The Almond R Series have gotta be the sexiest foamies around, amiright? But do they surf as good as they look? The general consensus of the Almond Surfboards R Series Review is….a resounding yes!
Almond Surfboards have been producing their beautiful traditional style surf craft since 2007 and are known equally for the high quality of their surfboards.
Over the last few years Almond have introduced three softboard models into their collection and have joined the likes of Formula Fun, Album Surf and Spooked Kooks in that their boards are 100% recyclable. To top it off, many say that these boards ride extremely close to their fibreglass counterparts.
This Almond Surfboards R Series review will look at the three softboard models Almond currently have available which are based on two of their most popular shapes – the Secret Menu, Joy, and the latest released in 2020 the Pleasant Phesant.
1. R-Series 5’4″ Secret Menu
The Secret Menu has for a long while been Almond’s most popular board under 6 foot so it makes a lot of sense that they picked it as their first softboard. It is a little pocket rocket that paddles like a longboard but is definitely rippable. Although small it packs a volume of 36.4L so it will definitely float ‘bigger than you would think’ surfers.
Constructed with double stringer for real surfboard stiffness, a high density copolymer foam core with a waxless deck pad and future fins box (in quad fin setup) this is one rad little unit.
There is only one size available but with a number of eye catching deck designs:
5’4″ x 21″ x 2 3/4″ (36.4L)
- Exceeds many expectations as a foam board even in head high +/ bigger waves and reported to go well in variety of waves including small, mushy, punchy, clean and closeouts
- Seems to be best in 3-5 foot range
- Can catch small waves like a longboard
- Fast, forgiving and stiff
- Very versatile
- Lightweight. Easy maneuverability
- Many like that you don’t need to wax, however noting you need to wear a shirt of wetsuit to avoid chaffing
- Several tall surfers circa 6’1 – 6’5 say it surprisingly worked for them despite the small size of board however I did note one review of tall surfer saying they found it too small
- Skatey feeling when carving
- Great float and easy to paddle
- It is a really fun board but it also performs at high level when needed
- Lack of wax and small size great for always having in the car
- Futures fin box setup is really popular for quality and variety of fin options
- Many comments about the refined rails
- Many mention the great look of the boards and getting comments from people saying “can’t believe it’s a foamie”
- Can duck dive easily
- People like that it is environmentally responsible
- Perfect travel campanion
- Fast, generates lots of speed and great for drawn out lines
2. R-Series 6’4″ Pleasant Pheasant
Almonds Surfboards have struck a popular nerve with their R-Series and in 2020 have added another of their key surfboards to the soft top lineup. The Pleasant Pheasant or Plez Phez as it is affectionately called straddles the gap between the Secret Menu and Joy at 6’4″ and 50L volume.
With the added length and volume this board will offer benefits for paddling, extra glide and earlier entry into waves compared to the Secret Menu. With more rocker and less volume than the Joy, the Pleasant Pheasant allows for more control, tighter turns and exploration on the face of the wave.
As Almond says:
“The advantage of the Plez Phez is the ability to get your foot right on the tail, where you have maximum control of the board. The addition of the side bite fins in no coincidence—they help give the board added bite into the surface of the wave for pumping and generating speed. The round tail and relatively compact outline make for tighter turning radiuses when you put this board on rail. The ideal approach on a Pleasant Pheasant would be to utilize the entire rail line to drive the board and generate speed, and then shift your weight back to push the board through a cut-back turn”.
With a single fin box, and Futures side bites – the Almond R-Series Pleasant Pheasant is another unique entry in the foamie world.
One size only, but with a number of deck design variations:
6’4″ x 21.4″ (50L)
- Best R-Series yet
- This is my second R-series with owning the Joy first. Surfing New England waves, and both boards rip. The joy is improving my surfing, and helping me get away from more volume of my longboard or Joy. This board catches waves with east, moves like a skateboard, and never need to worry about wax. A new go to on most days.
- Bought this after many folks hyped it up! And they were right! Such a fun board!!! Super easy to paddle into waves. Easy to cruise down the line and even able to spray a bit!!! Help really good in head high conditions! Getting a second one for my quiver for sure!!!!
- What a pleasure to ride this board, easy to paddle, and when you step on the tail it responds, great for carving and enjoying the face of the wave. I love the color design (Sage), this is my third r-series and I simply love them all. The Almond team is fantastic just like their boards.
- If I had to summarize this board in one word, I’d fail, simply because that just wouldn’t do it any damn justice. I wanted to wait a couple of months after purchasing and riding my pleas pheas before writing a review because I wanted to get to know the board and understand what I’d just added to my quiver. On my first go I took it out to some 4-foot surf and I thought that it felt a little sluggish and surprisingly loose. I was confused because I was hoping it would really glide down the line and generate speed with how flat and buoyant it is. It wasn’t until I dug into some Craig Anderson footage of him surfing his 6′-something single fin with a more open and cruisy style. He sits back over the tail and gets a lot lower on the board to draw out his bottom turns. I was doing the opposite, often bogging rail and getting frustrated when I’d slide out of a sharp cut-back turn. I was trying to surf it like a HPSB and sheesh was this just the worst approach for this board. The greatest outcome with the pleas pheas has been understanding how it changes your surf and approach to a wave’s face. As cliche as it sounds, it’s like wanting to pick up a book over Netflix or writing a letter instead of shooting a text. It just slows down your surf; I mean this in a very good way. The board got a lot faster after I adjusted to how it was intended to be ridden. It paddles like a boat; you can still muster a duck dive to get through the break zone; you never have to worry about dinging it, and what I think is most important is that you’re making a conscious decision for a sustainable board purchase. No, it’s not as fast or as light or as flexible as a glassed poly board, but it isn’t trying to be and that’s how you gotta approach the r-series pleas pheas. This board is truly great. Well done Almond and well done on paving the way towards a more sustainable future in the surf industry.
