Surf’s Up: Best Beginner Surfboards of 2023

2 surfers looking out at the ocean before paddling out.

Looking at buying a new board? I have the best beginner surfboards reviewed for you.

But before you embark on your surfing journey, choosing the right surfboard is vital.

“The ocean teaches patience; the wave teaches persistence.” This is so true about learning to surf – but having the right board can help you immensely.

Dive into our guide as we simplify beginner surfboards, spotlight top picks for 2023, and share expert advice for seamless wave-riding. Surf’s up!

Guide to Choosing a Surfboard

Beginner surfers on beach learning to surf

The world of surfing can be overwhelming for beginners, with various surfboard styles, materials, and sizes to choose from. Don’t worry! This section will demystify the process of choosing the perfect beginner surfboard and help you make an informed decision for successful wave riding.

We focus on surfboard basics, pitfalls new surfers should avoid, and guidelines for selecting the appropriate board.

I have a comprehensive guide on how to choose the best surfboard for your skill level here.

Understanding Surfboard Basics

Understanding the basic components of a surfboard should be your initial step before stepping into a surf shop. The size, shape, and materials of a surfboard play a crucial role in determining its performance and suitability for your skill level.

For beginners, a longer and wider surfboard with a soft top is ideal as it provides better stability and buoyancy, making it easier to catch waves and learn the fundamentals of surfing.

Regarding materials, foam surfboards or soft-top surfboards are a popular choice for beginners due to their lightweight and forgiving nature.

On the other hand, hard top surfboards, made from polyurethane (PU) or epoxy, are more rigid and geared towards performance, making them better suited for more advanced surfers.

Common Mistakes New Surfers Make

Drawing from personal experience, using the wrong size board when beginning my surfing journey hindered my progress significantly. I understand how crucial it is to get it right from the start.

As a novice, the allure of a sleek, pro-level surfboard can be tempting. Yet, the best route to mastering the basics is starting with a soft top surfboard or a longboard, which offers stability and buoyancy tailored for beginners.

Moreover, bypassing the wisdom of the veterans is a missed opportunity. Surf instructors and seasoned surfers harbour a treasure trove of knowledge. They can calibrate board suggestions based on weight, height, and novice status. If you want something more precise, here’s a board volume calculator.

Always seek their counsel, and don’t hesitate to explore different board options before committing to one. Your surfing journey deserves the best start possible.

Comparison Table of Best Beginner Surfboards

Having covered the basics, we will now examine some of the top beginner surfboards available on the market. We’ve evaluated a variety of boards based on their pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.

Brand/ProductPrice RangeKey Feature(s)Ratings: Price/Design/Durability/Performance
Wavestorm$240Affordable, Durable5/5, 4/5, 4/5, 3/5
South Bay Board Company$300 – $400Variety, Unique designs4/5, 5/5, 4/5, 4/5
Degree33 SurfboardsVariesCustomizable, Support4/5, 5/5, 4/5, 4/5
Catchsurf$200 – $500Unique designs, Range of models4/5, 5/5, 4/5, 4/5
Positive Vibe’s Warrior Longboard$550Supports causes, Unique designs3/5, 4/5, 4/5, 4/5
INT Surfboard Factory$200High-performance, Innovative4/5, 4/5, 4/5, 5/5
Table of comparison

Surfboard Types and Their Best Uses

Several types of surfboards are available, each with its unique characteristics and best uses. As we mentioned earlier, soft top surfboards are an excellent choice for beginners due to their stability, buoyancy, and forgiving nature.

Hard top surfboards are more suitable for advanced beginners or intermediate surfers who are ready to transition to a more performance-oriented board.

Hybrid boards, on the other hand, combine the features of both soft and hard top surfboards, offering a balance between stability and manoeuvrability. These boards are an excellent option for intermediate surfers who want the best of both worlds as they continue to improve their skills.

