Most beginners who start out taking surf lessons ride a foamie, which is a colloquial term for a soft top board. The reason most beginners are put on these boards is because the large volume of the board enhances stability that is essential when first learning to stand up and balance on the board. Also, these boards have markedly decreased in price over the years, so they are very accessible for those taking up surfing for the first time.
Soft top foam boards add buoyancy, which in turns makes it far easier for beginners to paddle and catch waves. That’s because traditional boards are typically very large, and can be hard to handle in the water. Soft tops also decrease the chance for injury, because by nature they are padded and collisions, consequently, are less serious. As a general rule, adults typically use an 8’ soft top board, while children under five feet tall are best served with a 6’ foam board.