When starting, the cheapest solution is usually the most sought after, and in the surf world, the used surfboards are typically going to be your cheapest option.
Of course, depending on what you get, going through the used surf boards route can be a great way to score a good deal or a complete waste of your cash.
Unfortunately, in most cases, there’re so many lemons of boards on Craigslist than you would find when buying a new board off the rack.
See, just like when you buy a used car, a used surfboard can have numerous things wrong with it. Things that, unless you’re a “mechanic,” you’d never see.
To give you a better understanding, let me share my story.
I’m a mid-level surfer, and back last summer, I broke my surfboard after hitting a wave.
And since I was still in college and broke, I thought it would be a good idea to get a used THURSO SURF Lancer 5’10 Surfboard and maybe sell it later once I had saved enough for a new board. It seemed like an idea.
But the problem is I didn’t know how to choose a used board. Don’t blame me because I know most of you don’t either.
So, apparently, my board was waterlogged. It’s a problem that wasn’t even on my checklist; all I was looking for were cracks, dents, and hidden damages.
As it turns out, waterlogging leaves the surfboard unbalanced and really heavy. I struggled to paddle on my first outing, and the board didn’t float or handle well.
With time, the foam started to rot and deteriorate, ultimately creating soggy spots in the structure.
Long story cut short, the glass and resin pulled away from the foam, and my surfboard was unusable.
With used surfboards out of the way, the only other option was to look for cheap surfboards.
It wasn’t a walk in the park either. This is because there’re so many cheap surf brands out there. And the truth of the matter is the quality of cheap surfboards is often a hit or a miss.
In most cases, the cheap brands have similar marketing techniques with catchphrases: “we eliminate the middleman,” “we don’t do sponsorship,” and stuff.
While it’s true, most of these boards are cheap, just like their name suggests-cheap boards, there’re also hidden gems, and this is what I’m about to share with you today.
In our best surfboards, I go over some of the quality options you can acquire on a budget. Some of our picks come at a fraction of the expensive pieces but have nearly the same quality and performance.
Table of Contents
The Best Cheap Surfboards For The Money
#1 South Bay Board Co. Verve 8" - EDITOR'S CHOICE
We start our list with a good beginner surfboard, which many instructors will point you towards.
The Verve 8″ by South Bay Board Co. is an incredible beginner surfboard that comes complete with a package choice that could see you investing in a traction pad, thruster fin set up, travel bag, leash, and the board itself.
I mean, what could be a better way of starting your journey on the water with the full shebang?
But how good is the South Bay Board Co. Verve 8″ and how does it perform?
Let’s find out.
Features and Benefits
The South Bay Board Co. Verve 8″ is definitely along the lines of a hybrid/ minimal board.
It’s incredibly fun and easy to use a soft top surfboard.
Verve 8″ is also a great option for beginners to learn on and may also double as an exciting option for the intermediate surfers or improving surfers on the smaller mushy days when you just want to get out of the water and have fun.
The Verve can catch those small whitewash waves and perform surprisingly well in the larger 6-8′ wave sets.
There’s a lot that goes on South Bay Board Co. Verve 8″ deck’s construction.
First, it utilizes a “croc skin” textured soft top deck, allowing you to surf without the need for wax. The benefit is the board stays much cleaner for long, and more importantly, it provides extra grip for the back foot, giving beginner surfers a helping hand when learning to stand. The grip keeps you from slipping.
Of course, there’re times you’ll lose the battle against gravity and collide with your board. But the good news is, the IXPE Foam Board Top Deck takes some of the sting out of falling.
The soft top deck is forgiving to your body and other riders in case of a collision.
Plus, it feels great, and I can ride on my South Bay Board Co. Verve 8″ all day without worrying about the dreaded nipple chafe or skin abrasion.
For a soft-top deck, you would think durability is an issue. We also thought so, but that changed once we hit the water.
The EPS core has a rigid structure that doesn’t break easily even when we go hard on it. It didn’t get water logged either and was sturdy enough to support an adult rider up to 200 pounds.
South Bay Board Co. Verve 8″ is designed with performance in mind.
It features a slight entry and exit rocker with a relatively flat center section.
The flat section is responsible for maintaining speed, and let’s just say there’s a reason this board is also known as the “foam torpedo.”
Meanwhile, the front entry rocker keeps the nose of your board out of the water. It ensures you can keep the board loose while ensuring you stay above the water during your takeoffs and turns.
When paddling, the entry rocker keeps your board from “nose-diving,” giving you extra time for standing and getting situated on your board.
On the other hand, the exit rocker provides plenty of release, allowing for added smoothness and easy transitions. You’ll love how the board flows nicely and fluidly through the entire wave.
The slightly squashed tail on the back also features a rubber bumper, critical for easy and safe vertical storage.
