Bodyboarding is one of the fun watersports that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Aside from that, it is also a great way to improve your body’s muscular strength because it involves strong directional paddling. It can also improve your coordination skills because concentration and balance are needed for you to stay on the board.
For some, bodyboarding is an easier version of surfing, but the two watersports actually differ from one another. It’s because in bodyboarding, riders ride their boards in positions such as prone or on their stomachs, drop-knee, and sometimes in a stand-up position.
Bodyboarding is not just about skills, because if you’re looking into entering the world of bodyboarding, there are also a lot to learn about the equipment being used in this watersport which is the bodyboard.
Choosing a bodyboard is not as easy as you think it is because there are many things to consider. You cannot choose a bodyboard just by basing it on its looks and design because you might end up having the wrong size which will reduce the fun you’ll have when you ride the waves. If you do not want this to happen, here are the things that you need to look into to be able to choose the perfect bodyboard for you.
Components of a Complete Bodyboard
Bodyboards are different from surfboards because they are much shorter and are made out of different types of foam and other materials. Here are the things that makes up a complete bodyboard.
The core for a bodyboard has three main types which are the EPS, PE, and PP.
- EPS: This bodyboard’s core is made up of an extruded polystyrene foam that offers unique flex patterns, great buoyancy strength, and good layer of cushioning for elbows and hips. Some bodyboards even have a 55mm thick core for added strength. They are also water resistant, reducing the chance of the board to become waterlogged if the deck gets damaged. This type of core is also much cheaper and lighter, making it great for beginners.
- PE: This core was the core of choice for the first bodyboards. It offers flex which delivers immediate feedback to the rider. Its flexibility is great for handling larger waves and for advanced bodyboarding as well. Bodyboards with this type of core are great to use in cooler water, because warmer water can cause it to soften too much, which may reduce the performance of the bodyboard.
- PP: Bodyboards with polypropylene or polypro cores are usually the choice of professional bodyboard riders because of the fantastic all-round performance they offer. It is lightweight but strong, making it perfect for those who tackle big waves and perform technical moves. PP cores have two types. Once is the beaded PP which provides great flex and buoyancy, and the other one is the extruded PP which offer rigidity and speed.
The Slicks or Skins
The slicks are found underneath the board and they are in direct contact with the water when riding the waves. There are two types of slicks that make up majority of bodyboards in the present time. They are the HDPE Slicks and the Surlyn Slicks.
- HDPE Slicks: High Density Polyethylene slicks offers a smooth trajectory. It can also enhance speed for the rider because it has a low-resistant nature. Bodyboards with this type of slick are affordable, yet hard-wearing. It is a great choice for beginners.
- Surlyn Slicks:This type of slick has a rubber-like surface, and it used the similar materials that of a golf ball. Bodyboards with this type of slick are more expensive but it can give the rider an optimum responsiveness and flexibility. This slick is able to contort itself when pressure is applied by the rider. Meaning, it has the ability to return to its original shape. This is usually the choice of top bodyboarders.
The deck is the surface of the bodyboard where the rider lies on when surfing a wave. There are different deck materials and each of them has their own benefits.
- PE Deck: This type of deck is soft and flexible, making it a great padding for the rider. However, after using it a lot, some elbow indentations might remain because it usually fails to return to its original shape.
- XPE Deck:This type of deck has a closed structure and it provides great water-resistance. It is also a stiffer kind of deck which is likely to require more wax to increase traction.
- IXPE Deck: his type of deck provides extra rigidity because it has a higher-density cross linked Polyethylene.
These are the hollow parts on the bodyboard that continue upwards from the tail on the slick side. These channels help grip the wave as well as control the board once on the wave. It performs like a fin on a surfboard, letting the rider control the boards direction.
Types of Bodyboards
Aside from knowing the components of a body board and the different materials that make up these components, you should also learn about the types of bodyboards. Types of bodyboards differ from the tail shape. The tail shape of bodyboards is essential because it can affect the performance or movement of the bodyboard in the water. There are two common tail shapes for bodyboards which are bat tail and crescent tail.
- Bat Tail: Bodyboards with bat tails can function better in weaker surf or if the waves are unpredictable. It can also help riders who are slightly heavier because it can give extra floatation at the back of the board. However, bodyboards with bat tails feel a little looser on the wave, but it’s great for prone riders.
- Crescent Tail: Bodyboards that are designed with crescent tails are best for holding the wave well. They are also user friendly boards which are great for drop-knee riders. Its shape will allow you to position your body properly with your hips on the back of the board, helping you catch a wave perfectly.
Bodyboards for Beginners and Kids
If it is your first time to try bodyboarding, or if your kids want to experience it, it is important to choose a bodyboard that is suitable for you. This will help you get the maximum enjoyment out of the watersport. Here are the factors that beginners and kids should consider when choosing a bodyboard.
- Core: For beginners and kids, it’s best to choose a board with EPS cores because it will provide enough flex and great buoyancy, as well as strength. Plus, its foam will help cushion the elbows and hips which are the two areas that usually become irritated for first time bodyboarders. It has great water resistance properties as well.
- Slick:The slick that will work best for beginners and kids is the HDPE slick because it is durable and low-resistance. Meaning, it can maximize speed even on smaller and slower waves.
- Deck:For the deck, an XPE or IXPE deck are great for beginners because they have great water-resistance and they have high rigidity, making the board very durable.
