Top 10 Best Beginner Surfboard Reviews for 2020

best beginner surfboards

Purchasing your first surfboard can be a fun, and sometimes overwhelming, prospect.  Perusing your local surf shop for the ideal board can be tough for folks without much experience in the water. This guide provides a detailed list of the top 10 best beginner surfboard reviews for 2020. 

That isn’t to say that advanced and expert surfers won’t enjoy these boards as well! Even Jaime Obrien, professional surfer and multiple Pipeline Masters winner, paddles out in some of the gnarliest surf in the world on a soft top.

What Kind of Surfboard Should I Get?

If you’re new to surfing, you’ve probably seen the likes of Kelly Slater paddle out on a heavily tapered, 6 foot (or smaller) surfboard and ride effortlessly down long hollow tubes of water. Sadly, this isn’t how anyone starts surfing, and yet we all need to start somewhere!

A novice surfer should focus their search on boards well above 7 feet unless you’re well under 100 pounds, and then a 6-7 foot board may be ideal. Unlike the sleek fiberglass, carbon fiber, or bamboo boards you may see professional surfers riding, it’s always a great idea to start with a soft top.

This is for many reasons but most notably for forgiveness. Don’t catch my meaning? Imagine a 9 foot, roughly 30 pound, chunk of fiberglass coming down from a wipeout to rest on the bridge of your nose: not a pretty picture.

While soft-tops have been historically stigmatized by surfers across the board, the level of sophistication found in today’s soft-tops provides everyone from beginners to experts with a whole new slew of opportunity for their quiver (collection of boards).

All things considered, each of the boards on this list is sure to give you the chance to build your surf skills, and have fun! Read on for the best beginner surfboards for 2020.

10. Wavestorm 8’ Classic Surfboard

Wavestorm Classic Surfboard

Measuring in at eight feet, the Wavestorm surfboard provides colorful deck pattern options reminiscent of California in the 60s. Built with a strong EPS core and an HDPE bottom, this board is perfect to simply cruise down the line or ride one into the shore.

Some special features of this board include a high-quality polyurethane leash to make sure that it stays attached to your ankle, a water barrier skin (WBS) to prevent any waterlogging, a textured deck, and textured rails to allow for the optimal amount of grip. The Wavestorm provides a very modern take on classic board and design, perfect for the beginner surfer.

The Wavestorm surfboard comes in at number 10 on the best beginner surfboard list. This is the best surfboard for someone that’s looking for a budget-friendly and a reliable ride on the waves.

Product Details

Surfboard Size and Weight Range (LBS)

8’0″ x 22.5″ x 3.25″ @ 86L = 100lbs and Up

>>Check on Amazon

9. Alpen Flow 8’0 Foam Surfboard

best beginner surfboard by Alpen Flow

The Alpen Flow 8’0” Foam Surfboard is probably the least sophisticated board that you’ll find on this list.  A standard, easy to use board, the Alpen Flow 8’0” board is great for the first time surfer.

It may be tough to move towards a more sophisticated style of surfing, especially for those who have already moved past the whitewater and popping-up stage of their surfing ability.

With thicker rails, especially around the tail, there isn’t much opportunity to cut back if you pick up speed past the curl of the wave.  Outfitted with everything you’ll need to get started, the Alpen Flow 8’0” comes equipped with fins, leash, and stomp-pad.  If you’re looking for something a little more sophisticated, it might be worth it to shell out a bit more cash for a board higher on the list.

The Alpen Flow surfboard comes in at number 9 on the best beginner surfboard list. This surfboard comes with white and gray traction pads. Traction pads go on the tail of your surfboard (back-end) to stop your back foot from sliding off. This is a necessity for beginner surfers everywhere because it helps surfers with keeping your foot on the tail of your surfboard.

Product Details 

Surfboard Size and Weight Range (LBS)

8’0″ x 23″ x 3.7″ @ 72.9L = 100 to 210lbs

>>Check on Amazon

8. Raystreak 8’2 Soft Top Surfboard

Raystreak Surfboard Review
This hybrid long/fun-size board by Raystreak offers some easy-on-the-eyes graphics on their decks, in addition to, a long list of awesome features that make learning to surf fun.

