Foam Surfboard Buyers Guide (2020)

foam surfboard buyers guide

The foam surfboard has recently blown up in the world of surfing. It is responsible for bringing a whole new group of people to surfing that previously never considered surfing as a sport they should try.

The foam surfboard or soft top surfboard as it is also known, has also resulted in a lot of experienced surfers now surfing spots that were previously seen as too dangerous to surf. The risk of dinging ones board on a rock or snapping it in half in shore break is drastically reduced.

For beginner surfers the foam surfboard is the best type of board to learn to surf on. On our surfboards page we explain why this is the case. Since foam surfboards exploded onto the market about 5 years ago, there have been a number of different brands that have cropped up.

The most dominant foam surfboard brands currently are Catch Surf who also own the Wave Bandit line of boards. Catch Surf are ostensibly the biggest brand due to their partnership with YouTube surf sensation, Jamie O’Brien, or JOB as some like to call him. Other prominent soft top brands include, Wavestorm, Softech who come out of Australia (down under mate!), and Rock-it.

Fundamentally all the brands offer up a good product – a board which you are going to have fun on. The brand of soft top board you choose to ride really boils down to what you prefer in terms of colorway, design and graphics.

lost x catchsurf

As foam surfboards continue to gain in popularity expect to see many more brands enter the fray. We wouldn’t be surprised to even see some of the traditional surfboards brands branch out into this burgeoning market. We’ve already seen Lost do a collaboration with Catch Surf, which indicates an interest in being associated with these more playful boards.

In this foam surfboard buyers guide, we take you through the multitude of soft top surfboard options across the various categories of surfboard. We start with long boards and then move down to short boards and other concept-type boards.


Wave Bandit EZ Rider 9’0″

Wave Bandit are one of the pioneers of the foam surfboard. They have had YouTube surfer Ben Gravy riding their full quiver of boards for quite some time now. Ben has shown through his vlog that these boards can be ridden in any surf surf conditions. No matter how small the wave these boards shred!

The Wave Bandit 9’0″ is the longest board in the range and is particularly versatile because of its length and volume (98 liters!). It’s an egg shape which means it’s also a really fun board for intermediate and advanced surfers. It’s constructed from a triple maple wood core and comes with a tri-fin setup.

foam surfboard review

Mini Mals

Wave Bandit EZ Rider 8’0″

This foam surfboard is exactly the same shape as the EZ Rider 9’0″. The only difference is that this board is 1 ft shorter and 12 liters less in volume. If you’re looking for a foam surfboard which a little more manoeuvrable in the water then the EX Rider 8’0″ is a good shout.

wave bandit surfboard

If you’re after a cooler design, then the Ben Gravy Pro Model may be what you’re after. It’s exactly the same specifications as the EZ Rider 8’0″ (86 liters) just with the Ben Gravy Pineapple logo on the bottom skin and on the top deck of the board along with his signature.

ben gravy wave bandit

The Ben Gravy Pro Model also comes in a 7’0″ (72 liters) version if you’re looking for slightly shorter mini mal. You can the price for the 7ft board here.

Rock-It Big Softy 8’0″ Foam Surfboard

This soft top surfboard is starting to make waves in the surfing world (excuse the pun). A really fun board to ride, the Big Softy, by Rock-It Surfboards. It’s a squarer shape than the Wave Bandit boards which are more egg-shaped, and this give’s it a little more stability in the water.

All Rock-It surfboards are made with two wooden stringers and multiple layers of fibreglass cloth. Epoxy resin is wrapped around a core made of recycled foam sourced from manufacturing waste.

rock-it big softy 8'0

Odysea Plank 7’0″

Odysea falling under the Catch Surf brand ooze coolness. The plank foam surfboard is a traditional log at 9ft long and is perfect for those learning to surf as you’ll get tons of float with this high volume board. For those looking to “walk the plank” so to speak and hang ten and hang five, she’ll be great at that as well.