Soft Top Surfboards

soft top surfboards are the best beginner surfboards

Soft top surfboards are a popular choice for beginner surfers due to their user-friendly features and affordable price points. They are lightweight, durable, and provide excellent stability and buoyancy, making them perfect for learning the basics of surfing.

In addition to their beginner-friendly attributes, soft top surfboards also come in various shapes, sizes, and designs, catering to a wide range of preferences.

As you progress in your surfing journey, you may decide to stick with a soft top surfboard or transition to a more advanced hard top board.

Hard Top Surfboards

While soft-top surfboards are ideal for beginners, hard-top surfboards offer advantages for more advanced beginners and intermediate surfers. These fibreglass boards are typically more rigid and performance-oriented, allowing for excellent stability when riding bigger waves.

Hard top surfboards also come in various shapes, sizes, and materials, offering a diverse selection for surfers transitioning to a more advanced board.

It’s essential to consider your skill level, wave conditions, and personal preferences when choosing a hard-top surfboard, as they can be less forgiving than soft-top boards.

Hybrid Boards

If you’re looking for a board that combines the best features of soft-top and hard-top surfboards, hybrid boards might be the perfect option. These boards balance stability and manoeuvrability, making them an excellent choice for intermediate surfers looking to progress in their surfing journey.

Hybrid boards usually feature a soft top for added comfort and grip, while the bottom surfboard is made from a more rigid material for improved performance.

This unique combination allows surfers to enjoy the benefits of both soft and hard top boards in one versatile package.

The Top Beginner Surfboards You Need to Know About

surfboard selection in shop

This section shines a light on some of the most sought-after beginner surfboards available, including:

  • Wavestorm
  • South Bay Board Company
  • Degree33 Surfboards
  • Catchsurf
  • Positive Vibe’s Warrior Longboard
  • INT Surfboard Factory

Each of these beginner boards also offers unique features and benefits, making them excellent options for beginner surfers looking to catch their first waves.

Best for Affordability and Durability


wavestorm surfboard

This best beginner surfboard provides a smooth and enjoyable experience for beginners riding waves on their surf boards in the world of surfing.

Though the Wavestorm may not be suitable for advanced surfers seeking high-performance capabilities, it’s an excellent option for beginners looking to learn the basics without breaking the bank.

With its affordable price, durable construction, and beginner-friendly features, the Wavestorm is an excellent surfboard for those starting their surfing journey.

Wavestorm Surfboard
ProsAffordable Durable Soft top construction for beginner-friendly experience
ConsNot suitable for advanced surfers
Wavestorm Surfboard

Best Variety

South Bay Board Company

Verve 8’ Surfboard
Price$300 – $400 (depending on the model)
LengthVarious options available
WidthVarious options available
ThicknessVarious options available
VolumeVarious options available
ProsWide range of beginner surfboards Unique designs and styles Durable construction
ConsPrice may be higher compared to other beginner options
South Bay Surfboards

South Bay Board Company offers an impressive variety of beginner surfboards, catering to different preferences and needs. With options ranging from the Verve 8’ to the Guppy 6’, South Bay Board Company has something for every beginner surfer. I

n addition to their diverse selection, South Bay Board Company’s surfboards are known for their durable construction and unique designs. The Verve 8’ is a great example of engineering and design. It features three stringers, a waterproof EPS foam core, a reinforced HDPE double concave hull and a removable thruster fin setup.

These features ensure a stable and enjoyable ride, making South Bay Board Company an excellent choice for those seeking variety in their beginner surfboard options.

Best Customizable Options

Degree33 Surfboards

Surfboard Details
PriceVariates depending on the model and customization options
LengthVarious options available
WidthVarious options available
ThicknessVarious options available
VolumeVarious options available
ProsCustomizable options for shape, size, graphics, and artwork Wide range of softops and funboards Excellent customer support and guidance
ConsPrice may vary depending on the level of customization
Degree33 Surfboards

Degree33 Surfboards is an exceptional option for those looking for a great beginner surfboard with customisable options. They offer a wide range of softops and funboards, catering to various heights, sizes, and abilities. Additionally, Degree33 allows customers to choose the shape, size, and graphics, and even add custom artwork or logos to their surfboard.

