Foam Surfboards For Beginners
In recent years, softboard surfboard technology has seen many improvements. Foam surfboards used to be known for giving rides that were not very similar to the feel of riding a fiberglass surfboard or epoxy surfboard. The softtop surfboard twisted and flexed too much to be responsive. The new softboards are made with a strong EPS core and they give a ride similar to a traditional surfboard. As they have improved their materials, these foam surfboards for beginners now provide better overall stiffness. This is important if you want to ride the softboard on the face of a wave.
You have to keep in mind that these surfboards are going to take a beating that new surfers will often inflict upon a surfboard. Beginners will often ride the surfboard up onto the sand as they are learning to ride in the whitewater of a shorebreak, or worse, riding the surfboard up onto rocks along the shore. Nothing is more sure to put a ding into a traditional fiberglass surfboard than riding onto rocks. Well in reality, dropping the darn surfboard in the garage probably results in just as many dings to a fiberglass surfboard.
This is where today's new softboard technology shines. These new soft top surfboards are not only designed to provide a better surf feel, they are also designed to withstand the abuse a beginner surfer will dish up to the softboard.
Softboard Review - A Look at the Best Softtops Available Today
There are big differences in the quality of soft surfboards for beginners. You will find prices for new boards ranging from $80 to $650. As my grandmother used to say, "you get what you pay for". The cheap foam surfboards you see advertised are just that ... foam. They are not strong and will not give the surf feel I was describing. For young children well under 100 pounds they will hold up for a while. For heavy children or adults, it is likely that you'll bend it or snap if before too long. There are 4 companies well known for making quality softboards. Surftech, Global Surf Industries (GSI), Liquid Shredder and GLS.
The term, foam surfboard, is actually misleading because it can cause people to come to the conclusion that they are simply buying a surfboard made of styrofoam. This is definitely not the case. A good quality softtop surfboard is made from a strong EPS core with a wooden stringer and is glassed and epoxied then covered with soft, yet strong materials.
Softboard Construction - The Material in a Softtop Surfboard
Surftech and GSI have excellent softboards. This is an example of how Surftech construct their softboards.
Illustration credit: Surftech
The video of a GSI softboard will give you an idea of how the softboards are designed.
Softboards - Review of the Different Brands of Soft Top Surfboards
Global Surf Industries:
GSI softtop surfboards are built using the board inside a board principle of construction. They start out with an EPS core with a wooden stringer that is shaped, glassed and epoxied. Then they cover it with high strength materials that will make the surfboard soft. You are not getting some cheap foam surfboard here. This is a very strong surfboard that will stand up to the wear and tear that new surfer's can place on it by riding too close to shore.
GLS have been making softboards for over twenty years. They offer a good quality softboard surfboard. Their construction and quality is similar to GSI's. The size range of their soft surfboards is from 6 feet to 11 feet. For pricing on the GLS softboards you can enquire at their website: glssurf.com.
Surftech Roxy Softtop 7'6
Surftech, like GSI is one of the larger manufacturers of surfboards. Their softtop is made from a fused EPS core that is sandwiched in epoxy resin and fiberglass. The surfboard will provide good performance and will keep a developing surfer satisfied for a long time. The Surftech Roxy Softtops sell for around $630 US.
Liquid Shredder Softboards - These surfboards are handmade in Peru. They offer the largest selection of sizes. From very small surfboards only 4 feet 2 inches in length for young children all the way up to a ten foot longboard. All Liquid Shredder Softboards come with a one year guarantee. The price ranges on the Liquid Shredder vary from $200 up to $650 depending on the style and size you choose. This brand provides an excellent compromise in terms of price, performance and quality. There are many more surfboards to choose from, scroll down for the other styles.
Sky - Foam Surfboards
Amazon's Best Offers on Liquid Shredder Softboards
Replacement Fins for Softboards
Replacement Fins for Soft Surfboards
Is the Softboard the Best Surfboard for a Beginner?
The short answer to this is easy. Yes a softboard is the best surfboard for beginner surfers. However, this does not necessarily mean it is the best surfboard to purchase. Make no mistake about it, surfing with a well designed softboard is the safest way to learn how to surf.
A great safety feature about the softboards is that they come with a softer surf fin. If you have ever been "skegged" by a surf fin you will know what I am talking about. The technology has improved and these soft fins do not lose a lot in the way of performance, yet give you a lot in the way of a safer surfing experience.
The fin company FCS make a fin attachment system that you can add to your softtop surfboard and it allows you to put on different FCS fins. The fin system comes with a set of FCS soft fins. This gives your softboard more versatility, because an older/heavier rider can put a different set of fins on the softboard that will make the surfboard more responsive for their weight.
A Longboard or a Funboard May Make a More Practical Choice for Beginner Surfers
If you plan to surf more than just a few times a year I suggest you consider purchasing a traditional fiberglass surfboard or the newer and stronger epoxy surfboards. These surfboards will give you more performance and you will not find yourself wanting a new board so soon.
Learning to surf on a shortboard is pretty much out of the question for most people. You will want to consider a longboard or a funboard (funboards are known as mini mal surfboards in some parts of the world). To help in your decision you may want to check out our page What is the best surfboard for a beginner?
Safer Surf Fins for Kids & Adults
The Hawaiian surf company Surfco make a brand of soft fins called "Pro Teck". They are the best surf fins for beginners because they are designed not to cut if you should get hit by them. Pro Teck fins have a rigid core and soft edges that allow for smooth fast rides with exceptional turning capabilities, while also reducing fin injuries. These surf fins are compatible with the most widely used surf fin system FCS. So changing over from a set of FCS fins to the softer edged Pro Teck fins is just a simple matter of unscrewing your existing fins and screwing in the new Pro Teck fins. You may want to check out our page on Pro Teck Soft Surf Fins.