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Four soft top surfboards of varying sizes, leaning up next to a sand dune on the beach for our test of the best soft top surfboards.

A few of our favorite soft top surfboards before going out and testing them in the water. Photo: WS


The Inertia

When you get down to it, surfing is all about one thing: having fun. And while all surfboards are technically made for having a blast, soft-top surfboards are particularly devoted to it. They remove the stress of damaging your delicate fiberglass boards, and let you try new things risk-free like leashless surfing, finless surfing, or charging some pounding shorebreak that would snap a “real” board in seconds.

Through months of testing in all types of wave conditions, and having some friends/family who are new to surfing also test, we took each board through the paces, finding out what rides well, what holds up, and what is worth your hard-earned cash. The result is the following list of the best soft-top surfboards around. Each one has a few different aspects that will suit different people better than others, but we are confident that one of them will speak to you the most.

We’ve divided this guide according to shortboards and longer-boards (7′ and above) to cover the wide range of soft-tops available on the market today, and have done our best to categorize each board as a soft-top epoxy or a true foamie (see below), as well as pointing out the fins each board uses.

For more detailed info, check out our Comparison Table and Buyer’s Guide, below. And if you’re looking for a list of soft-top boards specifically geared towards beginner surfers, click here.

What Are the Best Soft-Top Surfboards?

Long(er) Boards (7 ft. plus):

Best Performance: Isle Coronado
Classic Foamy Fun: Catch Surf Odysea Log
Best Price: Wavestorm Classic Surfboard
Runner-Up Performance Pick: Degree33 Ultimate Longboard Hybrid
Tons of Options: Boardworks Froth! Surfboard

Shortboards:

Best Performance: Degree33 Cloud Epoxysoft Shortboard
Classic Style: Catch Surf Skipper Quad J.O.B. Pro
Best Price: Wavestorm Swallowtail Surfboard
Easily-Removed Fins: Softech Eric Geiselman Flash
Best for Kids: South Bay Board Co. Guppy


Longer Boards:

Best Performance

Isle Coronado ($495)

isle coronado soft top surfboard

Length(s): 7’6″, 8′
Construction: Softtop Epoxy
Fin Setup: 2+1
Pros: Epoxy construction, great all-around shape for beginners to advanced surfers.
Cons: Only comes in two sizes.

The Coronado from Isle is a definite step up in the softboard category. With a strong epoxy-construction core, no-wax-necessary soft top, and 2+1 fin system, this is a board anyone can rip on. In comparison to a true hard-top surfboard, the rails lose a bit of performance due to their being covered in a layer of foam, but the fins are solid, and the shape of the board is perfect for beginners, cruising on smaller days, and more. We’ve even gotten barreled on this thing. Best of all, it’s a board you’ll be stoked to have in your quiver for years to come. Read our full review here.

CHECK PRICE ON ISLE

Classic Foamy Fun

Catch Surf Odysea Log ($299)

Length(s): 7′, 8′, 9′
Construction: True Foamie
Fin Setup: Thruster, Futures
Pros: Multiple sizes to match progression. Impeccable SoCal vibes.
Cons: You pay a bit more for those “SoCal vibes.”

Ah, the easy summer fun of the Log. These boards have been around for a while, and with good reason as they’re loved by everyone from beginner to pro. With foam construction through and through, it’s ready to charge shorebreak or let the kids romp around on. The 9′ version is great for larger riders and those wanting more longboard glide. The 8′ version is great for an average-sized beginner, or anyone looking for fun on a smaller day. The 7′ Log is long enough to be a wave catching machine, but short enough to fit in the trunk, and makes a great step down from the 8’0 as one progresses to smaller boards.

CHECK PRICE ON EVO

Best Price

Wavestorm Classic Pinline ($236)

Wavestorm surfboard

Length(s): 7′, 8′, 9′
Construction: True Foamie
Fin Setup: Thruster, screw-through
Pros: Tried and tested model.
Cons: You might get some hate in the lineup at bigger breaks.

Ah, the original soft-top. Ridden first by beginners, then later by absolute rippers and now by basically everyone, Costco’s iconic blue and white (and yes, Rasta colors, too) will always be the Grandaddy of foamies. Although not the “Costco Special” (a title now held by Gerry Lopez’s 8ft soft top), it’s available elsewhere, including Amazon. While the 8-foot version is likely the most popular, Wavestorm has shapes and sizes all over the map. From a 5-foot swallow tail to a 10-foot SUP, this foamboard manufacturer has a stranglehold on the foamboard market.

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Runner-Up Performance Pick

Degree33 Ultimate Longboard Hybrid ($795)

a product shot of the 9 foot ultimate longboard soft top epoxy hybrid surfboard for our list of the best soft top surfboards.
Length: 7′-10′
Construction: Hybrid Epoxy + Soft Top
Fin Setup: FCS 2 + 1 (Fin Box)
Pros: Great all-around longboard shape
Cons: Costs as much, if not more, than a regular surfboard.

