Bodyboarding or ‘boogieboarding’ as it is sometimes called, is a fun, tough and rewarding water sport. It can trace its origins to hundreds of years ago but has become popular in the mainstream in the last 40 years or so. A bodyboard is a relatively simple concept, but finding the best bodyboard for your own needs can be the difference between surfing the waves with ease and ending up frustrated trying to pick up the hobby.
A bodyboard is a short square or rectangle made up of hydrodynamic foam, and tend to have a plastic bottom, as well as a softer top, also made of foam, this is known as the ‘deck’. The foam sides of the board are commonly referred to as the ‘rails’. Different models make these out of different materials and this can give the user of the board different levels of control and flexibility.
Modern bodyboards tend to have some sort of carbon or graphite rod within them, this is designed to make the board a little stronger and reduce the chances of it warping in shape. It also helps add speed and power to the user and give you more control on the waves you’re inevitably going to be surfing.
Boards tend to have different shapes and curvatures which will have an impact on how it feels to the user and the characteristics of the ride. If it is wider near to the nose then it is good for prone riding (with stomach fully on top of the board) and more of a narrow design at the nose is better suited to stand-up or drop-knee surfing as your body weight will be further back on the board.
As you can tell, there are a few technical terms involved, but they’re not overly complicated and are easy to get used to, especially if you’re already a surfer or know a little about bodyboarding. If you are a beginner, don’t worry, as our bodyboard reviews will talk you through the pros and cons of each model, and whether it is suitable for you.
The riding forms of a bodyboard are vital to understand. Check them out in the bodyboard wikipedia page for an understanding of how you can ride a bodyboard.
Here is a quick run down of the inevitable considerations when it comes to buying your bodyboard, and the features to look out for when trying to find the most suitable board.
- Size. This is vital, and your weight as well as your height should be considered when you are deciding. As a rough rule of thumb, the board should reach from your knees to your chin when you hold it. If you’re a bit heavier, then you should think about a wider bodyboard which will help you to float and ride with a lot more ease.
- The Nose. This is the part at the front of the board as you lay forward on it, and it will have an impact on how you move across the water. A wide board will be 11-13 inches, great for prone riding. This is designed for stability, but if you are going to ride drop-knee then you will want something 10 inches or lower. Choosing something too wide can cost you a lot of your manoeuvrability, but if you go for something really narrow the control can be difficult to master. It basically depends how fast you want to move.
- Your ability. This will make an impact on your buying choice, the best bodyboard for beginners is not going to be the same as that for a pro. As you get better, you will likely know which features you prefer and can sacrifice a bit of the stability for speed and flex.
- Price. Finding the best cheap bodyboard or at least a good value for money bodyboard (under $100) will be high on the list for a lot of people. Price tends to play a part in the buying choice.
PE vs PP Bodyboards
These are two terms you’re likely to hear on your search for a bodyboard.
Extruded polyethylene (PE) is also sometimes referred to as Dow Core, but different chemical companies sometimes give it different names. They’re historically the most popular material of bodyboard, but as it has become an environmental concern and the strength has been compromised recently some people have turned to PP. PP is also a good choice for beginners. PP offers water resistance, durability and is very light.
There is no simple ‘best’ between PE and PP and different models of bodyboard make the most of different materials, so it is worth looking at the individual bodyboard reviews below to decipher which is the best for you.
Bodyboard Reviews: Counting Down the Best Models
Best Morey Body Boards:
Morey are a brand with a lot to offer in the world of bodyboards, and we have a few of their products on our ‘best of’ list. The story behind the company is awesome. From their own website:
“On July 7, 1971, the bodyboard was born. Tom Morey borrowed an electric carving knife and a household iron, whittled some scrap polyethylene foam into a small rectangular mat and covered it with newspaper. He trademarked the name and placed and placed an ad in surfing magazine. By 1977 he was producing 80,000 per year.”
Morey Cruiser 42.5″ Body Board
Designed as a full sized board which is great for those just starting out as well as intermediate and advanced users. The board has a crescent tail, a bottom skin with channels and a wrist leash to make sure it doesn’t slip off and go missing. They’ve built it to be used by riders who are 5’9 and up and who weigh somewhere between 160 and 185 lbs, but there are reviews where people larger and smaller have said that they use this board with no issues. 42.5 inches is a versatile size and can be used by a wide range of users.
Versatility is one of the positives of this board, and it offers a good middle ground where it gives plenty of buoyancy and stability whilst still being fast across the water and great for those who want to learn more and become more advanced bodyboarders. The Morey Cruiser gets the thumbs up from us, all at a pretty good price, too!
Morey Big KahunaThe Big Kahuna is a bit more of an intermediate to advanced version that can still be bought at a good price. It is 44 inches and this makes it great for slightly larger users and those with bigger builds. Extremely durable and in their own words this is designed to ride ‘hard and long’. Big Kahuna reviews are generally very positive and show what a reliable brand they have become. The features include:
- 44″ design perfect is for people over 5’10″/185 lbs or more.
- Strong carbon tube within the board provides a lot of strength and solidity.
- PE (polyethylene) core, strong and suitable for both cold and warm water.
- Crescent tail assists in your body positioning and gives a lot more control over the board.
- Extremely durable and high quality whilst retaining quality.
662 Sixsixtwo Splash Bodyboard
The SixSixTwo splash board is made of high quality EPS foam with a slick bottom. The performance of this is very good, which is further helped by its crescent tail, which makes it a very manoeuvrable model of bodyboard which is very strong and stays water resistant in all sorts of conditions.
It has a leash to make sure that the board doesn’t slip off and can stay attached to you at all times, and there are fin tethers included which keep the fins in place. The bottom of this board is very fast and slick and lets you swoop across the water at some speed.
This model may not be the best choice for a 6 ft 5 bodybuilder, but it is great for children and those with a smaller frame. Its 36 inch design is amazing for those looking for a high quality small and flexible board which can give a lot of speed across the waves.
Bodyboard & Full Beach Pack by BPS
BPS is short for Bulletproof Surf, and the brand are making a name for themselves in lots of different areas of water sports. Their offering in terms of bodyboards is a ‘full beach pack’ with everything you need to get out on the water on your bodyboard.
This comes with an ultra-lite body board, which is available in multiple sizes (this is a real plus point and not something every bodyboard brand offers). It also has a leash and a set of tethers to keep your swim fins attached and ensure they don’t get lost at sea.
This is one of the cheapest bodyboards we’ve seen on offer and though it may not be as rugged and durable as some of the high end models, it is great for beginners and the fact that it comes as a set is a real positive. Perfect for families and hobbyists who want to try bodyboarding for the first time. It probably won’t be the fastest, but the lightweight, portable and easy to use board set is great value for money and a good starting point. It is also available in blue and pink, especially good if you’ve got kids and can let them choose their favorite color.
Once you get past a bit of the jargon and understand what criteria make up the best bodyboard it is relatively simple to pick the best one for your own needs. As you can see, the size and build of the user is going to play a big part in the decision. There are certain brands in the world of water sports we have come to love and trust, and in the bodyboard world this is no different, with Morey and BPS being among the best.
As we’ve alluded to, what is best for one person may not be best for someone else, and taking a little time to delve into individual bodyboard reviews and learn what you like when out on the water, as well as evaluating your own skills, can play a huge part in any buying decision you make.
Whether you call it bodyboarding or boogieboarding, this is a very rewarding and enjoyable sport that can help you enjoy the sea, stay fit and have a great time either alone or with family. Getting the right board is vital.