A Quality soft top (one that surfs close to a real board) aint cheap. I buy a used beater like someone else said. Cheap soft tops definitely ride different and in my opinion you can pick up bad habits from riding them. Used ones can be water logged (regardless what the say - they are a sponge).
dont do that. if you want a cheap board get a pop out from ron jon or something but a softtop must be terriable. i actually have never tried one but from the looks all you do is ride a wave straight in and they will float on flat water.
I have a beater, one and super one. All SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO fun, in any condition. they also make the swizzle which a long softop. maybe a little more that crappy softtops but worth every bit. You get what you pay for. the beater can also have a fin, if one desires. Super one has fcs fins as well. check it out, summer or winter def increase the fun factor.