Updated on May 21, 2020

When it comes to adventurous sports, surfing has a long and rich history. From Ancient Pacific Islander cultures to 20th century Southern California, surfing has captivated a wide array of people. It’s said that even Mark Twain gave it a shot! But even professional surfers had to start somewhere, which is why we’ve pulled together a list of the best surfboards for beginners, so you can experience the rush of the waves for the first time too.

The last 50 years have seen traditional logging (longboarding) give way to the short board revolution of the 1970’s, then to the neon-clad performance surfing of the 1980’s, to the professional world of the 1990’s. Even into the early 2000’s, surfing has continued to evolve with advancements in board design and lightweight technologies.

With such a broad selection of boards to choose from, varying in length and style for particular wave applications and rider styles, it can seem overwhelming when trying to pick the right board. But fear not my surf-enthused friend – The Adventure Junkies took the time to curate the gnarliest list of the best surfboards for beginners. Read on and ride out, surf’s up dude!

For more of our top surfing gear recommendations, check out the Best Surfboards

 

Quick Answer - The Best Surfboards for Beginners

  1. Modern Surfboards Falcon
  2. Catch Surf Odysea Log
  3. Softech Flash
  4. BIC Sports G-Board EVO
  5. South Bay Board Co. Verve
  6. Wave Bandit Ben Gravy
  7. South Bay Board Co. Ruccus
  8. South Bay Board Co. Razzo
  9. NSP Funboard
  10. South Bay Board Co. Big Betsy

 

Comparison Table - The Best Beginner Surfboards

PictureNameLengthThicknessWeight CapacityFins Included?PriceRating
Modern Surfboards FalconModern Surfboards FalconMedium (7’6 ft)2.875"200 lbsYes$$$4.7
Catch Surf Odysea LogCatch Surf Odysea LogMedium (6 ft)3.125”180 lbsYes$$4.9
softech flashSoftech FlashMedium (6’6 ft)2.66"200 lbsYes$4.6
BIC Sports G-Board EVO Long (8 ft)3.5"200 lbsYes$5.0
South Bay Board Co. Verve Long (8 ft)3”230 lbsYes$4.9
Wave Bandit Ben GravyMedium (6.5 ft)3.125"-Yes$4.8
South Bay Board Co. RuccusMedium (7 ft)2.85”200 lbsYes$4.8
South Bay Board Co. RazzoMedium (6 ft)2.85”200 lbsYes$4.7
NSP FunboardMedium (7 ft)3.75"230 lbsYes$$4.7
South Bay Board Co. Big BetsyShort (5 ft)2”170 lbsYes$4.3
PictureNameLengthThicknessWeight CapacityFins Included?PriceRating
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - Best Surfboards for Beginners

Modern Surfboards Falcon

Specs
  • Length: Medium (7’6 ft)
  • Thickness: 2.875"
  • Weight Capacity: 200 lbs
  • Fins Included?: Yes
Features
  • Includes 3 Fins
  • Super Floaty
  • Durable Construction
Modern Surfboards Falcon

BEST FOR: JACK-OF-ALL-TRADES BOARD

The Falcon is a stable and buoyant board that helps beginners progress quickly. Pop up with confidence and turn with ease in smaller waves. 

The rocker helps the board paddle quickly into waves and maintain speed once you’re up. This is the perfect board for beginners wanting a board that gets better as your skills improve.

Catch Surf Odysea Log

Specs
  • Length: Medium (6 ft)
  • Thickness: 3.125”
  • Weight Capacity: 180 lbs
  • Fins Included?: Yes
Features
  • Includes 3 Fins
  • Tons of Float For Easy Wave Catching
  • Wax-Free Soft Top
Catch Surf Odysea Log

BEST FOR: SHORE BREAKS (NEWBIE TERRITORY)

The Catch Surf Odysea Log makes catching waves so easy it almost feels like you’re cheating. The thin midsection and sharp cutoff tail give you plenty of control. The log is easy to paddle, light and nearly indestructible.

At only 6ft, this board gives you the feel for paddling and riding a shorter board, but you still have the mega float performance of a longer board. Keep it in your arsenal even as you progress because it’s perfect for days when the waves are weak.

