While getting a tan while reading and relaxing at the beach is nice, there is nothing like riding a wave! While not all of us can ride a full size surf board, almost anyone can pick up a bodyboard (aka boogie board) and be riding a wave like a pro in no time.
To help you make the best of your time at the beach we put together a guide on the best bodyboards that are worth your consideration.
Don’t make the mistake of buying a cheap one at CVS or Walmart, the board will most likely fall apart by the end of the day.
Spending a little extra will make a big difference in the quality of the bodyboard.
First lets take a look at the bodyboards, then we’ll talk about how to choose the right board for you.
- Morey Mach 7 42″ Bodyboard
- Lucky Bums Body Board
- THURSO SURF 42″ Lightweight Bodyboard
- Own the Wave – Beach Attack Wave Weapon
- California Board Company Bodyboard
Here is a feature overview of the bodyboards, with full reviews and our buying guide below.
The Best Bodyboards
Tom Morey was the inventor of the bodyboard (originally called a boogieboard) in 1971 when he lived in Honolulu Hawaii. His original boards were made from foam that he covered with a newspaper and shaped it with an iron.
Each board was unique because words from the newspaper would bleed into the board. The boards quickly became popular and needless to say, Morey boards have come a long way since 1971!
The Morey Mach 7 is one of their flagship products and the Mach 7 is truly a classic. The Mach 7 is the third generation of the board and each generation has improved on the last.
This top of the line bodyboard has the traditional shape you would expect, but the similarity with other boards ends there.
The Mach 7 is made from Dow polyethylene and the power rod stringer is made from a dual composite carbon for high strength and excellent wave riding performance.
The closed-cell deck skin is industry standard design and gives you excellent traction and durability. Unlike cheap bodyboards, the Mach 7 is heat laminated and sealed, so it will not delaminate after a few days of use.
The Polyethylene core has just the right amount of flex to give you performance in the bigger waves and the HDPE channeled, slick bottom will give you control. The rails have a traditional 50/50 design and it has a cresent tail with stabilizing fins.
The Mach 7 does not come with a leash pre-installed which is actually a good thing.
Reason being, you can mount it where it works best for you on the board. Plus most of the included leashes are pretty cheap and low quality. (click here for a Morey leash)
If you are looking for a bodyboard for your kids the Mach 7 is probably not your best option.
The Lucky Bums bodyboard reviewed below may be a better choice. If you’re on the heavier side the 44” Morey “Big Kahuna” is the best bodyboard for heavy guys.
No question about it, if you really want the best bodyboard for intermediate to advanced riders, go with a Morey Mach 7.
If you haven’t had the thrill of riding a wave on a bodyboard then you need to get yourself a Lucky Bums Bodyboard and ride a wave! The Lucky Bums board is made from an EPS core for lightweight, durability and buoyancy.
The high density PE or polyethylene bottom is slick for maximum speed and if has rear channels for directing the water and a 60/40 rail configuration for excellent control and maneuverability. The Lucky Bums bodyboard comes with a limited lifetime warranty against manufacturers defects so you can buy this board with complete confidence.
The body board comes in 3 sizes of 33, 37 and 41 inches and 4 colors so every member of the family should be able to find a board that suites their style.
Also included is a convenient, built in leash mount and a leash so you won’t have to chase your board when you wipeout. At a bargain price and a quality design, it would be hard to go wrong with the Lucky Bums Bodyboard!
Now that Lucky Bums has an extra small size available, it is the best bodyboard for kids.
Thurso Surf is not one of the most well known names in bodyboards but they have a winner here with this board! I would classify the Thurso as an excellent beginner board because the design of it is for ease of riding and not necessarily performance.
That’s not to say you can’t do tricks with it, it just has stability as its primary focus.
The bodyboard is made from high density polyethylene (HDPE), this makes for a stiff and strong board and with the slick bottom it will glide fast through the water.
The deck of the Thurso Surf bodyboard is made from a high density crosslinked polyethylene foam (IPXE) usually only found in higher end boards that is heat laminated and sealed so it doesn’t delaminate after a few times in the water.
The deck is 4mm thick so it has a decent amount of cushioning and very forgiving. The core is made from Expanded PolyOlefin (EPO),which is extremely tough and durable.
This gives the board its rigidity and strength, while being buoyant at the same time.
Thurso Surf includes a leash that swivels in all directions and even includes a bag for storage and transport. This is an excellent quality bodyboard and a good price, and in my opinion the best body board for beginners.
Own the Wave maker of the Beach Attack bodyboard has a lot of experience making water products like SUPs and paddles. The entry into the bodyboard category is a solid contender. It features a lightweight, strong EPS core for excellent riding characteristics.
The bottom rear channels combined with a crescent tail will give you speed and stability when riding a wave.
The Beach Attack comes in 3 sizes; 33, 37 and 41 inches so you should be able to find a board for your height and weight. They have a easy to use chart to help you choose the right board.
The slick bottom will have you gliding effortlessly through the waves and it comes with a leash so when you wipe out you won’t have to swim for the board.
They give you option of 3 colors so everyone can have one that suites their style. The Own the Wave is one of the few body boards available in a 44 inch size which I think is one of the best boogie boards for adults.
Own The Wave offers and almost unheard 12 month guarantee on the board for all manufacturing defects, so you can buy the Beach Attack with confidence.
