Surfboards – Buying Guide, Ratings & Comparison
If you’re looking to find the best surfboard currently available for sale and you have little time to spare, we have you covered. We have prospected the market for you, and upon reading the most popular reviews of surfboards, we have concluded that the model you should bear in mind is the Gold Coast Surfboards Hybrid. This particular unit is perfect for high-performance surfing as the slight nose and tail rocker will transform the waves into your playground. The construction is focused on durability and quality which is why it features real bamboo layers protected with a heavy-duty slick HDPE plastic bottom deck. You also get cool features that will help you have the most fun while riding the waves such as the pre-installed GoPro mount on the nose. If by any unfortunate event you are unable to find the Gold Coast Surfboards Hybrid, we recommend the Gold Coast Surfboards Soft as your second best alternative.
Top features to consider
Prospecting the market for a product for the first time is a daunting task and for good reason. Nowadays there are so many options that you can choose from that finding a good surfboard seems like an impossibility. All models seem the same at first glance and making sense of all their features and technicalities requires proper research.
Since lack of time is what brings most people looking for answers, we have done the research for you. This way you’ll be able to focus instead on identifying the features you need and use that information to get the ideal product you so desperately want. With that being said, if you have the time, we invite you to read our comprehensive guide below.
Learn what you need
When it comes to purchasing your first surfboard, your decision should always remain a rational one since manufacturers try their best to lure you to buy their units by using fun and exciting designs. These can easily have you wasting money on an expensive unit you don’t need when you could have easily settled for a cheap surfboard.
Try to leave your emotions aside and forget all about the logos, drawings, colors and the fantastic shapes. These can be considered after you focus on finding the model that serves your purpose. Surfboards are built to provide fun and joy and to be good at riding waves, so first you need to focus on models that can give you these things.
Before you waste your money on a product you thought looked good and have it end up a decorative artifact, it is good you try and make a checklist of the features that it should have. Making an impulsive purchase without a rational thought behind it is something we don’t recommend.
So put your awesome surfing hat on while we go through some of the crucial factors that need to be considered so that you can get a product that you’ll be happy to have spent your hard-earned money on.
Get the surfboard best suited for your level of experience
If you are reading this, the chances are that you are a beginner, in which case we advise you focus on extra stability as you will need it. This will make learning to surf much more accessible, and it will make you feel much more confident while you are at it.
Another thing to consider if you are a beginner is that you don’t need to go all in with your first purchase unless you feel comfortable to do so. While you learn to surf you are most definitely going to scratch and ding a board if you’re going to try your best. That’s not a bad thing; it is part of the process that all surfers go through.
Your first board should be big and thick, and a right size would be around 7 feet long and 19-21 inches wide. As far as thickness goes, you shouldn’t settle for anything less than 2-3 inches. Generally, the surfboard should stand at least a foot taller than you.
Don’t think that just because a board costs more it will allow you to have more fun. Sure, it might have more features, but as a beginner, you are not likely to be able to make the most out of it, since a cheap board might be just as good as a more expensive one for you.
If you are an intermediate surfer, the best decision you can make is to get an all-around surfboard as it will allow you to feel safe and comfortable on the board while still giving you enough of a challenge to improve your skills. For advanced riders, details like the outline, rails, rocker, and bottom shape matter the most.
The most common types of surfboards
The shortboard model is considered the high-performance surfboard as it is the most maneuverable and built for quick turns. It is recommended to be ridden by intermediate to expert surfers that have the required skills to venture into the more dangerous waves.
The fish surfboards are wider and thicker than the traditional shortboard. Most often, they are used by surfers on mushier days where extra paddle strength is a must. Most fish models have swallowtails that help generate extra speed, which leads to some loss of maneuverability.
For beginners, the funshape, longboard and SoftTop surfboards are recommended. They are comfortable to use and they offer the stability, and the paddling strength novices need to learn this sport. The SoftTop allows for a more comfortable paddle and is very forgiving with dings and dents when you are learning to surf.
The funshape, in particular, is well-known for the high maneuverability that it provides to the user and it is best recommended for surfers that want to transition from a longboard. The longboard is an all-around board built for beginners that need extra paddle strength and stability.
The versatility of the foam board
If you’re looking to get the best value out of your purchase, going for a foam board is a smart decision, even more so if you are a beginner. Foam is the go-to material that surf schools use for their boards as it is much easier for novices to learn on them.
They are hard wearing and safer to fall on since they are quite soft, and they also benefit from increased floatability which makes it easier to catch small waves. There’s also the advantage of the cost since foam is a cheap material.
Another factor that makes the foam alternative so tempting is the fact that it is an essential purchase for any family that likes to surf together. Both the adults and the kids will be able to use it, and once you’ve grasped the basic surf skills, you’ll still be able to make use of your board by teaching your kids or family.