Softech Flash

Specs
  • Length: Medium (6’6 ft)
  • Thickness: 2.66"
  • Weight Capacity: 200 lbs
  • Fins Included?: Yes
  • Fin Setup: Thruster (3-fin)
Features
  • Includes 3 Fins
  • Ankle Leash Plug Included
  • Wax-Free Soft Top
softech flash

BEST FOR: ALL DAY, EVERY DAY SURFING

The Softech Flash is a great all-rounder offering shortboard performance, and a perfect option for anyone wanting to hone their turning skills. This hybrid shape has a wider nose and plenty of volume for easy paddling. The Flash is built with a slick soft deck and bottom that glides over the water, making it a super quick board that catches everything

With the FCS II system, you don’t need any screws or tools to secure the fins. You can easily insert and remove the fins based on the wave conditions or the riders skill level.

BIC Sports G-Board EVO

Specs
  • Length: Long (8 ft)
  • Thickness: 3.5"
  • Weight Capacity: 200 lbs
  • Fins Included?: Yes
Features
  • Includes 3 Fins
  • Flat, Stable Deck
  • Wax-Free Soft Top

BEST FOR: SHARING WITH THE FAMILY

I know what you’re thinking. It was my first thought too: “BIC? Don’t they make pens, lighters, and razors?” The answer is yes – but they also have a sister company that’s been producing high quality surfboards since 2002. You’re welcome for the random fact, btw.

The G-Board EVO is an excellent choice for any beginner and is perfect for sharing with the whole family. At 8’ feet in length, it provides stability for a wide range of ages. It’s high-volume design also lends itself for a parent teaching a child to surf while riding on the same board. The soft-top construction also makes the G-Board EVO a safe choice, especially when kids are riding.

The thruster fin setup on this board is a solid choice for beginners learning the complexities of surfing and provides maximum stability and maneuverability. Although wax isn’t needed for the soft-top construction, you will need to snag an ankle leash.

South Bay Board Co. Verve

Specs
  • Length: Long (8 ft)
  • Thickness: 3”
  • Weight Capacity: 230 lbs
  • Fins Included?: Yes
Features
  • Action Camera Mount
  • Wax-Free Textured Soft Top
  • Ankle Leash And Fins Included

BEST FOR: FAST LONGBOARDING

Let’s be real, sometimes you just wanna go fast! The Verve is the perfect longboard for channeling your inner Ricky Bobby while maintaining stability at high speeds. At 8’ feet in length, this “mini-log” is a sweet cruiser that will step up your mph while stepping down in size from a more traditional longboard.

The Verve has a smartly styled egg-shape that lends itself to a balanced and proportional ride. This design choice makes it a fantastic choice for true beginners as well as intermediate beginners. With the ability to boogie in surf up to 5’ feet tall, this torpedo will be a staple in your quiver even long after you’ve graduated to more advanced boards!

Wave Bandit Ben Gravy

Specs
  • Length: Medium (6.5 ft)
  • Weight: 210 lbs
  • Thickness: 3.125"
  • Fins Included?: Yes
Features
  • Lightweight Design
  • High-Density, Hard Bottom
  • Easy Attach Leash Plug Included

BEST FOR: SMALL, CHOPPY SURF

All aboard the gravy train! Endorsed and ridden by Pro Surfer Ben “Gravy” Graeff, this fish board is a must have in your quiver. This board will keep the good times rolling when the swells don’t pan out the way you want, leaving you with just a bit of whitewash. A whopping 3 ⅛” thickness, the Ben Gravy board offers up greater buoyancy to make quick work of small waves.

Measuring in at 6 ½’ feet in length and sporting a thruster fin setup, this board also has the size and aggressive features to unleash fury on swells up to 7’ feet tall. Although it falls into the smaller end of the “Medium length” category, the added thickness and shape of the Ben Gravy make this board ideal for true beginners who desire a hard top board and for intermediate beginners who need a more nimble board to practice their turning.

Be forewarned though, this is a hardboard that requires waxing before use and you’ll need to purchase an ankle leash separately.

South Bay Board Co. Ruccus

Specs
  • Length: Medium (7 ft)
  • Thickness: 2.85”
  • Weight Capacity: 200 lbs
  • Fins Included?: Yes
Features
  • Easy Connect Screw-In Fins
  • Rubber Bumper Protects Board During Vertical Storage
  • Heat Release Valve Prevents Delamination and Bubbling (to keep the board looking and feeling great)

BEST FOR: LEARNING HOW TO TURN QUICKLY

Ah… sweet, buttery carving – no, not the Thanksgiving kind. But we can certainly give thanks at all times of the year for the Ruccus! At 7’ feet in length, this beginner friendly board gets our juices flowing just thinking about all the gnar we can shred.