California Board Company one of the oldest makers of body/boogie boards has just created one of the best boards on the market. Using the latest in board construction, EPS foam for strength and flexibility makes it easy to ride. Even if you have never been on a bodyboard.
The California Board Company Bodyboard comes in 3 sizes of 36, 39 and 42 with a 44 inch “Magnum” Switch board also available. This is a bodyboard for beginner to intermediate level riders. It has a crescent tail for stability and speed, (see buying guide for details).
The slick bottom will have you gliding through the water even with minimal waves. The deck of the board is non-slip and soft so you should wear a shirt to prevent skin irritation.
With the included leash, the bodyboard won’t get away from you when you fall off. The California Board Company has a winner on its hands with the “Switch” bodyboard.
The only negative; you don’t get to choose the color. The California Board Company Magnum Bodyboard is probably the best bodyboard under $100.
How To Choose A BodyBoard
Finding the right board for your height and weight is pretty critical if you want to enjoy your day on the water. So I put together this guide that will help you pick the right one for your body style AND ability.
So let’s dig in!
As you may have guessed the size of your body board is the most important factor in choosing the right board.
Too big and you will have problems controlling it and too small… well you’re going to be sitting too low in the water.
Sizing is simple and easy, just measure the distance between the ground and your belly button and/or the distance between your knees and chin.
They should be about the same, if they are different by more than a few inches, take an average of the two for your boogie board size.
Another way of sizing a bodyboard for you is hold the board under your arm like you would carry it. If you are able to easily reach the bottom rail and curl your fingers around it without a huge gap under your armpit then you probably have the right size.
As a general rule, you may want to go with a larger bodyboard if you will be riding smaller waves like on the West coast of Florida. If you’re going to be riding some larger waves, then going a bit smaller will give you more control and maneuverability.
Body/Boogie Board Construction
We’re going to get technical here and talk briefly about the two main materials that make up a body board. PE or polyethylene foam and PP polypropylene foam. Now that you know that, so what? Well the newer PP foam is newer, lighter and stronger than the older PE foam. Of course it costs more, but the advantages of lightness and being stiffer make up for the extra cost.
The latest boards are now using both by layering both materials in the core so they can save money and get all the advantages of PP foam.
Now that I bored you with that, let me mention the “Stringer”. This is a carbon fiber or fiberglass tube that runs down the length of the body board that adds strength and flexibility. If the boogie board has one it will last longer than one without a stringer. Of course it will add to the cost so consider how often you will use the board if its worth the extra cost.
If you are a beginner then you can skip this section. DropKnee is a more advanced riding style where you place one of your knees on the back corner of your board and your other foot will be in the opposite front corner of the board.
This is a much more advanced riding style and is not widely done because it is a much more difficult riding style, more on the level with surfing. This is not something I would recommend you try starting out doing.
Body/Boogie Board Design
Believe it or not the design of the rear of the body board or “Tail” can make a big difference in how the board performs. The traditional “crescent” design tail is mostly what you will find except on the higher end boogie boards.
The crescent tail tends to be wider giving you more stability and is usually faster.
The newer “bat” tail is a recent invention and mainly for more experienced riders because it gives them more control over the board for doing tricks, especially in smaller waves.
It is also a good design for heavier riders as it tends to give more lift in the back of the board, giving them more speed.
As you may have guessed the rail is the edge of the body board. To make it more confusing the top part of the edge of the board is referred to as the “chine” and the lower section of the edge is called the rail.
Why is this important?
Well they come in to two popular configurations: a 50-50 and a 60-40. All you really need to know is a 60-40 rail configuration gives you more control and maneuverability while the more traditional 50-50 gives you more speed.
Pretty obvious here, the wide point is the widest point of the body board from rail to rail. The reason it matters is because the position of the wide point in relation to the nose or front of the board effects how maneuverable the board is. The closer to the front it is gives you more stability. The wider the board is, makes the board more buoyant but harder to turn. Boards have gotten narrower over the years to give the rider more control over the board.
Boogie boards typically come in two thicknesses: 55mm and 51 mm. Thinner boards are of course less buoyant and slower but give you more control for tricks. A thicker board on the other hand, is faster but you will lose some maneuverability. They are better for smaller waves.
Lastly there is “rocker” and that simply is the upward curve in the front of the board. As you may have guessed it’s all about control of the board. The less “rocker” or upward angle at the front and the faster the board will tend to be. The more rocker the board has and the more maneuverable it is but slower. I would advise going with less rocker or just plain flat. Unless your very experienced it won’t do much for you and just slow you down.
Putting It All Together
So now that you know all the technical specifications for a body board, how do you choose the right one? Well first and most obvious, you need the correct size. It all starts here, get this wrong and all the rest doesn’t matter.
So follow the sizing section above to get the right size. If you are a heavier rider, wide and thicker is better. We haven’t discussed flex and recoil; this is dependent on the material the boogie board is made of. The PP foam has less flex but more maneuverability. While the older PE foam gives you more flex and more speed.
While a longer board is more buoyant, too long a board for your height and it will be that much harder to paddle through the waves and to control. Get too small a board and you will be riding too low in the water and will not go very fast, plus you will have a hard time controlling the board.
Now that you know how to buy a board, get out there and ride a wave!