Which Bodyboard Should I Buy?
When buying a new foam bodyboard there are a few characteristics to take into consideration - its core, the tail shape, the slick (skins).
The core of bodyboards is the most important aspect to consider. It refers to the foam material used for manufacturing the board.
There are two types: polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP). PE is the most common material found in bodyboard cores. The mechanical properties of the foams are affected by the water temperature. Cold waters make boards stiffer, while hot water makes them more flexible. PE is a flexible material, and PE bodyboards won’t get too rigid when used in colder waters. As such, the board will retain its maneuverability and will be easy to control. However, if the water gets warms (23℃ above) the board will get too soft and be hard to control.
On the other hand, PP is a stiffer and lighter material and will stiffen up in colder waters (15℃ below). This way, the board can become uncomfortable to use and only experienced riders will be able to control it properly. That is why PE bodyboards are preferred by beginner and recreational bodyboarders, as they can be used on a wider range of water temperatures.
The tail defines the directional movement and maneuverability. Crescent tails provide a good grip on the waves and are easier for riders to position their bodies over the board. If you want a larger surface area for more lift, speed and drive, choose a bat tail.
The Slick (Skins)
The slick, also called skin, is the material found underneath bodyboards. Surlyn slicks are made of ethylene resins and copolymers providing elastic properties. These materials make bodyboards faster and increase their longevity. HDPE slicks appear on entry-level boards. They are made of a resilient material resulting in less drag for catching waves.
Choosing the Right Bodyboard Size
Both kids’ bodyboards and adult bodyboards should fit the riders’ height and weight. Kids' bodyboards usually range between 33 and 37 inches (83 cm - 94 cm) in length while anything bigger can be considered an adult board. Sizes generally go up to 46 inches (117 cm). There’s little difference in design between kids and adults boards, so if you are a smaller adult then using a board that was initially designed for children should work fine.
Picking the right size is extremely important. If the board is too long, your knees will hit the tail while paddling. If the bodyboard is too small, you will not get enough flotation. To determine the size of the board correctly, you can either measure the distance from the ground to your belly button or the distance between your chin and knees.
If you would like to know more about bodyboards, feel free to check out our Buying a Bodyboard guide.