Soft Top Surfboards, also known as "foamies" or "foam-tops", are a staple of surfing fun.
From beginners to experienced surfers alike, there are so many reasons as to why a soft top surfboard should have a dedicated place in your quiver, and we're going to showcase precisely why.
As one may assume by the name, a soft top is a foam surfboard with a deck that is soft to the touch.
Standard, non-soft top surfboards are shaped with foam as well. These types of surfboards, however, are then covered in an epoxy or polyester resin.
This resin hardens around the foam, creating a 'shell', and is why these surfboards feel hard to the touch and how they slice through the water with such prowess.
A soft top surfboard is shaped with EPS foam, just like all other types of boards, but they are not covered in epoxy or polyester resin, and the foam remains visible and exposed on the deck.
Instead, they are wrapped with a fibreglass wrap and layered with a soft and dentable Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA) sheet, and with a hard polyethylene or ethylene-vinyl acetate bottom.
These soft top surfboards come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from short 4 ft fun boards up to 10ft longboards, and with varying fin setups; and they will all maintain the characteristic of having this soft foam deck.
The foam of a soft top surfboard is highly beneficial because:
Catch Surf makes some functional and fun boards, from the Beater Board model, built to bypass conditions where surfboards are not allowed; to the Odysea Logs for longboarding your favourite point to taking off on bombs at Pipe with Jamie O'Brien.
And keep on reading for all the info you need on beginner soft tops, soft top longboards, funshapes, and shortboards!
Beginner surfers and a soft top longboard is a combo made for learning.
There's a reason why many surf schools use surfboards that feature this soft technology (soft tech), and that is because they are the single-handed best type of board to learn how to surf on.
Soft top longboards are extremely buoyant. This gives the board enough float to ride the tiny waves best for learning.
Beginners spend most of their time falling, an inevitable part of the learning curve, and are often (and reasonably so!) afraid of their board.
A soft tech surfboard helps prevent this fear, giving new surfers more confidence in the water while also helping to protect others in the lineup.
When it comes to riding waves, a soft tech longboard is extraordinarily mellow and easy. They aren't made for insane performance, so instead, a beginner surfer will utilise the stable deck and easy paddling derived from these floaty boards.
The perfect board for learning the basics of riding down the face, carves, cutbacks, and even noserides.
If you've been in the market for a soft top longboard, there's no better choice than the RYD Everday Soft Top, a foamie suited for beginners and experienced surfers alike. You can also learn more about how to choose your first surfboard by reading our latest article, The Beginner's Guide to Buying a Surfboard.
Soft top longboards work great in small conditions. Their floatability allows them to catch ankle beaters, and experienced surfers can especially enjoy these surfboards on head-high, mushy days that require a little extra foam under the feet.
A soft top funshape is synonymous with a good time.
Although not as buoyant as a soft top longboard, funshapes are still a go-to when the waves get small or the conditions are far from perfect.
Experienced surfers have a lively time paddling out the foamy funshapes when the conditions are not rippable on a shortboard, messing around with the floaters and relaxed turns that the buoyancy of these boards allow. For a little twist on their surfing, it is common to see surfers who remove the fins on their soft top funshapes.
A finless surfboard is difficult to ride, but allows the surfer to spin the surfboard on the surface of the water for all sorts of dizzying fun. 360s, 540s, reverse takeoffs. You name it, a finless soft top funshape will make it happen!
Funshapes are more manoeuvrable than longboards, and beginner surfers looking to progress into their first turns will enjoy the ability to master the fundamentals of board control and enjoy a variety of wave types. For a popular example, check out the JS Big Baron Softboard.
Soft top shortboards are just about as good as it gets for a surfer ready to begin exploring the world of shortboard performance, and don't count these boards out on fun for the intermediate to expert surfers as well! The range from Mick Fanning (MF) Softboards offers a variety of soft top shortboard models in a wide range of sizes to fit anyone.
A standard soft top shortboard is thicker than epoxy and polyester counterparts, and the increased volume makes these suckers extremely buoyant.
Imagine being able to throw a hack on a knee-high wave. That's exactly what you can do with a floaty soft top shortboard.
In recent years, many alternative surfers are using them as finless surfboards or ridden as their Fun Board purely for the sake of having as much fun as possible in less than ideal waves, and not taking surfing too seriously.
Also great for learning, as the transition from funshape to shortboard is a difficult one, a soft top shortboard helps provide stability regardless of length and allows intermediate surfers to hone in on their shortboarding skills before paddling out into head high peelers.
Coming in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, we have more than a ton of rippable soft top shortboards available, just waiting to see the water. A popular example of a shortboard soft top is the First Time Soft Top by RYD.
A soft top shortboard can handle quite literally any type of condition and any style of break, an essential and vital piece to anyone's quiver and to enjoy the simple purities of surfing.
The technology and shaping behind soft top surfboards is incredible, and these boards are some of the strongest and long-lasting that you can find.
Able to withstand serious beatings, and with a price tag that is rather appealing, a soft top is always a worthy investment.
There's no type of wave that you can't ride with the right soft top, and soft tops are shaped with rippable performance in mind, high quality and shreddable.
From a backup board for your friends to your favourite board for messing around and staying stoked, or your very first surfboard, soft tops are seriously rad.