How to Choose a Beginners Surfboard?

Choosing your first board or one for your partner or kids can be a bit overwhelming, but it doesn't need to be! We are the largest supplier of starter surfboards and boards to progress on in the UK so you need look no further for expert advice.

We’ve tried all the boards we sell to make sure they are suitable, our kids have put all the smaller boards through their paces too so if you need some pointers or a recommendation get in touch.

Please use our chart below as a rough guide for helping you choose a board for you and your family.

Beginner Surfboards Size Guide

For Kids 

The choice of beginner surfboards for kids depends largely on age, start kids up to 12 years old on a soft surfboard because it's soft it doesn't hurt (so much) when they fall on it or it bumps them in the surf. This helps build confidence and makes them feel more comfortable in the sea.

Soft surfboards or foamie surfboards (as they are also known) are sized from 5ft 6 upwards and we recommend something around 7’ for kids of average size up to 12 years old. As they improve they might want to come down to something around 6ft 6 or 6ft 2 in a fish shape, which is easier to turn and so aids progression.

It's important that the board you choose has enough float to make paddling and surfing fun but is not too big that it’s hard to control in the white water, plus, being relatively easy to carry always helps! Our top sellers for kids are the CBC (California Board Company) 7’ boards, or at a more affordable price, the Hold Fast 7’ foamie and for improving or really confident kids it’s the 6’ Alder Delta Hybrid Fish or Alder Comp Fish boards.

Soft surfboards come with soft safety fins with more often than not a leash. The board arrives with you ready to surf, our soft surfboard packages add in a boardbag, wax and a leash where applicable at a subsidised price.

The price varies between different brands and models largely due to the quality of construction and the materials used. As with all things, the more you pay, the more you get... but rest assured we don’t sell any boards that our own kids haven’t fully tried and tested to the extreme!

On a final note on softboards beware the super cheap boards you might see on ebay etc, the are really poor quality, will delaminate and warp and last no more than a couple of weeks.

CBC 7ft 0

CBC 7ft 0 Surfboard

Shop CBC Surfboards

Hold Fast 7ft 0

Hold Fast 7ft 0 Surfboard

Shop Hold Fast Surfboards

Alder Delta Hybrid Fish 6ft 0

Alder Delta Hybrid Fish 6ft 0

Shop Alder Surfboards


For Adults 

The right choice of first surfboards for adults depends on a number of factors: weight, height, fitness and how often you're likely to go surfing. Without this info it's hard to give an accurate guide as to which board will work!

We list the weight ranges on each of the boards on our website to help you narrow the choice! These are guides however, and there is always room for a little variation./

The tough part is finding the balance between a board giving enough volume that it helps you float, makes paddling and wave catching relatively easy, all without getting it so big, you have no hope of turning it or potentially even carrying it!


Should I get a foamie?

Depending on budget and how often you’re going to surf a foamie or softboard may well be suitable. The foamies you may see in surf schools are thicker and heavier than the boards we sell because they are built to endure the rigours of a 6 month summer season on the beach being used and abused.

The foam boards we sell here at Boardshop are lighter weight and a more refined shape but still perfectly suited to the absolute novice or the occasional thrill seeker. Most adults up to 70 kgs are fine on 7’0 foamie, above that an 8’0 foamie will do the job.

If you are looking to step off a foamie onto something with greater potential for progression, or you simply want to skip the foamie stage there is an array of ‘hard’ boards to choose from.


What’s next after a foamie?

90% of people fit into the size range of mini mal (round nosed) boards from 7’ 2 to 8’ 6. Go any shorter than this and paddling will be hard work... Any bigger and you'll be exhausted by the time you get to the water.

A typical example is someone who is 13 stone, 5’ 10, not as fit as he once was but not too bad, the kind of person who will get in the surf for 2 weeks on summer holiday and then probably every 6 weeks or so outside this period. We'd recommend something in the 7’ 6 to 8’ range.

The best value for money surfboards is the Bic range, best seller being the Bic 7’ 6 Nose Rider surfboard. As you move onto the other brands we stock, like Cortez, NSP and Torq you pay more for a more refined shape and lighter construction. These key factors make for easier progression and easier paddling.

If you're looking for the next step up for your kids then a more solid board is the answer. The epoxy or moulded boards from Bic, Cortez, NSP and Torq surfboards give a more positive ride and are a step up to riding the face of the wave and starting to turn the board.

We list the suitability of each size to the weight of the surfer on each product so you can easily work out what's suitable. After that it's all about budget and colours.

The winning factor with all these boards is the construction, the Bic, Cortez, NSP and Torq boards all benefit from bullet proof construction, this is crucial because in the early days of your surfing career the board will get dragged, dropped, run up the stones on the beach and worse.

It’s essential that the board can deal with this punishment and still function properly otherwise learning to surf and improve would be even harder. This construction issue is why we don’t recommend PU construction boards for the very early stages of your surfing journey.

Bic DURA-TEC Mini Nose Rider 7ft 6

Bic DURA-TEC Mini Nose Rider 7ft 6

Shop Bic Surfboards

Torq Mini Long 8ft 0

Torq Mini Long 8ft 0

Shop Torq Surfboards

NSP Elements Funboard 7ft 2

NSP Elements Funboard 7ft 2

Shop NSP Surfboards

Cortez Fun Veneer 8ft 0

Cortez Fun Veneer 8ft 0

Shop Cortez Surfboards


How much should I spend?

Foamies are the most accessible surfboards price wise, entry level moulded boards from BIC surfboards the CORTEZ mini mal surfboards NSP and TORQ fun board surfboards in epoxy construction are a more refined shape and construction meaning they're lighter and offer a greater chance for progression (epoxy is a hard outer shell around a foam core that is machine produced).

Upward from there are the ABC range of PU surfboards (PU means polyester construction, a foam core layer of glass and sealed with resin) are a really good option. These are a step up from the CORTEZ and TORQ boards again offering far more refined shapes and construction alongside further potential to advance your wave riding.

Moulded and Epoxy boards are undoubtedly hard wearing and tougher than PU boards but the compromise is always durability versus performance.

ABC Big Bird Surfboard

Shop all ABC Surfboards


Why not check out some of our starter surfboard reviews...

Bic DURA-TEC Magnum 8ft 4 Surfboard Review

Cortez Fish Surfboard Review

Torq Fish Range Surfboard Review

So there you have it, hopefully this guide will help you make a decision on which board is suitable for your needs. All the boards we sell are tried and tested and we take your enquiries about a £100 foamie as seriously as we do for a £700 high performance board.

We have guys here who are just starting out on their surfing adventure, all the way through to people who have surfed for 25 years (or more!!) so we have a really good idea of what board will work for you.

Guaranteed damage free next working day delivery puts your mind at rest, if you’re not happy in any way we’ll refund or swap the board out for you, get in touch if you need a hand via email at or call us on 01243 674250 thanks!