Like other boards mentioned on this list, this surfboard offers a large amount of stability through the extended size of the board. Additionally, this board is large enough to be used as a paddleboard for those smaller in stature or children.

Either way, whether you decide to use it as a surfboard or paddleboard, the soft foam deck will provide the ultimate comfort while shredding those breaks.

Raystreak comes in at number 8 on the best beginner surfboard list because the company offers additional accessories to keep your surfing experience enjoyable. Altogether, this surfboard is made with EPS foam and fiberglass to make your surfing as smooth as possible.

Product Details 

Surfboard Size and Weight Range (LBS)

8’2″ x 23″ x 3.4″ @ 75L = 110 to 220lbs

>>Check on Amazon

7. South Bay Board Company 8’ The Verve

The Verve Surfboard

Perhaps this model is the best beginner surfboard, as it’s listed at a length of 8 feet while also being very lightweight. Because of the lightweight material this South Bay Board Company surfboard, it made of, The Verve is easy to carry, even for the smaller beginners.

The top of the board comes with a special textured deck, which helps the rider grip and stay on, especially while they’re first learning. With a rubber tail covering, this board can easily be stored without worrying about damaging any part of it.

One of the premium perks of purchasing this surfboard is what comes with it. In their most basic package, you’ll receive fins and the fin accessories, as well as, a leash and leash screw. Additional packages can be purchased and include things such as a surfboard bag, traction pad, and surfboard paint pens!

Product Details

Surfboard Size and Weight Range (LBS)

8’0″ x 96″ x 23″ x 3″ @ 56L = 70 to 180lbs

>>Check on Amazon

6. South Bay Board Company 7’ Soft Top Ruccus

Made by the South Bay Board Company, the soft top 7-foot Ruccus is the smaller, more fun-sized version. It’s just as durable as the 8-foot Verve, but smaller, allowing riders to be able to cut and shred a good bit more, while still maintaining the stability of a larger board.

This surfboard is perfect for the more intermediate rider, as it does require a higher skill level being at a shorter length but can be used to catch swells of all sizes. The Ruccus also comes with some pretty groundbreaking features for a surfboard!

On the very front of the board, there is an FCS plug for an action camera mount so that you can personally document all of your gnarly rides.

The deck of the surfboard also comes with a textured, wax-free surface so you never have to worry about constantly waxing and cleaning. Talk about a cutting-edge surfboard!

Product Details 

Surfboard Size and Weight Range (LBS)

7’0″ x 84″ x 22″ x 2.85″ @ 50L = 50 to 160lbs

>>Check on Amazon

5. The Razzo Premium Hybrid Soft Top Surfboard

Razzo Premium Surfboard

The Razzo produced by SBBC is one of the faster boards you’ll see out there! Meaning rocket in Italian, this board can truly fly.

Built with a thruster nose, a widened chest area, a squash tail, and only coming in at 6 feet, this surfboard combines the ability to go fast, make ridiculous downturns, all while giving the board a fun-size feel.

The Razzo might be smaller than most other surfboards that are easy to learn on, but don’t let that deceive you. With the wider deck and the EPS soft foam top, it’s the perfect surfboard for smaller children or those who have a little bit of experience.

It comes with a tri-fin retro set up in the back with a pre-textured deck, meaning that you won’t ever have to worry about waxing your board every time you want to shred.

The Razzo surfboard comes in at number 5 on the best beginner surfboard list. If you’re looking for a fast surfboard that is within your budget, then Razzo is the perfect board. This surfboard is assembled with oval top-to-bottom layers, friction and width to give you more speed.

