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Ultimate Guide to Foam Surfboards

Foamies, Soft Tops, or whatever you want to call them

While the lingo for Foam Surfboard varies, there's one thing that's pretty unanimous in the surf world; it's how much fun a foam surfboard can be !

It doesn't matter if you're a beginner looking to get into surfing or an experienced surfer looking to catch more waves on those small days. Foam surfboards have come a long way, thanks to advancements in their technology and construction, there are now foam surfboards to meet every type of surfing for all abilities. If you're a surfer without a foamy or soft top in your quiver, you're missing out.

What is a Foam Surfboard?

Standard, non-foam top surfboards are shaped with a foam blank and then covered in fibreglass. To put it simply, foam surfboard is used to describe surfboards that are not covered in fibreglass. There are plenty of names for foam surfboards, including soft top surfboards, softboards and foamies to name a few.

These days there are many types of construction for foam surfboards. As foam surfboards have become more popular for all ages and abilities, the construction of the boards has evolved for different surfers. For example there are now foamies designed for performance surfing, kids foam surfboards and beginner foam surfboards. Most are made made of a special type of water-resistant EPS foam, which is then covered with an Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate sheet for protection against dings and water. The bottom of these surfboards are often hard and slick to help reduce friction for speed. Our gear experts at Boardcave can help recommend what type of foam surfboard is best for your needs.

Foam Surfboard Pros

Durability, lightweight, stability, and easy paddling are just a few things you're guaranteed.

A foam top surfboard is much harder to ding than a standard hardtop surfboard. The durability of these surfboards makes them an excellent choice for an experienced surfer hunting down close-out barrels (think JOB at pipe) or dropping into shallow breaks, such as the Wedge.

A foam surfboard is extremely buoyant. The thickness and volume of these surfboards promote easy paddling for beginner surfers to learn the basics on small waves and help keep die-hard shortboard maniacs busy during those small knee-high summer days. They are also extremely stable, helping to dial in the basics of board control and initiating your first turns.

Because the surfboard is soft to the touch, this is an excellent asset for lowering intimidation levels in new surfers (a bonk on the head from a foam board surfboard is way better than a hardtop), and is beneficial to promote the safety of other surfers as well. Think of a foam surfboard as confidence-building at its finest.

Foam Surfboard Cons

The only cons regarding a foam top surfboard lie in performance. If you're looking to throw buckets and airs, a foamy doesn't cater to high-performance surfing. But, chances are, if you're at this level of surfing anyway, you probably already know this well and understand that a foamy is reserved for the simple side of surfing.

With that being said, there are more performance-oriented styles of foamies, like a foam fish surfboard or a foam shortboard, that do allow for slightly progressive manoeuvres on small waves.

Many surfers keep a foamy in their quiver just to surf more in everyday conditions or to have an easy surfing option for your friends and family.

Types of Foam Surfboards

There are many types of foam boards available on the market today.

Kids Foam Surfboard - These are a great way to introduce your young ones to surfing, they often come at a great price point and designed for learning to surf. You can buy these in smaller sizes with softer plastic fins to avoid the kids getting cut by their fins when learning. Or you could go for a size in the 6-7ft range which would allow an adult and a child to have a go and start learning. We see many dads by a foam surfboard that they can use and their kids can also learn on. You will notice some of these have a camera (GoPro) mount at the front which is a great touch to capture those long rides to the beach and the pure stoke of getting your first waves. Meanwhile, don't forget to gear up your little ones with a comfortable kids' wetsuit. It's the perfect addition to ensure they stay warm and cozy while enjoying the surf alongside you.

Beginner Foam Surfboard - These are an excellent choice for someone starting out in surfing. You will see most surf schools using these for their beginner surf lessons. These are generally sized between 7ft and 9ft and offer plenty of foam for easy paddling and catching plenty of waves, they are wider with a full outline to offer extra stability for learning to stand up and ride waves. Things to keep in mind are length, as the longer you go the harder it is to travel with your board and manage it in the surf. For example, it can be hard to paddle out at a beach break with crashing waves on a 9ft longboard. You might find a 7ft option a little more manageable.

Performance Foam Surfboard - These are the modern version of the soft surfboard product range. Over the years advancements in soft board surfboard construction has allowed many of the worlds top surfboard shapers to produce their best performing hard surfboard models and turn them into high performance foam surfboards. These are designed for intermediate to advanced surfers looking for a fun board in their quiver that is durable, fast and a lot of fun. There are many different types of construction so make sure you ask our team of gear experts any questions on the best performance soft board construction on the market.

