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Written by our mates at Stab.

Some surfers validate their extensive board collection by comparing it to a golfer's need to own 14 different clubs. 

Makes sense. With the variety of conditions we’re presented with each time we show up at the beach means it’s handy to have some options in the boot (or trunk if you're a seppo). 

To expand on that analogy, the conditions the Australian summer most often delivers is closer to playing 'putt putt' (or ‘mini-golf' if you’re a seppo) than the 150 acres of manicured grass of real golf. 

Endless days of howling hot earth breath turns our slob to dribble. The fun can be tough to find in the hotter months unless of course, you show up to play putt putt with a 1-wood, a.k.a. a soft top. A soft top will have you floating better and paddling faster, but most of all, you'll be skidding around previously worthless scraps of wave in the name of fun with no pressure to rip.

Over the last seven years, soft tops have become the increasingly common Happy Gilmore Esq. antidotes to the seriousness of having fun in summer. The amount of soft tops available on the market has exploded. So to make sense of what’s available, we’ve teamed up with SurfStitch and some tender deck enthusiasts to test them all.