Product Details

Surfboard Size and Weight Range (LBS)

6’0″ x 72″ x 20″ x 2.5″ @ 35.5L = 95 to 200lbs

>>Check on Amazon

4. The 10′ Verve Soft Top Surfboard

Verve Soft Top Surfboard Review
The Verse surfboard is one of the highest reviews surfboards on the market. This surfboard is made with a heat release valve to naturally discharge excess heat from the core of the surfboard. As a result, your surfboard will stay cool and it will prevent delamination and bubbling.

The Verse surfboard is also made with a wax-free textured top deck. This means that you don’t need to put any wax on a surfboard to go out surfing ever again. You’ll have a much cleaner surfboard for much longer and this texture provides for a stronger and more natural grip to the deck.

Lastly, this surfboard comes with 3 bottom fins to increase your speed and improve your steering and maneuverability. This surfboard easily supports beginner surfers up to 200LBS.

The Verve surfboard comes in at number 4 on the best beginner surfboard list. We especially like the HDPE plastic diamond weave reinforcement. HDPE is a very durable material that will help protect your surfboard from major damages, scratches, and dings.

Product Details

Surfboard Size and Weight Range (LBS)

8’8″ x 22.5′ x 3″ @ 104L = 100 to 200lbs

>>Check on Amazon

3. Cabo Soft-top Surfboard

Mike Doyle is another well respected soft-top maker who has been leading the soft-top market since the ’80s.  A favorite among surf schools around the world, the Cabo Soft-top is a great board for anyone looking to paddle out.

One thing to keep in mind with most soft-tops, but especially Doyle boards, it’s always best to wear a rash-guard or wetsuit.  The foam material of Doyle crafted soft-tops are heavily textured with bodyboard style foam which is likely to leave a nasty rash to anyone riding without much coverage.

Doyle boards are notable for being stable, maneuverable and durable, all great qualities for the best beginner surfboard.  Expert tip: hose down your board after use and steer clear of sharp edges, this will keep your foam from being sliced and waterlogging your board.

The Cabo surfboard comes in at number 3 on the best beginner surfboard list. This surfboard is made with a thick crosslink foam skin that helps protect your surfboard from scratches and dings. In addition, the slick skin on the bottom helps you gain speed on the cusp of big waves.

Product Details

Surfboard Sizes and Weight Range (LBS)

6’0″ x 21.5′ x 3″ @ 52L = 100 to 160lbs

9’0″ x 23.25′ x 3.25″ @ 72L to 74L = 200 to 225lbs

>>Check on Amazon

2. NSP Elements Longboard

NSP Elements Surfboard Review

The NSP Elements Longboard is one of the few boards on this list that isn’t technically a soft-top.  Made from a combination of epoxy and fiberglass, the NSP, like many of the other boards on this list, is built to withstand the beating of a beginner surfer.

While you may not be likely to ding your board in the line-up, most boards get dinged moving from storage to the beach.  Be wary of handrails, door frames, and general debris!  The NSP Elements Longboard is a great board for anyone looking to find a board they can progress with and continue to ride for years to come.

The NSP Longboard surfboard comes in at number 2 on the best beginner surfboard list. This surfboard is combined with a durable gel coat skin and EPC core to give you a smooth ride and soft coast that will not irritate your skin. On top of that, this surfboard is made with HDT which makes it one of the most durable surfboards on the list.

Product Details

Surfboard Sizes and Weight Range (LBS)

8’0″ x 22′ x 2.75″ @ 56.9L = 115 to 170lbs

8’6″ x 22.25′ x 2.875″ @ 64.4L = 171 to 200lbs

9’0″ x 22.75′ x 3″ @ 73.2L = 201 to 220lbs

9’6″ x 23′ x 3.125″ @ 82L = 221 to 240lbs

>>Check on Amazon

1. Surftech Learn2Surf Surfboard

Surftech is a well-respected board maker based in Asia.  The Learn to Surf Surftech comes in a variety of sizes from 7’6” to 12’0”.  While you might be tempted to go for the shortest or longest, board in the selection, the 8’0”-10’0” range is probably the best place to start.

The hardcore and thin rails of the board will give you the feel the sophistication and maneuverability of a fiberglass board without compromising forgiveness.