Degree33 Surfboards offers fantastic customisation options and a team of experts to help customers select and customise the perfect board for their needs. This level of support and guidance sets Degree33 Surfboards apart from other surfboard manufacturers, making them a top choice for those seeking a genuinely personalised surfing experience.

Best for Unique Designs


Surfboard Details
Price$200 – $500 (depending on the model)
LengthVarious options available
WidthVarious options available
ThicknessVarious options available
VolumeVarious options available
ProsUnique designs and signature editions Wide range of board models Suitable for all levels of surfers
ConsConfusing variety of board models

Catch Surf is known for its unique designs in surfboards, offering a wide range of board models with eye-catching graphics and innovative designs. From the versatile Beater Board to the high-performance Odysea models, Catch Surf has something for everyone, making them a popular choice among riders who are looking for catch surf boards.

Although the variety of board models can be confusing, the unique designs and signature editions set Catchsurf apart from other surfboard manufacturers. Whether you’re a beginner looking for a stable board or an experienced surfer wanting to try something new, Catchsurf surfboards are worth considering.

Best for Supporting Good Causes

Positive Vibe’s Warrior Longboard

Surfboard Details
LengthVaries depending on the model
WidthVaries depending on the model
ThicknessVaries depending on the model
VolumeVaries depending on the model
ProsSupports good causes and emerging surf cultures Unique designs Waterproof copolymer foam construction
ConsHigher price point compared to other beginner options
Positive Vibes

Positive Vibe’s Warrior Longboard is an exciting beginner surfboard that not only offers unique designs but also supports good causes. Produced by the Positive Vibe Warrior Foundation, a registered 501c3 organization, purchasing the Warrior Longboard directly contributes to emerging surf cultures and youth water safety programs.

The Warrior Longboard features a waterproof copolymer foam construction, ensuring durability and longevity. While the price may be higher than other beginner surfboards, the quality of the board and the support for good causes make it a worthwhile investment for those looking to make a difference through their surfing journey.

Best High-Performance Soft Boards

INT Surfboard Factory

Surfboard Details
LengthVarious options available
WidthVarious options available
ThicknessVarious options available
VolumeVarious options available
ProsHigh-performance soft boards Innovative design American-made
ConsLimited range of designs
INT Surfbaords

INT Surfboard Factory specializes in high-performance soft boards, making them a top choice used board even for beginner surfers seeking a board with exceptional performance in the water. Their boards feature high density polyethylene bottoms, providing a softer ride compared to traditional fiberglass surfboards.

While INT Surfboard Factory may have a limited range of designs compared to other manufacturers, their focus on craftsmanship and attention to detail ensures their boards deliver top-notch performance. If you’re looking for a high-performance soft board to enhance your surfing experience, INT Surfboard Factory is an excellent choice.

The Journey of Learning to Surf

The journey to learn surfing, though exciting and rewarding, demands dedication, practice, and appropriate equipment. As you progress in your surfing journey, you’ll find that choosing the right beginner surfboard is crucial for your success. Don’t be afraid to seek guidance from experienced surfers, surf instructors, or online resources to help you make the best decision for your needs and preferences.

Equipped with a basic understanding of surfboard size, shape, materials, and considering the expert tips shared in this post, you are well-prepared to select the ideal beginner surfboard to aid your surfing progression. So grab your first board now, hit the waves, and enjoy the ride!

If you’re ready to hang ten and try longboard noseriding, check out these tips first.

Expert Tips for Buying Your First Surfboard

In the purchase of your first surfboard, factors like size, shape, and material should be considered based on your needs and preferences. For beginners, a longer and wider surfboard with a soft top construction is ideal, providing better stability and buoyancy for learning the basics of surfing.

