How to Choose the Right Surfboard for Kids

How-to-choose-the-right-surfboard-for kids

What makes a good kids’ surfboard?

Is your child starting surf lessons? If so, selecting the right beginner surfboard for your child is a crucial decision that can shape their surfing journey and experience. It could mean the difference between an advanced surfer and lifelong surfing enthusiast or child with a fleeting, passing phase catching waves. This guide delves into the essential features of a kid-friendly surfboard, emphasizing size, stability, material, and design for beginner surfers. Keep reading to learn about the best surfboards for kids to help get your child interested in this amazing sport.

We'll explore why these features are vital for young surfers, focusing on safety, the learning curve, and the physical differences between children and adults. By understanding how kids' surfboards differ from those for adults or advanced surfers, parents can make informed choices that prioritize their child's safety and enjoyment in the waves. Whether you're a seasoned surfer or new to the sport, this guide aims to equip you with the knowledge to choose the best beginner surfboard for your young enthusiast who's getting their very own surfboard for the first time.


  • Size

The size of the surfboard directly impacts the child's ability to control and maneuver it. The right size kids' surfboard should be approximately 6-12 inches taller than the child. This ensures that the board is not too overwhelming for them to handle, yet long enough to provide stability.

  • Stability

A stable kids' surfboard helps in building a child's confidence as they learn to balance and ride waves. Opt for boards that are wider and thicker. The added volume provides buoyancy, making it easier for kids to catch waves and stand up.

  • Soft-top Surfboard

Safety is paramount, so soft-top surfboards reduce the risk of injuries, making them especially ideal for beginners. They are made of foam, which is softer than traditional fiberglass, reducing the risk of bruises or cuts.

  • Rounded Nose

A rounded nose aids in stability and is more forgiving when kids make mistakes. For beginner kids, boards with a rounded nose are preferable over pointed ones. They are less aggressive and provide a smoother ride.

  • Fins

Fins provide direction and stability to the surfboard but can also be a safety concern. The solution is to opt for surfboards with removable fins. When kids are practicing basic skills in shallow waters, the fins can be removed to prevent potential injuries.


Why are these features important for kids' surfboards?

  • Safety

Children's reflexes and judgment are still developing. Features that prioritize safety on a kids' surfboard can prevent accidents and injuries.

  • Learning Curve

A supportive board design can accelerate the learning process, making the experience more enjoyable and encouraging for the child.

  • Physical Strength

Kids don't have the strength of adults. A board tailored to their physique ensures they won't struggle against it, reducing fatigue and frustration.


How are kids' surfboards different from adult surfboards?

  • Size

Adult boards come in a variety of sizes tailored for different wave conditions and skill levels. Kids' boards are generally shorter but have a proportionally wider and thicker design for added stability. A smaller size surfboard that's proportional to a child's size makes a great board for them to start their learning journey. 

  • Material

Adult surfboards are often made from materials like fiberglass, epoxy, or carbon composites, which offer a stiffer and more responsive ride tailored for precise maneuvers and specific wave conditions to fit experienced surfers. On the other hand, kids' surfboards are often soft foam boards that prioritize foam or soft-top materials for safety. The best surfboards for kids are usually foam surfboards that are appropriate for a child's skill level.

  • Design

Adult boards can be tailored for specific maneuvers or wave conditions, while kids' boards prioritize stability and ease of use. For example, kids' surfboards are generally thicker and wider relative to their length. This added volume provides more floatation, making it easier for kids to paddle, catch waves, and stand up.

  • Durability

Kids' boards are often constructed to endure the bumps and drops that come with the learning process. Adult boards, while durable, might not withstand the same level of rough handling.

  • Flexibility

The flexibility in kids' boards can be more forgiving during turns and maneuvers, whereas adult boards might offer a stiffer ride for more precision.

When choosing the right board for your child, it's essential to consider their current skill level, physical size, and the conditions they'll be surfing in. It's always a good idea to consult with local surf shops or instructors who can provide personalized recommendations. Remember, the right board can make all the difference in ensuring your child has a safe and enjoyable surfing experience.


How to properly maintain a kids’ surfboard

An important part of owning a surfboard is maintenance. Proper maintenance of a kid's surfboard not only ensures its longevity but also guarantees the safety of the young surfer. 

Here are a few tips to help parents and guardians keep these boards in top shape:

Regular Cleaning

After each use, it's essential to rinse the surfboard with fresh water. Salt water can be corrosive, and over time, it can degrade the board's material and the fin's fixtures. Especially for soft-top surfboards, which often have a porous surface, removing sand and salt prevents them from becoming abrasive. Use a soft brush if necessary to gently scrub away any stubborn residues.

Safe Storage

When not in use, store the surfboard in a cool, shaded place. Direct sunlight can cause the board's material to delaminate or warp, especially if it's a foam board. Moreover, extreme heat can weaken the adhesive that binds the different layers of the board. If possible, invest in a surfboard bag. It not only protects the board from UV rays but also provides a cushion against accidental knocks or drops.

Regular Inspection

Before and after each surfing session, take a moment to inspect the surfboard for any dings, cracks, or damages. Even minor dings can let water seep into the core of the board, which can compromise its buoyancy and structural integrity. If you spot any damage, it's essential to repair it promptly. For minor dings, there are DIY repair kits available, but for more significant damages, it might be wise to consult a professional.

Fin Care

The fins are vital for the surfboard's performance and stability. Ensure they are securely attached and free from any damage. If your child's board has removable fins, occasionally take them out and clean the fin boxes to remove any sand or debris. When reinstalling, ensure they're tightly secured but avoid over-tightening, which can cause damage.

Wax Maintenance

If the surfboard requires surf wax (some kids' boards might not), ensure it's appropriately waxed for traction. Over time, the wax can accumulate dirt or become uneven. Regularly clean off old wax using a wax comb or scraper and reapply a fresh layer. Remember to choose the right wax based on the water temperature your child will be surfing in.

Maintaining a kid's surfboard is a blend of regular cleaning, safe storage, and vigilant inspection. With proper care, the board can serve your young surfer for many seasons, ensuring they have a safe and enjoyable time catching and riding waves.

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