Once you get the hang of it, bodyboarding is a ton of fun. Both kids and adults can enjoy this water sport. It is well-liked because it is simpler to learn and enjoy. After all, surfers ride the boat while lying down. Additionally, it provides your body with greater stability and lower injury risks. Your experience will be greatly improved by selecting the best bodyboard, and we have several tips on how to do that. Read on!
Types of Bodyboards
Selecting the proper tail shape for your bodyboard is crucial because different tail shapes perform very differently when it comes to movement in the water. For bodyboards, there are two typical tail shapes:
1. Bat Tail
In weaker surf or when the waves are behaving unpredictably, bat tail boards perform better than crescent tails. The bat tail gives you a little extra flotation at the back of the board if you’re a slightly heavier rider. This has the drawback of feeling a little looser on the wave, but it is better for maneuvering and prone riders.
2. Crescent Tail
In addition to being good user-friendly boards with excellent wave-holding capabilities, crescent tail designs are also excellent for drop knee riders. The shape enables you to stand with your hips on the back of the board, which is ideal for catching waves.
What Makes Up a Bodyboard
A bodyboard is constructed of a variety of materials, from the slicks to the core.
1. The Core
Extruded polystyrene foam, which makes up the core, provides distinctive flex patterns, excellent buoyancy strength, and a good layer of the elbow and hip cushioning. For added strength, some models even have a thick 55mm core. If the deck is damaged, the board is less likely to become waterlogged thanks to its water-resistant qualities. They are excellent for those just starting because they are frequently less expensive and lighter than other bodyboard cores.
Because it was the core of choice for the first bodyboards, this polyethylene core is regarded as the original core. The core’s flexibility allows the rider to receive immediate feedback and respond to the environment in a split second. It’s excellent for handling bigger waves and advanced bodyboarding because of its flexibility. PE performs better in cooler water because warmer water temperatures may cause the core to soften excessively and impair bodyboard performance.
Many professional bodyboard riders prefer polypropylene, also known as polypro, due to its excellent all-around performance. Due to its characteristics, it is both lightweight and strong, making it ideal for those who must ride the largest waves or execute the trickiest maneuvers. Today, many PP cores are entirely closed cells. These “Beaded PP” cores offer excellent flex and buoyancy for sitting high in the water. Extruded PP, the alternative type, provides rigidity and speed but lacks an entirely watertight core.
2. The Slicks or Skins
The area of the board that makes direct contact with the water when riding waves is known as the slick. The vast majority of bodyboards on the market today are made of one of two primary slick types.
Due to their low resistance, HDPE or high-density polyethylene slicks provide a smooth trajectory and increase speed for the rider. This sleek is a fantastic option for those looking to start because it is inexpensive yet durable.
Surlyn slicks, a more expensive option, have a rubber-like surface made of materials similar to those used in golf balls. They are designed to give the rider the best responsiveness and flexibility. This slick can bend when pressure is applied by the rider, but it always returns to its original shape. Many of the best bodyboarders in the world choose it because of these characteristics when they want to achieve top speeds and superior wave projection.
3. The Deck
When bodyboarding a wave, you lay on the deck, also known as the top deck. Each type of bodyboard deck material has advantages.
They offer excellent padding for the rider because they are flexible and soft, but after many users, they may fail to regain their original shape, leaving elbow indentations.
XPE’s closed structure offers excellent water resistance. These decks are typically more rigid and will probably need more wax to increase traction.
This cross-linked polyethylene with a higher density offers greater rigidity and strength.
Picking Bodyboards For Beginners and Kids
To get the most enjoyment out of the sport, you or your child must have the proper bodyboard. See what factors you need to prioritize when choosing your next board, whether you want to get a board ready for your upcoming coastal vacation or want one to get you through the learning curve of a new sport.
The process of choosing your first board can be challenging for a beginner, but the size of your board should come first, before the style. If your board is the wrong size for you, you won’t get the most out of it and you might be disappointed when you use your new equipment for the first time. For more details on getting fitted, visit our section on sizing guides.
It’s crucial to pick a board that behaves the way you need it to in terms of beginner boards’ characteristics. A very expensive board might be a waste of time because you won’t be able to take advantage of its well-tuned features.
Selecting a board with an EPS core is recommended. Just enough flex will be provided by an EPS core in addition to excellent buoyancy and strength. Extruded polyester foam that is cushioning will also help to protect your elbows and hips, two areas that can become sore for new bodyboarders. Additionally, the EPS core has excellent water resistance qualities. If your board gets damaged while being transported to the beach, this is fantastic. As a beginner, you’ll probably want to buy a bodyboard bag right away, so a board that can withstand some beatings is a great option!
