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I started surfing when I was 40 years old. Once in a while, I couldn’t help but reflect: what if I started surfing when I was a child? I could be a seasoned pro by now. But, is it too late? Maybe for me, but not for my kids (or yours).
Teaching our kids to surf is not just really about surfing. Surfing at a young age helps develop coordination skills, body strength, and balance. And silently, without them knowing it, their confidence as well.
But where to start? Having the right surfboard is the first step. With the right length, weight and kid-friendly features, surfboards for kids are designed for easy handling that is just enough for a kids height and body strength.
This is the best surfboard for kids who miiight have some exposure to Jamie O’Brien and Tina Cohen on YouTube. The surfing power-couple is famous for shredding an Odysea the world over. The Skipper model is the second generation modeled after a pro-adult series. Measuring 4’10”, the skipper still has the float characteristics of its adult board and the pointed tips for stylish carves and turns. The fun fish shape allows for easy wave-catching and even easier surfing. This is perfect for kids who surf a lot and will want a board they won’t quickly grow out of.
This is one of the best surfboards for kids if you have multiple kids in your family. A 7 ft. board can handle kids under five (if they’re being pushed into waves) up to teens. The Liquid Shredder EZ slider has a soft deck and a 3-fin system, and rides surprisingly smooth for its size. More experienced surfers can turn it pretty easily — though it’s obviously not the same as a hard board. The only real qualm we have with this set-up is the leash is sold separately.
Everything about the South Bay Board Guppy is kid friendly. With a volume of 50 liters, it’s surprisingly floaty despite its length. It also only weighs 10 pounds, meaning you won’t have to schlep it from shore to surf of your little one is on the older side. Aside from having a soft deck made from IXPE foam, it has a rounded nose rather than being pointed. This is a great feature as it significantly reduces head and body injury during bailout. The three-fin set-up and tapered tail makes it easy to maneuver, so your kid can still practice their turn once the time comes.
If you have access to fat, friendly waves, the Giantex 6 foot foam board it perfect. A soft deck prevents injuries during a fall, and the three-fin set-up ensures it tracks straight. It’s not the most responsive kids surfboard out there, but it catches waves with ease. At one of the cheapest kids surfboards out there, we recommend it for families who might be surfing just a few times per year. Otherwise, it could be worth spending a bit more for a foamie that’s a little more agile.
Wavestorms are ubiquitous at beginner surf breaks for a reason. They’re an incredible value for money. Super durable, surprisingly easy to ride, and well-priced, they’ve long been the king of beginner boards. From a line of classic surfboards trimmed down with a major facelift, this surfboard for kids has now a modern design. This board is perfect for really little kids, or tweens who are ready to step down from a larger surfboard but aren’t quite ready for a hard surfboard just yet.
Wavestorm now reinforces its fin boxes — an upgrade from older models that used to become waterlogged after just about every surf.
If you’re kid is already stoked and some semblance of surf skills, the Wave Bandit Performer Mini is an awesome choice. This 4’10” long board has a custom plate and rocker for high performance surfing. But, it’s still a soft landing should they hit their head. It’s small size also makes it ideal for transporting — not much longer than a boogie board, you won’t have to mess around with roof racks taking this mini surfboard to the beach.
The Rock-it Chub is a fun kids surfboard for fat and friendly waves. It’s ideal for super tiny ones, or kids who already surf well and are looking to add a ‘shortboard’ to their quiver. Apparently, the black and white checkered design is purposefully placed to deter sharks. Whether that’s true or not is up in the air — science is still pending.
If you’re looking for a starter board for your kid, take a look at the Kona Surf. At 4’4″ and weighing 10 pounds, your kid can handle the board on their own. This surfboard is super durable, easy to catch waves on, and nimble to transport. It’s not the most high-performance board out there, so we suggest only getting this board if you have little ones under 10 years old.
What to Look for when choosing the best surfboard for kids
There are many features to consider when you’re buying a surfboard for your kid, but some have more influence on how successful their budding surf career will be than others.
The best surfboard for kids is around 4 to 8 feet long. As a general rule, the longer a board is, the easier it is to catch a wave. And this is certainly the case for adults! However, once a kid stands up on the surfboard, they might have trouble turning the board or progressing beyond the “catch a wave” element of surfing if it’s too long.
It’s best to correlate the size of your child to the size of the board until they’re about 10 years old. After that, go by your child’s skill level and interest. The more volume a surfboard has, the easier it generally is to ride.
3-5 years old
5-10 years old
It’s well worth getting a foam (soft top) surfboard in lieu of a hard surfboards for beginners and kids. When you’re first learning how to surf, you haven’t developed key instincts like covering your head when you fall, watching where the board lands, avoiding the fins, etc. While you do sacrifice some performance with a foam surfboard, it’s typically not enough for a beginner child to notice, and is well worth the peace of mind knowing they won’t get too injured if they fall onto the board.
Foam surfboards also tend to have more flotation than hard surfboards of the same length, making them easier to paddle.