Surfers never forget their first surfboard.
Mine was a 6’6″ pintail Hawaii board with glassed-in fins and an awful sunburn.
When I put my hands on it, I already felt like a surfer, and no one could convince me otherwise.
But little did I know that the Hawaii board was far from the ideal beginner surfboard. It was the kind of board that pro surfers would ride at solid barreling waves and perhaps one of the worst surfboards to learn to surf on.
Nevertheless, it really didn’t matter by then, and I just remember feeling super stoked to have owned my very first surfboard finally.
I didn’t know better, and my first experience on the water was super frustrating. I was really struggling to claw into waves and fell non stop because of a lack of stability.
While I did eventually learn how to surf, my progression was slow and challenging. I could have really used some guidance at the time.
Fortunately for you, I’ve made some bad surfboard decisions throughout my surfing journey, so you don’t have to.
See, selecting the right board for your surfing level and surfing conditions can mean the difference between having a blast and a world of frustration.
And in the article below, I’ll help you avoid surfing frustration by guiding you in selecting the best surfing board for your surfing needs.
Here, I’ll guide you on how your surfboard quiver should look in terms of surfboard length, shapes, designs, and even setups. The variety will help you handle the different types of waves and surf conditions.
Of course, your quiver will change over time as you progress, outgrow boards, refine your style, and find an interest in different types of surfing.
But for the time being, let’s look at the best surfing boards for every type of surfer.
Table of Contents
The Best Surfboards for Every Surfer For The Money
#1 Wavestorm 8’ Surfboard Sunburst Graphic - Best Overall Classic Surfboard
My son is a beginner surfer, and we got him the Wavestorm 8’ for his birthday.
He loves it so much and has so much fun we couldn’t get him out of the water.
On his first surf outing, we took the board to Galveston, which had really small waves, but he surprisingly managed to catch a bunch of waves and was even shredding.
I also gave it a try, and I managed to stand up without a lot of effort. It’s a great choice for both beginners and professional surfers.
Besides the ease of use, my son loves it because it’s a classic surfboard that is easy to recognize. It comes with striking blue and white colors, so it’s highly visible in the water and will get eyes rolling.
But for me, I love that it comes as a full package, yet it’s among the inexpensive purchases I’ve made. It comes complete with three plastic fins, an attached stomp pad, and a leash. It gives me value for money, and I don’t need to buy any more equipment to start paddling.
When I first saw the board, I thought it would be too big for my 12-year-old son. I mean, an 8-feet surfboard can be intimidating for beginners, but in the water, it’s a gentle beast.
If anything, the large size and volume is a plus as it helps with better buoyancy. It’s designed to stay afloat, and I loved how my son effortlessly glided over the water with minimal effort.
Each time he did a stroke, I could see him coasting above the water, and it made a huge difference in how easy he got his foot on surfing. He also had an easy time catching a wave, even in the mushy conditions, and it was great for practicing his balance and popping up.
For me, at least, it was a big contrast from the shorter boards that often feel like I’m really dragging in the water.
Wavestorm also had a large grippy deck. It’s nice and wide. While it didn’t matter a lot to my son, it was a great feature for me, or at least other adults, because it offered a spacious deck where I could wiggle without fear of falling.
The deck is also grippy, so I didn’t have to worry about my son slipping and falling in the water.
But even if he did, I was confident that his fall wouldn’t result in any harm or injury because the deck is a soft-top surfboard.
The deck utilizes an EPS soft foam dual composite core, which is forgiving. Plus, it doesn’t cause any abrasions or chafing on the skin, so I could ride it all day without the worry of red blisters on my chest.
While Wavestorm is a forgiving board, it doesn’t skimp on performance, especially on durability.
The ESP core is a stringer system and rails that bolster its overall strength. It’s among the sturdiest boards I’ve come across and will take on a beating like a champ.
For example, dragging the board over the rocky beaches does little harm, while frequent hits by the violent overhead waves don’t compromise its integrity.
It remains sturdy, looking as new as I bought it even after several uses. You won’t be needing a new surfboard anytime soon.
While still on the performance, Wavestorm’s shape also plays an important part in the overall game.
The rounded nose, square tail, and heavy rocker shape keep good surfers from nose-diving and further aids in maneuverability and buoyancy.
When you’re in the correct spot on this surfboard and in the correct position, it’s easy to catch surf and is quite simple to stand up.
Overall, the Wavestorm is a great option, whether you’re handling the small mushy waves, small surf, bigger surf, or double overhead waves.