There is a downside to the foam board, and that has to do with the fact that it is not exactly an environmentally friendly material. If this is a detail you care much about, you can choose from some of the new cores such as polystyrene and balsa.
Top rated products
To make the purchasing process easier for the consumer, and to help you find the products that offer the features every surfboard should have, we identified the top-rated models that are worth your time and money. These are the products that garnered the best surfboards reviews and that stood out due to their quality and affordability.
Gold Coast Surfboards Hybrid
This model is 72 inches long, 20 inches wide and 2.75 inches thick. It has a volume of 25.5 liters which makes this six-foot Razzo ideal for easy paddling and getting into the waves early. This standard shortboard features a squash tail shape for increased performance.
The tail rocker and the slight nose transform this model into a rocket that will have you conquering small waves and turning the ocean into your playground. It is constructed using real bamboo layers, and it is protected with a heavy-duty slick HDPE plastic bottom deck with FCSII fin boxes.
Apart from the board itself, upon your purchase, you also get FCS thruster fins, a 5-foot leash to keep you safe, and a fin key. Each Hybrid model features a fingerprint top deck with foam texture to improve stability and a pre-installed GoPro mount on the nose for people that want to record and share their memorable moments.
An area in which the Gold Coast Surfboards alternative shines is the durability that it offers. This is a pick that is built for people that are on a budget but that still want a high-quality choice that can handle the harsh conditions you can find in the ocean.Buy from Amazon.com for ($320)
Gold Coast Surfboards Soft
As far as specifications go, this is an 8 feet board that is 23 inches wide and 3.25 inches thick. It is built to accommodate all surfing skill levels, and it is especially useful for beginner riders as it offers excellent stability. It can easily support riders up to 230lbs.
This model is custom molded with a long-lasting and lightweight construction. The care that the manufacturer puts into every unit shows when the time comes to ride this board, and customers that have tried it were impressed with the experience they got. It is a highly buoyant board that will keep even the larger riders gliding the waves at high speed.
As far as durability goes, you have nothing to fear with this model since it uses two 6oz full coverage top to bottom layers of resin for an extra durable and rigid finish. This is done without a noticeable impact on the performance of this unit, and it manages to improve the sturdiness of the board while maintaining its lightweight nature.
As a plus, aside from the foam surfboard, you also get three rounded safe edge screws, five 2” fin screws, one 2” leash plug screw, and one 9’ surfboard leash to keep you protected.Buy from Amazon.com for ($434)
THURSO SURF Lancer 5’10”
If you’re in the market for an affordable model to get you started without going over budget, the Lancer 5’10” is a variant that is built to cater to the needs of the beginner surfers. This particular unit is designed with a focus on stability and glide so that you can ride easily with maximum enjoyment.
The high-density EPS core allows the board to remain very light and buoyant but still retain the durability and reliability you’d expect from a beginner-friendly product. The EPS core is stiff and durable, and that makes it the perfect choice if you plan to have fun for hours while surfing.
The HDPE slick bottom is heat-laminated which makes it strong and responsive and it maximizes board speed and adds some much-needed stiffness to help you stay on your feet for longer. The IXPE deck is heat-laminated as well and makes the board adequately cushioned, and thus it will reduce the risk of delamination.
You also get two wood stringers that can provide greater longitudinal rigidity and strength, as well as a controlled flex. As a plus, the adjustable fin box will allow you to change the performance of the board.Buy from Amazon.com for ($249.99)
Gold Coast Surfboards 8’8
The Gold Coast Surfboards 8’8 is an entry-level surfboard that is perfect for anyone, from beginner teens and adults to experienced longboard surfers. Whatever the purpose of getting this model is, we are sure that this is a choice that will not only satisfy your requirements but also give you a fun and high-performance purchase.
As far as specs go, this unit is 106” long, 23” wide and 3” thick. As you can see, this an all-around surfboard that is built to accommodate as many types of riders as possible. This wide board will give you increased stability and the rounded nose and pulled-in squash rubber tail are built to provide extra release through turns.
The CrocSkin textured foam will give an increased grip so that once you are planted on the board you will not risk falling over. The EPS foam will not take on water, and it has three stingers. The slick HDPE bottom deck will help add speed and fin performance so that you have more fun when you’re on the water.
Your purchase will include a 9’ Rish leash, a complete soft-top screw-in fin set, three thruster plastic screw fins, one leash plug screw, and five fin screws.Click to see the price on Amazon!
BIC Sport PAINT
Are you looking for a board that will help you focus on learning this awesome sport in a worry-free and relaxed way? The PAINT series can provide you with the ideal first board that you can learn to use during the summer vacation. So take your water-resistant surfing sunscreen because you are going to spend hours of quality time with this unit.
