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Foam Surfboard Buyer’s Guide

So you want to hit the waves with your very first surfboard, and you don't know what to buy and how to choose a surfboard? For beginners, foam surfboards are the best as they are lightweight, and you don't have to spend a fortune to get one.

But selecting a suitable surfboard isn't as easy as it sounds! From choosing the ideal height to thickness and material, you have to consider a lot of things to get a board that's perfect for you and is easy to maneuver!

This foam surfboard buyer’s guide here is intended to help you by choosing the best board. Below we have explained every factor in detail so you can quickly find out what surfboard is best for you.

What is a foam surfboard or a foamie?

A foam surfboard of a foamie is one of the newest types of boards available in the market. These boards have a soft top covered by EPS foam, and that sets these apart from regular hard-top boards.

Foam surfboards are ideal for beginners because of the buoyancy and cost factor. Moreover, these surfboards curtail the chances of any injuries you can get with a hardtop board.

Soft top vs. hardtop surfboards

Most beginners think that it'd be a better idea to go for a hardtop surfboard as they can continue using it after getting professional. But you should avoid it as both surfboards have their respective benefits. Here's how a soft-top board is different from a hardtop board, and should you really buy it.

Better buoyancy

Made using foam and other lightweight materials, foam surfboards have ultimate buoyancy. These boards can float better on the water as compared to hardtop boards that are heavy and have less buoyancy.

Affordable

As a beginner, you should avoid investing a lot in a surfboard, and that's where soft top surfboards come in. These boards are affordable, as there are no hard materials and coatings. In short, you will get a foamie at an affordable price when compared to a high-end hardtop board that’s perfect for the professionals.

Less chances of injuries

Beginners are mostly surfing in crowded areas with other amateur surfers, so it's common to slash into someone who is also learning in the same area. When you have a soft-top board, the chances of injuries are less due to the board's foamy tip.

On the other end, hardtop boards are solid, and these can cause severe injuries if you smash the board into someone.

Factors that’ll help you decide and pick the best foam surfboard

With these factors, you can settle down with the best foamie that’s perfect for helping you in learning surfboarding. With this buyer's guide, you can select the ideal length, width, thickness, and material, which are the critical components of any surfboard.

Type of surfboard

You should start by choosing the surfboard type you need so that you can look for the other aspects like the length, and material. Foam surfboards are available in a variety of types that have different performance on the water.

Longboards

Longboards can be fun to ride on small waves. These surfboards are a little bit hard to maneuver due to the size as the basic size available is around 8”. With most longboards you will see a three-fin setup. You get more area on the board for the feet, so you don't fall off too easily while learning.

Fish-style surfboards

Fish-style foamies are good for expert and intermediate surfers that have good control over the board. The surfboard's tail has two pieces that help you with easy transitions on water and smooth turns. These surfboards are good for generating speed, even in small waves.

Lastly, fish-style surfboards look fantastic so that you can pick an exquisite board in this style.

Egg-style surfboards

These surfboards are round from both ends, just like an egg. You should get this board for radical turns and duck dives. Egg-shaped foamies are smaller than longboards, so you get excellent maneuverability, and that'll add more fun to the surfing.

Mini simmons surfboards

These surfboards are best for surfing across the shore break. The boards are small in size so that you will see your feet near the tail. Also, the push of the water on these boards is later due to the size, but these are ideal for paddling on waves.

Hybrid foamies

Hybrid foamies are a combination of egg shapes and fish style surfboards. These surfboards can have a split tail like a fish board while the width and length are like an egg-shaped board. You get two boards infused in one, and these are suitable for intermediate surfers.

Mini Malibu surfboards

Mini mals are available between 6" to 8," and the shape is generally rounded just like a longboard. You will get the ease of riding these boards, which you normally get with longboards. However, duck diving isn't viable with these surfboards, but these are good for surfing with your board through whitewater.

Gun-shaped surfboards

You will not see a lot of gun foamies available in the market as not all manufacturers produce these boards. The pointed tail and nose of the board reward the surfer with added maneuverability. These surfboards are best for experts, and beginners should avoid purchasing them.

Material

The surfboard's material decides its durability, weight, and performance, so you should get extra careful when choosing the right material. Usually, soft top surfboards are available in three types of materials i.e., polyurethane, polystyrene, expanded polystyrene.

There is a new material introduced in the market: extruded polystyrene. Find out what material will be good for you by checking its advantages and disadvantages.

Polyurethane

The primary benefit of polyurethane foam is that they are lightweight, so you can easily carry the board from your car to the shore. Also, PU boards offer ultimate control, so these are ideal for beginners in every way.

