Body boarding, also known as boogie boarding, is a fun and affordable sport the entire family can enjoy the surf without all the hassle of lugging around bulky surfboards. They’re easier to transport, whether you’re heading to overseas to an island destination or spending the summer at your local beach.
Body boarding is easier to master than surfing, and much less exhausting.
It’s important to avoid buying based on looks because not all body boards are created equal, so here’s how to pick one to suit your needs.
When standing upright, the body board should reach your bellybutton region. Boards that are too long are harder to control and paddle. Boards that are too small will cause you to sink. If you are a heavier build, wider boards will deliver more buoyancy.
Your riding style will determine the type of nose you need. Riding prone, which is lying face down, will require a board with a flat nose. These boards tend to go faster. The wide surface area provides you with plenty of room to grip the board allowing you to easily manoeuvre it for turns and spins.
Boards are generally made from two types of material:
- Polypropylene – the boards are suitable for warmer waters has less flexibility which makes it’s faster, but is less suitable for stunts, late turns or scoops.
- Polyethylene (or Dow) – great in cold water and excellent manoeuvrability for big bottom turns.
NB: Water temperatures affect the core material of body boards and the way they handle. Cold water makes the board stiff, warm waters – more flexible.
Stringers are rods made from plastic piping, graphite or carbon fibre which are inserted into the middle of the body board to provide extra strength and help the board maintain its original shape without losing flexibility.
Wider tails provide more buoyancy perfect when the swell is lacklustre but slower at responding to stunts moves. Thinner tails are easier to control in big surf, but lose flotation.
There are two types of tails:
- Crescent tail – A good all-rounder and the choice of pro body boarders due to the board’s adaptability and handling in all types of surf conditions. Great for belly riding or drop knee.
- Bat tail. Perfect for bigger riders wanting good handling in choppy, changeable surf.
So now you know what to look for, why not stock up and get everyone a body board for Christmas? Body boards are the gifts that keeps on giving – all summer long.