BodyBoard Buying Guide
Common Bodyboard Terms
- Nose – where the rider holds on at the top of the board.
- Deck – This is where the rider will lie. Depending on the board you get, there will be different grip styles.
- Tail – This is the opposite end of the nose. The tail’s shape will affect and deter mine how well the board moves through the waves. There are two different types of tails that a bodyboard can have: a crescent tail; which has a shape like a crescent moon or the bat tail which looks like a bat’s wing. The bat tail provides the rider with more maneuverability and speed. The bat tail style is commonly preferred by riders that lie down on the board.
- Rails – This refers to the side of the board. The straight rails will be faster and allow for more speed. Rounder rails provide more maneuverability.
- Channels – The grooves that are cut into the slippery bottom of the bodyboard. These grooves channel that water, providing much better control and performance.
- Stringer – This straight rod that is inside the board’s core maintains the board’s stiffness and also increases durability and longevity. This means that you will have your board for a longer period of time before you have to replace it.
There are two basic ways that riders use bodyboards; belly boarding and bodyboarding.
- Bellyboarding – Many people just simply like bellyboarding which is riding the waves toward the shore from water that is about waist high. Normally fins are not used for bellyboarding. If you will just be using your board for bellyboarding, you will not need to spend a lot of money on a fancy, high quality board. You want to get a board that will reach the level of your navel when you stand the board on its end. Boards that are a little wider make great bellyboards.
- Bodyboarding – Bodyboarding involves riding the board across the wave. You will use swim fins when engaging in bodyboarding. You will normally catch the waves from beyond where they are breaking. The swim fins allow for the power you will need to get to the waves and get into them before they begin breaking. Finding the right board will affect your ability to control the board while you are riding the waves and will even affect how you catch the waves. As a general rule, if your board is the right length, it will reach between your navel and hip. Make sure you get a board that is wider and thicker if you or the rider you’re purchasing the board for is heavier.
Considerations Before Purchase
Be sure to look at the following points when you start looking for a bodyboard that will fit your needs, activity level and size.
- Correct length and size – choosing a board that is the right width and length for how tall you are. Additionally, you want to take into consideration the build you have and even the type of waves that you’ll be using the bodyboard in. Remember to choose a wider board with more width in the tail if you are heavier. A thicker core would be good as well.
- Flex and Recoil – These are two important features because they are what make the bodyboard able to do the things it can. What determines how a board will recoil and bend is the materials that are used in construction. Where you use the board will affect this as well.
If you are in cooler climates with colder water, you will want to get a board with more flex to it. On the other hand, if you are in a hotter climate, you want the board to be stiffer. If you are a heavy body boarder, you may want to get a stiffer board simply to extend the life of the one you purchase.
Points to Think About
The following rules are very important when it comes to the size of the bodyboard. You want to choose one that is as close to the right size as possible for your height. Use the guidelines above when it comes to length and make note of the following:
- If your board is too long, it will push the water and be much harder to paddle into the waves. A too-long board will also be a lot harder to control.
- If the board is too small for your size it will feel extremely loose and will lose a lot of flotation. It makes it a lot harder to catch the waves as well.
Size and Shape
Measure yourself from the navel to the floor. This is the measurement you want to use when you look at the length of the bodyboards you are interested in. Make sure that the bodyboard’s nose reaches to your navel when it is stood up on its end. If you are heavier, then make sure that you get a board that is wider and thicker as well.
In general, wider boards are going to give you a lot more flotation, making them good for bigger riders. Medium width is usually considered a good all around board but if you’re a heavy rider, you’ll need more push in the waves. Wider boards are a good choice for heavier writers and can offer them opportunities that they didn’t expect.
A wider board is going to give you a lot more flotation than a narrower board will, which is why wider boards are recommended for heavier riders. They need the extra flotation that a wider board provides. The medium width boards are good all around boards but you will need more push when you are in the waves if you are heavier and using a medium board.
Narrow boards are the fastest boars but they are much harder to do any moves with if you are moving at slower speeds. They are not good boards at all for weak surf and smaller waves.
Bodyboarding is a fun and exciting activity for all ages. Having a good quality board is a must have if you want to do any serious riding. There are all kinds of tricks and moves you can learn to do on a bodyboard with practice, but having the right board for your height and weight is imperative for having a good experience.
The information in this buyer’s guide is designed to help you find the perfect bodyboard. When you have the right information, you can sort through the choices available and narrow them down to a manageable list that is comprised of models that will fit your needs and preferences.
Knowledge is always a plus to have whenever you are researching and purchasing an item. Take a look at the three top rated bodyboards that we have featured above. Any one of them would be a good board to enjoy this fun and entertaining activity. If you are looking to do bodyboarding more seriously, make sure that you get a board that is the right size for your needs and spend a little more on getting a quality board that will last a long time.