The reason why most manufacturers have stopped producing PU surfboards is that the process isn't good for nature.

Polystyrene

Polystyrene is the common material that garnered a lot of popularity after the closure of PU foam. The material is lightweight, and producing it is not as damaging as manufacturing polyurethane. You will see a multitude of foam surfboards available that say: made with polystyrene.

Expanded polystyrene (EPS)

This material is another variant of polystyrene that has small foamy balls for increased buoyancy. The material is lighter and a sustainable choice. However, these surfboards can be a little bit pricey because hands cannot shape the material, and it requires machines to cut the board.

Extruded polystyrene (XPS)

This polystyrene type has closely packed cells that don't absorb water even if you ding the surfboard in the water. The material has excellent flexibility and isn't to the right so that you can ride it comfortably. Lastly, the surfboards made using XPS are expensive and have a great responsive feel.

Length

The length of the surfboard will impact maneuverability, such as longboards are hard to maneuver, and the short counterparts allow you to cut through waves with more speed and better control.

On the other hand, longboards are ideal for beginners because these have ultimate buoyancy and sort boards are good for intermediate and expert surfers.

You will find many options when it comes to choosing the length of the surfboard.

Shortboards

Short foamies are easy to maneuver, but you can use these boards if you are intermediate or an expert. Short foam surfboards are ideal for quick turns, and you can do flips and duck diving because of the compactness of the board.

However, surfing with a shortboard can be challenging, especially for beginners. There is less space available for the feet as compared to longboards.

Longboards

Longboards are lengthy like 8" and above. These boards have excellent buoyancy and hard to maneuver, so you cannot take sharp turns with these boards. If you are a beginner, then longboards should be your choice as you will learn surfing by paddling on the water.

Foam surfboards are available in a multitude of sizes starting from 5” and ranging up to 10”. You can select the ideal length based on the type of foamie you need. As a thumb rule, looming boards are ideal for learning a bit hard to maneuver and turn due to the significant size.

Shortboards are easy to maneuver, and you can take turns due to the short size, but these boards aren't easy to surf with.

Width

Just like length, the width of the surfboard also impacts its performance. You will see narrow and wide boards available in most foamies, and here’s how to choose the suitable board width.

Narrow boards

Narrow surfboards have an excellent response, and you will enjoy going from rail to rail with a narrow foamie. Also, these boards have a quick response, and that's why expert surfers always choose boards with narrow width as these are easy to maneuver even in the steepest parts.

Wide boards

Wide surfboards have more buoyancy as there is more area coming in contact with water. These boards have great stability, so beginners should go with wide surfboards. Most beginners find it hard to position their feet on narrow boards due to the lesser availability of area so wide boards work well for learners.

Volume

Calculating the volume of the foam surfboard is essential because it highly depends on your preference. There are many disadvantages of choosing the wrong volume, like less stability and buoyancy. So you should ensure that you are selecting the right board with accurate volume.

What is the volume of a surfboard?

The volume of any surfboard can be calculated by using a simple formula: length X width X height = volume of the board. Before you start checking the fin configuration and other such details, it'd be better to check the volume.

Low volume boards

Surfboards with low volume will reward you with a sensitive surfing experience, and you will feel everything under your feet to maneuver the board according to the waves. These boards are perfect for experts with polished surfing skills.

Low volume surfboards have less buoyancy, but there's a thing why experts choose low volume boards. Due to the low volume, the board offers excellent maneuverability. These boards are fun to surf with on medium and small waves.

High volume boards

Surfboards with high volume are better for learning as these are easy to surf. A high volume board offers more control and balance, so beginners can get these to learn surfing. Also, these boards support more weight and have better buoyancy.

Durability

The durability of the surfboard depends on the material, but most materials used to manufacture these boards have similar durability. The ideal board should last longer so that you can use it to polish your skills.

Always go for branded options if you need a surfboard with excellent durability. Furthermore, look for coatings that can protect the board from abrasion and other such things that can harm the longevity of the foamie.

Soft top boards have come a long way, and the materials used to manufacture these boards are incredibly durable. So check the product and make sure that it belongs to a popular brand that manufactures excellent foam surfboards to get a durable one.

Thickness

Thick foam surfboards are great for intermediate and beginner surfers, as these paddle faster and easily catch the waves. Further, the boards have good buoyancy, and these don't sink easily even after carrying more weight.

High thickness

Surfboards with high thickness will let you ride the waves softly as it catches the waves easily. These boards have more volume, so the floatation is greater than thin boards. Moreover, thick boards are more durable and don't break easily.