If you want a board that will last well beyond the beginner stages, Degree33’s Ultimate Longboard Aquadip hybrid might be the one for you. At 9′ long, it’ll catch most anything that comes your way. But with its enhanced rocker and all-rounder boardshape you can still whip a few turns and have some fun as the wave height increases. Since it has an epoxy base, it still rides really well and will be durable enough to withstand a few beat-downs. It’s pricey, but it’ll last much longer than a true foamie, so it’s worth getting if you like to push the boundaries and don’t want to buy a new board every time you get a little too radical.

CHECK PRICE ON Degree33

Tons of Options

Boardworks Froth! ($269-674)

Boardworks Froth surfboard
Length(s): 5’0, 5’6″, 7′, 8′, 9′
Construction: Soft-Top Epoxy
Fin Setup: Single Fin/Thruster, Futures
Pros: Solid price and a great range of options.
Cons: Can be hard to find – in and out of stock online.

Like most soft-tops, Boardworks made the Froth to help people catch more waves. It’s your classic soft-top epoxy, with true performance characteristics and a bit more foam for ease of paddling. If you’re into more of the classic longboard feel, the single fin you see above might be your style, but if you’re not, Boardworks also makes a 7′-8′ funboard and a 5′-5’6″ shortboard.

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Shortboards

Degree33 Epoxysoft Cloud

Best Performance

Degree33 Cloud Epoxysoft Shortboard ($645)

Length(s): 5’7″
Construction: Softtop Epoxy
Fin Setup: 5-fin, FCS 1
Pros: High performing but still soft.
Cons: Expensive.

If you’re looking for a shortboard that feels soft, looks soft, but actually performs like a decent groveler shortboard, you’ve come to the right spot. Degree33’s line of EpoxySoft surfboards are constructed from a durable epoxy board covered in a thin layer of on the top and rails for durability and a decreased potential for injury. However, underneath that soft layer is still a hard surfboard, so performance is fairly well-preserved. Five fin boxes let you choose your fin setup, and allows you to use your (FCS1-compatible) surfboard fins as an upgrade over the plastic fins that ship with the board.

CHECK PRICE ON Degree33

Classic Style

Catch Surf Skipper Quad J.O.B. Pro ($399)

catch surf skipper

Length(s): 5’6″
Construction: True Foamie
Fin Setup: Quad, Futures
Pros: Great style and impossible to break.
Cons: Lacks in performance compared to a soft-top epoxy.

If fitting in with the crowd isn’t your style, Jamie’s Quad with Catch Surf is a hoot, and performs very similarly. It’s made with a dual-composite core, three maple stringers, and a small fish tail. It’s 5′ 6″ and 42 liters, which gives it plenty of float for a wide range of surfers, and the nod to JOB gives it a few extra style points.

Check Price on Amazon

Best Price

Wavestorm Swallowtail Surfboard ($192)

Wavestorm swallowtail surfboard

Length(s): 5’6″
Construction: True Foamie
Fin Setup: Thruster, screw-through
Pros: Low cost, big volume for a shortboard.
Cons: Lowest-performance shortboard on this list.

Like we said before, Wavestorm has a whole lot of shapes and sizes to choose from. While the O.G. Wavestorm is generally thought of as the classic blue and white 8-footer, they’ve branched into the modern day with this little swallowtail. Coming in at 5’6” x 21” x 2.75”, it’s got 42 liters of volume, which should be enough to float just about anyone.

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Easily-Removable Fins

Softech Eric Geiselman Flash ($289)

Softech surfboard

Length(s): 5’0″, 5’7″, 6’0″, 6’6″ and 7’0″
Construction: True Foamie
Fin Setup: Thruster, FCS2
Pros: Interchangeable fins.
Cons: Full foam board construction isn’t as rigid as a soft-top epoxy.

As you might have guessed from the name, this foam board leans a little more towards the shreddy side of things. The Eric Geiselman Flash comes in 5’0″, 5’7″, 6’0″, 6’6″ and 7’0″. It has an FCSII fin setup and a 100 percent waterproof EPS foam core, which is nice if you’re the type of person who dings boards. This is a great option for someone looking to still paddle into waves easily, but doesn’t want to sacrifice too much performance. It also comes in a whole bunch of colors. If grey ain’t your thing, Softech has a pretty well-rounded selection that’s worth a closer look.

CHECK PRICE ON EVO

Mason Ho and Filipe Toledo also have their own, very similar, Softech designs. Check out Filipe’s Wildfire here, and Mason Ho’s Mason Twin here.


Best for Groms

South Bay Board Co. Guppy ($279)

South Bay Surfboard 6'0" Guppy soft top
Length(s): 6′, 7′, 8′
Construction: True Foamie
Fin Setup: Thruster, screw-through
Pros: Built with groms in mind.
Cons: Soft everything means lower performance.

Guppies gotta learn, too. And that’s what South Bay Board Co. created this six-foot wave-catching machine for: learning, especially for groms who don’t get around the ocean every single day. The Guppy comes in kid-friendly blue jail stripes and is standard with flexible fins (best for avoiding injury) and a leash. The price point means you won’t lose your you-know-what if it gets beat to a pulp. Which it probably will.