It’s also an incredible beginner surf option that will help new riders get their footing as quickly as possible and work on their wobbly legs.
#2 NPS Elements Longboard Surfboard - Best Overall Performance Longboard
I’ve had the NPS Element Longboard Surfboard for several seasons now, and I’m falling in love with this board.
It’s well-made and sturdy, and takes on whatever conditions you throw at it.
There’re several versions of the NPS Elements, but I choose the 9 feet versions because it’s big enough to catch the mushy waves, yet, small enough as my previous 10 feet board didn’t fit in my car.
While there’re numerous aspects I love with the NSP surfboard, the performance on the water really stands out for me.
It’s a proven classic for catching the small mushy waves.
For me, at least, I tried it in Cornwall in waves from 3 feet to 4 feet, and it had the power and worked a treat. It was fun to use, and my son also found the board friendlier when learning to stand up in the white water.
It’s as highly buoyant as I expected, and while it didn’t allow me to duck dive, the large volume helped with greater stability to stand, catch surf and have fun.
When it comes to the shape, the NPS new version has been updated and improved with a new shape and new graphics.
The easily noticeable tweaks to the shape include a slightly sharper rail at the tail, a modern performance rocker, and a mellow Vee bottom blended into a subtle double concave.
What do these refinements really mean?
First, it’s easy to trim on the wave face. It also makes the board livelier, and this is perfect for beginners and intermediate surfers to perform the classic and contemporary riding styles.
For me, at least, if the waves and surfing conditions are good, I can get to the nose and even dance a bit. But remember, it’s also easy to wacky around.
Nevertheless, this soft-top longboard surfboard paddles easily and will get you into the wave sooner than you would think.
What about durability?
NPS utilizes some of the best surfboard materials and will guarantee durability even if you use them frequently.
The water-resistant EPS core, utilizing molded technology, and epoxy are ding resistant and stand up to rough usage, abuses, and beatings.
It remains strong even when it crashes against the double overhead waves or collides with other surfboards.
Overall, it’s evident NPS has really upped their game with this product.
The refreshed NPS Elements longboard surfboard is an incredible option, and I’m confident it could find a home in anybody’s quiver.
#3 Channel Islands Mid Surfboard - Best Speed Egg for Any Surf Conditions
I’m super excited to bring you the Channel Islands Mid Surfboard?
Because we don’t get to choose where we surf.
See, if you’re a surfing enthusiast, you already know there’re no perfect waves.
Today, you may wake up to the ideal surfing condition, and the next day, the conditions are meh… and it happens a lot.
Now, what do you do to avoid disappointment?
Get a mid-length surfboard.
These are reliable all-rounder boards that fly over the flatter, smaller and mushy surfs and excel in the shoulder-high the nearly double overhead point surf—the ultimate one-board quiver.
For me, at least, it lightens up my average days and boosts my wave count when it’s mushy and crowded while still offering heaps of fun on the bigger overhead wave days.
The high-performance Channels Island Mid Surfboard is a true mid-length and a modern classic destined to put a massive grin on your face and rekindle your love and stroke for surfing whatever the conditions.
It’s a result of a fun collaboration with Devon Howards, a Southern Californian surfer, and champion of all things.
The Mid’s shape draws inspiration from the beautiful clean lines and extended rail lines of eggs and single fins. It expertly merges the classic outlines with sensitivity and surfability that a high-performance shortboard brings to the table.
This stunning mid-length comes with a low entry rocker, carrying extra foam forward under your chest.
It’s a critical component, helping early entry into the good waves while allowing surfers generate speed down the line when running across point break walls.
It offers unmatched paddle speed and agility necessary for when you need to draw those high lines and get that flying feeling after.
And that’s not all!
The Channel Island Mid features a modern set of double-barrel concave on the bottom and some hard, slightly tucked rails at the tail.
This helps the board perform way beyond what you would expect in a traditional mid-length surfboard.
Overall, this fantastic all-rounder will scoot effortlessly over the flatter sections on small days and thrive on the bigger days.
And the biggest thing I learned with this Channel Islands soft-top surfboard is that when you give yourself more time when surfing, it’ll do a lot of the work for most surfers if you let it.
#4 Pyzel Pyzalien 2 - Best Double-Concave Longboard Surfboard
The Pyzel Pyzalien 2 was a highly anticipated release, especially after the staggering success of some of its siblings, such as the Phantom, Ghost, and Gremlin.
It’s a step up to the Pyzel Pyzalien, which was a smash hit, a great all-rounder.