- I love how easy it is to catch waves in this board, even though is a bit on the heavy side I found the board very easy to paddle. Definitely makes me want to get in the water more often.
- It’s an easy board to catch all sorts of waves with, from clean 5ft peelers to mushy 2ft beach break. Once in motion, it is FAST accelerating like a real board and very distinct from any other foamie that I have ridden. Turning is easy and thrilling, you have high control over trim and direction, with the ability to really pull the board around if needed. It duck dives fin, it paddles out great, it feels safe and thrilling at once.
- Ridden a few times now in mediocre to fun surf. Board is a blast! Tons of volume for great float and wave catching ability.
3. R-Series 8’0″ JOY
The JOY has also been a very popular and versatile board for Almond Surfboards and is the second board to be developed into a softboard version for the R-Series.
With a low rocker and substantial volume, it’s a wave catching machine which will get you into waves early. A pintail design helps it turn easily. Thankfully, Almond have retained the single fin box for this board which is rare for a foamie.
The Joy R Series’ construction is the same as the Secret Menu mentioned above, also with double stringer and a wax free deck pad.
This board will suit a variety of surfers from beginner to advanced.
One size only, but with a number of deck design variations:
8’0″ x 22″ (72.2L)
- People love the recyclable construction and wax free deck
- Great in shore break and decent size surf
- Good feedback as to suitability for learners as well as seasoned surfers
- Some feedback regarding deck/rails causing chaffing
- Catches everything, easy to paddle into all size waves and gets into waves early
- Manoeuvrable and versatile down the line speed
- Holds well while riding in the pocket, doing bottom turns and cheating 5.
- The dense foam construction is reported to ding, dent and tear quite easily if comes in contact with sharp or rough surfaces so you do need to take care
- People love the look of it
- Reviewers comment that it surfs much like a regular board and many say it is the best softboard they have ridden, much more responsive
If you’ve got any feedback on any of the R-Series boards, please drop a comment below.
While you’re here check out our other foamie reviews and wetsuit reviews.
8 thoughts on “Almond Surfboards R Series Review (Updated)”
Hello, my name is Cameron Meehan. I live nesr Cocoa Beach and am active duty military. I just started taking up surfing here for the first time ever. I am EXTREMELY passionate about everything and anything SURF culture. I really am leaning on getting the 8’0 Joy R-series.
I was wondering if there was any chance I could possibly get a discount towards my first board from your company. If not I completely understand and appreciate the contact.
I am beyond excited to get my first board and I FEEL this board is my dream board for a beginner. I’ve only been surfing for 2 weeks but in already a quick learner! Surfing helps me more than just physically. It helps me emotionally and spiritually. If theres anyway I could get atleast some stickers or merchandise I would be BEYOND grateful and showcase your board to all friends and the surf community in Cocoa Beach. Thank you very much!
, BULA! 🤙🙏
Hey Cameron, thanks for the comment buddy! Stoked to hear you are getting such a buzz from surfing. The Almond Joy is an pretty great board from all accounts, I have a Secret Menu and it’s great. Unfortunately, we don’t “sell” these boards or have any merchandise on hand. You’ll have to contact Almond direct mate! Cheers, Get Foamie
Very interested in the 5’4 secret menu. Looks amazing! How does this board stack up against the catchsurf stumps? Is it worth the extra $100?
They’re very similar shapes and volume, but the stump is shorter at 5’0″ and a touch wider – the stump also has a hard slick bottom. Depends if you like your boards really short – if so the Catch Surf Stump will probably do the trick. Benefit of the R Series is the waxless deck, but otherwise construction quality etc is of a similar standard.
I live in Hawaii and just started surfing 7 weeks ago…. almost every day. I am riding on what we had in the garage: a 7′ wavestorm taquito; which is a kids stand up paddle. It has been awesome. I want to transition to something a little shorter and with more maneuverability. I’m 5’4″ and 105 pounds and really like the idea of staying with a foamy since I’m still pretty beginner, though catching unbroken waves and surfing up to about 4′ faces, but obviously still taking a lot of wipe outs as I try to figure things out. I’m looking at the new 6’4″ R series… thoughts? Almond thinks it would be great but just want a second opinion. I really love the it conceptually from design to performance, the recyclability, and the look of it is super cool. The size seems almost perfect as well, and it still has a lot of volume. Thank you!
Hi Jenni – glad to hear you’re having a great time getting into surfing! Yeah I think if you are feeling confident to go a bit shorter and looking for a board which you’ll be able to working on turning and moving around the wave more the Pleasant Pheasant could be a good option for you. It will probably feel quite different for you coming from the other board to start with but it does have a good amount of volume and you should get the hang of it quick!
Hey man, love this site.
Do you know if or where we can get Almond boards in Australia? I’m on the Sunny coast. Cheers
Hey mate, glad to hear!
There was a company who was bringing them over in batches and selling them here online but they must have given up as their website doesn’t seem to be online anymore. Almond can ship them out here – email them direct for a quote.