If you are an avid beachgoer you might have noticed groups of people walking out into the ocean and learning to surf on large foam surfboards. The question you probably have is “why do surf schools use soft boards?” Our article below will teach you everything you need to know about the foam or soft-top surfboard and why they are so much better for surf schools as well as students.
What makes the soft-top surfboard better for surf schools?Foam or soft-top surfboards have been designed for beginner surfers to take on the waves safely. They are going to give the student more confidence when paddling out and therefore have more fun when learning how to surf. Soft-top surfboards are less dangerous than a traditional fibreglass board because they have a foam outer layer and rubber fins. This helps protect the student from any injuries that could occur. Beginners generally have a better success rate when learning how to surf on a soft-top surfboard. The reason is that the boards have been designed in order to make standing up as easy as possible. They are usually longer in length and thicker than traditional surfboards. This increases the overall volume of the surfboard and makes it easier to catch waves and keep your balance.
Should all beginners start on a soft-top surfboard?At Salty surf school, we make use of only soft-top surfboards as it is safer and more fun for our students. Although soft-tops are easier that doesn’t mean you can’t learn how to surf without one, you just need to find the right board for your body type and the kinds of waves you will be surfing, for example, Muizenberg, Big Bay and Melkbos. A beginner should always try to find a board that is fairly long and has sufficient volume or thickness under the chest. Some examples of beginner boards are known as longboards, mini-mals or fish surfboards. All of these boards have a beginner-friendly shape to them. Remember that there is no one surfboard for everyone and so it is important to speak to someone knowledgeable about surfing in order to determine the board you will need to get going. If you are still trying to figure out what board you need you can start by opting for a private surf lesson, semi-private surf lesson or a 4 lesson package to see how you do before buying one straight away.
pros and cons of soft-top surfboards
Pros of the soft-top surfboard include:
- Easier, this means that the surfer starting out on one of these will generally enjoy their time in the water and progress faster.
- Safer, for beginners especially kids you can rest assured knowing the soft board is designed to be safer and lessen the risk of injury.
- Cost, soft-top surfboards are generally reasonably priced and cheaper than fibreglass surfboards.
- Resell, the surfboard will generally hold its value well as long as the quality of the board isn’t too badly damaged.
Cons of the soft top surfboard include:
- Bulky, the boards are generally big and heavy making it difficult to carry and transport.
- Longevity, a soft-top surfboard will not last as long as a fibreglass surfboard because the foam outer layer will start to perish over time.
- Performance, beginners will outperform the soft top surfboard quickly and therefore will not have use for it in the future.