But the new version, the Pyzel Pyzalien 2, is even better. A one-board quiver. I know it’s a cliché, but the Pyzel Pyzalien 2 is the true one-board quiver.
My greatest draw to the Pyzel Pyzalien 2 is the user-friendliness. The mid through the middle has a medium rocker running to the front, while the tail has an accelerated medium rocker.
It gives surfers more paddle power and insane carry speeds, yet it still rams nimble and loose enough to turn.
On the other hand, the single concave that runs through the nose, under the front foot blends into a double concave through the Vee tail. It’s a really useful feature, helping with release and the ease with which the board turns.
The single concave on the front allows your front foot to drive the board better and build and maintain speed. On the other hand, a double concave in the middle gives you lift. The Vee concave at the tail gives you release.
Simply put, the Pyzel Surfboards nicely, builds more speed, and still turns nicely.
I found the rocker line and the bottom shape quite helpful in giving this soft top surfboard quick and effortless speed, especially when taking off. It also enhances the overall responsiveness and control, allowing for easier rail-to rail transitions, even at speeds.
Plus, it also means Pyzel Pyzalien 2 can cope with literally any kind of wave condition, from the knee-high beach breaks to the double overhead waves.
Meanwhile, the rails are pretty medium, tucked in hard as you come to the fin position, and this is necessary for making the board “pivoty” with your hind leg.
The rails and the swallowtail result keep the water flowing and maintain the board’s speed. It makes the board feel driver, and this is crucial for keeping the flow through flatter sections.
#5 JS Industries – Hyfi Monsta Box - Best for Performance
Our final pick on the list of the best surfboards comes from one of the respected names in the world of performance surfboards, JS Industries. It’s also one of the popular surfboards in the market.
The JS Industries – Hyfi Monsta Box is a fast, strong surfboard built with performance in mind.
As its name suggests, JS Industries – Hyfi Monsta Box is actually a hybrid creation, made by pairing two of JS Industries’ global favorites, the Monsta 6 and Blak Box 2.
The Monsta 6 has been the go-to board for experienced surfers when the swell is pumping, while the Blak Box is a versatile option for ripping the small waves.
Now, as you would expect, JS Industries – Hyfi Monsta Box combined the best traits of both models, resulting in a versatile option with just the right amount of flex and speed.
It performs brilliantly in every wave condition, from your typical everyday wiggles to the top of the end of the quality scale.
Its versatility is unmatched, and the merging creates a board that can fly down the line, spring through turns, and surf in anything you can think of.
For me, at least, I love using the JS Industries – Hyfi Monsta Box for the fun little sessions where a high-performance shortboard won’t work, but I still need to surf my absolute best. I wouldn’t want anything else.
I also hardly veer away from surfing on smaller summer waves, even if the waves are sucking. JS Industries – Hyfi Monsta Box doesn’t disappoint and still has the spark you need to go as hard as you want
Meanwhile, the long single to double concave generates speeds even the weak and mushy surf while maintaining its performance in 6-foot tubes.
Overall, the high-performance Hyfi Monsta Box is the board you should be looking to take with you on your next surfing trip.
Best Surfboards for Every Surfer Buying Guide
With so many surfboards and brands out there, navigating your way through the tedious selection can feel intimidating.
But it doesn’t need to be so because, in the section below, I’ve compiled a detailed guide outlining everything you need to know about selecting the best surfing board.
Factors to Consider When Selecting the Right Surfboard
The first step in finding out the best surfboards is considering your skill level.
See, there’re levels of experience in surfing- some with gray areas in between.
What the professional surfers require for a board is different from what a newbie may require.
To cut a long story short, let’s see the different levels of surfing.
This is the first stage of surfing.
At this stage, surfers know nothing or at least something about waves and boards.
Some have never even laid their hands on a board.
The right boards for the first-timers are the large boards with more volume. They’re easy to balance and have plenty of stability.
A beginner has just had his first surf lessons and is ready to contact the waters.
They have the fundamentals of the sport and have even tried surfing.
As with the first-timers, their board choice should be long and generous for stability and increased wave count.
Also, beginners and first-timers should consider a foam surfboard because it’s user-friendly and won’t hurt them in case they take a fall.
This surfer knows much about surfing.
They can angle the board and take off smoothly on shoulder-high waves.
Critical maneuvers such as bottom-turn and cutback also define an intermediate surfer.
The difference between the intermediate and the average surfer is that they can duck dive, maintain a straight line, and bail without hurting themselves.
The advanced surfers know their gear quite well and can recognize when to adapt their equipment according to the wave conditions.
