The Most Underrated Feature of a Quality Foam Surfboard?

Sure, you can pick up a cheap foamie at Costco for a hundred bucks, but not all foam surfboards are created equal and there is one particular feature that should sway your decision while shopping for your next soft top…. -> No-Wax Deck Pads!

If you’ve ever left a surfboard in the car only to come back to a sticky mess OR paddled out with a super slippery board that is impossible to ride, you know what we’re talking about.

While all foam surfboards feel somewhat sticky when dry, not all have proper wax-less top decks to keep your feet from sliding around. Enter the wax-free deck pad, which is undoubtedly one of our favorite features on a soft-top surfboard.  The smooth, yet grippy patterns offer solid traction in most of the conditions we’ve tried these boards in.

“Not needing wax is an incredible plus as I’m able to keep it in my car and get a quick session in while I’m out.” – Cody via Almond

The manufacturers also mention that the wax free top deck should work for the full life of the board as well, so you never need to stress about leaving a bar of wax at home

*If you read the reviews on the manufacturer site, some will say they still add a bit of wax to their board, but from our experience we’ve never really we needed it.

Bottom line is that these soft top boards are engineered to be forgiving for beginners and allow allow surfers of all abilities to focus on the fun factor when the waves aren’t massive and firing.

Here are a few of our favorite “Wax-Free” soft tops:


Almond R-Series

Ranging from 5’4″ to 8’0″, they have a few options to choose from.  We always have folks ask us about the wax free top when folks see our Almond at the beach and it is one of the most popular features in their reviews.  Needless to say, we’re fans of this board series as well!

Image courtesy Almond

Positive Vibe Warriors Foam Surfboards

The Gudauskas bros from San Clemente launched PVW as an avenue to give back to the surfing community, but they scored bonus points in our hearts with their soft top boards 🙂
“It is with this spirit, that my brothers and I have launched Positive Vibe Warriors softboards in 2021. Founded upon our shared passion to introduce and support surfing in emerging surf cultures, these boards have been built to ensure your first experience in the ocean can be a positive one.” – Dane Gudauskas

Crime Surfboards

Crime has a number of different models and sizes.  They have a really unique approach to building soft tops that also have EPS foam cores and a poly bottom for speed.

All CRIME Surfboards are designed by CJ Nelson, and are built to be “soft-tops that work”.  They are all made like “real surfboards”, and constructed from shaped eps foam blanks with stringers, glassed with 6oz epoxy cloth, then finished with a textured EVA foam skin (which you should not wax), laminated to the deck.  The end result is a highly shreddable, super fun surfboard that performs exceptionally well in most conditions, and that also doesn’t wear out like those other disposable soft-tops. Two Thumbs up for these boards!

Crime Surfboards

South Bay Board Co

The South Bay boards are a combo of epoxy bottom with wax-free soft top “fingerprint” style foam decks with a heat release valve. We haven’t tried these boards, but have heard good things and they frequently offer really good discounts on boards

South Bay Board Co. Soft tops

ISLE Surfboards

ISLE has a faux gator-skin patented PowerFuse(TM) soft-top construction is super soft and sticky across their entire lineup of soft-top boards.  We tried their boards and they are fun.

See also:

What to look for in a foam surfboard

Best Foam Surfboards in 2022

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