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 body board (aka boogie board) and be riding a wave like a pro in no time at all.
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 with one day of use.
Spending a little extra will make a big difference in the quality of the bodyboard. If your going to the beach, why not get a snorkel mask to enjoy the fish? Check out my mask reviews here.
First lets take a look at the bodyboards, then we’ll talk about how to choose the right board for you.
Here is a feature overview of the bodyboards, with full reviews and our buying guide below.
The 3 Best Bodyboards
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, quality design it would be hard to go wrong with the Lucky Bums Bodyboard!
Lucky Bums has created a quality bodyboard at a bargain price, highly recommended.
Own the Wave maker of the Beach Attack bodyboard has a lot of experience making water products like SUP 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 while 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.
Own The Wave offers and almost unheard 12 month guarantee on the board for all manufacturers defects, so you can buy the Beach Attack with confidence.
One of the oldest makers of body/boogie boards they have created one of the best boards on the market. Using the latest in board construction of 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 from 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 board. 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.
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.
As a general rule, you may want to go a big bigger on the board 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.
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!