How to buy an awesome bodyboard for you, at bigsurfshop.com.
Bodyboarding is one of the cheapest ways to start into watersports.
Young riders, through to those who are more senior, can have superb fun in the waves. You don’t need a lot of experience to start, but we’d recommend being confident in the water, getting in with others, and start off with small waves.
The process to select and buy your bodyboard, especially your first board, is relatively straight forward.
Suit your budget
First and foremost, you have to suit your budget. Any of the boards that are available at bigsurf are good quality for the amount of investment involved. A good rider on a €30 board, will perform better than a beginner on a €200 board…although granted, the better rider will benefit greatly from using the better board.
Choose your board size
Start by choosing your bodyboard size based on your height. The very general rule of thumb is the length of your board will be 1′” above or below your belly button, when the board is stood up on the ground in front of you.
When holding the bodyboard under your arm, against your side, there should be minimal slack between your armpit and the rail. If you are a heavier than average weight rider for your height, you could choose a board that is slightly wider overall to give stability, slightly wider in the tail of the board for more power on the wave, and also something slightly thicker for more float.
If your board is too long for you, it will be hard to control on the wave. A board too short will feel very twitchy on the wave, and will lack float.
Below is a guide to sizing your board, which our customers have found useful back through the years.
This info is also useful when shopping for your board and reviewing with your bodyboard friends. It’s not critical that you know all of this, but handy to have as a reference.
- The deck is the top of the board where you lie on. This is constructed with either closed or open cell, PE/PP cross linked material. To keep it simple, for more bending reflex from your board, and more performance, you want an open cell deck ideally.
- The slick is the bottom of the board. Smooth to touch, the ideal is for fast water release. You’ll see Surlyn slicks on better boards, which help with the boards elasticity and reflex to bending. Surlyn slicks are also tough, ensuring your board will last longer. Cheaper boards use a materials known as HDPE…it’s fine for beginner/intermediate use, but if you’re pushing the board and your ability, you want a Surlyn slick.
- The nose is the front of the board where you hold on.
- The nose bulbs are small bumps on each front corner of the board so your hands can grip on tight!
- The bumpers are an extra foam layer that runs through the nose and tail, helping to keep the slick bottom from peeling or delaminating.
- The rails are the sides of your board. They dictate how the board cuts through the water while on it’s edge. A 60/40 rail means 60% of the rail is on the bottom side and 40% is on top…better for prone riding, and tricks are easier. A 50/50 rail sticks better to the curl of the wave and is generally more stable, but less good for tricks. You’ll also see boards with double rails, whereby the rails have two layers of foam material to stiffen them, which give more performance.
- The tail is the end of the board. For beginners, keep it simple…we’d suggest not worrying about tail design just yet…trust the shaper to have gotten it right…all our boards are spot on! If you are at an advanced level, are a prone rider (lying down on your board), or you bodyboard in smaller wave conditions, bat tails are a popular choice. Crescent tails are favoured by prone and drop knee (half standing up) riders….these are the most popular choice.
- The channels are on the bottom sides of your board, running from the tail. They are graduated, meaning they have less impact as they move away from the tail. They reduce drag, give you grip and acceleration on the wave face.
- The stringer is essentially an internal rod, running nose to tail, that keeps the board stiff, but also helps the board recoil to original position after bending. They can be a simple plastic tube, or a carbon item. And you can have up to 2 generally within your board…usually 1 is enough on stiff cored boards. On the new boards, you can now interchange stringers between stiff and soft for different performance.
- The template is the shape of the board. Prone riders also like a forward positioned wide point on a board, while drop knees prefer it more to the back.
- The rocker is the amount of bow, or amount of flatness if you prefer, that the board has between the nose and tail. Too much rocker will be very responsive to turn, harder to catch waves with, and can be slower.
- The flex of a board is important. Stiffer boards are better in bigger waves, smoother water, and warmer water. A good board will have good flex…when deflected in the middle, it should spring back quickly.
- The core construction of your board is the main cost driver on a bodyboard. Your bodyboard is essentially a foam black, of a certain density, that is coloured and shaped into a template. For cold water, the best all round performance is had from a PE core…easily the most popular core for Ireland and the UK. In recent years, there has been development of new cores such as NRG cores, which have earned their place in the bodyboarding world in performance templates. To keep it simple, we have stocked the most appropriate cores for conditions in Ireland and the UK…if you are travelling with your board to warmer destinations, please review this with us.
- Add a good set of fins for power…check out our bodyboard fins.
- Add a good bodyboard leash…careful not to install on the stringer…you’ll find lots of videos on how to install your leash plug online.
- Add wax for grip only where you need it…so your hands, arms, elbows. Not the centre of the board. This is personal preference, but it’s a good tip.
- Do not leave your board in direct sunlight…it’ll rocker out (loose it’s concave shape) and bubble your board!
- Rinse your board with freshwater if you can after every session to reduce salt residue and build up.
- Salt and Sun are your bodyboards worst enemies, so always keep your board in one of our bodyboard bags to protect it from the elements and accidental damage when moving it from surf to surf.
Now go get wet!
Armed with all this knowledge, you can now order your board online from HERE.