Seek guidance from experienced surfers or surf instructors when selecting your first surfboard, as they can provide valuable insights into the right board for your body weight, height, and skill level. Don’t be afraid to test out different boards before making your final decision, and remember to have fun while learning to surf!

What boards do the pros use?

For those who’ve gazed at the waves and pondered the equipment under the feet of the world’s elite surfers, here’s an inside look. Let’s explore the board choices of two iconic male and two iconic female pro tour surfers:

1. John John Florence:

  • Type: Often rides epoxy boards for small wave conditions and traditional PU (polyurethane) boards for bigger waves.
  • Specifications: Generally between 6’0” to 6’10” with a width around 19” and volume ranging from 28L to 32L.
  • Comments: John John’s boards are tailored for power and aerial maneuvers. His signature Pyzel model, the “Ghost,” is a favorite among advanced surfers.

2. Gabriel Medina:

  • Type: Prefers high-performance shortboards, mostly made of PU.
  • Specifications: Typically ranging from 5’10” to 6’2”, around 18.5” in width with a volume between 26L to 30L.
  • Comments: Medina’s boards, designed by Johnny Cabianca, are revered for their swift response, allowing for his aggressive aerial style.

3. Carissa Moore:

  • Type: Regularly opts for PU boards tailored for her dynamic, power-packed style.
  • Specifications: Her preferred boards generally fluctuate between 5’8” to 6’0”, about 18.25” wide, with volumes from 24L to 27L.
  • Comments: Carissa’s boards are designed for adaptability, allowing her to tackle a wide range of wave conditions.

4. Stephanie Gilmore:

  • Type: Primarily uses PU boards.
  • Specifications: Her boards typically span from 5’9” to 6’1”, with a width close to 18.5” and volume in the 25L to 28L range.
  • Comments: With multiple world titles under her belt, Stephanie’s board choices highlight her smooth style and wave-reading prowess.

While beginners might not be ready for such specialized equipment, understanding the choices of the pros can provide a unique lens into the world of high-performance surfing and serve as inspiration for one’s own journey on the waves.


To wrap up, the market’s best beginner surfboards include brands like:

  • Wavestorm
  • South Bay Board Company
  • Degree33 Surfboards
  • Catchsurf
  • Positive Vibe’s Warrior Longboard
  • INT Surfboard Factory

Each of these boards offers unique features and benefits, making them excellent options for beginner surfers looking to catch their first waves.

Remember to consider your priorities, budget, and personal preferences when selecting the perfect board for your needs, and most importantly, have fun and enjoy the ride!


To sum up, choosing the right beginner surfboard is crucial for a successful and enjoyable surfing journey. By understanding surfboard basics, avoiding common mistakes, and considering expert tips, you’ll be well-equipped to select the perfect board that aligns with your needs and preferences.

With the right surfboard in hand, you’ll be ready to ride the waves and experience the thrill of surfing. So gear up and embrace the exciting world of surfing!

If you’re in need of some beginner-friendly surf locations for your next surf trip, consider Australia Begin Your Learn to Surf Australia Adventure – Best Kept Secret Surf Locations 2023

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the easiest surfboard to ride?

If you’re new to surfing, foam boards are the way to go: they are more forgiving and flexible, making them perfect for learning.

How do I choose the right size surfboard for my height and weight?

Choose a surfboard that’s approximately 3 feet longer than your height for a great surfing experience!

Don’t forget to factor in your weight when making the selection too.

What are the benefits of foam surfboards for beginners?

Foam surfboards provide the perfect platform for beginners to learn and progress, as they are lightweight, durable, stable and buoyant!

Hot tip if you’re new to surfing, better brush up on your surf etiquette before heading out.

Can I customize my beginner surfboard?

Yes, you can customize your beginner surfboard! Some companies offer customizable options, allowing you to choose the shape, size, graphics, and add custom artwork or logos.

Get creative and make it your own!

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