The Best Soft Top Surfboards for 2020

Looking to pick up a new soft top surfboard (also known as a foam surfboard, or foamie)? We’ve got you covered with a thorough breakdown of the best boards on the market.

Important Considerations

When picking out the right soft top surfboard, you’ll want to keep these factors in mind:

  • Your skill level
    • While many soft top boards are designed with beginners in mind, some more aggressively shaped softies are better suited for intermediate and advanced riders.
  • Size and density relative to your height and weight
    • Soft top boards come in a variety of lengths. Beginners typically choose longer boards, and your height does come into play too (taller riders will prefer extra length). That said, buoyancy is really the key factor in finding your perfect ride…
    • Surfboard buoyancy is measured by the volume of the board. Larger riders will want a more buoyant (higher volume) board to support their weight. Beginner riders will want even more buoyancy for a more forgiving ride.
    • Check out our Sizing Guide to find the perfect size for your height, weight, and ability level.
  • Warranty
    • If you find yourself with a dinged up board or snapped leash, is the manufacturer going to stand behind their product? While some surfboard companies go above and beyond with their warranty and customer service, others are notorious for leaving you high and dry (no pun intended).

Our Top Soft Top Surfboards: a Deep Dive

1. South Bay Board Co. (Our Choice)

If you’re looking to hit the water quickly, our number one choice for a foam board is the South Bay Soft Top Surfboard. This truly is the perfect softie for beginner surfers.

South Bay’s soft-top comes with everything you need to start catching waves: board, fins, hardware, and a leash. Set-up is a breeze and doesn’t require any tools, tighten the grooved hardware with a quarter (or a fingernail in a pinch).

Premium Surfboard for Beginners – Wax-Free Soft-Top Foam Surfboard – 7' Ruccus Blue with 3 Thruster Fins, Fin Key, and 7' Leash – Custom Beginner Shape for Easier, Better Surfing for Adults & Kids
  • The Ruccus surfboard is 84" x 22" x 2.85" with 49L of volume and supports riders up...
  • The double concave bottom deck helps to efficiently channel the water to the board's...
  • Each board includes a wax-free fingerprint textured soft-top foam deck, carry handle,...
  • A 6 oz resin layer on top and bottom helps prevent against impact damage along with...
  • Our heat-release valve and bamboo layers on top & bottom helps prevent heat damage...

Features of South Bay’s board include…

  • Available in 3 sizes: 7′ (Ruccus), 8′ (Verve), and 8’8″ (Heritage)
  • Choose from 5 colors: Aqua, Blue, Green, Orange, Grey
  • Innovative top deck is made from a grippy material that doesn’t require surf wax
  • Rubber tail bumper to protect your board from dings and dents
  • Sealed PVC lining on the fin holes prevents water from seeping in
  • 30-day Satisfaction Guarantee – love your board, or they’ll take it back

My story with South Bay Board Co. customer service

The South Bay Board Co. customer service team is legendary. I took my South Bay Soft Top Surfboard out on a particularly nasty low tide day, and got tied up in a kelp bed.

I quickly went for “kook of the day” on a wave, my leash snapped, and I had to call it a day. When I got home I shot them a message on Amazon seeing if I could purchase a new leash, and I had a new leash on my doorstep in 24 hours – for free! Check out this Amazon message from their team:

That level of customer service is really exceptional, and has made me a South Bay Board Co. fan for life. Even if you’re beyond the beginner range that their flagship soft top board is designed for, do yourself and pick up one of their softtops to have for newbie guests when they come into town.

Buy Now on Amazon 

For a more in-depth look, check out our South Bay Surfboard Review.

2. Wavestorm (Best Value)

If you’ve been out to your local break, I can pretty much guarantee you’ve seen a handful of the Wavestorm Soft Top boards in the water. This is the soft top that brought surfing to the masses, and you’ll fit right in with a Wavestorm – albeit in the beginner crowd 😂

Wavestorm 8' Surfboard, Sunburst Graphic
  • Soft Foam Construction Classic Surfboard, strong EPS core with 3 stringer system
  • Soft WBS-IXL ( Water Barrier Skin ) crosslink top deck and rails High Density (HDPE)...
  • Included removable bolt thru fins ankle leash traction pad
  • Dimensions 8' x 22 1/2" x 3 1/4" Weight 11.5 lbs
  • Volume 86 liters
  • Strong EPS core, featuring a 3 stringer system
  • Removal bolt-through fins
  • Traction pad
  • Length: 8 feet
  • Width: 22.5 inches
  • Volume: 86 liters
  • Weight: 11.5 pounds

Our take on the Wavestorm’s popularity

While the Wavestorm Soft Top isn’t going to be your most stylish option, it’s economical, and this board has stood the test of time. It’s one of the most popular beginner foam board options today for good reason, this board is forgiving and will get you up on some waves quickly.

