How Did We Pick these Products?
We went through several stages of searching, feature analysis, comparisons, field-tests and re-evaluation to get the final top 10 list of surfboards currently available on the market.
Initially, we ran a 30-hour extensive online research in a bid to track down 25 models with the highest number of ratings and the maximum number of customer feedback. Then we sought help from a group of community-based volunteers to perform a series of field tests on the initially listed products. Over the next two weeks, we visited some of the most prominent surfing beaches in the United States including the Wedge and Bay Street. That way we were able to understand these boards far better than we could possibly have done any other way. Based on their build quality, design, weight, shape, ergonomics, graphics and our riding experience we championed 10 best choices.
Our quest didn't stop there. We reached out to other top industry experts and marine design engineers of the country to have their insights into our final list. They helped us rank the final list based on their distinctive features and compatibility.
The entire process took us about a month of rigorous product research and testing. However, we believe our hard work would be paid off if our recommendations save your time in choosing the right model.
Our Top 10 Best Surfboard List
Other Notable Brands & Popular Models
As we were conducting our research, we came across many famous manufacturers and their popular models. But not all of them made it to our list because we squeezed it down to only 10, but we found some brands and their popular lineups commendable. If you are into further market research, the following names should help-- Surftech, Gary McNeill (famous for concept lineups), Euroglass, Lampuga, LIQUID LINES, Ronix, Jetsurf (popular for their motorized models), Ron Jon, Channel Islands (CI) (prominent for their exclusive models designed by Al Merrick (popular models--Waterhog, OG FLYER), Dumpster Diver, SAMPLERf, Pod Mod, Neck Beard 2, and Average Joe), ODYSEA (popular lineup- Skipper, Stump), Roger Hinds (popular for their custom models), Elnino, Nectar, Tuflite, Liddle,Town and Country (T&C), Softech, Maluku Surf Co. (known model- Flying Frog), Aipa (designer- Ben Aipa), CHRISTENSON (popular for Chris Christenson's designs including C-Bucket), NSP, Pyzel (Designer-Jon Pyzel; Popular models- Ghost, Phantom, Nugget, Padillac, 74, PYZALIEN), Matador, RRD, Storm Blade, Honu, Lost (popular models- RNF Redux, Puddle Jumper HP, Mayhem, V3 Rocket, Short Round, Round Nose Fish), JK Surfboards (popular model- Retro Fish Poly), RVCA, Chilli (popular model- Rare Bird), Degree 33, J7, Dick Brewer Surfboards, Rip Curl, Morning of the Earth, BIC Sport, Lib Tech (popular model- BEAN BAG), AUSWIEI (popular for their inflatable models), Vernor, Oneill,
Here are some other brands that maintain consistency in producing quality surfboards:
NORTH COAST SURFBOARDS (known for Donald Takayama designs, known model- Scorpion), Bing, Thomas Bexon, Mitsven, Billabong, Osprey, Rusty (popular model- Dwart), Akila Aipa, Tyler Warren, Sanctum (known model- Magic Carpet), Haut, BECKER, Dahlberg DHD (popular models- DX1, Ducks Nuts), Starboard (popular for their windsurfing sail boards), CON, Furrow, BZ, CBC, Rockwell, Cleanline, Bryan Bates, Onean (known for their Carver model), Nexo (known for their river boards), Cabianca Keyo, MR (popular for their twin fin series), Yater, Hyperlite, Walden (popular model- Mega Magic), Hot Lava, Misfit, WRV, Webber, Quiksilver, Lightning Bolt, CJ NELSON, Noll (popular for custom boards designed by Greg Noll, Torq (known model- Tec Hybrid, MOD Fish), KT, Arenal (popular model- Glider), Pearson Arrow, MCCALLUM, Vessel, Gorilla, Vulcan, Vampirate, Firewire (house of the Slater Designs line up that are designed by Kelly Slater himself; popular model- Dominator, Sci-Fi, Gamma, Vacay, Omni, Moonbeam, Sweet Potato, Baked Potato, GONG, Noserider, Go Fish, Tomo SKX, Seaside, designed by Rob Machado and Cymatic), Zephyr, Jet surf (popular model- Factory GP100), AQSS, Mctavish (popular model- FIREBALL EVO 2), Manualboards (MB), Icon, Soul, Von Sol, Haydenshapes (popular model- Hypto Krypto, Holy Grail, Plunder, Untitled, White Noiz), Cabrinha (known for their kiteboards), Semente, Arakawa (main designer Eric Arakawa), Madness Surfboards, John Carper (JC) Hawaii, DTL (Down the Line) Surf Co., Gerry Lopez, Vision, HESS, Elmore (designer- Troy Elmore), Mini Simmons, Pukas (Sixtyniner), HIC, Mandala, Landshark, Lightning Bolt and Roxy.