As its name suggests, South Bay Board Co. Verve 8″ has a generous length of 8 feet. It provides the floatation and stability you need to find your sea feet.
However, at 8 feet long, it’s a bit smaller, especially for beginner surfers looking for greater maneuverability without sacrificing stability.
With a decent volume of 50 liters, SBBC has stuffed this bad boy with enough foam to catch waves, maximize wave count and learn how to surf way easier for all levels.
A slick reinforced HDPE bottom with diamond reinforced, hatched texture also helps with the performance by letting you cut through the water efficiently.
It also evenly distributes the direct impacts across the board, which is important for increasing the lifespan of your board and increasing durability.
Performance-wise, the South Bay Board Co. Verve 8″ is quite stable and will help you catch surf waves easily, regardless of their height.
With its thruster setup in place, you can also enjoy a sweet balance between speed, maneuverability, and stability.
#2 South Bay Board Co. 8’8” Heritage Surfboard - Best for Beginner Adults and Larger Surfers
For adults learning to catch waves for the first very first time, the South Bay Board Co. 8’8” Heritage Surfboard is a prime soft top surfboard.
It’s among the best foam longboards and has some serious buoyancy and tons of surface area. It also catches as many waves as possible in the early white water stage.
For me, at least, the Heritage 8’8″ might just be one of the most forgiving options in our bundle.
But how good is the South Bay Board Co. 8’8” Heritage Surfboard?
Features and Benefits
Heritage 8’8 sits up there with the rest of the South Bay Board Co. surfboards in terms of durability.
This particular beginner surfing board utilizes a high-quality polyethylene deck, a hard-wearing foam, and PVC-lined fin holes.
Simply put, it holds up pretty much through any trouble that you make it through.
It’s durable, takes a beating, and is less likely to break down because of getting hit by a wave or even dragging on a rocky beach.
But this beast has a soft side.
Heritage’s croc-textured IXPE foam construction is forgiving, and in case you misstep and fall off, the soft top makes getting hit by the board less painful.
It absorbs most of the shock and will prevent anybody harm from happening to your or other surfers. This is not to mention it doesn’t cause abrasion or chafing of your skin.
And that’s not all!
The deck is completed with a wax-free fingerprint foam on the top deck.
This means you don’t even need to get your newbie head around the hassle of waxing your board. Instead, it remains clean throughout, and you can focus on building your skills on the water.
But more importantly, the deck promotes better traction, making it easier for you to grip on.
South Bay Board Co. 8’8” Heritage Surfboard’s body is big, and big is always better for beginner stability.
This beginner surfing board measures 106” x 23” x 3”, giving it a total volume of 86 liters- enough to ensure plenty of stability and buoyancy for larger surfers.
Unlike the hard-to-control shortboards, Heritage, with a generous length of 8’8″ and a weight capacity of 230 pounds, is the perfect pick for adults.
Shape and Performance
The Heritage draws its design from a classic longboard.
It utilizes a double concave hull, narrow fin, and thruster fin setup for speed, easy paddling, and smoother wave-riding experience.
The intelligent design, along with a long/wide deck, will provide adequate surface area for adult beginner surfers to feel stable when popping up.
#3 Wavestorm 8' Sunburst - Inexpensive Surfboard
If you’re an unpretentious person who is just picking up surfing or would like a budget beginner surfboard that will serve you well and durably in most conditions, get the Wavestorm Sunburst.
It’s, in fact, one of the most popular learner surfboards in the US, and once you try it, you’ll immediately understand why- it’s lightweight, comfortable to use, can take a beating, and is quick and easy to replace.
But is it the right cheap surfboard for you?
Features and Benefits
The Wavestorm Sunburst is a great beginner board to tackle the basics of surfing.
I find it perfect for newbies who need to progress on different surfing elements such as balancing and popping.
The Wavestorm helped me not to get frustrated during my beginner days and allowed me to take on the outer banks almost every day.
While still figuring out body position and paddle technique, I managed to ride nearly 40% of the waves I went for.
Overall, the Wavestorm beginner board is easier to paddle faster and has more pop-ups than the traditional boards I see on most advanced boards.
And if you think you’ll look like a noob on the Wavestorm, know you will. You simply have to own it and let people in the line know you’re new and still learning. It’s most likely they tell you they started that way and might even be there to help you.
As a true newbie surfboard, the Wavestorm’s deck utilizes a textured grip.
It’s not necessary to wax the board for traction, but I prefer waxing mine for additional grip, and it makes popping up without slipping a breeze.
Another important feature on the deck is the crosslinked design, which Wavestorm calls “Water Barrier Skin.” Together with the rails, the deck makes the top durable and easy to slice through the water.
Meanwhile, the board’s bottom is a slick HDPE material that provides stiffness and maintains the board’s shape well.