Having the extra length, buoyancy, and stability not only helps you to progress in your pop-up, but the surface area and buoyancy significantly affect your paddle strength and speed.

Having a few extra feet under you can be the difference between a day filled with riding waves, or a nearly dry session.  This is a great selection for anyone from kids to adults venturing into surfing for the first time.

Surftech Learn2Surf surfboard is undoubtedly the best beginner surfboard in 2020. From reinforced fins to hard fiberglass bottom, this surfboard can outlast the most unforgiving waves and tides. That’s why we have this surfboard on top of our list.

Product Details

Surfboard Sizes and Weight Range (LBS)

7’6″ x 21′ x 2.6″ @ 48L = 115 to 150lbs

8’0″ x 21.5′ x 3.1″ @ 54L = 151 to 170lbs

8’4″ x 23.1′ x 3.25″ @ 63L = 171 to 195lbs

9’0″ x 22.6′ x 3.25″ @ 72L = 196 to 220lbs

10’0″ x 23′ x 3.3″ @ 87L = 221bs and Up

12’0″ x 26.25′ x 4.4″ @ 87L = 221lbs and Up

>>Check on Amazon

How to Surf

Learning how to surf is definitely not as easy as it looks. Surfing is a sport for the brave of heart, ocean lovers, and adventurers. The ocean can be an unforgiving place so it’s great to keep the following in mind when starting surfing for the first time:

1. Board anatomy

It’s easy to think of a surfboard kind of like a dog. It has a nose – front of the board – tail – back of the board – and leash. The leash is attached using velcro around the ankle of your back foot. On the underside of the board, you’ll find the fin(s). Find out how a surfboard is made right here.

2. Which Foot Do I Put Forward?

To determine whether you are “regular” (right foot forward) or “goofy” (left foot forward), place both feet together, lean forward, and catch yourself with a foot before falling flat on your face.

The foot you catch yourself with is your front foot. Contrary to popular opinion, this has nothing to do with your “dominant foot” or the foot you use to kick a soccer or football.   Another great way to think about it is to prepare yourself for “sliding on the ice.”

Think Tom Cruise in Risky Business, which foot would you have forward?  This is your ideal surfing stance.

3. Popping Up and Paddling

It can be tough to find the center of gravity for your surfboard if you’re not used to paddling. When finding your paddle position, start out on dry land. Your toes should line up early with the tail of the board, and typically, the logo or insignia on the deck of your surfboard should line up with your chest.

When you’re ready to “pop-up” place both hands flat on the deck of the board near your armpits (think chicken wings). Press up quickly and jump to land with both feet on the board at the same time.

Expert tip: Don’t grab the rails! You’re likely to pull the board out from under you or cause the board to rock from rail to rail as you try to pop-up. Your feet should line up approximately where you’re knees and hips touch the board when lying prone.

4. Catching and Reading Waves

When sitting in the “line-up” or the ideal place for catching waves and tides, always keep your eyes on the horizon. As you stare into the distance, look for differences in color or texture, this is an indication of approaching waves.

surfer riding waves on a surfboard

When you find a wave worth catching, turn your nose towards the beach (consider angling your board at a 45-degree angle towards the direction you want to surf). When paddling, consider pulling your hands under the deck of the board, rather than dipping straight into the water.

Once you feel the power of the wave pushing you forward (this can be a tough feeling to discover when getting started). Don’t give up! You’ll soon discover just how amazing it is to surf, catch the bug, and be off on your way.

Best Surfboards for Beginners

The growing popularity of surfing is evolving from kids to adults. Starting to surf can be a challenging task that’s why it’s important to take care of yourself and be safe. You always want to be alert about the weather conditions and wave heights.

For novice surfers, it’s important to start on small waves before you go big. Surf culture is a commitment to the ocean. You want to practice as long as it takes so you can be confident to take on bigger waves down the road.

You also want to surround yourself with teachers and surfers who have the experience and knowledge about the surfing lifestyle. Enjoy and have fun!

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