We’ve pulled together a list our top 12 favorite foam / softtop surfboards. Not only are these boards great for beginners, they are a fun go-to choice to maximize your wave count when the waves are small. Softop surfboards are an excellent no rules, no pressure board to have in your quiver, plus they are the safest/best choice for kids and beginners. Needless to say, foam surfboards are fun for all levels of surfer. We wish more surfers would use these types of boards in crowded lineups like Waikiki, San’O, Doho or Malibu to keep others safe.
Our top 12 favorite Foam Surfboards:
The R-Series by Almond is the definition of fun. Ranging from 5’4″ to 9’2″, these boards feel more similar to a traditional fiberglass board than many of the other options out there. The R-Series are made of high density closed cell foam (usually in black) made in the USA. Don’t let the texture of the board fool you, these boards are rigid and fast. No wax required on the soft top, plus the dark colors are usually a conversation starter at the beach from envious onlookers. The 8’0″ Joy is our favorite small wave board. These boards are 100% recyclable, so you can take it back to their HQ to receive $50 towards the purchase of a new one. Prices range from $399 – $699.
Catch Surf / Odysea
If colorful choices, length options and fun is on your wishlist, the Catch Surf / Odysea boards are an excellent choice. They have small “blackball” beaters, mini malibus, shortboards and longboards. The most popular models are the Skipper, Log and the Beater. The Catch Surf boards are some of the best softop boards for kids learning (the soft rails and slightly softer fins have kept many little ones from receiving an injury). If you watch Jamie O’Brien’s youtube channel, you’ll see him paddle out a pipeline when the waves are pumping on an 8’0 log. *These are a solid choice in terms of value and fun. Prices range from $200 – $500.
Founded by two San Diego locals, these boards are really fun and come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Our favorite feature is the gator-skin (patented PowerFuse(TM) soft-top) construction. These boards are relatively light weight and durable. Prices range from $395 – $500.
You may have seen Ben Gravy’s youtube channel, he shreds these boards in all conditions. These boards re similar to Catch Surf with many fun colors, sizes and shapes. These boards have a soft top, EPS core and “radical” slick bottoms. Made in the USA. Prices range from $220 – $375
Wavestorm / Stormblade
In terms of value, you can’t really beat this board, although I don’t believe they are available at Costco any longer. These boards don’t have the best longevity, but they are great for beginners or anyone who wants to learn the fundamentals on a bigger board that will help you catch a lot of waves. Many would argue this is one of the brands that help inspire may other brands to jump into this niche. Wax is recommended on the softop as they can be slippery sometimes. You can still pick one up on amazon for around $150 -$200
Another fun choice for anyone looking for a fun foamie. These boards have a wax free soft top, wood stringer and an option to add your own Futures fins. “As surfers, we tend to get a little too serious in the water. Not only are we serious in the water but we are serious about the technology and the construction of our equipment.” PLUS, every board is recyclable, so you can use this board for a few years, then send it to their headquarters in HB, California for recycling and $50 credit towards your next board. Made in the USA. Prices range from $290 – $475
South Bay Board Co.
They might have one of the best deals going right now. (Buy one, get one free)! Which is a great deal if you have multiple kids who want to surf. They have hybrid, beginner, performance, skim, short, mid-length and longboards. They have some fun alternative shapes like the Elefante, if you want something a little different. Most boards have a soft-textured waxless top with a smooth-slick bottom. Originating from South Bay Los Angeles, this family owned business is about making fun boards with performance features at a good price. Prices range from $200-$500ish for most foamies (but don’t forget about their BOGO offer)
Positive Vibe Warriors
The Positive Vibe Warriors is a relatively new board on the scene from the Gudauskas brothers. If you know anything about the Gudauskas family, they are always sending good vibes into the universe. These softop boards are super fun and we support their mission! “We can all be a Positive Vibe Warrior. Through compassion and helping others we can all share in the enlightening experience of paying it forward when the opportunity arises. Together, we can make our communities healthier, happier and safer places to surf, play and live.” – Dane Gudauskas. 100% recyclable, made in the USA. Prices range from $350-550
Haydenshapes boards are iconic, but they also have a soft series version of many of their boards. You can pickup a softtop version of the Hypto Crypto, one of the most popular shortboards for around $449, which is a decent price for a proper foamie. Since you’re likely using this board for smaller days, volume is your friend, so don’t be afraid to go bigger or go for their Loot fun shape. Prices range from $259 – $449
Based in San Clemente, CA, Foamy is all about maximizing fun at the beach. Our favorite is the 8’0″ Gunner, which has all the greatness of their 7′, but with a bit more EPS for the small summer SoCal days. The Gunner is around $375
One of the best surfers of all time launched his own shortboard brand. Mick has “Good Times” and performance boards in the lineup. The softop boards are a fun option with a clean look. The midlength glider is a good pick for someone with a little more experience who wants to add little more fun and speed to their softop session. These boards have an EPS core with a focus on performance. Pricing is around $450 for a softop.
They have a great lineup of soft and performance boards for all conditions. They have longboards (Roller) and a mix of short/fun boards as well as some performance softops. The FCS II integration will give you some options when you want to switch fins as well. Also, their performance line offers a good option for those looking for the performance of a shortboard with some of the forgiving foam rails. Prices range from $330 -$390
Foam Surfboard Materials
These boards have many names; Softop, Soft Top, Foamie, Mini Mal, Mini Malibu, Foamer, Foam board, Costco Surfboard, etc, etc. A Softop surfboard is a relatively new type of board (only around 15 years). Foam surfboards usually have a soft (sponge like) top, a foam EPS core and a slick bottom vs traditional surfboards that are fiberglass and rigid.
Softop surfboards are ideal for beginners and those who want to catch more waves when the waves are small. Furthermore, the best feature is that they are much safer when there are a lot people in the lineup.
Also, check out:
What to Look For When Buying a Softop / Foam Surfboard
Types of Foam / Softop Surfboards
*Featured Image Courtesy Jeremy Bishop @unsplash