Foam Longboards - These cross over with your beginner boards and are generally 9ft or longer. This category of foam boards is also evolving fast with technology to improve performance. Many surfers will have a foam longboard in their quiver for getting out on those smaller days and having an option for surfing with family and friends. You can find these as a traditional nose rider in a foam board with a longboard single fin box or many surfers will ride these foam boards finless for some extra fun sliding down the line.

Foam Surfboard Buyers Guide

You can find some really cheap foam surfboards that won't hurt the budget. However, remember to always do your research to find the best quality. The better brands will also have better re-sale value for when you want to upgrade and use the cash you make to put towards your next foam board or fibreglass surfboard. Speak with our surf gear or browse our curated range of foam surfboards. Each brand and model have been selected to meet the needs of surfers around the U.S. with quality, price and performance in mind.

Do you Wax a Foam Surfboard?

We recommend you still apply some wax on your foam surfboard to maintain grip when riding. Keep in mind some foam boards have more texture on the deck so you won't need as much wax and the amount can be applied to meet your needs. Wax is your friend and will prevent you slipping out and wasting waves.

Do note, that the foam decks of these surfboards make you prone to rash, so you might want to wear a rash guard like a T-shirt or surf shirt when paddling out.

How to Wax a Foam Surfboard?

Waxing a foam surfboard is the same as waxing a standard surfboard, you can read our Ultimate Surfboard Wax Guide for further information.

The simple steps are, to make sure that the deck of the surfboard is clean and dry.

Then, take your surf wax and apply a base coat layer of wax, making criss cross lines across the deck up to the edge of the deck of the surfboard. Apply from right to left and left to right, angled slightly downwards. Once this diamond like pattern is set, use a top coat wax and initiate small, circling motions across the base coat so that it is covered with small bumps of wax across the entirety of the deck.

Because you generally don't use a traction pad on a foam surfboard, you want to focus on waxing the tail of the surfboard as well which is where your back foot will be planted to help you turn the board.

Foam Surfboard Repair

Although foam surfboard repair isn't as easy and efficient as epoxy or polyester repair, you can still fix minor dings to promote the longevity of the foamy.

To start things off, although it might seem like a good idea, we recommend you avoid using bodyboard repair kits, as these are known to damage the EPS foam.

You can use a standard epoxy surfboard repair kit to repair dings on a foam surfboard, but when this dries, it will be a hard surface that might feel funky under the feet or on the chest when paddling. Epoxy foam surfboard repair is best for areas where you don't usually place your feet or hands, like the bottom.

To ensure that a foam surfboard repair dries to a soft material that matches the material of a foamy, you can use a wetsuit repair kit (hardens similar to rubber), or even hot glue to fill any punctures.

To do this, start by lightly sanding the area (you don't have to sand it to the same extent as a hardtop, just enough to smooth the area), and then clean the area well.

Once clean and dry, fill the ding with the desired material, let it harden in the sun, and boom your foam board is now protected from water damage, at least for a little while!

Should your foam surfboard feel a little heavy after a ding, then it might be waterlogged. Sit the board out in the sun so the water can evaporate out of the board, and repair the ding before paddling out again. Keep in mind you don't want to leave your board in direct sun light for too long as this will melt or bubble your board, damaging it further.

To prevent damage to your surfboard, clean it with fresh water after every use, and store the surfboard in a safe place away from the sun, preferably on a surfboard rack and in a Foam Surfboard Bag. These racks and bags are just the same for all types of surfboards. Keep in mind when shopping for a foam surfboard bag, they are generally wider and thicker boards so you want to make sure you buy the right width. If unsure, you can live chat with our surf gear experts to find the best surfboard bag for your foamie.

Foam Top Surfboards- Summary

The simple truth is that every surfer needs a foamy. Surfing is meant to be fun, and foam surfboards bring out the best in surfing.

From keeping you occupied on small waves, messing around with your buddies, throwing yourself off dumping lips, or beginning your journey into the world of surfing, foam tops do it all.

They are affordable, which is a huge plus for someone deciding if surfing is right for them, and they won't just be the surfboard you catch your first wave on. Even when you find yourself shredding, you'll always end up reaching into your quiver and pulling out the foamy for a fun-filled session under the sun.

In addition to foamies, you can also explore our selection of surfboards for beginners, offering a variety of options to kickstart your surfing adventure and make every session a memorable one.