To make things even better, this is also an affordable option, and we wouldn’t have it any other way as it comes in the price range we deem most suitable for a first-time surfer. The construction is highly durable due in part to the 2x 6 oz. full layer deck and bottom.
This model is very forgiving with dents and dings; it will allow you to experiment with new moves without you having to worry that you will ruin your board. You also need to know that this PAINT model is more than just a beginner choice, it was designed to offer outstanding performance so that you can still use it after you advance to a new skill level.
Comfort, safety, and durability are a key focus which is why this product uses throughout only the high-quality materials.Click to see the price on Amazon!
Gold Coast Surfboards 5’8
The 5’8 Mahi is oriented more for the casual to experienced riders, and it is ideal for shortboard or fish shortboard-style surfing, surf groms, shorebreaks, and for 2-6’ waves. If you’re wondering about the specifications of this unit, it is 68” long, 21” wide, and 2 3/4“ thick.
The 5’8 variant features the Gold Coast Surfboards unique Fingerprint Texture IXPE foam soft top deck. This unique texture will offer outstanding grip to allow you to surf safely even without wax. This texture provides even more performance when used in combination with surfing booties.
The durability of this product is ensured by the incredibly strong full-length I-Beam Stringer and the bamboo layers. They cover the entire length of the board, providing a rigid deck with a slight flex. This will allow you to feel much more confident when you’re on the board and ready to take on even the larger waves.
The traditional fish design of this surfboard features a widened chest area for much better paddling and easier pop-ups. The classic fishtail allows you to follow new creative lines on all types of different waves. You also get a 6’ leash and a leash plug.Buy from Amazon.com for ($320)
Empire Ehukai Soft
If you’re on a tight budget but you still want to get a product you will feel happy to use even after months of constant surfing, the Empire Ehukai Soft manages to offer a great mix of quality and affordability.
It is a 100 percent waterproof unit that uses a durable high-density EPS core designed to keep you afloat no matter the outdoor conditions.
This board comes with everything you might require to get started and shred the waves. The EPS foam, in particular, makes the option much more natural to maneuver by novices. It also comes equipped with four stringers that have the purpose of adding strength to the board.
It will also prevent it from flexing and wobbling too much, which is something that is not recommended to happen to beginner-friendly options. The four stingers will help minimize this effect until it is hardly noticeable. You also get a surf leash that will ensure that even if you fall off, you’ll never be too far from your trusty board.
Upon our inspection of the customer reviews this unit has garnered, we were pleasantly surprised to see that it has collected only positive ratings which help spread the word even further about the quality and reliability the Empire alternative provides.Buy from Amazon.com for ($162.1)
Gold Coast Surfboards 6’8
The Gold Coast Surfboards 6’8 is an affordable model that boasts an excellent construction, making this a solid product that is ready to handle anything you may put ahead of it. The foam is also of high quality, and it takes wax just like a regular board and most certainly better than a standard soft top.
If you’re curious about the more in-depth specifications of this unit, it is 80 inches long, 21 inches wide, and 2.75 inches thick. It can also easily support surfers that weight up to 220lbs which gives this unit increased versatility. The fingerprint textured IXPE foam board top deck, and the bamboo bottom deck allow for a secure grip of the board.
Speaking of versatility, you’ll have no problem taking this out in the most oppressive conditions that the east coast has to offer. Indeed, the low rocker and the wide tail will make it a perfect solution to board during the summer time and have fun alone or with your friends.
Seeing as this is a Gold Coast Surfboards option, quality is guaranteed, and the overwhelmingly positive customer reviews only help make this even more evident. Indeed, this unit offers excellent value, and it is incredibly fun to ride as well.Buy from Amazon.com for ($340)
Liquid Shredder FSE
This 9ft longboard shape template is constructed for beginners up to 210lbs, but it can also be used by more experienced riders. The dimensions of this unit include a length of 9ft, a width of 24.5 inches, and a thickness of 3 inches.
In terms of materials, quality soft foam is used which gives it excellent maneuverability and a lightweight design.
The board is heat laminated and does not use any glue; this means that the model you get will be a high-performance one and the cost-effective manufacturing process ensures that you won’t have to go over budget to make a good purchase. The white polypropylene slick bottom adds rigidity and strength.
Another quality that this pick offers and that stood out to us is the fact that it is swift. It is fast but it floats exceptionally well, and because it offers outstanding stability you will feel more in control and able to enjoy yourself. When you’re trying to learn this sport for the first time, the control this board offers will make you feel more confident in your skills.
The design also benefits the novice as it creates a user-friendly product that is not daunting to look at. Indeed, many customers that have used it have noted that it helped them catch waves and learn how to stand, balance, and move on it.Click to see the price on Amazon!
BIC Sport ACE-TEC
The BIC Sport alternative tries to bring together modern technology with old-school style and judging by what the customers had to say, it is safe to state that the manufacturer succeeded. This 9 inches model will satisfy surfers of all levels. The beginners will learn to appreciate its volume and the forgiving outline.