These surfers are also in sync with the wave’s curls and pocket zones, balancing speed, power, and flow wisely.
Pro surfers are comfortable in all types of waves and water conditions.
A seasoned surfer can easily read a wave and execute the appropriate aerial maneuvers.
And when inside the barrel, they know how to stall and make the most out of the tube time.
Most pro surfers prefer a high-performance shortboard.
The Ideal Surfboard is based on your Surf Aspiration
Now that you’ve an idea of where your level of expertise falls under, the next step is choosing the best board and realizing different factors affecting your surfing.
Types of Waves
It’s good to consider the types of waves you’re looking to ride.
But the best way to determine the type of board you need is to be observant of the type of boards the locals use.
This tells you a lot about the kind of waves the ocean has.
For example, if you see more longboards and SUP, you know you’ll face long and mellow waves.
If there’re more high-performance shortboards, then it means the waves are fast and powerful.
Surfing is a mobile sport.
And truth be told, most of us aren’t lucky to live near a surf spot.
Most of us have to drive or fly to get to the ocean.
This is why you need to consider the portability of the board.
The big, bulky, and heavy boards can be a real headache to drag around.
Instead, consider a lightweight and portable soft surfboard.
Size and Fitness
Your height and weight play a big role in determining the best surfboard.
Generally, a bigger surfer requires a bigger board.
Otherwise, you can check surfboard online calculators to determine the best size of your board, depending on your body size.
You also need to tap into your fitness level.
As a rule, the fitter you’re, the more effort it requires to put in pushing your board.
Consider what you want in surfing.
Are you looking to rip the big turns like the professional surfers, or simply style out and hang five of the nose?
Contemplate whether you want to be a longboarder or shortboarder. And then decide what board to go for.
How to Choose the Best Surfing Board: Critical Factors to Consider
A board won’t match your needs if it doesn’t satisfy these factors:
We recommend beginners to start with longer surfboards as they’re more buoyant and stable.
You can explore other surfboard lengths as you progress, but try keeping it about a foot and a half taller than you.
The wider the surfboard, the better. This is because extensive performance surfboards are more stable.
They also give you enough room to ride and stand.
Generally, the width should be anywhere from 20” to 22” across. You should also be able to lift or fit it underneath your arm.
The thickness of a board says a lot about its buoyancy.
Buoyant boards are easier to paddle.
Keep in at 2.25” to 3” depending on your body weight.
The two main features to consider on a board are rocker and rail design:
Rocker plays an important role in the speed and maneuverability of aboard.
Boards with less rocker can take off faster and maintain speed through sections with limited pocket turning.
On the other hand, more rocker translates to more maneuverability and versatility.
Rail designs come in three categories: full rails. Hard rails and soft rails.
The full rails have a flatter deck, so they float better.
On the other hand, the hard rails give better drive for advanced riders depending on their back foot, while the soft rails are more responsive to twists and turns.
The six different types of tail designs are:
1) Squash tail- it’s best for all-around surfboards used for any water conditions.
2) Round tail- Ideal for riders that crave the smoothest turning power
3) Thumbtail- It’s the broader version of a roundtail. These wider tail boards release better in the pocket
4) Swallowtail- They offer a tight exit and turning arc. They can also pivot easily and switch directions in a beat.
5) Diamond tail- This tail design lets the surfboard turn as if they’re an inch shorter than their real length.
6) Pintail/ Rounded pin tail- It doesn’t offer much flexibility but maximizes the drive for straight-line surfing.
The right fin size and fin setup depending on your size.
But generally, bigger surfers need larger fins, and smaller surfers need smaller fins.
Keep in mind fins can offer more or less rake. They also may be thinner or broader at the tip.
Best Foam Surfboard Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Can you learn to surf all by yourself?
A: Yes, it’s possible to teach yourself how to surf.
But it’s more feasible to have someone with sufficient knowledge to guide you. With an instructor’s assistance, you may learn to surf quicker and with fewer injuries.
Q: Why are surfboards so expensive?
A: Surfboards are increasingly becoming expensive because of the improvement and development of the production process.
Wrap Up: Our Choice
Our review is finally over, and if there’s a single surfboard, I would recommend it’s the Wavestorm 8’.
It’s a performance-oriented surfboard that works well in different conditions and gives unmatched stability.
It’s large, so it has great buoyancy, helping you catch the smaller waves that you wouldn’t on other regular boards.
While not as maneuverable as other shortboards, it compensates with awesome floatation, user-friendliness, and better performance.