Buy Now on Amazon 

Want to learn more about the Wavestorm? We’ve got a full breakdown in our Wavestorm Surfboard Review.

3. Boardworks Froth (Lux Option)

The Boardworks Froth is one beautiful surfboard. Boardworks caters to a wide variety of experience levels, offering this board in versions as short as 4’6″ and as long as 9′.

Boardworks Froth! | Soft Top Surfboard | 3 Fins | Wake Surfboard | 5' | Mint
  • Created for fun and versatility with generous volume
  • Can be used by beginners, rippers, and wake surfers
  • Light, yet durable construction makes it Super user friendly and fun for all...
  • Froth brand recognized in the wall street journal's gear & gadgets column as "game...
  • Soft EVA outer skin wraps a fully glassed EPS foam core

Boardwork’s Froth board has the following features:

  • Available in 6 sizes: 4’6″, 5′, 5’6″, 7′, 8′, and 9′
  • Fully glassed EPS foam core
  • Soft EVA outer skin
  • Generous volume for a playful ride at all skill levels

If you’re an intermediate rider in particular, the Boardworks Froth is a great option. Riders report that it has more of a “hardtop” feel than your typical foam board. It paddles well and is a good fit for riders looking for a bit more feel and control than you get from the typical foamie.

Buy Now on Amazon 

4. Thurso Surf Aero (Honorable Mention)

The Thurso Surf Aero is a 7′ soft top that is a newcomer to the scene in 2020.

THURSO SURF Aero 7 ft Soft Top Surfboard Foam Surfboard Package Includes Three Fins Double Stainless Steel Swivel Leash EPS Core IXPE Deck HDPE Slick Bottom Built in Non Slip Deck Grip
  • THURSO SURF Aero 7 ft soft top surfboard package includes one surfboard + three fins...
  • The board is designed with a focus on stability and glide for easy riding with...
  • High density durable IXPE deck (heat laminated) makes the board well cushioned and...
  • Three wood stringers will provide greater longitudinal strength, rigidity and...
  • Your satisfaction is 100% GUARANTEED! If you have any issues with your THURSO SURF...

Here are the specs of Thurso’s Surf Aero:

  • Super light and buoyant EPS core
  • Length: 7′
  • Width: 21.5″
  • Weight: 8 lbs
  • Recommended maximum surfer weight of 210 lbs

One of our favorite features of the Thurso Surf Aero is the adjustable fin box that lets you switch up your fin settings for performance (or to store or transport your board). If you’re looking for a solid introductory board, the Thurso will help carry you through your phase as a beginner surfer.

Buy Now on Amazon 

Final Thoughts

The South Bay Soft Top Surfboard wins Softboarder’s choice of the best foam board for the 2020 season. Not only is this the perfect surfboard to get started on, their customer service team stands behind their products.

Premium Surfboard for Beginners – Wax-Free Soft-Top Foam Surfboard – 7' Ruccus Blue with 3 Thruster Fins, Fin Key, and 7' Leash – Custom Beginner Shape for Easier, Better Surfing for Adults & Kids
  • The Ruccus surfboard is 84" x 22" x 2.85" with 49L of volume and supports riders up...
  • The double concave bottom deck helps to efficiently channel the water to the board's...
  • Each board includes a wax-free fingerprint textured soft-top foam deck, carry handle,...
  • A 6 oz resin layer on top and bottom helps prevent against impact damage along with...
  • Our heat-release valve and bamboo layers on top & bottom helps prevent heat damage...

Surfing Accessories

Now that you’ve chosen a board, it’s time to complete your surfing kit! You’ll need a wetsuit, and might also want to consider a surf helmet.

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