The Foam Surfboard: Are soft surfboards any good?

The foam surfboard-often referred to as a “foamie”or soft surfboard- offers more than what meets the naked eye.  Beginner surfers and surf schools enjoy the use of foam surfboards as a fun and versatile surfboard for everyone. Catch that? Everyone. Also referred to as soft top surfboards, these boards truly are for everyone, every skill level, and are an obvious trend at the beach. That’s right, it’s not uncommon to see a skilled surfer enjoying a few waves while on top of a foamie along many of the coastal beaches in San Diego. Not just beginners…

So are all foamies the same? Let’s take a [duck] dive into the latest trends in the foam surfboard world.

Are there any special design features to consider with a foamie?

While the mini malibu is the classic foamie surfboard, the tide on soft top boards and innovation has really turned with the latest in surfing technology, foam, and performance trends. To understand the latest trends, it is important to know soft top boards are made with EPS foam core wrapped in a EVA or Ethylene-Vinly Acetate-similar to the material used in exercise mats. This gives an overall lighter and forgiving deck (top of the board), not requiring wax as it already has “anti-slip” with the EVA material. This is standard in all soft top surfboards, hence the nick-name “foamie”. 

As we have mentioned earlier there are a lot of options when it comes to soft top boards to enhance performance and rider experience. Just like in the hardboard world, this is where the fun begins. 

What type of foam surfboard is the best? 

Now that we have established foam surfboards are great for all skill levels it’s time to look at the different types of foamies. That’s right, just like hardboard surfboards when it comes to types-there is a lot of variety in the soft top world. 

For beginner surfers it is best to choose a simple foamie. Pricing anywhere from the low end to middle of the road to be able to experiment, have some fun, and not worry about falling off the board. Soft top surfboards are made with beginners in mind providing plenty of volume to stay on top of the water and glide through the surf. 

For intermediate surfers stuck on what type of regular hard surfboard to purchase, many surfboard companies have soft top styles in the classic shortboard, longboard, fish, or step-up. While it won’t ride exactly the same as a hardboard, surfers are able to determine which elements of these different types of surfboards are preferred. Surfers can enjoy everything from the classic twin fin Fish style foamie, single fin, while also navigating different lengths from a 4’6 to a 10 foot. The options are endless when it comes to shape, size and of course color options for extra style points. 

What type of soft top board is most common?

Traditionally, the mini malibu foamie has been the go to board most commonly seen at the beaches. With a rounded-longboard shape, averaging between 6-8 feet long, it is often the “go to” board for surf lessons and rentals. Not only is it a great surfboard for beginners, but is versatile for the whole family to enjoy regardless of surfing level. We recommend an 8-9 foot rounded foam board, as this is what we use for beginner surfers during instruction. 

The most common foamie may be the best choice, but again depends on individual surfing goals. Needless to say, the mini malibu won’t disappoint.

A few of our favorite softboards for durability, quality, and price.  

When it comes to softboards, as already mentioned there is a lot out there. Here are a few of our go to foam surfboards we use for rentals and lessons. Our aim is durability, quality, and price.


Local company out of Oceanside, San Diego. These softboards are high quality and durable. We particularly like the 9 foot surfboards INT makes for lessons as well as taking out on a day off. It is smooth on the water and a whole lot of fun to cruise down the line. INT makes very durable surfboards, including using an iFoam. The attention to detail from design to the entirely hand shaped foam board is why it is a team favorite, and why we continue to purchase year after year. 


Since 2006 Stormblade has been making easy and affordable fun softboards. From the classic 8’ft wavestorm, Stormblade offers classic Malibu style foam boards 7 to 10 foot long. For a basic and simple soft board to head to the beach, this has become a family favorite for price and lightweightness. 

Doyle Softoards

Mike Doyle, the founder of Doyle Surfboards brings history and legacy. As a surfer of more than 60 years, Doyle brings his accomplishments and passion for surfing into each surfboard. A 1970 World Surfing Championship, Duke Kahanamoku big wave title and induction to the Shaper’s Hall of Fame are just a few of the many accomplishments on the surfboard.  His surfing spirit and design is seen in each of the Doyle softboards. Doyle offers classic soft boards called the Cabo, to performance style foamies. The boards are highly durable and glide on top of the water with maneuverability. It’s our go to soft top surfboard for the classic longboard experience. 

There are many more surfboard shapers. Ultimately it comes down to individual preference and needs. Whatever the surfing goals may be, you can’t go wrong with having a foamie in your collection.