- Tail:When it comes to tail shape, both crescent and bat designs are user friendly. A bodyboard with a crescent tail will make it easy for beginners and kids to position their hips on the back of the board to catch waves. Bat tail on the other hand, is better in weaker surf and unpredictable waves, as well as for heavier riders.
- Size: The size of the board is a very important thing to consider before choosing the style. It’s because having a bodyboard with the wrong size will prevent you from getting the most out of the sport. You can check out some bodyboard sizes online to know the best one that will suit you.
- Characteristics: For beginners and kids, it’s important to choose a bodyboard that behaves as you need it to. It doesn’t matter if the board you’ll get is expensive or not, as long as its characteristics will suit your needs and as well as your skills in the water.
Bodyboards for Intermediate Bodyboarders
When you’ve already experienced bodyboarding many times and you’re thinking of taking it to the next level, there are also some factors you should take into consideration. It’s possible that you’ve already mastered the bodyboard sizing, so here are other factors that you might want to look into, when upgrading your bodyboard.
- Core: When choosing your bodyboard’s core, you now have to decide depending on the preference you have developed. Most advanced riders choose PE and PP cores because they can carry out more technical moves.
- Slick: Intermediate bodyboarders often choose a Surlyn slick because it provides them superior responsiveness as well as flexibility. It is able to contort itself and return to its original shape, which is great if you will be putting much pressure on it when you ride the waves.
- Deck: PE deck is more recommended for intermediate bodyboarders. It’s because this type of deck provides great flexibility, making it great if you will be performing active turns on the waves.
- Tail: It will be up to you which tail shape of bodyboard you’ll choose, because both bat and crescent are great for intermediate riders. This will depend on where you’re more comfortable.
Choosing the Size of Bodyboards
As stated earlier, choosing the right size of bodyboards is important for you to enjoy using it to catch waves. A board that is too long is difficult to control, while a board that is too short will create a drag, making it difficult to catch and stay on the wave. And aside from the size of the board, you should also consider its weight.
There are two methods when it comes to choosing the right size of bodyboards. The first one is to choose a bodyboard that is as tall as your bellybutton when it is stood upright on the ground. Then the second method is to choose a bodyboard that will reach from your knees to your chin when held out in front of you.
Here are some examples of great bodyboard sizing:
- If the board’s length is 32 to 34 inches, the rider’s weight should be 40 to 64 pounds, and his height should be under 4 feet.
- If the board’s length is 40 inches, the rider’s weight should be 110 to 130 pounds, and his height should be 5’3” to 5’6”.
- If the board’s length is 45 inches, the rider’s weight should be 195 to 255, and his height should be 6’3” to 6’6”.
These are just examples because choosing the bodyboards size will still mainly depend on the rider’s preferences.
There are also some further considerations when choosing the size of the bodyboard aside from the rider’s height and weight, and they are the type of wave and the type of riding.
- Type of Wave: The size of the bodyboard can also depend on the size of the waves that you will be riding. If you’ll be riding big waves, a shorter bodyboard will work for you because it will give you more control and agility since more of your body is in the water. But if you’re a beginner and you’ll be riding small waves, a longer board is advisable as it will give you greater buoyancy and stability in the water.
- Type of Riding: If you want to try the drop-knee and stand-up positions when riding, then choosing a longer bodyboard will help. But it will still depend on where you’re more comfortable.
Accessories for Bodyboards
Once you’ve chosen the right bodyboard for you, you can also accessorize it. There are many accessories for bodyboards that can provide them protection, improve its safety, and can help improve your performance as well. Here are the different accessories for bodyboards.
- Bodyboard Bag: This is not an essential accessory but a bag may come in handy in transporting and carrying the board to and from the beach. It can also protect your bodyboard from being damaged.
- Leash:This is a material coil that is attached between the board and the rider’s wrist or bicep. A leash will help prevent losing the board and it can also save you from drowning, making it an essential accessory for bodyboards. Most bodyboards already have a leash attached, but you can also buy some separately.
- Wax: Applying waxto your bodyboard can provide a great grip especially when you have problems with sliding it off. It is also an important accessory for more advance bodyboarders to avoid the board to be impeded, and as well as when shifting weight on the board.
- Swim Fins: There are many bodyboarders, most especially advanced riders who wear swim fins when bodyboarding. It’s because these can help in propelling you onto the wave early, as well as in getting out of the surf quicker while using less energy.
Taking Care of Bodyboards
To ensure that your bodyboard will give you a great performance and quality, you should see to it that you take good care of it. Taking good care of your bodyboard will make it last for a long time and there’ll be lots of bodyboarding experiences you’ll share together. Here are some of the top tips to maintain your bodyboard in a good condition.
- Keep It Out of the Heat: Do not leave your bodyboard in direct sunlight because it will cause it to lose its concave shape and it can also make its surface bubble.
- Keep It in a Bag: When not in use in the beach, you should keep your bodyboard in a bag or cover it with wet towel. It’s because salt and sun and cause damage to your bodyboard.
- Repair It Quickly when Damaged: When the deck or slick of your bodyboard gets damaged or pierced, it’s important to have it patched up immediately. This will prevent your board’s core to be filled with water.
- Wash It After Using: Since salt can cause damage to your bodyboard, make sure to wash it with freshwater after using it.
- Store It Properly: To prevent your bodyboard from losing its shape and damaging its core, it’s important to store it somewhere flat and without anything heavy on top of it.
There are indeed a lot of things to consider when choosing a bodyboard more than its appearance. We hope the information and tips we shared will help you find the best bodyboard that will suit your skills as well as your preferences.