Softboards have been ruling the market for a year or two now – Catch Surf, Mick Fanning Softies, Odysea –  and is becoming ultra popular as shore break bashers and fun day craft. Back in the day, you were stuck with a Koolite foamy if you wanted to learn on something forgiving. Now, bodyboard tech has reached the surfboard world (and become somewhat popular again as a pastime) and there’s a shit ton of brands all jumping in on the act and offering a full range of options – from beginning to high performance.

To sort between what’s the best for which type of surfer, here’s your Softboards Buyers’ Guide. There’s performance based options, fun based, learn to surf and just hipster level leave in the car so you can say you ‘surf’ options. Choose what works and get out there (or take photos of it in your car for the gram).

Note: All prices are in AUD, and have been ‘converted’ to AUD if in USD (Album, for example)


Hypto Krypto


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Softboards Buyers Guide - Hayden Shapes

Modelled after their top selling Hypto Krypto, the Hypto Krypto Soft Top is a balance of tradition and modern performance with an added boost of fun. Built with an Internal Parabolic Carbon Fibre Frame, a Full Grip Textured Deck, and shaped rails based on the original Hypto, along with Futures Fin boxes you’re getting a lot of bang for you buck.

Which is the next point, THIS THING IS SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS!!! You could get a new surfboard from some shapers for that, or another softboard from our selection and have change to take wifey out for dinner after. If you’re already in the HS universe though, you’ll be excited to add this to your quiver. Now to just wait for Ando to test it at maxxing out Kanduis.

88 Surfboards

8ft Thruster


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Softboards Buyers Guide - 88

We put the 88 Surfboards twin in our guide last summer, I never got around to riding it so didn’t bother with it this time. I have ridden this 8ft soft top surfboard option though, and even paddling out on that thing put a smile on my face. My god it was a fun board to ride when it was tiny and dribbly. They are proper soft. squishy and feel like if you copped the rail in the head it probably wouldn’t hurt.

If you want to order one, you gotta hit Thalia (only online retailer I could find) or email them directly. No online store for 88. Not sure if fins ship with an 88 order, mainly because all the footage you see lately is people going wild fast on that slipstream, fin free, vibe. Examples can be found via Casey or the Llama.




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Softboards Buyers Guide - ALBUM

Like Haydenshapes, Misfit and a couple of others, ALBUM is a new entry to the softboards world whichs make me think there’s a lot of money to be made in the softboards world at the moment. Wonder if JS will release one (or did they?)…

Anyway, this one from ALBUM comes in three colour options, looks pretty nice – as all his boards do – ships with Futures Fins and is, apparently, 100% recyclable which is interesting. Haven’t seen the other softies touting that or even know if they can, wondering if it’s got to do with ALBUM using a co-polymer foam…?

The one thing I did notice was that it doesn’t have a ‘slick bottom’ like the rest. Wondering how this will affect performance, so I asked someone who’s ridden them and he said it’s pretty basic foamie that looks good.

Ocean & Earth

MR Epoxy


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Softboards Buyers Guide - Mark Richards

This is part of the Ocean & Earth softboards program, something they introduced earlier this year and would most likely be a classic ‘dad who grew up surfing in the 80’s’ purchase. A board that harks back to legendary Mark Richars, it’s a twin fin and it’s got an EPS core, the only thing that wigs me a little is the fin system. With everyone able to insert Futures or FCS, it kinda baffles me why you wouldn’t as it makes usability to much easier for more people (dad, real fins. grom, soft fins).

If this one doesn’t tickle ya fancy, there’s a bunch more on the ONE site that are little more price friendly too. But, as if you don’t want an MR Twin in your quiver, even if it is a soft one…

Mick Fanning

DHD Twin


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Softboards Buyers Guide - Mick Fanning

The MF x DHD Twin is a hybrid design that has elements of the DHD Twin and DHD Mini Twin with a curvy outline and hip swallow tail for fast rail to rail turns. It’s got small channels running from the back of the front fin to rail add a little extra hold during critical turns and has FCS II plugs so you can swap in/out fins to suit.

Have I ridden this one? No, I have ridden the Black Diamond one though and that’s super fun! A bunch of mates have ridden the twin, including the namesake guy, and everyone loves it. One mate bought it for his son, to only leave his grom on the beach more often or not while dad just ‘gets a couple’ first. Not a bad buy for $550, all things considered..


Deadly Mondo


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Softboards Buyers Guide - Modom

The Deadly Mondo is billed as a ‘high-performance’ soft board. That is to say, it’s high performance for a soft board. Don’t expect it to go as well as a proper surfboard though. At least, not quite. The thing has a Futures Fins set up that lets you swap out soft or regular fibreglass fins depending on who’s using it.

It also has a fish-style shape with a pulled in tail that allows whippy turns and mad cut downs. Ideal for teaching a grom to surf on, but then use yourself for a fun shred session. To read a full review of the Deadly Mondo that we wrote, head here.

Spooked Kooks

Dead Hippie


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Softboards Buyers Guide - Spooked Kook

Up until I asked people on IG, I had no idea about Spooked Kooks (thanks Jesse) and I’m still not entirely sure about the brand. They make fun looking softboards, the brand looks interesting, and their Dead Hippie model looks real good for summer vibes.

One thing I really like about Spooked Kooks is that 100% of all High-density Polyethylene used in their boards is recycled post-consumer plastic waste. This includes the entire “slick” (underside of the boards), leash plug, fin boxes, fins and fin key. So you’re not getting Hi-Fi fins in these compared to ther models, you are getting a board you might feel better about buying.


Dope Machine


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Softboards Buyers Guide - MISFIT

MISFIT are another brand new to the ever increasing options in the world of softboards. This one, the Dope Machine, is a combination of a classic high wide point fun-board, almost reminiscent of a 70’s single fin spawned with a modern proggy fish or hybrid.

Looks fun enough and is a nice option for those that want a brand/board from someone a little different. Comes with Futures Fins options and ships with plastic fins (which you’ll wanna swap out). Asked a mate who just bought one this week and he said:

“Board itself felt good (minimal flex, good buoyancy) but hard to rell how it surfed because I had the plastic fins and they’re not real good for drive, etc. Got proper fins to throw in it, will report back then”


Zolton Magic Wand


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Softboards Buyers Guide - DRAG

When I asked the IG world what softboards I need to put into this guide the sheer number of people who said DRAG was silly. Probably was 3 or 4 to 1 with any other brands, my guess is DRAG is quite popular, no?

This is their Zolton Magic Wand, remember Zolton? The kick-flipped wizard from Santa Cruz, and the guy who’s probably nutted himself surfing more than anyone else. The Magic Wand comes with an EPS core (somewhat standard these days) and regular slick bottom (again standard, minus ALBUM). Fins wise you’re getting FCS 1, which is a little weird, but you can still put normal fins although if you’re doing kick flips maybe plastic is more forgiving for your nuts and skin.

If you enjoyed our Softboards Buyers Guide, you might also enjoy our Tech Trunks or Springsuits Buyers Guide. Head here for the rest of our buyers’ guides and product reviews. And if there’s anything else you’d like to see reviewed, or a guide pulled together around a certain category, feel free to contact us at hellomate @ empireave dot com

If you’re about to run into winter cause you’re posted up north, hit our Winter Wetsuit Guides for a full break down on what to get > We pulled together three Winter Wetsuit Buyers Guides if you’re still a little undecided on what to buy:
*Above $500
*Below $300