Ultimate Guide To Choose
The Best Beginner Surfboard

What Is a Soft Top Surfboard?


Choose the right surfboard

A soft top surfboard is a type of surfboard that features a foam deck instead of the traditional hard fiberglass or epoxy surface. The soft top is covered with a soft, textured material, often made of foam or a rubber-like substance, which provides a non-slip surface and is more forgiving for falls. Soft Top surfboards come in all shapes and sizes, but the best beginner surfboard is a soft top surfboard between eight and nine feet.

Why This is The Best Surfboard For Beginner Surfers

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The soft top surfboard is the best surfboard for beginner surfers for a variety of reasons. The first reason, is that soft top surfboards are much more buoyant than hard top surfboards. The added buoyancy creates a more stable platform for you to pop up on the surfboard. additionally, the extra ‘float’ makes caching waves and paddling a breeze compared to any size hard top surfboard. This really just comes down to the buoyancy to weight ratio. A heavy surfer will need a bigger board than a lighter surfer because it is all relative. So, it’s important to note that not every surfer has to start on a soft top surfboard, if you are a relatively light, athletic person, you could consider starting out on a hardtop surfboard between 8 and 9 feet. While a heavier, less athletic person should highly consider a soft top surfboard. 

Can I Use a Hard Surfboard?


Free surf course, soft top surfboard

The answer is, maybe. As previously mentioned, it’s down to the relative buoyancy to weight ratio. If you are someone who can do multiple push ups and you have a lean body structure and are generally good at other sports, you can learn to surf on a hard top surfboard between 7 and 9 feet. However, if you aren’t very good at other sports, are a little intimidated by the ocean and can’t do more than 20 push ups in one go, or you weight more than 170 pounds, you will have to start on a soft top surfboard and then consider transitioning once you are comfortable with catching waves. 

I want to stress that using a soft top surfboard will make the learn to surf process much easier, and even if you can start with a soft top surfboard, it doesn’t mean you should. Using a soft top surfboard inherently carries a bigger safety risk. 

What Size Surfboard Should I Use
As a Beginner Surfer?

Beginner surfers can easily use surfboards between 7ft and 9ft. As mentioned, the size and type of board you are going to use depends on your weight, height and level of athleticism. There are indeed a few downsides to using bigger boards. Bigger surfboards are harder to handle in the line up, they are also harder to maneuver when riding on the wave for a variety of reasons. These include the general idea of radius and pivot point, physically longer boards are herder to turn because of how much board needs to turn around it’s pivot point. The other reason is because longer boards are generally more buoyant, which makes it hard to sink the rail, which you need to do in order to turn the board. 

There is no clear cut rule, saying a person of a specific weight should surf a certain size board as a beginner surfer. In general, you should go and rent an 8ft soft top surfboard and go from there. It’s also important to note that not all soft top surfboards are good to use, some of them are poorly made as you will see highlighted later on in this article. 

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This Is The Best
Beginner Surfboard Brand!

Beginner Surf Spot

I am all for supporting the little guy, but when it comes to soft top surfboard brands, there is one that clearly stands out from the rest and thats is Catch Surf. There boards are way above the rest of the field in terms of quality, stability and durability. I’d like to point out that this is not an ad, and currently, we are not affiliated with them. The brand, Wavestorm comes in second but to be honest, they don’t come close to catch surf. To conclude, stay away from brands like Gerylopez surfboards, if it looks flimsy, it is flimsy! 

Best Surfboard for Beginners

Is Surfing a Hard Surfboard Dangerous?

Surfing a hard top surfboard is only dangerous if you don’t know how to handle your board and yourself in the line up. Surfing carries inherent risks, but is no more risky than driving to the surf spot. Using a hard top surfboard will increase your risk of injury, if you do not know what you are doing. However, you shouldn’t be scared or timid about surfing, as it is no more risky than driving to work everyday. 

When Can I Start Using
A Fiberglass Surfboard


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You can start using a fiberglass or hard surfboard when you are confident in your ability to handle your board, consistently catch green waves and pop up at least 75 percent of the time. Although, this is not a hard rule. If you are athletic, good at other sports, have the right guidance and surf in a relatively uncrowded area, then you could just skip the soft top surfboard and start straight on a hard top surfboard. I would recommend that you always consult a surf instructor before buying a board or going for your first surf session if you are not planning to go with a surf school or surf camp. 

How To Choose The Right Surfboard

The fastest way for a beginner to learn to surf is to have a good surf instructor who is trained and has many years of experience. With little regulation in the surf instructing field, it’s possible to come across instructors who don’t have a comprehensive understanding of teaching techniques or ocean safety. This highlights the significance of choosing an instructor with a proven background and positive reviews from past students. A good instructor will not only teach you how to catch waves but also emphasize ocean awareness, reading waves, and safety protocols. Don’t hesitate to ask about the instructor’s experience, teaching methods, and safety practices before committing to lessons. Remember, investing in a capable surf instructor sets the stage for a confident and skillful surfing journey.

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A Beginner Surfboard Size Chart

Beginner Surf Safety

True Beginners (Adults):

  • Height: 8’0″ to 9’0″
  • Width: 22″ to 24″
  • Thickness: 3.0″ to 4.0″
  • Volume: High volume (typically in the range of 70-90+ liters)

True Beginners (Youth/Teens):

  • Height: 7’0″ to 8’6″
  • Width: 20″ to 22″
  • Thickness: 2.5″ to 3.5″
  • Volume: Moderate to high volume (typically in the range of 50-80 liters)

Active Beginners (Fitness-oriented):

  • Height: 7’0″ to 8’6″
  • Width: 21″ to 23″
  • Thickness: 2.5″ to 3.5″
  • Volume: Moderate to high volume (typically in the range of 50-80 liters)
Catch Surf Soft Top

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