Foam Surfboards Mean More Waves and More Fun for Less

Favorite of The Cool Kids: 88 Surfboards

With Hollywood celebs and surf industry hotshots backing 88, it’s easily the most buzzy board brand on the list. The elusive Australian brand encourages riders to do a lot more than just stand on its boards: lie, kneel, sit, spin, downward dog—maybe even go finless and slide around willy-nilly. They don’t have a website, but their Vimeo channel is fully stocked and endlessly entertaining. But finding one isn’t easy—without a network of dealers, one must slide into the DMs of @88surfboards on Instagram to source a board.

Price: $400-600

Construction: True foamie

Available Lengths: Inquire with dealer

Fin Setup: Inquire with dealer


Soft Top Pros and Cons


My first board was a Wavestorm that I shared (reluctantly) with my brother. We braved Northern California’s frigid waters sans wetsuits and took turns paddling out for a wave, each shouting at the other in vain to come in when their time was up. It cost us a grand total of $150 and a tank of gas to get into surfing. No instructors, no tropical vacations, no current-season gear, no pro model accessories or wave pools—just a couple of teenagers and an empty, blown-out beach break, as nature intended.

Soft tops are easy to come by, affordable, and user-friendly. They show beginners the joy of surfing, and that is a beautiful thing.


With great paddle power comes great responsibility. Thanks to your run-of-the-mill superstore stocking cheap soft tops left and right, more people than ever before are empowered to take up surfing, and thus opting into the responsibilities all surfers share: most importantly, respecting the ocean and one another. Regardless of what kind of board you’re on, the same rules apply to all. (i.e. Don’t drop-in on someone who has the right of way. And if you get in someone’s path, apologize and keep it moving.)

New surfers should always do their research, and salty veterans would do well to offer a kind word of advice to those running afoul of lineup rules. It’s important to go out with someone who possessed knowledge of the local breaks, or at the least the ocean in general. Among the many reasons to support your local surf shop, employees should be able to point beginners in the right direction on which rental to get, what to wear, and where to go. And if you’re beyond renting and looking to buy, we highly recommend finding a quality retailer or going second-hand whenever investing in a new board, foam or otherwise.

Finally, when it comes to deciding where to surf your soft top, go where the other soft toppers are. And always remember, foamies may be fun but the ocean is a terrifying place, so keep your wits about you, use the buddy system, and don’t push your luck in conditions beyond your skill level.