The Mermaid Society

Essential Tips On How To Buy A Kid The Right Foamie Or Softboard


SO MANY people are daunted by these questions in the lead up to Christmas. One piece of equipment that is the most daunting, purely because of the cost/investment is a surfboard, especially if you’re new to the scene and particularly if you don’t surf yourself. But, rest assured you’re about to enter a stage where you can get in the shallows with your grom and learn to love the waves, because a lot of these boards are made for fun ONLY! We want to instil fun in the kids, we want them to learn to love surfing and the ocean, and we want them to do it with you. SEE ALSO: The 2017 Women’s Surfboard Guide

Where To Start?

“I want to buy my 6-10 year-old a surfboard for Christmas but don’t know what to get. They’re only just starting to learn. Do you have any suggestions?”

Fibreglass, foamie, short, long, thick, thin, what fins, how much wax, tail pad, legrope?

We asked our good mate, the legendary Tim from Aloha Manly Style and Luke from Catch Surf and they’ve given us the answers.

“If they’ve never surfed at all and are just doing their first surf lessons, I suggest a foamie to get ocean experience and maximise fun.” Says Tim, “There are a couple of questions that will factor into the length of the board:

How coordinated are they? You’ll need a bigger board.
How tall are they?
How good are they in the ocean?

How Long Should You Go?

6 foot is ok for 6-8-year-olds who are looking strong, keen and coordinated, but you can go for a longer 7-8 footer for extra flotation and balance also, if you want to be in the board too, or you’ve got other kids who will enjoy mucking around on it as well.

10, 11, 12-year-olds, look at the 6’6 to 8 feet so there’s plenty of floatation and balance, plus you can hang off the end for extra balance and support of the little groms. It’s the kind of board that will never get old, and a good priced, durable foamie could be a big part of your life. It will be strong enough to hold the groms when they want to much around and do tandem with their mates and for mum and dad to have a solid crack too.

What’s Around In The Market?

Pretty much, if you want your foamie to last longer than one summer, don’t get a cheapie. You’ve got to get something with more than two stringers (the wood that runs down the board and keeps it from bending) and some high-quality solid foam, nothing that’s going to start flaking off in the sun or get waterlogged. These are your go-to’s, they all cover the above qualities you’re looking for and are our pick of the bunch for reliability, strength and durability.

The Catch Surf team have big names riding their performance foamies, (like Noa Deane and Jamie O’Brien) the Beater Boards, and they all have pretty rad designs. They come as finless or with twin-fins and are a LOT of fun for kids 10+ and also parents. If you’re a big grom at heart and can surf, you’re gonna have a lot of fun on a 5’7-6’0 Beater Board when you’re kids come in for a rest.

The Beaters (finless) can also be a good option for the younger groms. They’re thicker and longer than boogie boards and they can take them in the flags at the beach or in the pool to practice popping up. You can whip them around on them too, then chuck the fins in and have a go yourself.

Luke says importantly, let the craziness of the colours set you free, “If you’re going to get a foamie, go nuts with the colours and patterns. Foamies are for fun and the more colour the more fun you’re going to have out there.”

Timmy’s golden rule: “If it’s not fun when you’re learning, you’ll never persevere.” He adds “Foamies are a lot safer for your kid and other people in crowded breaks too.” However, if your grom is more gifted, you could fast-track them to a fibreglass board. Something with lots of foam. Your surf shop or local shaper will be able to help you out with the specifications best.

Tim says if you’re looking for a fibreglass board for a new-to-surf grom, “A small wave board for a bigger person is best so they can get lots of waves. You’ll want something with a wider outline and flat rocker to make paddling easily and balancing when they stand up smooth. It will also allow them to get a good ride. With a board that’s too small, they won’t have enough surface area, they’ll only get a small ride and it won’t be that fun.” The best mainstream boards on the market for this grom are; JS Industries, DHD, Channel Islands Hayden Shapes, Chilli Surfboards

The Price $$$

These boards are going to start from $250-$350AU for the smaller (5’7 – 6’0) and will go right up into the $400-$650AU (longer boards) mark. Just remember this is a premium product that is going to give you and your groms an epic time in the water. I can’t emphasise how much fun it’s going to be for everyone, so well worth the extra dosh for something that will last.

What Accessories Really Matter?

You don’t need to go high end just go with a reputable label. If you’re picking up a fibreglass board get a TAIL PAD on the end, it teaches kids where to put their back foot.

If you’re getting a foamie or fibreglass board, make sure you grab a couple of BLOCKS OF WAX appropriate for the temperature of water at your beach.

Your board might come with FINS, or you can grab and some basic fins (between $40-$60AU). Most of the good foamies take FCS 1 or 2 fins which means they just clip into the board (FCS 2)  or have little grub screws (FCS 1) that come in the pack.

Whatever you’re getting grab a LEG ROPE. Just a little 6’0 comp leggie will do the trick, a comp leggie is the thinnest of the bunch and will be perfect just so the groms (or parents) aren’t losing the board and having to swim of run after it. They come in a heap of colours.

See you in the water!

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