Pretty much every manufacturer out there has a 6ft model in their range. Some are truly brilliant and others, quite frankly, a complete waste of rack space. Working out the difference is a tricky task at the best of times.
A 6ft surfboard can be a young kid's first soft top, an experienced surfer's go-to shortboard, or the fish you take out when the waves are sloppy. All of these require different design features though, so how can you tell which board is right for you? The basic dimensions will give you a clue, but the finer details of volume distribution also make a big difference to what sort of ride you'll get.
Luckily, not only will I paddle out on anything that will float me, but I also know some kids who love to try out the boards that I can't. So, here's my review of the best soft top 6ft surfboard options around.
#1 Best for performance - SBBC Mahi →
#2 Best for young beginners - SBBC Guppy →
#3 Best for intermediate kids - Liquid Shredder EZ-Slider →
#4 Best beginner bargain - Giantex →
The 4 Best 6ft Surfboards
#1 Best for performance - SBBC Mahi
I love quad fish! They're fast and loose in small surf, with more control than you'd get from a traditional twin-fin fish.
I've never ridden one I didn't enjoy, but some are better than others and the Mahi is by far the best I've come across in a soft top.
SBBC boards have great build quality.
I especially love the fiberglassed wood bottom decks on these, they're stylish, durable, and well-shaped.
An I-beam stringer through the EPS core lends stiffness and strength to the board, while the fingerprint textured foam deck means all the grip you need even without wax.
The use of Futures fin boxes (complete with a quad set) also gives you the flexibility to stick some twin keels on if you really want the full fish experience. Even the free leash is of good quality!
At 6' x 22" x 2.75" and 50L, the Mahi is wide and buoyant enough for an intermediate surfer to catch waves consistently, whilst still being able to duck dive. Meanwhile, the swallow tail and short length give experienced riders everything they expect from a true fish.
These aren't beginner surfboards though, so if you're new to the sport read on.
Pros & Cons
#2 Best for young beginners - SBBC Guppy
The 6' x 21" x 3" Guppy is designed as a beginner board for kids.
The lower volume (40L) and built-in carry handle mean even fairly young children can carry this 6ft surfboard up and down the beach all day with ease.
The wide chest area will get them up and riding in no time, whereas the pulled-in squash tail keeps them keen as they start learning to turn on the wave.
As the Guppy is made for kids, the construction isn't quite as premium as the Mahi.
The base is HDPE plastic, the core is reinforced by two standard wooden stringers, and the deck does need waxing, although the textured finish makes wax application quick and easy.
None of these differences really affect durability for smaller surfers though, and they do help keep the price down.
I do wish they'd stuck with Futures boxes instead of the bolt-through thruster fins; it's fun for kids to start experimenting with fin configurations early and a worthwhile learning process. Overall though, this little SBBC is a great soft-top starter board for any young from.
Pros & Cons
#3 Best for intermediate kids - Liquid Shredder EZ-Slider
Another popular option with young learners is the 6' x 20 x 2.5" EZ-Slider.
It's a little narrower than the Guppy but carries the volume through to the rails, so overall has slightly more volume than the SBBC at 45L.
The reduced width is also a bonus for those with shorter arms who find a wider board impedes their paddle stroke.
This focus on younger kids is unsurprising given the brand's origins.
Veteran surfer Scott Mclain wanted something that would get his children out into the water and was disappointed by the bulky, cumbersome foam surfboards available at the time.
Hence the smaller dimensions and a nice pulled-in tail, which lets even the lightest surfers get the board turning.
The EZ-Sliders are also marketed at experienced surfers but I wouldn't really recommend one if you're a grownup looking for performance. The shape may be suitable for carving hard, but the construction lacks the premium features and precision most advanced riders are looking for in a soft top. A PP base doesn't match the stiffness and durability of HDPE or wood (despite the double stringers), while the small bolt-through fins aren't really sufficient for most adults, leading to slippage.
In the end, these Liquid Shredders are ideal beginner-to-intermediate surfboards for younger children up to 100lbs and, for this group, I'd recommend them over the more expensive Guppy. The responsiveness for smaller riders means they'll be carving up the wave face in no time.
Pros & Cons
#4 Best beginner bargain - Giantex
Sitting in the same budget category as the EZ slider, this Giantex 6ft surfboard has a lot of similar features.
The EPS two stringer core construction, slick plastic base, bolt-through fins, and deck surface are very much comparable, so it's in the performance aspect where the two start to differ.
Giantex don't publish the exact volume for this 6' x 20" x 3" board, but it definitely feels chunkier than the Liquid Shredder equivalent and is rated for adult riders up to 200lbs.
Although the overall dimensions of the two models are the same, the outline on this one is a lot fuller, keeping plenty of width throughout most of the rail line.
The tail on the Giantex especially is much wider than the EZ-Slider and holds more volume. This makes for great stability and control, so it's easy for an absolute beginner surfer to get up and riding in a straight line. The downside is in turning, where this board is much less responsive. For a lighter surfer up to 120lbs, it will take quite an effort to maneuver.
The Giantex 6' is a true learner board, aimed at getting kids into their first waves and hooked on surfing. If they want to give the sport a go for the first time, this is a great way to achieve it without breaking the bank.
Pros & Cons
Is a 6 foot surfboard good for beginners?
Not really. Although many kids start out on boards around 6' or even shorter, adult learners will need much more volume and stability than most boards this size have to offer. a better option for grownups would be somewhere in the 7-8ft range.
What size surfboard does a 6 foot man need?
This depends on the individual's level of experience and style of surfing. I'm 6'0", 210lbs and most of my boards are between 5'10" and 6'2". As a general rule, you don't want your shortboard to be much shorter than you are, while beginners will usually take a board around 1'+ longer than their height.
What size surfboard is best for beginners?
For an absolute beginner surfer, the bigger the better (as long as the width doesn't hamper paddling. You'll catch a lot more waves on an 8' Wavestorm than a 6' performance board (until you're experienced enough for the latter).
Who Is A 6 Foot Surfboard Perfect For?
6' is a pretty small board in general terms, so best suited to either kids or experienced shortboarders who want something they can throw around and get expressive with.
If you're looking for a 6ft surfboard, you're either an experienced surfer or shopping for your kids. If you've been surfing a while, you can probably tell exactly what I think you should do. Seriously, buy a Mahi (today!) and I guarantee you'll be thanking me later.
If it's the children you're focused on, you need to weigh up how much you're willing to spend, alongside their current level and how often they get to go surfing. Something like the SBBC Guppy is a great investment if it's going to get used regularly. They last ages and are the best all-round board for youngsters. Is it worth the price tag for children who go to the beach twice a year and just want to play around? Probably not, save some cash and go with your pick of the cheaper options.
In the end though, it's all about fun and none of these are going to let you down on that score.