• Top 10 Best Surfboards for Beginners in the UK 2020 (Osprey, Bic, Olaian and More) 1
  • Top 10 Best Surfboards for Beginners in the UK 2020 (Osprey, Bic, Olaian and More) 2
  • Top 10 Best Surfboards for Beginners in the UK 2020 (Osprey, Bic, Olaian and More) 3
  • Top 10 Best Surfboards for Beginners in the UK 2020 (Osprey, Bic, Olaian and More) 4
  • Top 10 Best Surfboards for Beginners in the UK 2020 (Osprey, Bic, Olaian and More) 5

Top 10 Best Surfboards for Beginners in the UK 2020 (Osprey, Bic, Olaian and More)

Surfing has come a long way from its counter-culture origins of the 1960s and 70s. The International Surfing Association estimates some 50 million people now surf globally, and in 2018 it was revealed that over 1 million gave surfing a try in the UK alone. With all the physical and mental health benefits associated with the ocean and surfing, you can't blame people for wanting to try their luck at this exciting watersport.


There's never been a better time to learn with brands like Torq, Osprey, Bic and Olaian putting a real emphasis on modern board design for beginners. Whether it's for an adult or a 10 year old, our guide helps you choose and introduces the wide range of foam and epoxy surfboards available from Decathlon, Amazon and eBay that will have you standing up and surfing in no time. Well, that's the idea anyway. 

  • Last updated: 22-11-2020
  • 127 views
Table of Contents

How to Choose a Beginner Surfboard in the UK - Buying Guide

In this simple buying guide, we'll run through the key components to consider when deciding on that magic beginner surfboard – the one that's going to have you riding waves with style, ease and, hopefully, grace! Once you've become more acquainted with surfboard design and surfing in general, you'll be able to take that knowledge and throw it into buying the perfect beginner board.

Consider Material: Foam or Epoxy Surfboards Are Ideal for Learning

It used to be that the only surfboards being built were fibreglass boards with fibreglass fins. These proved to be tricky for beginners, as they are extremely unforgiving with a sharp nose and even sharper fins. Luckily, there's now a significant range of foam and epoxy boards, and deciding whether you would prefer to take it easy on a 'foamie' initially or jump straight onto an epoxy is your first port of call.

Foam Surfboards or 'Foamies' Are the Softest and Most Forgiving Surfboards

Foam Surfboards or 'Foamies' Are the Softest and Most Forgiving Surfboards

Foam surfboards or 'foamies' are made from a soft foam material with a hard layer of plastic glued to the bottom for more glide and speed on a wave. They're ideal for beginners as they pose little to no threat if the inevitable happens and your head or limbs get in the way of the surfboard when you're being bashed about in the waves. 


Foamies can come in all shapes and sizes these days, with even pro surfers finding enjoyment in riding the smaller, more refined foamies. When learning, however, you should be looking for a longer foamie, the specifics of which we'll get into later on. 


Price will ultimately determine the quality of a foamie, with the higher-spec surfboards being lighter and easier to manoeuvre than the cheaper foamies which will be heavier and more cumbersome to turn.

Epoxy Surfboards Are Light and Strong Enough to Withstand a Lot of Water Time

Epoxy Surfboards Are Light and Strong Enough to Withstand a Lot of Water Time

Epoxy surfboards are popular with beginners as they don't damage or 'ding' as easily as fibreglass boards. Epoxy boards also benefit from extra buoyancy making it easier for you to paddle onto waves. 


They are made using a light foam core with epoxy resin encasing the foam. This basically means if an epoxy surfboard hits you in the water, it won't be with such vigour as a fibreglass board. However, they will certainly hurt a lot more than a foamie as they are still a more solid and hardened surfboard design.


Epoxy surfboards, therefore, enable more manoeuvrability than foamies as they benefit from a more responsive and refined design which more closely resembles fibreglass boards. They're a good choice if you have surfed a few times before and know some basic surf etiquette and awareness, but are still looking for a beginner board to master the basics on.