4. The Slick
Due to their durability and low resistance, HDPE decks are best for beginning riders because they maximize speed even on smaller, slower waves.
6. The Deck
A deck made of XPE or IXPE offers excellent water resistance and high rigidity, making it a very durable deck.
6. The Tail
Crescent and Bat Tail designs are both user-friendly designs in terms of tail shape. The ability to position your hips on the back of the board to catch waves is made easier by a Crescent Tail, though. Additionally, they provide comfort as you paddle out behind waves. A bat tail will help in weaker surf or erratic waves and give a heavier rider more flotation.
Picking Bodyboards For Intermediate/Advanced Riders
Once you’ve accumulated some bodyboarding riding experience, you’re probably considering how you can advance your skills. When selecting your next board, you need to take into account several factors, assuming that you’ve already nailed your bodyboard sizing.
1. The Core
Your developed preference will now have a significant impact on the core you select. Advanced riders frequently choose PE and PP cores because they give them the ability to perform more complex maneuvers.
2. The Slick
A Surlyn Slick is frequently preferred by more experienced riders over an HDPE deck. Due to its ability to bend and then return to its original shape after rider pressure has been removed, a Surlyn deck will offer the rider superior responsiveness and flexibility.
3. The Deck
The best option is the PE deck because it offers excellent flexibility for those who want to make quick turns on the waves.
4. The Tail
Both tails offer distinct qualities and are suitable for more experienced riders.
When riding the face of the wave, Crescent Tail’s excellent bite makes it easier for you to engage the rail edge. You can track or trim across a wave by using the Tail as well. Therefore, the Crescent tail is ideal for larger waves.
A Bat tail board is a great summer option for British shores because of the smaller, weaker waves. It is designed for heavier riders or riding smaller waves. Because of its shape, it can move faster and more easily, making the ride more comfortable overall. A bat-tailed board, however, is likely to become a little jittery in the larger waves.
While prone riders can use both Crescent and Bat-tailed boards, drop knee riders should choose a Crescent tail board.
Picking the Size of your Bodyboard
Similar to a boat without a rudder, a bodyboard that doesn’t fit you is useless. If the board is too long, it will be difficult to control and you won’t be able to effectively paddle because it will obstruct your legs. If the board is too short, it will create drag and be very challenging to catch and stay on the wave. Weight should also be taken into account because it may have an impact on the materials used in addition to the size of the board. It should be noted that what is effective for one rider may not be effective for another.
There are two quick ways to determine what bodyboard size is best for you:
- Method 1: Pick a bodyboard that, when you’re standing straight on the ground, is as tall as your belly button.
- Method 2: The bodyboard should extend from your knees to your chin when it is held out in front of you.
Additional factors to keep in mind when selecting your bodyboard size:
- Type of Wave: The size of the waves you’re likely to ride will also influence the bodyboard size you choose for more experienced riders.
- Large Wave Rider: Select a shorter bodyboard if your primary surfing objective is to catch big waves. You’ll have more control and agility with a smaller bodyboard because more of your body will be submerged.
- Small Wave Rider: A longer board will give you more buoyancy and stability in the water if you’re going to be surfing small waves.
- Type of Riding: Drop knee and standup riders should choose a longer board if they want to be a little more daring than the traditional prone riding position, though this is entirely up to the rider.
Needed Accessories for a Bodyboard
You can choose a variety of accessories to personalize your board, enhance safety, safeguard your board, and improve performance while riding the waves. Discover how the various bodyboard accessories can benefit you by looking at their selection.
A leash is a coil of material that fastens to the rider’s wrist or bicep and is attached to the board. You can avoid losing your board and possibly avoid drowning by using a leash. Because the sea can be unpredictable, we advise you to always keep your leash on. When you get off your board, you won’t have to be concerned about losing it, but more importantly, you’ll be able to save knowing that you have a ready-made flotation device at your disposal in case you get into trouble. A leash is already attached to every bodyboard, but they are also widely sold separately.
2. Bodyboard Bag
Although purchasing a bodyboard bag is not necessary, it will greatly simplify your life! Carrying your board won’t feel like a chore because it will be simple to transport to and from the beach. A board bag will also keep your equipment in much better shape and prevent damage to the surface of your board or slick that could cause the core to flood.
If you tend to slide off your board, wax gives you a great grip. If you are a more experienced bodyboard rider, you should strategically wax your board because it could restrict your ability to move around or shift your weight.
4. Swim Fins
When riding waves, an experienced rider is likely to add swim fins to their equipment. They not only make it easier and faster for you to get out onto the surf, but they also help you catch the wave earlier.
The above information will help you choose the best bodyboard. The experience will be enjoyable and simpler to learn if you have the right bodyboard. Now it’s time to get out to the surf and have some fun!