Here are some other tested models:
Who are Surfboards for?
It is a flat but lightweight platform used in ocean rides. Any person riding in the ocean wave will support themselves by standing on it. A good surfboard should be strong enough to offer the needed support conveniently both in the ocean or in lakes.
Do you enjoy surfing, or you want to have a taste of how it feels for the first time? With the right board, you can have an easier and better experience. Now let’s talk about the types of individuals need are into this sport.
- Professionals: Surfboards are important to professionals who do not only perform for pleasure but also partake in competitions. As a professional, you will need more than one unit in your collection. In most cases, you will require at least one standard board and another to serve as a backup.
- Leisure riders: Most people participate in this sport for relaxation and for the enhancement of their physical fitness. If your interest is to ride for fun, you can easily find a model with leisure-friendly makeup.
- Novices: At some point in life, everyone must have been a beginner. You should consider buying one with easy to use features. In this review, we will be considering some of the most reliable models for starters, so relax while we ride on.
- Competitors: If your interest is to buy a surfboard for competition, we have the recommended choice for you. It should be sizable, light, strong, sturdy and ergonomically designed to offer support while withstanding the ocean waves.
- Environmentally-friendly persons: Modern technology has been introduced into the production of eco-friendly surfboards. These ones are made from biodegradable materials and resins from organic sources such as wood, bamboo and the likes. As an environmentally conscious person, you should consider buying an eco-friendly model.
Meanwhile, whether you’re a professional who’s into leisure or competitive surfing or a beginner who is keen to have a feel of the first ride, you need an exclusive board. If you want to dominate the oceans, you should try your skills with a high-quality standard model.
Different Types of Surfboards
These are surfboards with lengths measuring 8 feet and above. They are designed for high stability. You will notice that they have a wide nose and more volume. They resemble the ancient Hawaii boards in size. Classic longboards used to be longer in size. Over the years, different changes have been brought to the original models to enhance their performance. For example, there are models that are designed for traditional cruising and nose riding while some are made only for competitions. Log boards with single fin are good examples of longboards.
They can either have a single fin or a 2 + 1 fin. A single fin longboard allows you to enjoy more glide at low input while you have greater hold but less glide in a 2+1 fin setup. These models are a great option for both beginners and novices, but you’ll have a tough time riding on low ocean waves. Long wooden boards are sometimes designed with a hollow platform making it easy to float around. For beginners, it helps a lot.
There are collapsible Longboards that re split right from the middle and a joining mechanism helps the two pieces attach together. The whole point of collapsible longboards is portability.
Shortboards have a pointy nose and are around 6 feet to 6' 10" long but they cannot be determined by their fin set-up. These are suitable for experienced and highly technical surfers. This is because, like boogie boards, they have less speed and stability that are essential for maneuvering.
Your skills and understanding of the waves come to play when surfing with a shortboard especially while trying to catch up with the waves at a shallow depth. For big guys, this type may not be preferable unless they are well experienced.
3. Fish Surfboards
Fish surfboards are designed to have some of the features of the defunct kneeboards. They are only 6 feet long with more volumes. They feature a flat locker, wide tail with shallow cuts and a wide nose and function well inlined waves and can either have a quad fin or keel fin set up.