This soft top surfboard is very well made with a dual composite core and triple maple-ply stringers. The stringers give the board added rigidity and strength. Even though this board falls into the minimal length range, it rides just like a classic longboard due to its volume.

foam surfboard

California Board Company 7’0″

The California Board Company are known for their high quality foam surfboards. This 7ft board is no exception, If you’re after a soft top surfboard with the extra “bells and whistles” then this is it. For a start the wood grain graphic gives it a vintage feel and it also comes with the traction pad for extra grip on the tail. They also throw in a leash as well.

california board company 7ft foam surfboard


Wave Bandit Performer 6’6″

This is the ideal shortboard for someone transitioning from a longboard or minimal. At 6’6″ and 55 liters still got a lot of float to give the surfer stability when popping up. This foam surfboard has a fish shape and more traditional rocker emulating that of a classic shortboard.

wave bandit performer 6'6

Odysea Skipper Quad 6’6″, 6’0″ and 5’6″

Being a quad fin fish, The Skipper is all about fun, fun and more fun. It’s super fast down-the-line-speed and allows for nice, long, drawn out, stylish turns. Groms and adults love this board.

odysea skipper

Rock-It Hope 6’0″ Foam Surfboard

The Rock-It Hope has taken the retro shortboard design and made a foam surfboard out of it. The short boards of the 70’s had a lot of volume under the chest, lots of rocker in the front section of the board and a pulled in tail. These same design principles have been applied to the Hope making a soft top board that everyone can ride.

The three-fin “thruster” setup provides more drive than other twin fin shortboard options. Like other Rock-It boards the core is made out of recycled EPS foam.

rock-it hope 6ft

Razzo Hybrid 6’0″

This foam surfboard is one of a kind because it’s a hybrid. It has a soft top and hard bottom. The soft top is made from a fingerprint textured IXPE foam which means that no wax is required. The bottom deck is made from bamboo with a resin coating. This gives the board a lot of speed.

razzo hybrid foam surfboard

In addition to these core features, the board comes with a camera mount at the front, a three fin setup, and a leash. With all of the above features this board is one of the cleanest, most durable, and highest performing foam surfboards on the market.

Wave Bandit Performer 5’6″

This board is exactly the same shape as the other Performer boards in the range except with less volume (42 liters). A foam surfboard for someone looking to get a bit more radical on the wave, and dynamically ride a wave foam from top to bottom.

odysea foam surfboard

This board also is available in the Ben Gravy Pro Model version with the super-sick pineapple graphics on the base of the board. This foam surfboard is one of Ben’s favourites in larger, more gnarly surf. If you watch his vlogs you would have seen him shred it at El Slamo, one of his favourite waves.

ben gravy pro model surfboard


Odysea Stump 5’0″ Foam Surfboard

odysea stump review

This rippable little shred stick is loads of fun in small, groveller waves. At 36 liters in volume it’s still easy enough to catch waves on. Advanced surfers love this board because of its versatility – it can be ridden in varying swell sizes over shallow reefs and gnarly shore breaks. It’s also a perfect board for beginner surfers looking to start out on a shortboard.

Wave Bandit Performer Ben Gravy 4’10”

This Ben Gravy Pro Model is the same proportions as his other Performer Pro Models. The main difference it that it’s setup as a twin fin making it ride down the line faster.

ben gravy performer 4'10

Catch Surf Beater Pro 54″ (4’6″)

catchsurf beater pro foam surfboard

This is the ultimate shred stick, made popular by the likes of Jamie O’Brien and Kalani Robb. Ride this foam surfboard in just about any way you want. Keep the two fins and cut it back like a traditional shortboard or send down the line like a fish. Take the fins off and glide and spin it across the face of the wave or skim it. You can even bodyboard with this thing! 

Beater Original 48″ Finless (4’0″)

beater original 48 foam surfboard

Being as short as it is this board makes a great beach beach groveller board. Naturally it lends itself nicely to skimming, but can also hold its own in shore break conditions. The tapered d-rails and twin-channel crescent tail add performance that is lost from having no fins.

Wave Bandit Shred Sled 48″ (4’6″)

wave bandit shred sled foam surfboard

The ultimate grom (kids) foam surfboard. It’s setup as a twin fin which gives it extra speed down the line. Like the Catch Surf Beater this soft top board can also be ridden finless and used as a skim board. Get your family fired up this summer with the shred sled!

Whatever type of surfboard you like to surf, there is a soft top surfboard shape available. From 9 foot logs all the way through to 4 foot funboards. Foam surfboards bring a new kind of enjoyment and stoke to surfing that has never been experienced before. They have revolutionised surfing.

The best thing about soft top surfboards is they can be ridden just about anywhere, with minimal risk of damaging the board. This has allowed previous surf spots deemed too risky to be surfed on a regular PU board to now get shredded on a soft top.

Soft Top Surfboard Guide By Weight

< 40kg5'5" - 5'8"
40 - 50 kg5'8" - 6'0"
50 - 60 kg6'0" - 6'6"
60 - 70 kg6'6" - 7'2"
70 - 80 kg7'2" - 8'0"

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