The Fins of a Surfboard Dictate Speed, Power and Flow

Fins are one of the most important parts of a surfboard, both in terms of material and how they are configured on the board. Knowing the difference between rubber, plastic, and fibreglass fins and their subsequent impact on a surfboard is critical for any avid beginner. Here's the skinny on this crucial element. 

Boards With a Thruster Setup Are the Most User-Friendly When Starting Out

Boards With a Thruster Setup Are the Most User-Friendly When Starting Out

A surfboard can have anywhere from 1-5 fins attached to it, which will ultimately determine the style of surfing a surfer is aiming to achieve with that particular board. 


The most tried-and-tested fin configuration is the thruster fin setup, which is invariably three fins of the same size in a triangular formation. It is consequently almost always recommended to learn with a thruster set of fins as it gives a good amount of stability while still allowing beginners to practice turns in small waves.


Most beginner surfboards will come with fins included, but it will pay to check before you buy just in case you need to source them separately. 

Rubber Fins Are Most Suited to Complete Beginners and Foamie Surfboards

Rubber Fins Are Most Suited to Complete Beginners and Foamie Surfboards

Rubber fins are the type of fin you don't mind scraping across your leg in a 'wipeout'. They are soft, flexible and forgiving fins that can enable fear-free learning as fins are usually the most dangerous part of a surfboard. 


The downside to rubber fins is they aren't as responsive as plastic or fibreglass fins meaning you won't be turning a foamie with rubber fins in a hurry. 


Overall, they're the ideal fin for someone who has never surfed before and is a little hesitant due to the risks associated with surfing. They are generally the fins that accompany foamies designed for learning to stand up in the whitewash and surfing straight toward the beach.

Plastic Fins Are Good for Epoxy or Higher-Spec Foam Surfboards

Plastic Fins Are Good for Epoxy or Higher-Spec Foam Surfboards

Plastic fins are a lot more responsive than rubber fins. They are designed for epoxy beginner surfboards or the higher end of foamie surfboards found on the market. They lend themselves to the type of surfing that is leading toward progression through turns. 


Through plastic makes for a harder fin, you will be able to start turning the surfboard with more power, finding your flow and desired style of surfing. They won't hurt or cut you in the same way a fibreglass fin will as the plastic has more give than fibreglass. 


For this reason, it is definitely not recommended to learn with a set of fibreglass fins. Fibreglass fins are very hard and sharp and they consequently have the potential to send you to A&E in need of stitches, so if you want something a bit more responsive than rubber, choose plastic.

Volume and Length Are Crucial When Understanding the Size of a Surfboard

When looking at a surfboard's size, the most defining factors are volume and length. Volume is measured in total litres and length is measured in feet and inches. Both have significant importance in determining who a surfboard is designed for through their own size and surfing ability.

The Buoyancy of a Surfboard Is Defined by Its Volume

The Buoyancy of a Surfboard Is Defined by Its Volume

The volume of a surfboard is measured in terms of its total litreage. When starting out, it's super important to have enough litres to float you and make it easy to paddle and catch waves. 


If not, the surfboard will be forever fighting against you with the wrong volume. And there's nothing more awkward than watching someone try to surf with a board that's too small for them – it's like witnessing Bambi trying to stand on ice. 


As a rule of thumb, total beginners should start out with a surfboard that is near enough in volume to their body weight. It can be more or a little less, but this guide will help in choosing a board you're bound to get along with. So, for a complete beginner weighing 70 kg, a foam board of 60+ litres will mean learning to stand up won't seem like an impossible task.

A Surfboard's Length Affects Volume and Turning Prowess

A Surfboard's Length Affects Volume and Turning Prowess

From their origins to the present day, surfboards have always been measured in feet and inches. A standard shortboard for an experienced surfer will measure in the vicinity of 6 ft, as this is the optimal length for advanced turning and fitting into the pocket of a way.