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Comparison Table

Name Price Size Fins Construction Features
Isle Coronado $495 7’6″, 8′ 2+1 Soft-Top Epoxy Construction Great all-around shape and performance
Catch Surf Odysea Log $299 7′-9′ Thruster Classic Foamboard Fin boxes, classic Catch Surf style
Wavestorm Classic $226 8′ Thruster Classic Foamboard The Godfather of the modern soft-top
Degree33 Ultimate Longboard Hybrid $795 7′-10′ 2+1 Soft-Top Epoxy Construction True longboard-style surfboard
Boardworks Froth! $245-$645 5′-9′ Single/Thruster Soft-Top Epoxy Construction Tons of different sizes
Degree33 Cloud Epoxysoft $645 5’7″ Five-Fin Soft-Top Epoxy Construction Epoxy shortboard performance
Catch Surf JOB $349 5’6″-6’6″ Quad Classic Foamboard Catch Surf style and panache
Softech Eric Geiselman Flash $380 5’7″ Thruster Classic Foamboard 5 Sizes, FCSII fins
Wavestorm Swallowtail $193 5’6″ Thruster Classic Foamboard Great value
South Bay Board Co. Guppy $269 6′-8′ Thruster Classic Foamboard Best for groms

Soft-Top Surfboard Buyer’s Guide

When choosing a soft-top surfboard, there are a few key things to consider that will help you narrow down the search to better suit one’s individual needs. Here are some of the main points to think about before buying the best soft-top for you.

Size: The height of the surfboard plays a crucial role in your surfing experience. For novices, we recommend a board that is approximately 1-2 feet taller than you. Larger boards offer increased stability which is fundamental for beginners. As your proficiency develops, you may opt for a shorter board for enhanced control.

Shape: The form of the nose, tail, and rails (edges) significantly influence your board’s performance. A board with a broader nose and tail can offer added stability, whereas thinner rails can increase responsiveness.

surfing small knee high waves on a wavestorm soft top surfboard while testing for our review.

The waves don’t have to be big to have fun on a Wavestorm! Photo: WS

Volume and Thickness: Volume is an amalgamation of the board’s length, width, and thickness, measured in liters. A higher volume indicates better buoyancy – a desirable trait for beginners. On the other hand, seasoned surfers might lean towards boards with less volume for better maneuverability.

Fins: The fin setup directly impacts the board’s behavior in the water. A single fin is ideal for extensive, smooth turns, while a three-fin configuration (thruster) provides improved control and steadiness.

Price: A high cost will not make you surf better. Assess your financial capacity and requirements before making a decision.

Traditional Methods vs. Environmentally-Friendly Alternatives

Traditional surfboard manufacturing methods, using polyester resins, polyurethane foam, and fiberglass, are not only non-renewable but can also pose health risks to workers involved in the process.

In contrast, environmentally-friendly surfboards use green alternatives. Bio-based epoxy resins and natural fibers like hemp or flax are employed instead of fiberglass, while plant-based or recycled foams are used as substitutes for conventional foam cores.  As this is a relatively new development in the industry, not many companies are doing this yet and we were unable to get our hands on a sample to test. Stay tuned as we will hopefully demo some more eco-friendly boards down the line.

a close up view of the Isle Coronado and the dings that don't ruin performance, for our test of the best soft top surfboards.

One of the great benefits of a soft top (pictured here is the Isle Coronado) is that normal wear-and-tear dings won’t ruin your day, compared to dinging a traditional board. Photo: WS

Which is Better? A Soft-Top Epoxy or a True Foamy?

Not all soft-top surfboards are the same. There’s actually a pretty big difference between epoxy soft-tops and true “foam” surfboards. Epoxy soft-tops are constructed from a durable epoxy board with a soft foam layer covering the deck and rails. They are higher “performance” due to the solid construction, but that comes with a higher risk of board-inflicted injury. The foam padding can only do so much. True foam boards are made of foam through and through, resulting in a decent bit more flex, which is great when colliding with the board, but not quite as helpful when laying down a deep bottom turn. That being said, it’s not truly one-or-the-other, as there are plenty of boards on the market that seek to bridge the gap, but the distinction is worth considering in your buying decision.

A close up of the fins on an eric geiselman flash board while testing soft tops for our review.

Fin swapping made easy, as it should be. Photo: Will Sileo

Do Fins Matter on a Foamie?

In short, yes. A crucial aspect in a board’s performance is how the fins are constructed. Some true foam boards, like the Wavestorm, use screw-through fins for simplicity, while the rest (and all soft-top epoxies) make use of Futures or FCS fin boxes. This is where soft-top epoxy boards truly shine, with superior rigidity due to their solid construction providing noticeably better hold on the face of a wave, especially when it gets steeper. Even with real fin boxes, a true foam board’s fins will just have a bit of give to them.

Editor’s Note: For more gear reviews and features on The Inertia, click here.

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