Wavestorm has a rounded nose, square tail, and heavy rocker.
It’s a perfect board style that keeps you from going underwater or nose-diving. Plus, it helps with board maneuverability and buoyancy.
When in the correct spot and the correct position of the wave, you’ll find it quite simple and easy to stand up and catch the surf.
Size and Performance
Paddling on the Wavestorm is a breeze, and beginners will effortlessly move through the water.
Wavestorm comes with a perfect balance of better performance and high-quality materials that will inspire you to spend more time in the water.
Plus, it comes with a bolt-thru fin-like ankle leashing traction pad that keeps you rooted to the board.
#4 Thurso Surf Lancer 5’10” Fish - Best Twin Surfboard (Also Great for Kids and smaller riders)
Fish surfboards are one-of-a-kind.
Not only are they great for groms stepping foot into the world of surfing, but they also double as the perfect boards for experienced surfers who want a surfing board that is a bit more performance-focused.
And today, we review one of the best twin fish surfboards in the market, the Thurso Surf Lancer.
It’s a great board for a beginner surfer who wants to get their feet wet in the twin fin game and maybe try their first alternative craft.
Users also gush over Thurso’s attractive price point and how it comes bundled with everything you need to get your soul surfing.
But how good is this cheap board?
Features and Benefits
While there’s plenty to love with this foam board and its fishy shape, the surfing speed is probably its greatest strength.
Of course, if you’re a complete newbie, I would advise you to hold a little back until you gain some balance. This board is a bit harder to control and may be ideal for the intermediate or the pro surfers.
But the good news is, compared to many fish surfboards out there, Lancer has a wide deck design, and this provides a bit of added stability for the burgeoning surfer.
Lancer utilizes a durable EPS material that makes the board lightweight and durable.
You can use the Lancer for extended periods in the water without breaking.
The deck and the HDPE slick bottom are also laminated to make Lancer durable and water-resistant.
Plus, the finger-style deck surface enhances the traction, ensuring you don’t lose your balance when riding the steeper waves.
At only 5’10” in length, many beginners have reservations with the Lancer.
But you shouldn’t be worried much because first, it’s a soft-top board, so it should be safe in case of a wipeout.
It absorbs most of the impact, and more importantly, it won’t cause any abrasions or chafing on your skin.
Lancer is among the best performance shortboards when it comes to stability as it focuses on stability with the wide deck and double wooden stringers for board rigidity.
Of course, the fishtail might be a bit challenging to control if you’re brand new, but provided you’ve some experience in other board sports, it should be fine.
Shape and Performance
Lancer might be short, but it dominates catching the small, mushy waves, something that has long been associated with a territory for longboards.
A wide swallow tail also helps riders hold on to the wave face, so you’ll feel more connected to the wave and hold through turns.
When riding the Lancer, you’ll feel the “fast and loose” that fishes are known for.
Plus, it comes with a rail saver ankle leash and a set of twin fins to provide a smooth and skate-y feel.
Stability isn’t Lancer’s greatest suit, but it’s not that bad to sacrifice on the performance.
When it comes to volume and size, Lancer is perfect for 200-pound surfers, but after use, we found that it shines when used by kids and small riders.
#5 Liquid Shredder 70 FSE EPS/PE - Best Carbon Tripod
The Liquid Shredder is a great choice for new and experienced riders, not more than 140 pounds.
It was designed with fun in mind and caters to almost any type of surfing conditions.
In particular, Liquid’s shape gives it a mixture of incredible stability, and performance, perfect for big waves of all sizes.
Features and Benefits
Liquid’s signature feature is the double Maple wooden stringers and eps core for extra durability and rigidity.
It’s a feature that most foam beginner surfboards lack but will go a long way to enhancing the longevity and durability of your surfboard.
Liquid Shredder utilizes a minimal design at its core, consisting of an EPE core or expanded polyethylene deck and an Eps foam.
Beginners will love Liquid’s “foamy” deck as it minimizes bumps and bruises while learning.
Plus, the textured deck material prevents riders from slipping and sliding when surfing wet.
Liquid’s 7ft x 20” x 2.75”. dimensions are perfect for those seeking to have more control of the board during the riding sessions.
At the same time, it offers more than enough space for surfers to stand on without the risk of falling.
When it comes to the shape, the round nose gives riders more control and easily handles the board.
The board’s shape is also responsible for the increased stability, fast planing, more lift, and ease of paddling.
Best Cheap Surfboards Buying Guide
Even with the list narrowed to five, it can be challenging to find the right cheap surfboard.
But here’s where we come in. We’ll share everything you need to know about selecting the best beginner surfboards in the text below.
Before then, let’s understand the difference between softboards and hardboards.
Soft Board vs. Hardboard
As you’ve probably noticed, the best cheap surfboards have foam construction. They’re also known as foamies, foam surfboards, or softboards.