Beginner surfboards, however, need to be longer to gain more volume and stability for ease of learning. Adults should look within the 7-9 ft range (depending on volume and ability), while kids would benefit from a high-volume foam board of 5-7 ft. That's not to say a child can't learn on a 7-9 ft surfboard, but they'll probably need a hand controlling such a big board in the waves. 


All in all, for any surfer finding their feet in the ocean, opting for more length and volume is recommended – at least until you feel comfortable enough with the basics of paddling, standing up, and surfing the unbroken parts of a wave known as 'green waves'. 

Consider Your Proximity to the Surf and How Many Times a Year You'll Be Surfing

Figuring out how many times you estimate to be surfing each year is a key consideration when buying a beginner surfboard, as your progression will ultimately be determined by your surfing time. Think about this in relation to the board's overall suitability to your level and intentions, which we'll summarise below. 

If Surfing is Part of the Family Holiday a Few Times a Year, Pick a Complete Beginner Board

If Surfing is Part of the Family Holiday a Few Times a Year, Pick a Complete Beginner Board

To keep it simple, if you're landlocked and think you'll be heading down to Cornwall a few times each summer to spend beach days with the family (while mixing in a bit of surfing when it's appropriate!), then a basic longer foam board with rubber fins will be all you need to start


With this type of board, you'll be catching more waves each session which is more beneficial than catching fewer waves and getting frustrated with a refined surfboard. If this sounds like you, look for the boards we've marked as suitable for 'complete beginners' on our recommendation list. 

If the Surf Is Becoming Your Passion, Go for Progression-Focused Boards

If the Surf Is Becoming Your Passion, Go for Progression-Focused Boards

Whether it's the North East, Wales, Devon or Cornwall, if you're already living near a UK surfing coastline you have a huge learning advantage, as you'll be able to really dig the heels in and get things moving quickly. 


Or maybe you're not so geographically-gifted, but the surf world has taken you by storm. So much so that you're already pencilling in weekend after weekend of surf trips, expecting to drive hours upon hours scouring all the amazing surf potential the UK has to offer.


If you fit into one of these two categories, opting for a more progression-focused surfboard is the right choice. From the more refined foamies to epoxy boards with plastic fins, already knowing you plan to dedicate serious time to surfing means you should hopefully progress with a more refined board from the offset. We've listed these as suitable for 'dedicated beginners'. 

Top 10 Best Beginner Surfboards in the UK

After reading our guide, you've hopefully started to formulate an idea of the kind of surfboard you want to own. Buying your first board is a super special prospect as it will set you up for a lifelong love affair with the ocean and its waves. So without further ado, it's time to reveal the best beginner surfboards in the UK today.

10

O'Shea7'10 Epoxy Minimal Surfboard

£439.00

MaterialEpoxy
Length7'10"
Fins IncludedYes
Fin MaterialPlastic
Volume57 L
Recommended ForDedicated beginner
9

Circle OneSSR Beginner Surfboard

£315.00

MaterialFoam
Length7 ft
Fins IncludedYes
Fin MaterialRubber
Volume88.8 L
Recommended ForComplete beginner
8
MaterialEpoxy
Length7'9"
Fins IncludedNo (FCS fin plugs)
Fin Material-
Volume58 L
Recommended ForDedicated beginner
7
MaterialFoam
Length5'8"
Fins IncludedYes
Fin MaterialRubber
Volume38 L
Recommended ForComplete beginner
6

Circle One8ft Beginner Surfboard

SSR

£355.00

MaterialFoam
Length8 ft
Fins IncludedYes
Fin MaterialRubber
Volume113 L
Recommended ForComplete beginner
5