The Ruccus is right in the sweet spot when it comes to length and has all the trappings of a traditionally styled funboard: narrow front and rear sections that increase maneuverability and a wide midsection that lends itself to greater stability.

These traits translate into smooth turns and polished gliding at a reasonable speed. Pair that with South Bay’s soft top style and you have a board that is undeniably forgiving when you inevitably wipe out. Seriously, for an intermediate beginner looking to add some soul and style to your surf game, this is the board you’ll want as you perfect your transitions.

South Bay Board Co. Razzo

Specs
  • Length: Medium (6 ft)
  • Thickness: 2.85”
  • Weight Capacity: 200 lbs
  • Fins Included?: Yes
Features
  • Slightly Wider Midsection For Increased Stability
  • Real Bamboo Underside Increases Board Strength
  • Universal Detachable Fins Can Be Swapped For Bigger/Smaller Sizes

BEST FOR: PURE SPEED

If speed is your need, we’ve got a board that will do the deed! Literally translated from Italian as “Rocket”, this speed demon of a board will be sure to excite. The Razzo screams performance with it’s aggressive styling as you cross into the realm of shortboards. At just 6’ feet in length and sporting a sharply pointed front section, the Razzo is able to make quick work of waves in the 3’ to 7’ foot range.

While the shortboard is typically considered more of an advanced board, South Bay couples this classic shape with their signature soft top design, providing maximum floatability, and making it accessible to first timers. The Razzo does a stellar job at shortening the learning curve for beginners while introducing them to a whole new style of play.

NSP Funboard

Specs
  • Length: Medium (7 ft)
  • Thickness: 3.75"
  • Weight Capacity: 230 lbs
  • Fins Included?: Yes
Features
  • Includes 3 Universal Fins
  • Epoxy Finish Is Extremely Durable
  • 3 Fin Thruster Setup Is Great For Beginners

BEST FOR: ALL SKILL LEVELS

Whether you’re just beginning your foray into surfing or have taken your skill set to the next level, NSP delivers top-quality in it’s Funboard. At just over 7 feet in length, the Funboard is long enough to keep a new surfer feeling stable but short enough to play in waves up to 6 feet tall.

The shape of this board lends itself to giving all beginners a helping hand. The rounded front and rear make turning the board a breeze and the classic design will last you for years to come.

The best thing about the Funboard is that as you develop your skills and buy other boards for specific uses, this classic will always be in your quiver as your trusty “Go-To” board. Have fun with it!

South Bay Board Co. Big Betsy

Specs
  • Length: Short (5 ft)
  • Thickness: 2”
  • Weight Capacity: 170 lbs
  • Fins Included?: Yes
Features
  • Small Size Is Perfect For Children
  • Extra-Rigid Design Increases Durability
  • Blunted Front End Increases Speed In Small Waves

BEST FOR: WAKESURFING / CHILD’S FIRST SURFBOARD

Not everyone can get to the coast to snag some waves at a moments notice, which is why we’ve included the Big Betsy as a solid choice for wakesurfing! At just 5’ feet in length, this board is short enough to hone your surfing skills on weekend trips to the lake. The twin fin setup provides better maneuverability and performance and is ideal for waves between 3’ and 5’ feet.

If you do live near a beach, this board is also a great choice as a child’s first surfboard. The limited weight capacity and length ensure that it won’t be too much board to handle and will allow them to grow into shortboards as their skills progress.

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING YOUR FIRST SURFBOARD

COST

When you’re just breaking into surfing, you might not want to throw all your money at a top-of-the-line board until you’re better acquainted with brands, performance type, and other factors that might impact your buying decision. It’s great to have reliable budget options that you can test the waters in before you go all-in. The selection we’ve curated is both budget friendly and crafted from quality materials. Even as you advance in skill, these boards will advance with you and provide years of shredding.

 

CONSTRUCTION

When it comes to construction, there are 2 types of boards: soft top and traditional hard top. Each have their pro’s and con’s alike, but generally speaking a soft top board is going to be best for a beginner. But don’t let that sway you away from soft tops; even pro surfers use them in certain wave conditions.