They are more suitable for subpar conditions and tend to have more glides than shortboards because of the ease through which it can increase speed. However, you are sure to get good results by using fish for either thigh-high or overhead waves even though they can get pushed into much larger waves at a lined-up break point.
Foamboards carry the latest design that are ideal for all categories of users. They are made from polyurethane (PU) foam with layers of epoxy resin or fiberglass cloth for a covering. Careful glassing make them amazingly waterproof and buoyant. They are light, strong, durable and can be maneuvered easily. They are good for sup surfing and some models are especially designed for body surfing.
This is the most ruthless and fastest of all surfboards. They are designed for die-hard surfers who are ready to venture into the most tumultuous waves. They have the same size as a longboard, but the features are different. A gun can have any fin set up while the nose and tail rockers are generally pointy. They are not for the unskilled and are designed for life’s threatening and dangerous waves. Guns are the most ideal models for double overhead waves.
Funboards (also known as Mini Mal boards) have lengths that range from 7 to 8 feet. This is called the Funshape since they are neither too long nor too small. Their relaxed rocker and wide nose design make it cool for riding under various wave conditions. You can either call them eggs or mid-lengths. A funboard is not limited to any fin set up but their performance is enhanced if they are designed with the same tail and fin set up as the shortboard. They have good stability, making them the ideal choice for professional and beginner surfers alike. Its ability to function in either overhead or knee-high waves depends on its fin and rocker configuration. However, these are cool for goofy and pro riders alike.
7. Hybrid boards
Hybrid boards are between 6 to 8.5 feet long with a round profile and tail. They are ideal for smaller waves while their fin set up are not restricted. They are suitable for leisure riding than for competition. They can be used in conditions that are not possible for riding in shortboards or longboards and they can be used easily by beginners. Making a hybrid surfboard requires more than one material, that's also why they're called 'hybrid'. Also, there could be a blend between two different designs.
8. Electric Boards
If you are a maverick surfer with an inner drive for high end electric devices, then electric motorized surfboards could make your dream come true. This type of boat has a built-in electrically powered motor for automatic propulsion. You woudn't need waves to rule the oceans anymore. Nowadays, you'll find flying eFoil (electric hydrofoil) models too. These remote controlled fliteboards hover approximately a feet above the water and can ride without waves for miles looking like as if they were flying, but the only downside is, they can cut a big hole in your pocket. However, celebrated surfers like John John Florence, Mark Richards, Phil Edwards, Gabriel Medina, Jordy Smith, Tom Blake, Torren Martyn, Jimmy Lewis, Dave Rastovich, Ryan Burch, Scott Anderson, Skip Frye, Roger Hall, Joel Tudor and Matt Biolos wouldn't like such self-propelled boards as they are against the spirit of the sport.
You can also turn your manual board into an electric one, not functionally, but graphically by adding LED lights and batteries to it. That requires some DIY customizations.
Inflatable boards are either air or gas powered. These come with equipment and toolbox required for inflating the unit before use. These are amazingly portable and you can literally carry them in your backpack.
Surfboards: A Comprehensive Buying Guide
A good surfboard should not only have a logical price tag, but it should also be able to serve you correctly in all ramifications. Here are the basic things you should consider before selecting the right model to buy.
1. Your skill level & fitness
A rounder and high-volume surfboard are recommended for you if you’re a beginner. The reason is that this shape makes them more stable and easier to glide or paddle. These are 6 to 8 feet long and are designed from synthetic rubber materials to increase their performance. Their high volume makes them suitable for smaller waves. Funboards are a typical example of a beginner's choice.
The hybrid and egg models are ideal for experienced users because of their ease of maneuverability, speed, and responsiveness. However, they are not as fast as the shortboards and that's why they are not suitable for professional surfers.
The shortboards are usually short in length that ranges from 5 to 6 feet with a much lower volume. The smaller volume makes it difficult to paddle - the reason it can only be used by advanced surfers.
The foam board (also known as softboard) has a soft feel that makes it the ideal choice for beginners, novices, and children surfers. For these, choose a surfing destination with no aggressive waves.
