Best surfboards for beginners UK 2023: foam and longboards

Foam, hard board and Mini Mal boards for beginners, from Decathlon, Osprey, Torq

Best surfboards for beginners: start surfing with foam and longboardsBest surfboards for beginners: start surfing with foam and longboards
Best surfboards for beginners: start surfing with foam and longboards

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Surf’s up – and if you fancy riding a wave or two, you’re going to need a reliable surfboard. Surfing England reported a boom in the number of newbies taking to the sea in 2021 to learn the art of riding on water, and if you’re among those surf-mad beginners you’re probably thinking about investing in your first surfboard to hit the beach with.

Our guide to seven of the best will have you hanging ten in no time.

Do I want a foam board (’foamie’) or hard board?

Foam boards, as their name suggests, are made with a soft foam top – this is more buoyant than a harder boards, and more forgiving for beginners who may lose control of a board in the sea. ‘Foamies’ are best for complete beginners and for kids, as they can take knocks and scratches in their stride.

They’re also the most affordable beginner board. Surfers who are progressing their skills or have already had a set of lessons may prefer to get started on a ‘hard’ board such as a Mini Mal design – these are usually around 7-8ft and are great for beginner-to-intermediate surfers as they have a wide shape and rounded nose that make catching waves easier.

Surfboards come in lots of shapes and sizes to suit different abilities, but the two types that are best suited to beginners are foam boards and ‘Mini Mal’ (or Mini Malibu) boards.

What size should my surfboard be when I’m starting to learn?

Size wise, a beginner surfboard should always be taller than you. Smaller surfers can shop for boards 6ft and over, while taller surfers will get on with designs that are 7ft and over. Taller beginners keen to cruise smaller waves can also try a 9ft longboard for size.

What else should I look for in a surfboard?

When shopping for a board, you’ll also need to make sure it comes with three detachable fins (these help steer the board).

A leash, which goes around your ankle and attaches to the board to stop you losing it when you fall off, may also be sold separately.

A protective carry bag with a shoulder strap is also a handy purchase for transporting your new board, and for storing it safely at home.

Best beginner’s surfboards at a glance