SOFT TOP

PROS

  • Safer than hard tops – if you bail or wipe out, a blow to the head from your board will be less dangerous than on a hard top. This reason alone makes soft tops the best choice for beginners with no experience
  • Less expensive and have a high resale value compared to hard tops
  • Extremely durable and less prone to rail dings, which adversely affect the performance of hard tops 

CONS

  • Heavier than hard tops, making the trek to the beach a little more tiresome
  • Some soft tops can cause board rash in warmer water. This can be mitigated by wearing board shorts or a t-shirt
  • Are more prone to waterlogging and do not last nearly as long as a hard top board 

HARD TOP

PROS

  • Much lighter than a soft top, which can positively affect performance when learning how to turn your board. This makes hard tops a more desirable option for the intermediate to advanced beginner
  • A great investment that is repairable! If on the off chance you obliterate your board, it won’t end up in the landfill like a soft top
  • Longer lasting than soft top boards

CONS

  • Prone to damage, such as board dings, which can adversely affect performance
  • Wiping out on a hard top can be more dangerous, causing potential injury to both yourself and those around you
  • Resale value drops greatly when board becomes damaged 

 

FIN SETUP

There are four basic types of fin setups that surfboards utilize and it depends on each individual as to what you may prefer. If your board allows the option to customize via a “5-fin box”, then we recommend buying some extra fins and playing with each setup to determine which feels best to you.

  • Single Fin – Good For Beginners: This classic style was the first available set up in the early days of surfing and only found on longboards. The giant center fin has enough drag to keep you stable and secure.
  • Twin Fin – Good For Intermediate Beginners: The Twin Fin setup is much faster than the original Single Fin design and provides more maneuverability in small to medium-sized waves. However, because there is no fin in the center of the board, this setup is more prone to “spinning out” and losing traction if taking a tight bottom turn in a bigger wave.
  • Thruster – Best For Beginners: Splashing onto the scene in the early 80’s, the Thruster setup utilizes one large fin in the middle with two smaller fins flanking the sides in an offset shape (like a triangle). It’s basically a Single/Twin combo, providing the best elements of each. This is by far the most popular setup in all of surfing due to its well rounded and balanced nature.
  • Quad – Best For Intermediate Beginners: Hitting the scene more recently, the Quad setup is for those whose surfing style isn’t characterized by crazy moves. Instead, it focuses more on speed and power by doubling down on the Twin Fin design – two fins on either side of the board. It still maneuvers really well and is a great choice for larger framed surfers.

 

LENGTH

Surfboards come in a variety of sizes and it all depends on what your goals are. Typically the longer, wider, and thicker a board is, the easier it is for a beginner to surf as it provides more stability. We’ve broken down the multitude of lengths into three easy categories: long, medium, and short.

Long

Anything longer than 8 feet we’ve deemed to be a “long” board. These are long enough to provide the stability necessary for beginners without experience to feel comfortable on the water.

Medium

Boards in the 6 – 8 foot range we consider to be a “medium” length. They’re aimed at intermediate beginners who’ve had a few lessons and don’t need a full longboard to achieve their goals.

Short

Anything shorter than 6 feet we consider to be a “short” board. These are best left to the advanced beginners who have a solid skill set and are looking to take their surf game to the next level.

 

WIDTH AND THICKNESS

Generally speaking, the wider and thicker the board, the more stable the paddler will feel.

The average board thickness is between 2” and 2 ½” inches. Some beginner friendly surf boards will add some extra thickness to increase buoyancy in the water and other boards add thickness to increase performance under certain conditions.

 

VOLUME AND WEIGHT CAPACITY

Surfboard volume (measured in liters) points towards the overall weight capacity (measured in pounds) of the board. The higher the volume of the board, the more weight it can carry. Volume is an important metric because it points to the overall size of the board. Length, width, and thickness don’t always tell the whole story – 3 boards can have the exact same dimensions but have very different designs causing them to be better suited for different applications. Thus, volume helps us understand how buoyant our board is.

When choosing the best surfboard, you want a weight capacity that is higher than your bodyweight but with no more than a 60 lb difference. The weight capacity given is a maximum and shouldn’t be exceeded or performance will suffer. On the flipside, too big of a board will be difficult to maneuver on waves.

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

DECK

The area of the board where the paddler stands.

EPS

Stands for extruded polystyrene, which is a lightweight, buoyant, and waterproof material.

EPOXY FINISH

This relatively new style of finish provides a lot of benefits over traditional fiberglass boards including: weighing less, floating better, less prone to dinging, and longer lasting. Overall, this finish is better suited for beginners.

FIN BOX

The area underneath the tail of the board that offers options to add or remove additional fins in order to customize a particular fin setup.

STRINGER

A thin strip of wood that runs the entire length of the board to add stiffness and rigidity while maintaining an ability to flex.

READ MORE

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