There are two factors that determine the price of a soft top surfboard: the size and the quality. Generally the rule of thumb is the more foam the higher the price. A 4’10 bodyboard like soft top will be cheaper than the 8’0 longboard from the same product line. The second variable is the quality. Product technology and materials used in soft top surfboards can vary immensely. The cheapest foam board on Amazon is around 60 dollars – but this isn’t much more than a painted piece of styrofoam that can only be used by kids.
However, there are some retailers that started offering decent quality foam boards for really low prices. Within the €160 – €200 range you’ll be able to purchase a good-looking, decent shaped soft top that will last a few seasons. For kids and adults alike.
But: if you’re looking for a foam surfboard that performs more like a rigid board and feels solid in turns – for a few bucks more there are good options in all shapes. Around €300 you can find fish foam surfboard, mini-malibus, beaters and longboards from different brands.
Up to €200 –
It’s incredible that you can buy a brand new surfboard, complete with fins and a leash, for under €200. And, as we found out, those entry-level soft tops can be a lot of fun to ride!
If you’re looking for a soft top surfboard in this price category – where to look?
You can find ultra cheap foam surfboards from online-only Asian brands or either at large retailers such as Decathlon and CostCo. I would ALWAYS advice to buy from a retailer that has a decent return policy, such as Decathon. Online adventures with obscure overseas brands can result in slow delivery, extra shipping costs or poor customer service. And is that all worth it? Just to save a few bucks?
What can you expect from an entry level foam board?
If you don’t want to spend much on a foam surfboard there is still some choice. Don’t expect a magic board that will help you become a pro – instead – expect a basic surfboard that will give you stoke and you feel comfortable with lending out.
Basically, entry-level boards are basic mass-produced soft tops without fiberglass stiff layer. Generally, the rails are round and the boards don’t have concave (= v-shaped bottom along the stringer).
Most will come without a tailpad – but often WITH fins and a leash. The majority of boards in this price category will have standard plastic soft (edge) fins that work just fine.
Some, such as Olaians’ 900 series, have FCS fin slots which means that you can upgrade them with fins of your liking.
In Decathlon you can find 9 different foam boards all within proximity of the €200 mark.
The Ignite series from Vision Softboards are also a good budget option. Also, the Wave Storm soft boards fall within this price range.
To sum up: Perfect for beginner surfers that want to catch more waves and for advanced surfers that are looking for a fun board to expand their quiver. If you want to buy a foam surfboard for your kid you can probably find a suitable one in this price range.
Between €200 and €400
Here you’ll find some well known brands such as Softech, Indio by Pukas and Torq. Also the 5’3 fish of FormulaFun, that we’ve written about earlier, is within this price range.
Some exciting young brands have been able to offer good quality soft top surfboards under €400. Examples are Soft Dog Surf from Belgium, Kuruf Surf from Chile and Foamy Surf from the US (fyi: FoamieCrew and Foamy Surf are not related).
Within this price range we’ll see soft tops with shapes that will appeal more to the experienced surfer. Better rails, better tails. Plus: better bottom contours. Also, it’s likely that you’ll find a board with fin slots that’ll allow you to upgrade your foamie with FCS fins.
€400 and upwards
Here you’ll find MF Softboards (Mick Fannings’ brand) , Catch Surf, Notox Korko, Spooked Kooks,
If you want to get a performance foamie, this is where to look. Before the 2010’s Soft Top Revolution, the words foamie and performance really didn’t belong in the same sentence. But some visionary brands have improved the soft top surfboard technology in such a way that now you can actually throw big turns and stick airs on foam surfboards. Whether you’re a pro or not, there are some advantages of spending a bit more on a soft top surfboard.
Why should you pay over 400 bucks if you can get a foamie for half that price?
Well, there’s two main reasons:
- THE BRAND. CostCo and Decathlon are huge retailers. They order there boards by the tens of thousands. These volumes mean lower prices. Bulk. It’s the same as with grocery shopping. The bigger the supermarket the lower the prices. That also means that the distance between the buyer (you) and the shaper is huge. For some people these soft tops are soul-less. I know quite some surfers that intrinsically don’t feel right about supporting large corporations and would rather know where their surf gear comes from and who built it. There’s something more pure in supporting small local companies.
- THE PRODUCT TECHNOLOGY. As opposed to entry-level soft tops, quality foamies have a different anatomy. Some have three stringers instead of two. Some are glassed to make them stiff. See this infographic here.
Bluntly said: entry-level soft top boards are foam blanks wrapped in flexible plastic sheets. High-tech soft tops are glassed surfboards, with decent rail shapes, concave and rocker, wrapped in flexible plastic sheets. (EPE or EVA foam deck = plastic sheets and EPS foam core = blank)
If you intend to use your soft top board as your go-to board – for surf trips or if you don’t intend to have a large quiver of surfboards – then I advice you to look within this range. Here you’ll find boards that mimic rigid fiberglass boards, but then with the advantages of soft tops.
Some brands, such as Torq and Notox Corko, offer a hybrid technology of foamies that have hard bottoms and soft tops (and decent fin setups!) You will be able to perform well on bigger waves and make decent powerful turns as you would on a rigid funboard.
To sum up: an entry level foam surfboard will be around €200. The options of shapes and brands increases around €300. High performance soft tops are around €4oo to €500.