But how different are they from hardboards?
Foam boards are recommended for the beginner surfer with no experience in surfing.
They’ve a generous volume, providing great floatation, essential for starters. High-volume beginner boards allow effortless paddling and easy catching of surf.
Foam surfboards are also beneficial for your safety and others because collisions are less painful because of the soft cushion.
The soft top surfboards are also durable and come cheap.
Their downfall is bulkiness. Transporting and storing the foamies can be an issue.
The hardboards are the exact opposite of foamies.
They’re best suited for experienced surfers and those with excellent paddling and controlling abilities.
Bumping a hardboard on your face is painful and may even cause injuries.
The hardboards are also expensive, challenging to control, and fragile.
Despite all these shortcomings, many experienced surfers still prefer hardboards because of their maneuverability, speed, and lightness.
Once you determine whether you need a hardboard or softboard, the next element to consider is the surfboard type.
Surfboards are available in different types to meet the diverse needs of surfers to ride in different waves.
Knowing the different types lets you know whether you’re buying the right board appropriate to your level because not all types are ideal for beginners, even foamies.
The different types of surfboards are:
Shortboards come in different varieties, but the most common option has a pointed nose and length that ranges up to six feet.
They also come in different fin setups, but the most common setup is the thruster fin setup. It’s highly maneuverable, making it ideal for performing tricks.
However, a shortboard’s maneuverability comes at the expense of paddle speed and stability. Therefore, the shortboards may not be ideal for beginners.
Fish is also a variant of shortboards because of its short length.
However, unlike a true shortboard, the fish is more beginner-friendly. It’s not as stable and controllable as a foamie but more forgiving than a regular shortboard.
They come under six feet in length but have a broad nose and a flat rocker.
The fish’s greatest suit is the ability to deliver better flow and speed.
The longboards typically range up to eight feet in length.
They’re a user-friendly option for beginners and usually come in two fin configurations: a single fin at the bottom and two lateral fins.
Longboards are perfect for riders who want a grip and more glide than traction.
They’re, however, best used for small waves, but not on the beach break.
Gun has a close resemblance to a longboard, but beginners should stay away from these longboards.
Guns need long years of practice, and those willing to use guns are those who dare face the massive and life-threatening waves.
Factor to Consider When Buying a Budget Surfboard
Knowing what to look for when selecting a surfboard will make it much easier to select an option fitting your needs.
In the section below, we look at the essential factors to consider.
Regardless of your skill as a surfer, it’s a good idea to consider your physical size. Never invest in a surfboard that is disproportional to your size.
If you pick a surfboard that is too big or too small for your body size, you find it difficult to control.
While large surfboards have better stability, ones that aren’t proportional to your size may be difficult to control.
This is why we recommend referring to the manufacturer’s recommendation on the ideal weight for their products.
When selecting a surfboard’s volume, the general rule is to select a surfboard with a volume equal to your weight in kilograms.
For example, if you weigh 50kgs, choose a 50-liter surfboard.
However, professional surfers don’t necessarily adhere to this rule because there’re plenty of other factors affecting the performance, such as wind and water conditions.
But the good news is, most surfboard shops come with a volume calculator that can help you determine the right surfboard volume relative to your weight, skills, and height.
New surfers need to be realistic about the waves where they can start practicing.
Jumping on the Hawaiian waves for beginners is suicidal.
Beginners should settle for the gentle and small waves, where they can master their stance and stability.
We recommend using the longboards on these waters as it’s easier to catch surf waves.
If you’re ready for the higher waves, you can go for the mid-length surfboards.
Surfboards are available in different construction materials.
The most common materials are epoxy, wood, foam, and fiberglass.
We advise beginners to choose boards made from foam and epoxy as they excel in buoyancy, stability, and lightness.
Also, consider whether a board has stringers, as this helps with adding strength.
You may also want to consider the texture if you want your board to have more traction.
Best Cheap Surfboards Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What are the best cheap surfboards?
A: The best cheap boards aren’t necessarily the least expensive. But those that are affordable, low price, and yet provide value for your money.
Q: What is a good price for a surfboard?
A: Generally, surfers should budget between $300 to $1,000. Beginners should budget for the premium boards. They should first gain experience.
Q: What is the best surfboard to buy for a beginner?
A: The best beginner surfboards should be easy to control and should have great stability. They should allow beginner surfers to master their balance skills and work on their wobbly feet.
Wrap Up: Our Choice
Our winner for our budget surfboards is the Verve 8” by South Bay Board Co.
We choose this option as our first surfboard because it comes with all the features surfers would be looking for in their surfboards.
It’s light, easy to use, stable, and comes at a reasonable price.
Verve’s performance is also fantastic and will take on the small, mushy waves as it does on the 6’-7’ waves.