A 7ft board is an increasingly popular first choice for beginners, although people of all levels can still enjoy them. But when you're looking at a category of surfboards characterized by being roughly the same size, how do you tell them apart well enough to know which one is right for you?
These "funboards" sit between the smaller shortboards which lack the volume and stability required by learners, and longboards which are difficult to turn for inexperienced riders. Kids and adults alike have been enjoying foam boards in this size range for years, but recent demand has led to marked improvements in quality and versatility, along with an explosion in the number of brands and models available.
Such an abundance of choice can be bewildering, so I've done some of the hard work for you. If you're looking to buy a 7ft surfboard this year, check out my handy guide to three of the best.
#1 Best for intermediates - SBBC Ruccus →
#2 Best for adult learners - Thurso Surf Aero →
#3 Best for absolute beginners - Wavestorm →
The 3 Best 7ft Surfboards
#1 Best for intermediates - SBBC Ruccus
The Ruckus "Premium" soft top from South Bay Board Co. is designed around a classic beginner funboard template. At 7' x 22” x 2.85” and 49L, it doesn't have the highest volume of the boards in my roundup but it carries what it has right where you need it, under the chest and torso to make catching waves and popping up as easy as possible.
Although this is a beginner board, the pulled in tail lets you turn on the wave much more easily.
This means new surfers can continue to enjoy the Ruckus as they progress out of the whitewater and towards "proper" surfing.
Even an experienced surfer can enjoy cruising and carving one of these when the conditions aren't suitable for their go to shortboard.
Quality materials and design help SBBC boards stand out. The Ruckus features a closed-cell EPS foam core, 3 stringers (2 wood, one fiberglass), HDPE base, internal laminated resin layer in the deck and base for extra strength, and a rubber tail block to prevent when fetching the board in and out of a rack. FCS thruster fins come included with this updated model, and the system means you can change these out if you want to experiment.
I also like the built in carry handle feature on the deck, which makes it much more convenient to carry this board up and down the beach, even for kids.
These extra features and touches to the Ruckus make it stand out for me and earn the premium tag the company give it on their website. If you are looking for a 7ft foam surfboard under 50L it's easily one of the best around.
Pros & Cons
#2 Best for adult learners - Thurso Surf Aero
The 7′ x 21.5″ x 2.75″, 57L Aero from Thurso Surf shares some key features with the SBBC Ruckus: EPS core, three stringers (all wood), and an HDPE slick base.
The IXPE top skin helps with cushioning and to seal the board.
Overall I'd say the build quality is roughly equivalent to the ruckus, although some of the minor features aren't quite up there with the Ruckus.
One slight disadvantage is the bolt-through fin system, which isn't as versatile as FCS, but the adjustable fin boxes do still allow some variation.
This is really not an issue for beginners but could be more noticeable for intermediates wanting to customize the ride characteristics.
Where this board has the advantage is the extra volume. Designed for beginning surfers up to 210lbs, the Aero will definitely give an extra helping hand with catching that first wave. These boards are also designed with a fairly narrow tail, so overall maneuverability is good; you can still learn to turn despite the extra bulk.
Overall Thurso Surf Aero is a great choice of soft top for people who want similar characteristics to the SBBC but are worried it might be a bit small for them. If that's the case, you'll definitely feel the benefit of that extra foam out in the water.
Pros & Cons
#3 Best for absolute beginners - Wavestorm
The Wavestorm Classic from Catch Surf is the biggest soft top board I'm reviewing here, at 7’ x 22” x 3” and 70L.
This puts it squarely in the category of a true beginner board.
Beginners should be able to catch anything on this size board, even if it is their first day in the water and they fall into the 210lbs+ category.
Made with a similar EPS core to the other two surfboards, three marine-ply stringers, and a built in traction pad, the Wavestorm uses a WBS skin on the top (which protects the foam but leaves a surface which is quite slippery unless waxed).
The fuller, more rounded rail shape of the Wavestorm boards combines with the added volume to make these the most stable and forgiving of the surfboards on show here.
The trade-off is in less maneuverability than the other two but true beginners will find this board the most suitable. Kids may need help getting it down to the water however, and it would have benefited from a carry handle.
Out of the three, these beginner surfboards are the biggest sellers. Coming out of the same factory as Catch Surf and Wave Bandit soft top boards, they've been in business and getting people out in the water for over 15 years so the board has been tried and tested by hundreds of thousands of happy customers worldwide.
Pros & Cons
Is a 7 foot surfboard good for beginners?
Yes. A beginner surfboard should be big and buoyant enough to let the surfer catch waves and stand up easily. Unless you are especially tall or heavy, a 7' board should be plenty for this, whilst still being manageable to transport. This does depend on the thickness however, as a board which is too thin might not have sufficient volume. Soft top options are also recommended for safety in the water.
Can I learn to surf on a 7 foot board?
Yes. For learning to surf a 7' board should be adequate, although the width and thickness of the board are usually more of a factor. Width gives stability (aim for at least 20"), whilst thickness means volume and buoyancy, making it easier to catch waves. Look for foam top boards as the cushioning helps prevent injury.
What size surfboard should I get for my height?
Generally, unless you are riding high performance shortboards, weight and skill level are more of a factor in determining board size. Beginners are usually best going for something at least 7', and possibly longer if they weight significantly over 200lbs, irrespective of their height. At advanced level, most surfers opt for a shortboard a couple of inches longer than their height, or a step-up 8-10" taller than them for surfing bigger waves.
Is a 7 foot surfboard a longboard?
A longboard is normally considered to be over 8', over 20" wide, and with a rounded nose. A 7ft surfboard might have a longboard shape but would not usually be considered a longboard.
What type of surfers is a 7 foot surfboard for?
This depends on the shape. The boards I've included in this review are all suitable for beginner to intermediate surfers in average waves (although experienced surfers can still enjoy them). However, a narrower 7' pin-tail hard top with lots of rocker would only be used by advanced surfers in powerful waves.
The three foam surfboards in this review are all similar construction boards so you can feel free to choose the one which has the right dimensions and characteristics for you, without worrying about durability.
The biggest deciding factor is whether you are more interested in stability or turns. For the former, the Wavestorm is definitely the way to go whilst for the latter, either of the other two would be a good purchase, depending primarily on your size and experience.
OUR #1 PICK - SBBC Ruccus