I recently found myself scratching my head on what the best surfboards for kids are, and what type of surfboard to get my 8-year old for his birthday. I was lost and didn’t want to admit it. Like, I write surfboard reviews, have ridden them for 30+ years and was once a grom myself, right? I should know what the best surfboards for kids are. Still, I had no idea what the best surfboard for kids actually is. 

After a bunch of asking around, testing, trialing, and seeing what was popular, I narrowed things down into categories to help others find the right surfboard for their little frothers. Here are the best surfboards for kids that I’ve been able to find so far, whether they’re for a pure beginner, or little shredder.

Best Beginner Surfboard For Young Kids

The Flounder Pounder by GSI

The Flounder Pounder by GSI is a great beginner softboard for a great price. I actually bought this for my son when he was first starting at 5 years old and now his younger brother rides it. The thing has held up great over the course of a few years and caught zillions of waves for them. On advice from a friend, I went the 6’6’’, which was slightly longer than I thought, but turned out to be ideal. If your kid is a bit older, ie highschool age, then you’re probably better to look at the next option.

Buy GSI Flounder Pounder
the best surfboards for kids - flounder pounder by gsi

Best Learner Surfboard For Highschool Kids

MF Super Soft by MF Softboards

If a highschool kid is wanting to learn to surf, they’re probably going to want to jump onto a fibreglass board or something ‘cool’ looking. But, you don’t learn to play the guitar on a Gibson Les Paul, right? Get an acoustic. In that spirit, an MF Super Soft has some shred cred because of the association with Mick Fanning while still being friendly to ride. I’d say the 7’6’’ or 8’0’’ is the best option for most highschool kids (unless they’re freakishly athletic or naturally gifted). Grown up kids will like them too.

Buy MF Super Soft
the best surfboards for kids - MF soft serve

Best ‘Next-Step’ Surfboards For Kids

Modom Deadly Mondo by Modom

If you’re a surfer yourself, the next step for kids once they’ve mastered a bigger softboard is probably to give them a go on your regular fibreglass shortboard. I put some soft FCS fins in an old 5’10’’ and let my grom have it at once he was about 6 and a half. Sure, he split his head open on the rail and had to get two stitches that one time, but overall he loved it. For those who want to be a little more cautious, Modom’s Deadly Mondo is a killer option that is shorter and turns pretty well but will still let them catch waves (without splitting their melons). My brother got these straight up for his kids, so I think there’s a solid argument that you could go straight to this if you don’t want to fork out for the full beginner step as well. .

Buy Modom Deadly Mondo
the best surfboards for kids - modom deadly mondo

Best Surfboard For Kids Who Can Already Surf - 3 Great Options

So, your kid has stepped up a bit and now wants their own proper shortboard. They’re going along the face, maybe doing the odd cutdown, and telling you they ‘got barrelled’ after shampooing through a foamy section. So epic. 

There are a handful of great options out there for this step, which can be confusing in itself. I’ve narrowed it down to 3 for slightly different options – The CI Rocket Wide, The Firewire Sci-Fi 2.0 Grom, and the Chilli Mini Bird

The great thing about all of these is they keep a fair bit of width and volume, even for a grom board, but are shaped in a way that still makes them easy to turn.

The Sci-Fi 2.0 Grom

This is Jackson Dorian’s signature model, so you know your little frother will lose their minds if they’re riding the same thing. (I’m frothing to try the adult version of it, ha) The EPS construction means they’re a bit more buoyant for the dims and paddle great too. A great board for kids starting to rip it up.


the best surfboards for kids - firewire sci fi 2.0 grom

The Chilli Mini Bird

The Chilli Mini Bird surfboard has a really nice outline, has paddle volume under the chest and a rounded pin you can stand back on to pivot turns. This was highly recommended by the lords in at Boardstore Dunsborough and, while I didn’t end up getting it for my fella, I can see how it would be an epic option for a kid’s first shortboard.

the best surfboards for kids - chilli mini bird

The CI Rocket Wide Grom

The CI Rocket Wide Grom was the one I ended up getting for my son. The thing has a nice wide tail with a hip for a great balance of speed/turnability. He just can’t get enough of surfing the thing. The grom loves it so much I’m seriously contemplating getting a big-boy version for myself. There’s a good range of dims for kids too. Highly recommended.

the best surfboards for kids - the ci rocket wide grom

Best Surfboard For Kids - Conclusion

So that’s your guide to the best surfboards for kids. If you can, do your best to buy them second hand. The little buggers grow up so fast it’s hard to justify a new board every year (even if I can justify it for myself). Second-hand kid’s surfboards can be hard to come across though, so if you need to go new, my advice would be to borrow one from a friend to try things first before you commit. A little testing goes a long way to get the right option in the long run.

If you’re not in the market for kids boards and want something for yourself, feel free to browse some of other product reviews or buyers guides. Best ones, imo, are the $350-$500 Winter Wetsuits Guide, Mid Length Guide or the CI OG Flyer Review



And to watch one kid who’s improving at an astronomical rate, check the video below of Yadin Nicol’s young grom – King. He dropped the below clip a couple of days, very impressive surfing coming from a 9yr old!