SIZING: Be sure to factor weight, age, and skill level into the equation; more weight / more age / less skill = a slightly larger board.
4’2” to 4’9” = 36” – 38”
4’9” to 5’4” = 38” – 40.5”
5’3” to 5’7” = 40” – 41.5”
5’6” to 5’11” = 41” – 42.5”
5’9” to 6’2” = 42” – 43.5”
6’0” to 6’6” = 43” – 44”
6’4” to 6’8” + = 45”
CORE OPTIONS: EXTRUDED POLYSTYRENE, POLYETHYLENE, POLYPROPYLENE
Extruded Polystyrene: commonly known as EPS, is an entry level core that has low memory (permanent dents), fair durability, light weight, but most important, is non-repairable and can break/ hinge/ pop. Any attempt to repair this type of core will cause further damage.
Polyethylene: commonly known as PE, is a mid-range core that has some memory, fair durability, medium weight, and tends to fair better in colder waters. Its mid-tier price and quality components make it a good value and sensible choice for weekend warriors, beginners, or someone on a budget who wants to graduate from EPS. PE core flex characteristics can be adjusted with the addition of stringers, mesh, different bottom skins and different grades of PE. This core is repairable with hot glue, contact cement or Sponge-Rez.
Polypropylene: Commonly known as PP, is a premium core that has great memory, great durability, and great weight characteristics for high performance riding. These cores fair well in both warm and cold waters as their flex characteristics can be adjusted with the addition of stringers, various substrates (mesh), different bottom skins, different grades of PP and construction processes.
Remember: Buying a Polypro core model does not mean your board will last forever because it costs more and has stringers. It simply means you are getting a board that has been constructed to be ranked in the premium class of bodyboards. A board should last about 3 – 6 months at peak performance and will breakdown there after if getting regular usage. A board could last 1 – 2 years or more or barely 1 – 2 weeks if you either: choose the wrong board, place it under certain expectations/ demands that are not consistent with its manufacturer’s intent, subject it to improper care. And even with the toughest board, if it is subject to rigorous use or extreme conditions, it can and will break down rather quickly.
DECK MATERIALS: SEALED AIR (PE) , CROSSLINK (IXL)
Sealed Air: “Old School Deck”, larger cells, slightly rougher feel and can be stiffer than Cross Link depending on what “grade/ poundage” is used. Sealed Air is a little less rashy but gets dirtier easier. It does not look as “clean” as Cross Link but it has great performance reviews and a lot of pros prefer Sealed Air.
Cross Link: Tight Cell Deck, small cells, smoother. One deck is not “better” than the other. This is a personal preference.
BOTTOM SKINS: HDPE AND SURLYN
HDPE: High Density Polyethylene = harder bottom skin / creases easier / great durability / solid performance and amazing value.
SURLYN: Softer bottom skin = less definitive creases / great durability / more expensive / superior projection in medium to large surf.
TAIL SHAPES: BAT AND CRESCENT
Bat Tails: Look like batman’s head. Offer a more maneuverable board for Prone Riding and are faster through flat spots and on smaller waves as there is more foam in the tail than that of a crescent. This creates more lift and flotation in this area. Templates need to be factored into this statement. If you like to prone a lot, you may want to consider a bat tail.
Crescent Tails: Look like a crescent moon. Crescent tails are generally regarded as more comfortable as the rider’s hips can lock into the tail of the board. They also allow for more control off the bottom for the less experienced rider. In generally, they require less effort to control the board in any steep part of the wave. They can be a little slower in smaller surf and a little less maneuverable but this does not mean they will not do the same tricks. Crescent Tails are the preferred tail for versatile riding including stand up and drop knee. If you like to drop knee a lot, you should consider a crescent tail.
BUT, both tails will work for both types of riding, with each having various performance characteristics.
TEMPLATES: PRONE, DK, SUB
Prone: Upside Down Teardrop to Bullet casing. The straighter the template the faster down the line speed and the less maneuverable.
DK: Bullet casing with narrow nose/ round nose.
Sub: Bullet casing with narrowest nose, longer length to accommodate stand up. Often interchanged with DK riders who are seeking a “2 in 1” type product.
STRINGER OPTIONS: SINGLE, DOUBLE, TRIPLE, SPRINGER
Stringers help support the core of the board. Stringers do not prevent deck creases or bottom creases. No company warranties against creases. They are a naturally occurring element with bodyboards since they are made of foam and plastic. More stringers will create more stiffness but this will vary board to board / core to core.
USE THE FLEX TEST: Hold the board in front of you, against your hips, and gauge the flex. All bodyboards should have some level of flex and the highest level of performance for a board is when its flex characteristics are properly paired with someone’s body type and riding style.
Resin Extruded and Epoxy Glass Filament Wound: Fiberglass/ Resin composite based products.
All stringers are NOT the same
PE cores use Resin Extruded: Heavier and more rigid flex.
PP cores use EGF: Lighter and less rigid flex.
MESH: Mesh is a plastic composite material that is laminated between the bottom skin and the core to provide increase rigidity as well as resistance to “creases.” Creases are a natural occurrence and no amount of mesh or stringers will stop a board from creasing. Even an ABS bottom skin can crease (car bumper material).
Tension Tech: A Mesh Sub Sandwich; a sheet of mesh that is laminated between 2 layers of 1.5mm IXLPP “substrate” to form a “sandwich” construction. The Mesh Sub Sandwich is then laminated to the deck surface of the core, before the slick and regular deck is applied.
CHANNELS: Channels help the board hold an edge in the steep sections of the wave and at different times can help the board accelerate by forcing water out and off the bottom. They do not make the board better than a board without channels.
Hand Bulbs, Deck Inlays, Deck Contours/ Bottom Contours: These are all visible design features aimed at improving the comfort, performance and aesthetics of the board.
PROPER CARE: HEAT IS A BODYBOARD’S ENEMY!
Heat-provoked delaminations / TUMORS: Are not covered by manufacturer’s warranty. A bodyboard is not designed/ constructed to be used as a skimboard; use as such voids the warranty.
When installing a leash plug: Shoot for the center of the logo. Puncture the top skin first, create a “mark” on the bottom skin and re-plug from the bottom. Fill with Sponge-rez if available.