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The Best Soft Top Surfboards for 2024

Soft top surfboards are becoming increasingly popular.


They’ve taken the surfing world by storm because of their accessibility and affordability.


Most soft top surfboards are targeted toward beginners but there are a few high performance options available.


We’ll break down the basics to buying a soft top surfboard and some of the best options out there.




Softop Surfboards: The Backstory

Softop surfboards haven’t been around for long.


The idea originated from boogie boards that were also made out of foam.


Boogie boards were a great alternative to riding heavy shorebreak waves where your everyday surfboard could break.


Then the idea of creating a soft top surfboard that was easier for beginners or an alternative to shorebreak waves came up when Matt Zilinskas teamed up with AGIT Global in 2004.


Together they launched the Wavestorm, the first mass produced soft top surfboard.


The Wavestorm was an 8 '0 tri-fin wave catching machine and for only $99.99 people took to the beaches to try out surfing.


Wavestorms were exclusively sold at Costco and pushed surfing even further to the mainstream.


The Wavestorm was only the beginning of the soft top surfboard revolution.

Later in 2008, a high performance soft top surfboard company known as Catch Surf was born. More expensive but somewhat better quality than the mass produced wavestorms, Catch Surf became the poster child for foam surfboards.


Catch Surf signed seasoned pros like Kalani Robb and Jamie O’Brien to their team, forcing the surfing world to take the soft top surfboard a little more seriously.


Catch Surf continues to make boards and is still considered one of the best fsoft top surfboard companies out there.


Today, there are countless numbers of soft top surfboards companies that cater to a variety of skill levels.

Jamie O’Brien made history by taking a soft top board out to the 2022 Pipe Masters for a heat.


Even John John Florence and Mick Fanning have their own line of soft top surfboards proving that it’s not a kook’s board.


What To Look For in a Soft Top Surfboard

What should you look for in a soft top surfboard? Keep reading to find out.


Durability

Durability is an important aspect to consider when purchasing a soft top surfboard.


Unlike glassed surfboards most soft top surfboards can take a beating and are great for heavy shorebreak.


There are true soft top surfboards that are entirely made out of foam but there are also epoxy boards with an extra layer of foam around the board.


If you want more durability and performance the epoxy foam board would be your best bet.


That’s not to say classic Catch Surf and Wavestorm models aren't durable, they can take a beating and catch waves easier and earlier.

Cost

The greatest thing about soft top surfboards is the cost.

They are extremely affordable. If you’re just starting out look around the $200 range for a board that will get you into waves easier.


However, if you're an experienced surfer looking to add a small wave soft top surfboard to your quiver, there’s some great option in the $400 plus range.


More performance oriented soft tops run on the expensive side but if you’re a beginner a classic wavestorm around $230 is perfect.


These prices are great considering a brand new Channel Islands thruster will set you back almost $800.


5 Soft Top Surfboard Options


JJF by Pyzel Log 7′-8

Probably the best overall board on this list, the JJF by Pyzel Log is great for a beginner or a seasoned pro looking to have some fun. Feeling this board, one might not even call it a soft top.


It’s an EPS base with EVA layer of foam on the top of the EPS foam.


It’s also designed by North Shore shaper Jon Pyzel and world champion John John Florence, providing you with a board you can trust. However, the price tag is anything but cheap.



Running at about $700, it’s quite an investment for any surfer, let alone a beginner.


Pyzel and Florence designed this board to be rippable, so if you’re a beginner maybe look for another lower price soft top surfboard.


Learn more about this soft top surfboard option.


Catch Surf Odysea Log 7’0 Thruster

Another trusted soft top surfboard by Catch Surf, one of the first high performance soft top surfboard companies.


Catch Surf’s signature model, the Log, is a great durable shorebreak or small wave board. Like most soft top surfboards it catches waves extremely easily.


It’s made entirely out of foam, has a slick plastic bottom and triple wood stringer providing for tons of durability. This board is a true happy medium between performance and beginner surfing.


The only downfall again is the price, especially for beginners, it runs at around $375.


Overall, these boards have been loved by surfers for years and can be a great step up from a

wavestorm.


Learn more about this soft top surfboard option.

Wavestorm 8′ Classic Pinline Surfboard


What started it all.

First seen in Costco, then flooding local surf breaks, Wavestorms are the original soft top surfboard.


What many people nowadays will start their surfing journey on, the Wavestorm is a quintessential beginner board.


Wavestorms have plenty of volume and soft top to make wave catching virtually effortless.


Also one of the most affordable boards on the list, the Wavestorm goes for $250 on their website.


However, because this board is associated with beginners it may be unaccepted at certain breaks. This also isn’t the best soft top board on the market anymore.


Wavestorm has done little evolving over the years but its price tag makes up for it.


Learn more about this soft top surfboard option.


Almond R-Series Secret Menu 5’4″

The shortboarder’s soft top surfboard. Almond has released a number of quality foam surfboards but the Almond R-Series Secret Menu is one of their best.



The R-Series is a 5 '4'’ Quad that even includes Futures fin boxes allowing you to put in your favorite pair of fins.


This board is definitely better for more experienced surfers or beginner surfers looking to make the jump to a shortboard.


It’s easy to paddle and catches waves easily but performs like a shortboard. The price tag for the quality of the board isn’t horrible either.


Coming in around $400, it’s a great addition to anyone’s quiver.


Learn more about this soft top surfboard option.


Odysea Catch Surf Skipper Quad J.O.B. Pro 5’6″-6’6″

Jamie O’Brien’s signature Catch Surf board is another great high performance soft top surfboard.


It's a great step up for someone looking to transition into a smaller board. It’s much more maneuverable and fast than a wavestorm or Catch Surf Log.



This soft top surfboard price is a little steep compared to other short soft top boards on the market, coming in around $400.


However it is extremely durable like most Catch Surf boards are, there’s a reason why the company has been so prevalent in the past 15 years or so.


The only downside is the obnoxious pink colors, but then again, that’s what you’re going to get from a surfer like Jamie O’Brien.

Learn more about his soft top surfboard option.



Soft Top Surfboard FAQs

Next, we'll take a look at some of the most commonly asked questions associated with a foram surfboard.


Q. How Expensive are soft top surfboards?

Anywhere from the $200-$700 range. Depends on what kind of board you want.


The bigger the soft top surfboard, the more expensive it is.


Then materials also play into this as well. An EPS based board will cost more just because of the quality of materials.


Usually, you get what you pay for.

Q. Are soft top surfboards the best beginner surfboards?

They are a great place to start.


They make some of the hardest parts of surfing easy.


Catching waves and paddling are super easy with a soft top board with lots of volume.


Q. Do you have to put a soft top surfboard together?

Besides the fins, no.


Most soft top surfboards come fully assembled.

Q. Do you need to wax a soft top surfboard?

Depending on the deck of the soft top surfboard, yes.


Most Catch Surf boards require wax but Wavestorms don’t need it.


Even if the board doesn’t require wax it doesn’t hurt to put it on for the extra grip.


Q. Can a soft top surfboard get waterlogged?

Soft top surfboards are usually pretty water repellent but if you slice or cut the board it is possible that the board gets waterlogged and heavy if not repaired.


The Bottom Line: Soft Top Surfboards

Soft Top surfboards offer something for everyone.


They are great beginner boards but also can be perfect for experienced surfers who need a board for small mushy days.


Most soft top surfboards are relatively inexpensive and can be extremely durable making them perfect to toss around in heavier sandbar shorebreak.


That's why a soft top surfboard should be a part of your surfboard quiver.

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