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.
Quick Answer: The 5 Best Rated Bodyboards For 2019
- Morey Mach 7 42″ Bodyboard
- Lucky Bums Body Board
- THURSO SURF 42″ Lightweight Bodyboard
- Own the Wave – Beach Attack Wave Weapon
- THURSO SURF Quill Bodyboard Package
Here is a feature overview of my top rated bodyboards with full reviews and our buying guide below.
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 their flagship bodyboard and the Mach 7 is truly a classic. Wham-O, maker of all sorts of outdoor toys recently bought the company, luckily it has not impacted the quality.
Video: Overview of the Morey Mach 7.
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 BPS ‘STORM’)
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” California Board Company MMAG Bodyboard 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.
The second THURSO SURF body/boogie board on our list is one of the best boards on the market and certainly one of the best looking!
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.
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 made from high density IXPE that is 4mm thick. It is soft and non slip 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 THURSO SURF has a winner on its hands with the “Quill” bodyboard.
The only negative; you don’t get to choose the size, it’s only available in a 42″. The THURSO SURF Quill bodyboard is probably the best bodyboard under $100.
Bodyboard Comparison Table
|Bodyboard||Length(s)||Best For||Leash Included?||Rating|
|Morey Mach 7||42"||Intermediate/Expert||No||4.7 / 5,0|
|Lucky Bums Body Board||33", 37", 41"||Beginner/Intermediate||Yes||3.5 / 5.0|
|THURSO SURF Bodyboard||42"||Beginner/Intermediate||Yes (Carry bag too)||5.0 / 5.0|
|Own the Wave - 'Beach Attack'||33", 37", 41"||Beginner/Intermediate||Yes||4.3 / 5.0|
|THURSO SURF Quill 42'' Bodyboard||42"||All Experience Levels||Yes||4.8 / 5.0|
How To Choose A BodyBoard
- Getting The Right Size
- Body/Boogie Board Construction
- Body/Boogie Board Design
- FAQs About Bodyboards
- Tips for Buying & Riding a Bodyboard
- Putting It All Together
- Best Bodyboard Brands
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.
Sizing Your BodyBoard
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 you are very experienced it won’t do much for you and just slow you down.
FAQs About Bodyboards
These are just the most common questions we see, but if you have a question that isn’t answered here please feel free to contact us – we’d love to help!
Q: Can’t I just grab a bodyboard from a local store that’s cheaper?
A: The bodyboards you can find at any local discount store are not made for the bodyboarder planning to use it regularly or to advance their skill level through experience. While the covering on these inexpensive bodyboards performs okay, it’s the core that leaves them lacking.
The core of many of these more common boards is typically made up of the same foam that you find boxes of electronics and other goods. This foam falls apart easily and has virtually no flexibility.
This means that one hard wave can crack it. If you are intending to make bodyboarding a regular hobby, it’s better to invest in a board that will last a while and that can grow with your skills.
Q: Do I need to use a leash when bodyboarding?
A: The main reason for using a leash when bodyboarding is safety. If you were to wipe out or lose contact with your bodyboard, you won’t know the location of the board. That means you can’t know to stay away from it when you’re under the water and you may make contact with it in a not-so-pleasant way.
You also want to make sure you don’t lose the board in the crashing waves and lose the investment you’ve made in a great bodyboard. Remember to attach the leash to the right side of the board if you are right-handed, and vice versa if you are left-handed.
There are both straight and coiled leashes available. Both are designed to minimize the shock when the board gets away from you. However, leashes that are coiled are recommended because they stretch when needed and usually aren’t in the way.
Q: Why does the bodyboard need to be specific for my height and weight?
A: We covered a bit about the size of bodyboards above but we want to stress how important it is to have the right size board according to your height and weight. If the board is too big for you to manage, you won’t be able to control its movements in the waves.
If the board is too small, you will be sitting lower in the water and you won’t really be riding the waves. For the optimum experience on a bodyboard, be sure to get the right size.
Q: What kind of deck is best for a beginner?
A: Most bodyboards made for beginners have a polyethylene, or PE, deck. PE decks are both soft and smooth, but after a while of use, you may find that it doesn’t go back to its original shape. For example, you may have indentations where your elbows are usually placed. While some might find this troublesome, others actually like this feature.
The indentations at the elbows can make it easier to ride and you can be more stable on the board. A material called crosslink is also available. It is usually much more durable, but that’s because it’s stiffer. Both are available and it’s usually up to the rider to choose what works best for them.
Q: Other than the board, what else do I need to start bodyboarding?
A: While it’s possible to start practicing on your bodyboard without the extra equipment, you may find it easier to get up to speed if you have the whole bodyboarding kit. You should always invest in a good wetsuit, a rash vest, or both.
A rash vest is sometimes called a rashie. The wetsuit and rash vest work together to prevent board rash, sunburn, and other irritations. You might also want a pair of swim fins, although beginners may find it easier without them.
Tips for Buying & Riding a Bodyboard
While many of the following tips are geared more towards beginners, you experienced riders might learn something as well.
Tip #1: Match the Bodyboard to Your Skill Level
Bodyboards built for experts, or even the intermediate boarder, have many more features and it may take longer for you to get used to how the board performs on the waves.
It’s best to start out with a board that has more basic features, and features that are going to make it easier for you to get used to. Always remember that as your skills improve you will be able to upgrade your bored or trade up to a better one.
Tip #2: Learn Correct Body Positioning
Even the most experienced bodyboarder sometimes doesn’t have correct body positioning habits. It’s very important when first learning how to bodyboard that you learn how to position your body correctly. Your hands should be on the nose of the board, gripping it.
Your chest should be elevated, held up by your elbows. Your lower belly should be laying against the back half of the board, while your legs are free to help you duck into or ride the waves.
Tip #3: Figure Out How to Read Waves
Most bodyboarders and even surfers are very aware that reading the waves is different at every beach. When first starting out, you want to try the waves at the same beach until you get the hang of reading the waves there. Every beach will be different, every wave will be different, but that’s part of the fun of bodyboarding.
You also may find other bodyboarders and surfers can be a valuable source of information about the beach, the waves, and even your board.
Tip #4: Wax Your Board
Even amongst the professional bodyboarders, there is much debate on whether or not to wax your board. There are benefits to both, but the only real way to find out what is best for you and your board is to try it both ways.
Try using your board as is, and then wax it properly to try it that way. You may find you like to wax your board, but only in certain areas.
Tip #5: Start Small
It’s easy to get discouraged as a new body border if you’re attempting waves that you’re not comfortable handling yet. For a while, you may just find it easier to learn how to paddle your board. Then, when you feel comfortable you can attempt the smaller waves and ride into shore.
At each step, make sure you are comfortable with the waves you are riding before moving up to tackle the bigger ones. Not only does this help you gain confidence but it is also safer for you and other bodyboarders.
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.
Best Bodyboard Brands
I dont think there is any question that the king of bodyboards is still Morey.They invented them over 40 years ago and they have only gotten better. There are some up and comers like California Board Company and Thuroso Surf. Going with any of them will give you a great day on the water. Here are my top brands:
I hope this guide was helpful for finding the best bodyboard to fit your needs. If you want to comment or recommend a bodyboard I didn’t include, please use my contact form to get in touch.
Now that you know how to buy a board, get out there and ride a wave!