More advanced riders are bound to be impressed with the way it handles pump up swells and how it rides smoothly through the high-line into and out of radical sections. The ACE-TEC is built using a durable construction that is guaranteed to last you many years and help you catch thousands of awesome waves.
With a good mix of durability, performance, and lightweight, this is a choice you will not regret buying if you don’t mind spending a bit more for a quality experience. It is 30% stronger than the traditional surfboard while maintaining the same lightweight construction that surfers love.
The Dura-Tec ultra-durable polyethylene outer shell that features a full, closed-cell polyurethane foam core will guarantee that the unit performs just how you’d expect even after years of use. The Ace-Tec technology helps keep the board lightweight while maintaining the same level of performance.Click to see the price on Amazon!
Wave Bandit EZ Rider
Each Wave Bandit board is developed in California by real surfers to suit all types of skill levels, from beginner riders all the way up to experienced shredders. This is true for the EZ Rider as well – this is a versatile choice that is bound to satisfy the need of even the pickiest rider. What’s even better is the fact that this is an affordable model.
This variant is built to offer maximum performance and quality for a price that will keep you smiling while you head to the nearest beach.
The fun egg shape of this unit gives increased mobility and stability, so if you are learning to surf for the first time, we believe that you will not be disappointed with the performance the EZ Rider offers. If you want to enjoy the best possible grip and performance, this unit does require surf wax.
As the name already implies, this unit is built to be easy to handle which is why the many customers that have tried it were surprised to see just how seamless it feels to ride with this particular model. This is the ultimate wave catching machine, and it will have you styling down the line in no time.Click to see the price on Amazon!
KC Hawaii Aloha Classic
If you plan on trying surfing for the first time, but you can’t yet justify spending large amounts of money for your first board, KC Hawaii has just the thing you need. The Aloha Classic is a mini surfboard that is just what a novice rider needs to get started. You will be hard-pressed to find a more affordable choice on the market right now.
For such a low price, you’d be forgiven if you expected to get a low-effort and low-quality product, but fortunately, that is not the case. Each model is handmade in the USA, and that ensures that each board gets the attention it needs so that what you get is a quality product you’ll feel proud to use.
Regarding the materials that are being used, the manufacturer has turned to exotic woods that ensure that the user gets a surfboard that can satisfy the need for performance and stability. For a beginner, these are key factors, and we were glad to see KC Hawaii putting such a focus on an enjoyable beginner-friendly experience.
The Aloha Classic is curved and UV safe and has a weather resistant finish. The splendid design will allow you to use the model for wall décor when you are not riding it.Buy from Amazon.com for ($49.99)
Rock-It 5’8″ ALBERT
The Rock-It 5’8″ ALBERT is designed to be the perfect choice for beginners that are on the lookout for an all-around surfboard. The classic twin-fin retro dish design is entertaining to ride as it will propel you to remarkable speeds. It is super floaty, and it makes catching waves seem a lot easier than it actually is.
As far as the dimensions go, this model is 5’8” long, 20.5” wide and 2.5” thick. It has a total volume of 35.4L which is enough to keep it buoyant in any condition. When the board is not in the water, it is recommended by the manufacturer that you keep the soft-top out of direct sunlight if you wish to keep it in mint working condition for years to come.
The construction of the ALBERT series features the use of two wooden stringers and multiple layers of fiberglass cloth and epoxy resin. All are wrapped around a core that is made of recycled foam that has been sourced from manufacturing waste.
Indeed, if you want to support an environmentally friendly manufacturing process, this is the unit to choose. As a plus, all the Rock-It models vacuum and heat seal the soft top to make sure that they can withstand a beating.Buy from Amazon.com for ($199.99)
Wavestorm 8′ Brushed Graphic
Wavestorm is one of the most recognized soft surfboard brand in the United States, and this is for a good reason as the products they create have to follow a set of strict quality guidelines. The same is true for this model as well. The 8ft classic surfboard is one of the most popular boards for beginners.
This learn-to-surf unit is light, soft, and easy to handle to ensure that the first time surfer has a memorable experience with this awesome sport. For beginners looking to enjoy learning anything new, fun must be the center point, which is why the Wavestorm 8” puts a lot of emphasis on allowing the users to enjoy themselves while they’re at it.
Frustration is not in the package and this is why the manufacturer has tried its best to create a board that is highly stable and maneuverable. Judging by the overwhelmingly positive reviews and the stories that customers shared, we believe that Wavestorm has managed to come through with its plan.
Another thing that we like about this model is the Brushed Graphic that it features. It is beautiful and fitting to the new healthful lifestyle this brand promotes and it will help you feel more confident in your own skills while riding the waves.Buy from Amazon.com for ($187.26)