If you or your kids are looking to hit the waves with minimum fuss, a bodyboard (boogie board) could be your ticket to catching waves safely. Bodyboards are more affordable and easier to get started on, they’re less tiring and more versatile than surfboards. You can either ride them in the prone position, the drop-knee position or even standing up if you’re feeling adventurous.
However, keep in mind that you won’t be able to perform complex aerial maneuvers as you would with a surfboard. Regardless, bodyboards are a sure way to get the most out of a windy day at the beach. But in order to get the most out of a bodyboard, and ensure a pleasant first-time experience, you need to have the right board.
There are thousands of different designs, shapes and sizes of bodyboards for sale, and they all perform differently. That being said, choosing the right boogie board takes some careful consideration, especially when it comes to size. Both your weight and height will have an impact to your performance, and if you choose a board that’s even a few centimetres too big or too small, your ability to catch waves and perform maneuvers will be affected. When you hold the bodyboard in front of you, it should go from your knees up to your chin. If you’re on the heavier size, consider getting a model with a little bit of extra width for better buoyancy and flotation.
When looking for bodyboards online, you’ll notice that some boards are more expensive than others. As is the case with everything else, you get what you pay for. A high-end board will come with more features and will be built of higher quality materials than an entry-level board. However, if you’re a beginner, you don’t really need all the fancy features if you can’t take advantage of them, so a high-end board will end up being a waste of money.
What you should focus on, is the core of the board. The core is what defines the board and the right core can help you progress through the learning curve faster and enjoy the sport more. The wrong type of core, on the other hand, just won’t feel right. The type of foam used in the core determines the board’s performance. So, it’s important to think about the different type of conditions in which you’ll be catching waves. Wave size, wave type, water temperature and your dimensions all matter.
The most popular types of bodyboard cores are polyethylene, also known as PE and polypropylene, also known as PP. PE is the most common type of core, and is exceptional for riding in cooler waters. Although it’s heavier than PP core, it has more flex, providing more overall control. PP cores are considered better for warm waters, as they’re stronger and lighter, providing a faster ride. PP boards also have the ability to keep its original shape well, which preserves its life span. And even though you can use PP boards in cooler waters, its stiffness can make them uncomfortable and difficult to control. The lack of flex may also make even simple moves more challenging.
That being said, PP boards last significantly longer than PE boards. However, some riders prefer the superior flex that PE cores offer, as they have the ability to shape and bend themselves into the wave’s face easier. But PE and PP cores represent only the end of the spectrum – extra stiff versus flexible. Nowadays, you’ll find boards that include the characteristics of both PP and PE cores, known as 3D cores. 3D cores use layers of both PP and PE foam to give the board the best of both worlds.
Besides the core, another major part of the board that influences its performance is the tail. The tail dictates the directional movement and release when performing maneuvers. The two most common types of tail shapes are bat and crescent. Narrower tails let you release from moves easier, as they’re not as buoyant, while wider tails provide more stability. For additional control and edge, you should get a board with a crescent tail, whereas for more drive and surface area you should get a bat tail.
The nose is the front part of the board, and its width will impact your board’s maneuverability. Wider boards are more stable, but less maneuverable. If you choose a board that’s too wide for the type of wave riding you want to do, you’ll lose speed. On the flip side, a board that’s too narrow will give you a hard time controlling it. Most boards have a similar-sized nose, so you shouldn’t pay too much mind to it. Just pick a type of nose that suits how you wish to ride. Wider nose boards are more suitable for prone riders, whereas narrower nose boards are preferred by drop-knee boarders.