Thin boards

Thin surfboards are suitable for experts and professionals who want to easily and quickly surf from edge to edge. These boards have less volume, so decreased buoyancy. Durability is also an issue with thin foamies.

Fin setup

The fins underneath the surfboard have a significant impact on the board's stability, speed, and maneuverability. Here are some common fin setups you will find in soft top surfboards.

Single fin

You will find these fins on longboards. However, most surfers consider the fin setup as outdated, but many surfers still appreciate it. Single fin setup will allow you to ride smoothly at a good speed as there is less drag.

However, the fin can don't allow you to quickly turn the board, and you cannot take any sharp turns.

Twin fin

Twin fin setup adds more maneuverability to the board, and you will get good speed as both fins are compact. The only downside of this fin setup is that you will face difficulties as the tail slides on the wave.

Thruster fin

Twin fins can’t perform well in bigger waves, and that’s why thruster fin setup is getting more popularity. The fin setup enhances stability, and it is great if you love to try some tricks and stunts on the board.

Price

Don’t forget to check the price of the foam surfboard to make sure that you overspend. Foam surfboards are available at a myriad of prices, and you should get a board that matches your skill level.

FAQs: Best Foam Surfboards

Q: Why is it important to select the ideal volume when choosing a foam surfboard?

A: The board's volume has a considerable impact on multiple things, in short, the performance characteristics. If you want to get good control and floatation, then ensure to choose the right volume.

Here’s what comes under the performance characteristics that are impacted due to the board’s volume:

  • Buoyancy
  • Control
  • Stability
  • Paddle power
  • Glide
  • Speed
  • Balance
  • Performance
  • Drive
  • Pivot

If you have a board with the right volume, then you can achieve all the aforementioned performance characteristics required for surfing.

Q: Do foam surfboards have less life as compared to hardtop boards?

A: The board's longevity depends on how you use it and how you take care of it. If you mishandle a hardtop board, then it will not deliver a good life as you expected.

To enhance the board's life, check the material, and always go with celebrated brands that are common among professional surfers.

Q: Can I use a traction pad with a foamie?

A: Yes, you can use a traction pad with a foamie, but there can be some issues while sticking the pad to the surface. Use good quality glue that sticks the pad to the board, and you get good traction while surfing.

Q: How to wax a soft foam surfboard?

A: If you have decided to wax your surfboard, then you can do it following the below-mentioned step by step process.

  1. Start the process by cleaning the board's surface so that no dust and debris is sticking to it.
  2. Now apply the base coat of the wax, so the final coat sticks easily, and the wax lasts longer. You should cover the entire board with the base coat.
  3. You can choose the surfboard wax depending on the temperature of the water. Stiff wax is good for hot water, whereas soft wax is suitable for cold water.
  4. While applying the wax on board, try to create a pattern so that the wax lasts longer on the surface. After using the wax, you can stick a traction pad to the soft top board if required.
Q: Are soft top foam surfboards safe?

A: Yes, foamies are safe to surf on, and you will never face any issues regarding safety. These boards have excellent buoyancy and are lightweight so you can carry the board easily. The soft foamy material of the board absorbs the impacts making them safe for the surfer.

Q: Is it important to wash a surfboard?

A: You should wash the surfboard after taking it out of the water. The dust and dirt can accumulate on the board, making it look dirty while damaging the wax.

Rinse the board with clean water and then wipe it with a soft cloth.

Q: Can I remove old wax from the foamie?

A: Yes, you can remove the old wax before applying a fresh coat to make the board lighter than before. Removing the wax requires time and effort because too much force can damage the surfboard.

Step 1: Heat the wax.

You can heat the old wax by keeping the board under the sun or by using a hairdryer. Hot wax will come off quickly, and you don't have to spend a lot of time scraping it off.

Step 2: Use a scraping wax comb

Use a scraping wax comb and start scraping off the wax from the surfboard. The wax will come off quickly, so you should have a bin handy where you can throw the wax.

Step 3: Wipe off the leftover

Now wipe off the leftover wax using a wet wipe. Not all wax will come off due to scrapping so that a wet wipe will be a great help.

Q: Can I use a soft-top foam surfboard in a hardtop board?

A: No, you cannot convert a soft-top board into a hardtop board as both boards are made using different materials. Foamies are ideal for beginners, whereas hard top boards suit the skill level of professionals.

Both boards are different and have different performance characteristics.

Conclusion

This definitive guide will help you choose the best foam surfboard that enhances your skills. We have covered almost all factors related to the performance. Make sure to check the FAQ section as well to know more about the modern foam boards.

Lastly, check the volume, width, and the length of the board as the physical dimensions will decide how the surfboard will behave on the waves. Check the fin setup before you click the buy now button

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