Whenever you head to the ocean, you’ll see all kinds of beach boards out on display. These could be surfboards, bodyboards, SUPs, or even little hand planes used for bodysurfing. Whatever the case, people love riding waves, and to do this you will need a board.
Different people are attracted to different boards. And sometimes, you have to choose your beach boards based on the waves and water conditions. We’ve put together a complete guide on beach boards to help you find the best board for your needs.
What are Beach Boards
Beach boards encompass a range of different boards that you can use in the ocean. This includes surfboards, bodyboards, SUPs, and hand planes for bodysurfing.
There are many different ways that you can enjoy the ocean. This could mean surfing huge waves, going for a slow paddle on your SUP, bodysurfing in the shore break, and more.
History Of Beach Boards
As long as there have been waves, it seems that people have been trying to ride them. The first beach boards originated in ancient Hawaii. These were in the form of long wooden surfboards known as papa he’e nalu in the Hawaiian language. These ancient boards were often over 15 feet in length and were extremely heavy.
Indigenous Polynesians rode “alaia” boards on their bellies, knees, and sometimes feet. These were also pretty long boards made from wood.
Fast forward to the 1950s, and the modern foam and fiberglass surfboard was a common sight on beaches. Surfing started to blow up in the ‘50s and ‘60s, and soon the whole world was hooked on riding waves.
With the popularity of surfing came all kinds of variations and developments on beach boards. Today, we follow the same ideas that these ancient islanders had about riding waves, except that our beach boards look slightly different.
Best Beach Boards
There are loads of different beach boards out there. Whether you’re a surfer, a bodyboarder, a bodysurfer, or paddle stand-up, there’s a board for you. We’ve broken down our top beach boards into three different categories.
Surfboards come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. These beach boards are best split into three main categories, ranging from smallest to biggest. The categories are shortboards, mini mals, and longboards.
The different sizes and shapes of a surfboard will make a major difference in how it performs in the water. The type and size of the surfboard you choose should depend on your surfing skill level, what waves you will be riding, your surfing style, and the size of the surfer.
Here is a breakdown of three awesome surfboards in each category.
Formula Fun Short Beach Board
- 63″ x 21.5″ x 3″
- Foam surfboard with an EVA deck pad
- Dual fin fish surfboard
- Solid foam board with a molded stringer system
Fish surfboards are really versatile and fun to ride. Fish boards have more volume than regular shortboards, but they’re still short enough to offer great maneuverability. Fish surfboards can be used in big and small waves, and their high volume makes them easy to paddle and catch waves on.
This particular fish surfboard is a really cool option. The first thing to note about this board is that it’s a soft-top board made from solid foam. Unlike regular soft foam boards, this one is made from a solid, waterproof piece of copolymer foam. This high-density foam is more durable. No need to worry about dings or cracks. The resin-free foam construction also means the board is seriously lightweight.
This surfboard has a textured EVA deck pad. This pad with its fine grooves adds plenty of grip without requiring any wax – making the board ready to grab and surf.
Two future fins are included, which gives this foamie a greater level of performance than others. The board has a classic high-volume fish shape. It’s easy to paddle, easy to care for, and loads of fun to ride. This has got to be one of the most practical shortboards out there, and all levels of skill and experience will love riding it.
Formula Fun Mini Mal
- 94″ x 22.5″ x 3.36″
- Copolymer foam longboard
- EVA deck pad
- 2 + 1 Futures Fins setup
A mini mal is a shorter version of a longboard. Mini mals keep the same classic longboard shape, but their smaller size makes them more convenient to use and easier to control. Most surfers learn how to surf on a mini mal because these boards provide plenty of stability. Mini mals are also very buoyant and easy to paddle, which makes them suitable for catching smaller, less powerful waves.
This mini mal by Formula Fun is a really exciting board. It’s a soft-top foam board, but it performs more like a regular surfboard because of the dense copolymer foam used. This solid waterproof piece of foam is way more durable than a regular foamie board. It can handle all kinds of dings and bashes without even leaving a mark. Being foam, the surfboard is also very lightweight.
To make sure this mini mal offers a great level of performance, the surfboard has finished rails and a contoured bottom. It’s even set up with Futures Fins, which is unusual for a foamie. The fin set is a 2 + 1 configuration. This means you can ride the mini mal as a single fin, a dual fin, or a three fin (thruster).
Another really cool feature of this surfboard is its textured EVA deck pad. This adds friction and grip, completely eliminating the need for wax. No wax makes it easier to store your surfboard in a hot car, it allows you to get into the water faster, and it just makes surfing more convenient.
When it comes to beach boards, foam mini mals are a firm favorite amongst beginner surfers. However, this surfboard shows us that even the most experienced surfers can enjoy owning one.