Your level of fitness should determine the volume of your board. If you’re heavy, less fit, and inexperienced you should consider buying a model with more volume. The volume can be calculated by multiplying the thickness, width, and length dimensions. Experience and fitness are essential when shopping for this kind of sports gear.
The size of your surfboard should match your level of experience. For example, longboards are bigger than shortboards and can be handled easily. Shortboards, on the other hand, require more experience and skills - the reason they are the ideal choice for advanced surfers. Take a note that, for older surfers the size and width matter a lot as they might have experience but lack in the agility. The toy version of these are called hand surfboards. Technically, these are the smallest in size.
This is important because the right weight would offer you the needed stability and support when out with the waves.
A good model should be made from materials that are light to be handled easily, strong to support your weight and stable enough to guarantee your safety on the water. Vintage models are mostly made of wood, but the modern ones went through lots of changes in terms of build materials. You may find other vintage models such as Plastic Fantastic to be made from plastic.
Many surfboards are made from materials that contain expanded polyethylene (EPE) that helps enhance its ease of use and stability during the game. In addition, models that are made from polypropylene are more rigid and strong while allowing them to experience high-speed rides. Carbon fiber ensures hightest level rigidity and pro users usually prefer it. Prolite is also used in many models.
Units made from wood tend to last longer and can glide smoothly with little effort. However, they are heavier than the models that are made from synthetic or polyester materials.
You should weigh the capacity of the board to handle your overall height and weight before buying. As we mentioned earlier the capacity is determined by its volume that increases with the size. This rating plays a major role in the stability of the surfboard on water.
6. Type of wave
The type of wave determines the type of surfboard you buy since they perform in various waves differently. The feeling and experience you have while playing in a large wave will be different from a small wave. The same thing happens when riding waves in deep or shallow water. You might lose speed when dealing with large waves unless you use a gun or step-up board. Here, your experience in water will help you to choose a model that suits the conditions of the waves.
Your ideal fin set should be determined by factors like skill level, weather, style of surfing, and wave type. Meanwhile, models with more fin setups tend to have higher versatility for better surfing. You should decide on the number of fins based on your riding conditions. Fins come in different sizes and shapes, but the standard fin is ideal for beginners. There are also finless beater models that have specific designs that allow the body of the board do the work of the extra fins. The Alaias are also finless with flat bottoms.
In fact, lightweight surfers require smaller fins and along with a smaller board. On the other hand, heavy users will need larger models with bigger fins. There are single, double, tripple fin (also kowns as thruster), and quad models out there. Some designs offer more than four, e. g. the groveler models have 5 fins. The three fin set up was introduced by Duncan and Malcolm Campbell brothers in their Bonzer board. New design improvements are introducing more fins.
This is the part of the board that stays on the water. They are either concave or convex by shape. Boards may have channels and other features on the bottom to let water flow freely across the bottom. Water is directed through the fins with concave bottom while the convex boards tend to displace more water and stays much lower in the waves.
The part of the board that you stand on is called the deck. Some shapes and contours can be added to the deck to give it some rigidity. An application of surf wax of various degrees of hardness can be made on the deck based on the temperature of the water.
10. Nose & tail
The tip of the board at the front is referred to as the nose. It comes in various shapes like pointy or round. The tail determines how responsive the board is. Also, it comes in different shapes like square, diamond, swallows, squash or pin and more. Models with pintails move faster on the water while squash tails tend to increase its stability on the water.
Surfboards usually come with additional features and equipment to improve your performance on the water. You should consider buying boards with these features attached. Some of these attachments include accessories like a traction pad and an ankle leash to enhance its ease of handling and comfortability.
Graphics plays a vital role in this sport as it carries the style of the user. Besides, there's also a visual aspect of it that is directly related to safety of the player. Some people go for transparent designs too.There are plenty of color combinations in the form of cliparts and drawings available including vibrant white, yellow, blue, red, black, pink, violet and so on. You can apply custom resin tint colors on your gear too.