Are foam boards the future of the surf market?
If the first surfboards were built from wood, more precisely balsa, the arrival of petrochemicals has enabled significant advances in the construction and manufacture of surfboards. The objective: to offer ever lighter and more efficient boards.
For several decades, surfboards were made in a semi-artisanal way. The technique is quite simple, around a polyurethane foam core that the shaper has previously shaped to the desired shape. He then wraps the foam bread with layers of fiberglass . The whole thing is then laminated with polyester resin .
These PU surfboards are both light and efficient , the downside is that they are not very strong , especially in terms of impact resistance. On the other hand, they are extremely reactive with flex under the feet.
In the mid-1980s another sport was booming: windsurfing. Windsurf boards are built around a polystyrene core with fiberglass . The boards are more impact resistant, but also a bit stiffer underfoot, which surfers don't always like. This technology is present today on a large part of high-end surfboards.
With the arrival of this technology called EPS / Epoxy we are witnessing the development of mass production of surfboards which are built with moulds. Until the early 2000s, surfing remained a niche and elitist sport.
With the development of surf schools in France 🏄♂️, one company stands out for offering accessible and affordable surfing for beginners: BIC Sports based in Vannes (which has since changed its name to become Tahe). With state-of-the-art technology, BIC sports is able to make affordable surfboards for as many people as possible. (To find out more, go to our dedicated article with a visit to the Tahe factory)
Everyone has heard of the best-selling surfboard in the world, the 7´3 Mini Malibu. The only downside is that these boards are a little heavier than traditional boards. But with prices 2 times cheaper than the rest of the market, nothing stops BIC from riding the wave 🏄🏻 ♂️
From 2010, there is an acceleration in the demand for surf equipment in the world, both for beginners and surf schools.
So how do you offer ultra-accessible equipment that reassures novices.
This is how the first foam surfboards hit the spots. With their EVA foam deck and soft fins, they quickly became the darlings of surf schools who saw them as the perfect solution for the first surf sessions.
What makes this success is that they are both ultra easy and reassuring. To learn how to stand up and master the take off, there's nothing better than a foam surfboard.
In the event of a collision, foam surfboards are far less dangerous than their hard counterparts.
Softech is the first foam board brand to be internationally distributed through the network of its sister brand of surf accessories and FCS fins. Since then, a large majority of surf brands have foam surfboards in their range.
How to choose your foam surfboard?
There are a number of factors to consider when choosing the right foam surfboard .
- What is your skill level?
Are you a beginner, intermediate or advanced surfer?
- What is your physical form?
Your fitness level is going to play a part in what type of board you are going to use depending on the conditions.
- Your height and weight?
This will help determine how much volume you will need for a particular style of board.
- What kind of waves are you going to surf?
Hollow and fast - soft and slow?
These are all essential factors to consider and can have a direct impact on your surfing performance.