Liquid Shredder Longboard
- 9’ x 24.5” x 3″
- High-density EPS foam surfboard
- Tri fin system with sealed fin screw holes
- Durable and slick HDPP bottom
Longboards are the biggest and most stable surfboards – which makes them fast to paddle and easy to catch waves on. Longboards are loved by surfers of all skill levels. They’re very stable so they’re ideal for beginners. Advanced surfers also love longboarding, which is its own style of surfing completely.
This longboard by Liquid Shredder is an awesome choice for beginner surfers. It’s a soft foamie board made from a shred-core high-density EPS blank. To add strength and stiffness, the board has two epoxy-coated hardwood stringers and one fiberglass stringer running through it. It’s also got a durable, slick HDPP bottom which adds strength.
The 9-foot longboard is a great length for novice surfers. It’s long enough to offer total stability, but it’s still a comfortable size to carry and control. Being a foam board, it’s also more lightweight.
The longboard comes with a tri-fin system that uses fin screw holes. These are sealed against water intrusion. The leash also attaches directly to these fin holes, which means there’s no need for a leash attachment.
These are some of the most popular beach boards for all ages. Whether they’re for kids catching their first waves, or pros pulling crazy bodyboarding maneuvers, bodyboards are always a firm favorite on the beach.
While bodyboards may look pretty standard, there is a lot of thought and technology that goes into these boards. Boards with different sizes, shapes, and materials react totally differently in the water. Bodyboarders need to pay careful attention to the board they choose because it will make a major difference to their wave-riding experience.
Here are some of the best bodyboard options available for different types of riders.
Morey 44 Big Kahuna Bodyboard
- Polythylene core for enhanced density
- 44-inch frame designed for larger riders
- Wider template and crescent tail for added buoyancy
- Various colors available
This is a killer bodyboard for serious riders. The Morey Big Kahuna has been especially designed for larger bodyboarders. It’s got a 44-inch frame made for riders 5’10 or 185 lbs. and up. The bodyboard also has a power rod stringer design made from dual composite carbon strength tubes. This results in a much stronger and more powerful base.
The Big Kahuna has been specially designed to offer maximum float and control. The board has a wider template and a crescent tail which improves buoyancy and board control.
The surface of the board is made from incredibly strong closed cell foam which is perfect for cold or warm waters. The bodyboard is also available in a range of colors to match your style.
South Bay Beach Board
- 42” x 22″ x 2.5”
- Performance elbow deck contours
- Thick soft EVA foam top deck
- HDPE plastic bottom deck for extra durability
There’s a lot that goes into a great bodyboard, which is something that South Bay Board Co. fully understands. The Razzo bodyboard is carefully designed and packed full of innovative features to ensure the best possible performance.
This board has a classic dynamic square nose with some rocker upfront to help prevent nose-diving. The widened chest area makes it easier to catch waves, and the classic crescent tail with dual channels at the bottoms means more speed.
The board has soft-edge angled rails and a soft EVA foam deck for total comfort. To add strength, there are two wooden stringers in the board, as well as an HDPE plastic bottom for rigidity. And then there are the elbow contours on the deck to help with performance. This boogie board will easily support riders up to 200lbs. It’s a serious board that’s ready for big waves.
Wavestorm Foam Bodyboard
- 40″ x 20.25″ x 2.175″
- Generous volume and boxy rail for more buoyancy
- Contoured and textured deck with grips
- UV inhibiting soft graphic deck
If you’re after the ultimate beginner’s bodyboard, then this one by Wavestorm is a top choice.
First off, the board has a very generous volume with boxy rails. This adds extra buoyancy and drive to make it easier to paddle and catch waves. This bodyboard is slightly smaller than the other two on this list, and it is recommended for riders up to 180lbs.
Then there’s the textured and contoured deck. This bumpy, wavy deck gives the rider rail grips, nose grips, and elbow texture for a more secure ride. These grips make the board easier to maneuver and more comfortable to hang onto.
The smooth and slick bottom adds rigidity, while the color graphic deck looks amazing. This deck is covered by UV inhibiting technology that helps the board last longer, maintain its color, and resist water absorption.
Stand Up Paddleboards (SUPs) are some of the most enjoyable beach boards that exist. These beach boards are designed for stable stand-up paddling, so they’re a lot bigger than the other types of beach boards in this guide.
There’s a lot you can do with a SUP beach board. You can use them to ride waves, you can go fishing from them, you can take them on long-distance paddles, or just use them as a fun floating platform. This also means that different SUP’s can differ quite a lot.
You get inflatable SUPs and rigid fiberglass SUPs. Some are more streamlined, some are more steady, and some have all kinds of extra features. Here are three of the best SUP’s to suit a variety of riders.
Googo Inflatable Paddle Board
- 10’6″ x 32″x 6″
- Inflatable paddleboard
- Anti-slip EVA deck surface
- Ultra light dual-layer PVC construction
The Googo inflatable paddleboard has an extra-wide and extra-long design to improve stability. This makes it a great paddleboard for beginners, or anyone wanting to just cruise around without too much effort. Don’t let the large size put you off though, the board is completely inflatable and fits into a handy carry backpack. It’s also made from extremely light but durable dual-layer PVC material and weighs only 18.5 pounds.
