makers but KONA and South Bay Board Co. stands out from the rest. Therefore, if you’re planning to buy a beginner surfboard soon, it’s best to stick with these brands for quality and great value for your money.