Which bodyboard is best?

Bodyboarding is used as a stepping stone to surfing; in fact, many people find it more enjoyable. Bodyboards are also just as complex in construction as surfboards, with multiple material and design choices to make.

The best bodyboard is Own The Wave Wave Weapon Bodyboard. It’s light, includes a variety of tethers and comes in several sizes and colors. It’s perfect for beginners to learn and intermediates to improve.

What to know before you buy a bodyboard

Core material

Bodyboards are usually made of one or a mixture of polypropylene, polyethylene or expanded polystyrene. Each interacts differently with various aspects of water.

  • PP cores are among the more commonly made. They’re light, which lets them move through the water fastest. They have little flex in return, making them difficult to control. They’re also the most durable.
  • Low-density PP sacrifices a little durability for a little more flex, leading to easier control, especially in cold water. It goes by a few other acronyms, such as PX.
  • PE cores are the most common. They’re a little heavier with a little more flex than PP cores, making them move slower but granting a greater degree of control. They’re best used in cool water.
  • Dual-core, also called 3D core, is a mixture of PP for durability and PE for flex and control. 
  • EPS cores are the best for beginners. They’re ultra-light, granting maximum buoyancy. As most beginners simply move straight, the lack of flex isn’t a problem.

Tail

The tail (or backend) of the bodyboard comes in two shapes: crescent and bat.

  • Crescent tails look like a “C.” They’re easier to control and ride, making them best for beginners or for use on large waves.
  • Bat tails resemble a bat. They allow for more precise control, in particular on small waves, but can create drag through large waves.

What to look for in a quality bodyboard

Deck material

The deck, or top, of the bodyboard is usually made of crosslink or polyethylene.

  • Crosslink decks are durable but inflexible. They’re also inexpensive, meaning the majority of low-cost and beginner boards are crosslink.
  • PE decks are softer and more flexible. They’re more comfortable but will develop divots from your body weight over time, particularly when used regularly.

Slick material

The slick (or bottom) of the bodyboard is arguably the most important section, since it’s what’s in contact with the water. They’re usually made of high-density polyethylene or Surlyn.

  • HDPE slicks are inexpensive and equally low-quality. However, they’re more than enough for beginners and casual bodyboarders.
  • Surlyn is a soft, translucent polymer. It’s flexible but rapidly returns to its original shape. You’ll have to shell out for a board with a Surlyn slick.

Channels

Most bodyboards have channels like little grooves in the back half of the slick. They usually provide more control or increased speed. For example, some professional boards use a large concave scoop in the back half of the slick for maximum speed with increased control.

How much you can expect to spend on a bodyboard

The low-cost bodyboards you may rent from a beachside shack rarely cost more than $40, while high-end pro-level boards cost $200-$300. A board worth buying to learn and improve on typically costs $50-$100.

Bodyboard FAQ

Do the dimensions of a bodyboard matter?

A. Yes, bodyboard buyers should consider the length and width of their prospective purchase. The length affects comfort. It should be roughly the same as the distance between your chin and knees. You won’t be able to paddle and won’t be kept afloat properly if it’s too long or short, respectively. The width as measured at the widest point of the board affects performance. Wider boards favor stability over control; narrow boards are the inverse. You won’t find narrower boards until you get close to or exceed $100.

Why do bodyboards have indentations at the front?

A. Most have little indentations, sometimes called nose bulbs, to provide extra grip for your fingers. Gripless boards can be difficult to hold onto once you start attempting any non-beginner moves. They’re especially helpful for making sudden, sharp moves and keeping precise control over your direction.

What’s the best bodyboard to buy?

Top bodyboard 

Own The Wave Wave Weapon Bodyboard

Own The Wave Wave Weapon Bodyboard

What you need to know: This is an effective and stylish bodyboard with decent buoyancy and a high-speed surface.

What you’ll love: It has an EPS core with an HDPE slick, a crescent tail and rear-end channels. It comes with a coiled leash and two fin tethers. An e-guide is emailed to you with how-tos and tips. It’s available in three sizes and nearly 10 color combinations.

What you should consider: The skin begins to peel away faster than some consumers appreciate. Some arrived damaged and a few became damaged quickly.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top bodyboard for the money

Bo-Toys Lightweight Bodyboard

Bo-Toys Lightweight Bodyboard

What you need to know: This board costs a little less than usual without much sacrifice in quality.

What you’ll love: It has an EPS core with an HDPE slick, a crescent tail and rear-end channels. It includes a leash. It’s available in two lengths, each with two color options. It weighs only 1.2 or 1.5 pounds, depending on size.

What you should consider: The slick separated quickly for some consumers. Some packages didn’t contain the leash. Some consumers had issues with the paint staining clothes and hair.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Thurso Surf Quill 42-Inch Bodyboard

Thurso Surf Quill 42-Inch Bodyboard

What you need to know: This board breaks the design mold with a gorgeous faux-wood look.

What you’ll love: It has an EPS core with an HDPE slick, a crescent tail and rear-end channels. The slick is heat-laminated for extra durability. It’s designed for stability and smooth gliding — perfect for recreation of any skill level. It includes a stainless steel double-swivel coiled wrist leash. 

What you should consider: It’s a little pricey. Its weight limit is only 210 pounds. There are rare reports of the board breaking down on initial use.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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