Olaian7ft Foam Surfboard

£179.99

MaterialFoam
Length7 ft
Fins IncludedYes
Fin MaterialPlastic with silicone
Volume55 L
Recommended ForDedicated beginner
4
MaterialEpoxy
Length8 ft
Fins IncludedYes
Fin MaterialPlastic
Volume60 L
Recommended ForDedicated beginner
3
MaterialFoam
Length9'3"
Fins IncludedYes
Fin MaterialRubber
Volume93 L
Recommended ForComplete beginner
2
MaterialSoft foam with epoxy core
Length8'6"
Fins IncludedYes
Fin MaterialPlastic
Volume71 L
Recommended ForComplete beginner
1

Olaian9 ft Foam Surfboard

£249.99

MaterialFoam
Length9 ft
Fins IncludedYes
Fin MaterialPlastic
Volume75 L
Recommended ForAll beginners

Compare the Best Beginner Surfboards

Image
1
Olaian 9 ft Foam Surfboard  1

Olaian

2
Torq 8'6" Foam Longboard 1

Torq

3
Osprey Soft Foam Surfboard 1

Osprey

4
Torq 8 ft Epoxy Longboard  1

Torq

5
Olaian 7ft Foam Surfboard 1

Olaian

6
Circle One 8ft Beginner Surfboard  1

Circle One

7
Osprey Soft Foamie Surfboard 1

Osprey

8
Bic Bic Malibu 7'9" 1

Bic

9
Circle One SSR Beginner Surfboard 1

Circle One

10
O'Shea 7'10 Epoxy Minimal Surfboard 1

O'Shea

Name

9 ft Foam Surfboard

8'6" Foam Longboard

Soft Foam Surfboard

8 ft Epoxy Longboard

7ft Foam Surfboard

8ft Beginner Surfboard

Soft Foamie Surfboard

Bic Malibu 7'9"

SSR Beginner Surfboard

7'10 Epoxy Minimal Surfboard

Features

An Accomplished Longboard for All Learners

Torq's Top Quality, Modern Surfboard for Learning

Large and Buoyant With Fins, Leash and Foot Positioning Pads

An Epoxy Performance Longboard for Beginners

High-Spec Foam Designed for Progression With Safety

Find Your Feet and Have Fun With an 8 ft Beginner Surfboard

The Best Small Foamie for Kids Complete With Fins and Leash

A Durable Epoxy Malibu Built to Last

A High Volume 7 ft Foamie Perfect for Children or Small Adults

An Epoxy Minimal With Bag and Leash Included

Price£249.99£453.91£209.99£424.13£179.99£355.00£169.99£295.09£315.00£439.00
MaterialFoamSoft foam with epoxy coreFoamEpoxyFoamFoamFoamEpoxyFoamEpoxy
Length9 ft8'6"9'3"8 ft7 ft8 ft5'8"7'9"7 ft7'10"
Fins IncludedYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNo (FCS fin plugs)YesYes
Fin MaterialPlasticPlasticRubberPlasticPlastic with silicone RubberRubber-RubberPlastic
Volume75 L71 L93 L60 L55 L113 L38 L58 L88.8 L57 L
Recommended ForAll beginnersComplete beginnerComplete beginnerDedicated beginnerDedicated beginnerComplete beginnerComplete beginnerDedicated beginnerComplete beginnerDedicated beginner
Link

Swimwear for All Your Aquatic Endeavours

Swimwear for All Your Aquatic Endeavours

Looking for recommendations on what to wear when swimming, surfing, or splashing about in the sea? If you're a real water baby, it'll pay to have the right swimwear that doesn't get in the way of your enjoyment (and that stays up!). Here are three more guides to check out. 

Summary

We are certain that after reading through our guide and recommendations, you're clued up and ready to buy your very own surfboard – whether it's one for the whole family to enjoy or it's the chosen surfboard destined to lead you down a lifelong journey of mastering the waves. Either way, we hope you found what you were looking for and it will serve you well in the ocean's playground for many years to come. 

Author: Connor Macanally

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