Soft top longboards have been increasing in popularity lately. This is thanks to the amount of sheer, simple fun that they provide. Many surfers caught their first wave on a longboard surfboard, and many continue to revert back to them when the waves aren’t ideal.
Foam longboards may not provide that same level of performance that you get from the modern shortboard. However, these boards are incredibly beginner-friendly, stable, and easy to enjoy. Longboard surfboards are all about reconnecting with the simplicity of surfing, and they allow all kinds of surfers to just enjoy riding waves.
Whether you’re a total beginner or want to add a new board to your quiver, there are plenty of good reasons to go for one of these longboards. Here we take a look at some of the best soft top longboards, and what it is that makes riding them so enjoyable.
What Is a Longboard Surfboard?
As the name suggests, a longboard surfboard is larger than your typical shortboard, with a much greater length. These boards typically range between 8 – 12ft, have a wide rounded nose, and often only a single fin. Some longboards, also known as malibus, reach around 14ft in length. These boards are specifically designed for the surfer to walk up the board and nose ride.
Longboards are all about stability, buoyancy, and cruising. They are often the first choice for anyone learning how to surf, as they allow you to find your balance easier. They are also easier to catch waves on with less effort. This doesn’t mean that longboard surfboards should be restricted to beginners though. These boards allow for a whole new style and approach to surfing that appeals to all kinds of ages, sizes, and skill levels.
Soft top longboards are made entirely out of foam and are more suitable for the first-timer. These boards are lighter, have a soft surface, and provide many benefits to those learning how to surf. Soft top boards are all about the simplicity of surfing, and playing in the waves.
How To Choose a Longboard Surfboard?
Choosing a longboard surfboard involves a number of different factors that will be unique to each rider. Like with any surfboard, every different longboard will provide a one of a kind experience in the waves. Here are some important considerations when choosing the right board.
Size and Length
The first thing to consider is the size and length of the board. This often translates to the size and weight of the surfer. Typically, the larger and heavier the surfer, the bigger they might want the board. This is especially true with beginners, although it is not always the case.
Basically, the longer, thicker, and wider the board is, the more stability and buoyancy you will have. However, the overall performance of these boards may be more limited. Those that just want to easily cruise, or walk up and down their board will prefer something with more volume. Those looking to do a bit more carving and turning may prefer something shorter. Understand what kind of surfing you want to do with your longboard before you choose one.
Dimensions (most notably length) is the most important consideration for any surfboard. Choosing the perfect board here will involve a decision between your own size, as well as the kind of experience you are after in the water.
With a longboard surfboard, you will generally be choosing between a single fin, twin fin, or thruster (3 fin) setup. A twin fin setup will give the board slightly more control and speed than the traditional single fin. However, this can also make bottom turns more difficult.
The three fin setups are most popular, especially among soft tops. These boards utilize the best of both, with a combination of stability and manoeuvrability.
When buying a foam board, it’s always important to consider the kind of materials used. Many of these boards come with special tops that feature grip patterns. Much like a traction pad, some of these boards don’t require any wax.
The materials used to make your longboard surfboard also help to determine the board’s weight, buoyancy, and manoeuvrability. Foam boards will be lighter than traditional longboards.
7 Best Longboard Surfboards (Soft Tops)
Interested in having some fun with a soft-top longboard? With all the different options out there, choosing the right board can be tricky. Here are 7 reviews of the top products out there right now.
Wave Bandit Easy Rider 9’0
- An egg-shaped longboard
- EPS core
- Tri fin setup
- 9’0” x 24.0” x 3.50”
This awesome soft-top board is a great choice for beginners all the way through to experienced surfers. The 9’0 length is a convenient size that can suit a range of different styles and waves. This length is great for learning on, or for those wanting to just have some fun in gentler waves.
The EPS core surfboard has a smooth top, so it does require surf wax for grip. with a pop thru TPU 4.5 inch tri-fin setup, you get some great stability blended with smooth carving capabilities. This board is lightweight, versatile and easy to ride.
Surfers will like the simple bright colours that the board is available in, as well as the double maple-wood stringers. Overall this board is a great choice for anyone wanting to experience the magic of a soft-top longboard.
Kona Surf 9’0
- EPS core & outer epoxy shell
- Tri fin setup
- 2 stringers
- A 9’0 Malibu longboard
Kona Surf has created the perfect starter board for kids and adults of all sizes. This soft-top longboard has plenty of volume and rocker – allowing beginners to catch waves with ease. The 9’0 size and wide shape is an easy choice for any sized surfer.
One of the best things about this board is its durability. You don’t need to worry about being gentle here, because this longboard can take a beating. With double stringers, an EPS core and outer epoxy shell, the board is practically invincible for beginners. There is also a slip-resistant IXPE deck and an HDPE bottom with a no-scratch pattern. Even the fins are lined with rubber to make surfing this board safer and more durable.
For easy travel, the board also has removable fins, as well as a carry handle. You can also choose from a wide range of colours.
The Kona Surf 9’0 longboard is all about enjoying yourself in the water. This brand has been going for a long time, and they have been innovative for years to create some amazing products.
Wavestorm 9’0 Original
- 9’0” x 24” x 3.5”
- Superior grade EPS core
- HDPE high impact bottom
- Tri fin setup
Wavestorm has created a soft-top longboard surfboard that offers more than just a sturdy platform for beginners. This board has been created for specialised performance, and it can be enjoyed by all kinds of different surfers.
The surfboard is made from a super-strong EPS core with 3 marine-ply stringers. The outside deck is textured for extra grip, and it is made from a durable elastomer barrier skin foam. There is also a built-in traction pad at the back for extra grip.