The surface of the board is made from a comfortable fabric material with an anti-slip EVA deck. It’s easy to stand on, and holds a weight limit of 330 pounds.
If you’re after a high-performance SUP surfing board, then this wouldn’t be it. But if you want something that’s easy to cruise and balance on, then this is your SUP.
Abahub Inflatable SUP Beach Board
- 10’6’’ x 34’’ x 6’’
- Inflatable paddleboard
- Converts into a kayak
- Includes 14 D-rings for plenty of storage space
Versatile would be the right word to describe this SUP. You can use it as a regular SUP, or add the comfortable neoprene seat and turn it into a kayak. It’s a large and stable board for easy touring, but it can also perform pretty well on a bumpy ocean. If you’re after a SUP that can do it all, then this would be a great pick.
The surface of the board is covered in a brushed EVA traction pad for a comfortable grip. The board is extra-wide for added stability – you can even use it as a platform for yoga.
With 14 D-rings spread across this SUP, there is plenty of space for storage. There are also front and tail bungees to firmly hold whatever you want to paddle with. The entire kit includes a pump, a paddle, a seat, a carry backpack, a leash, and every other accessory you might need.
Mousa Inflatable Paddle Board
- 11′ x 33″ x 6″
- Inflatable paddle board
- Anti-slip EVA deck pad
- Includes many accessories
The Mousa inflatable paddle board is the ultimate cruiser. It’s big, it’s wide, and it can easily hold a lot of weight. And did we mention it also looks amazing?
Like any good inflatable SUP, it’s lightweight and easy to paddle. The shape of the paddleboard makes it streamlined and stable. It’s perfect to use in the ocean, and you can comfortably stand up and fish from it.
The double PVC layers make this a completely durable paddleboard to stand up to all kinds of harsh environments. The board also comes with all the accessories you need – including a waterproof phone pouch, a double-action pump, a carry backpack, and more.
Hand planes are the smallest type of beach boards. These fun little boards are used for bodysurfing. They take bodysurfing to a whole new level, allowing you to guide yourself along waves, bodysurf steep faces, and pull-off maneuvers. Here are three of the best hand planes that will change the way you bodysurf forever.
Slyde Shorebreak Bodysurfing Handplane
- Built on the Slyde Hawaiian Bula Shape
- High density foam core
- Easily adjustable padded strap
- Includes GoPro mount insert
Bodysurfing handplanes don’t get much better than this. This little beach board has been shaped with the perfect concave to comfortably fit in your palms. The shape will help you stick to even the steepest waves.
This hand plane is made with a high-density foam core for buoyancy, matched with a high pressure laminate outer layer. The thickly padded strap is held in place with big wave surfing tow-in plugs, so it won’t budge. There’s even a GoPro mount to help you get insane footage.
Slyde Wedge Handplane
- High-density polyurethane foam core
- TPU high pressure laminate outer layer
- Padded adjustable strap
- Includes GoPro mount insert
Here’s another awesome Handplane by Slyde. This one is designed with the perfect all-round bodysurfing shape that offers less drag, more lift and speed, and no splashback. The Wedge hand plane is a great shape for newbies or intermediate bodysurfers.
With a high-density polyurethane foam core and a TPU high-pressure laminate outer layer, this hand plane perfectly balances buoyancy, lightness, and strength.
This little beach board works best in any conditions from 1 to 7 ft. The hand plane includes a wrist leash and a GoPro mount to help you get amazing footage.
Slyde Grom Soft Top Handplane
- High-density foam core
- Tough outer foam layer
- HDPE slick bottom and rails
- Padded adjustable strap
This hand plane is called “The Grom ” because it’s the perfect starter beach board for anyone to catch their first wave on.
The hand plane is made from a high-density foam core, covered in soft-top textured foam. This outer layer is incredibly durable, but it’s also completely safe for kids to use in the pounding shore break. The design is simple, but it does an amazing job at helping bodysurfers catch and ride waves.
There are all kinds of beach boards out there, each one offering a unique experience. Our advice is to get out there and try different boards until you find the one that’s right for you.
If you’re not sure which board and style of wave riding you might like, be sure to consider the different options listed above. These are some of the best beach boards for all kinds of people.
How do you know what size beach board to get?
A good rule of thumb for beginner surfers is to ride a board that is 100% of their volume. So if you weigh 70kgs, get a board that has a volume of 70 liters. As you progress, you can ride boards that have less volume than your weight. This could be 35% to 40% of a surfer’s body weight in volume.
What makes a beach board more stable?
Stability in a beach board comes from a wide and thick tail. Having more volume in the board makes it easier to paddle and gives it more float.