One of the cool features of this board is the specialised silica rings. These are there for water absorption prevention – allowing for better stability. The board also has removable fins and comes with a leash.
This longboard is sturdy and stable, but it can offer plenty of fun in all kinds of waves. It is durable, well thought out, and easy to ride. Overall a great foam longboard.
Boardworks Froth 9’0
- 9”0 x 24”0 x 3.5”
- EPS foam core, EVA outer skin
- Maple stringer
- Single fin
Boardworks has created a longboard surfboard that can be used by rippers, beginners and wake surfers. The versatility of this board comes from its slightly sharper shape and user-friendly design.
This board is very lightweight, but still incredibly durable. This is thanks to its fully glassed EPS foam core, with a soft EVA outer skin wrapped around. The high impact areas of the nose and tail use a high-density EVA block for better protection. There is also a maple stringer running down the centre.
The board comes with a built-in traction pad for the rear foot. However, you will still need a coating of wax over the rest of the upper surface. You also get real Future fin boxes and fins – not rubber fins like other foam boards.
Although we are focused on the very beginner-friendly longboard, Boardworks makes a wide range of different shapes with these soft top boards – perfect for any kind of surfer. The high volume, lightweight and durability make these boards a fun and easy option.
Rock-It Big Softy 8’0
- 9.6”x 22.7”x 3.3”
- Three marine wooden stringers
- EPS foam core and UV resistant soft top layer
- Three safety fins
Looking for the ideal longboard surfboard for learning on? This user-friendly option by Rock-It is a great choice. The widely rounded board is thick, long and full of volume – perfect for learning or taking out on smaller days. The board is suitable for kids and adults of all sizes. While the board is big and buoyant, it also manages to turn well and paddle pretty easily.
Made using environmentally sensitive processes, this board consists of three marine wooden stringers coated with a special epoxy nano-coating. This helps to resist water absorption. This is surrounded by a proprietary EPS foam and then finished off with a colourfast and UV resistant soft top layer. This entire top layer is textured, so it doesn’t necessarily need a layer of wax while you are surfing. All materials here are recyclable.
The underside of the board features a zebra stripe pattern. This is pattern is believed to help ward off sharks. The Big Softy also comes with three removable fins. This board is easy for beginners to find their balance, tough enough to take a beating, and it still manoeuvres pretty well. An all-round top choice.
South Bay Heritage 8’8
- 104” x 22.5” x 3”
- Classic longboard shape
- EPS closed cell foam core
- Three fin setup
South Bay Board Co makes a wide range of soft boards, and their longboard is ideal for anyone interested in logging. This 8’8 board may be slightly shorter than a traditional longboard surfboard, but the extra volume in its thickness provides the paddle speed and float that you would expect from a longboard. This means that you get great stability while still being able to move around a bit.
This is an entry-level board that is best suited for those learning how to surf. However, anyone can have fun on this chunky foam board. It’s easy to ride, durable, and still performs well when the waves aren’t ideal.
The board has a rubber tail bumper which allows you to stand it up without damaging it. There is also a 2 + 1 stringer system, a wax-free textured top deck, and a diamond weave HDPE bottom deck. The board features tapered rails and a very beginner-friendly nose/tail rocker.
Whether you are trying surfing for the first time, or just want a foam board for smaller, sloppier waves, then this option by South Bay Board Co would be a good choice.
Wavestorm 8’0 Longboard Surfboard
- 8” x 22”x 1.5”
- Strong EPS core
- 3 Stringers
- 3 fin setup
This is a classic longboard surfboard made using soft foam construction. With a volume of 86 litres, this board can take a heavy rider, and would be a comfortable choice for beginners. The foam board is covered in a soft water barrier skin, with an HDPE polyethene slick bottom skin. There are also three removable bolt through fins, and a traction pad included.
This longboard is easy to handle, soft and lightweight. It performs really well for a learn-to-surf board, but any surfer will certainly have some fun riding this longboard.
Made using quality materials and a tried and tested shape, anyone after a soft-top board will be very happy with this product. The water barrier skin is also textured, which adds to the grip. To finish it off, the board comes with a cool sunburst colour graphic.
What Makes Longboarding Rad
Longboarding takes a totally different approach to wave riding than surfing with a shortboard. This style of riding waves is all about lowering the tempo and cruising. That’s not to say that longboarding isn’t dynamic. Far from it actually. You can still carve and move around the wave (and even up and down your board) – but it’s just done with a wider and more relaxed approach.
For many surfers, longboarding is their first introduction to the sport. This is because longboard surfboards are much more stable, and catching waves on them is easier. They are faster to paddle and easier to control. With a longboard, you get greater volume. This means that even the heaviest riders will have a sturdy platform to balance on.
Soft top longboards are particularly good for beginners as they are safer, more durable, and lightweight. These boards can be used in all kinds of sloppy conditions, and they provide the ideal platform for first-timers finding their feet.
If you want to start surfing, then soft-top longboards are possibly the best vessels for beginners. These boards are easy to ride, have loads of volume, and above all are super fun! There are many advantages to using a foam board. These include their durability, safety, ease of travel, and solid stability.
Longboarding is the most classic style of surfing, and it is where most surfers start out. No matter how experienced you are, or where you surf, having a longboard surfboard in your quiver is always a good idea.
Are longboards good for beginner surfers?
Longboards are easier to paddle and provide more stability when trying to stand up. Anyone learning how to surf will have a much easier time starting out on a longboard.
Is a longboard easier than a shortboard?
Yes, these boards have way more volume and catch waves faster and with less effort. They are also easier to balance on and often easier to control.
Are soft top surfboards easier?
Foam surfboards, or soft-tops, are very easy to paddle, durable, stable, and incredibly forgiving. Catching waves and standing up on these boards is much easier.