So, you want to try bodyboarding. And who doesn’t? It’s like flying on waves. But before you can try your hand at this exciting sport, you’ll need the proper equipment.
No Bodyboarding Without a Bodyboard
If you have ever bought a surfing board, you’ll have an easier time choosing a bodyboard too. That is due to the fact that all those basic principles apply here as well. An example of this is the length of the board. You’ll need a size that fits exactly. There is one unwritten rule: When the board sits on its tail, it should reach up to your belly button. An abundance of sizing charts can be found online, however, this sole rule is time tested and should work for you as well. To find the correct size for you, explore the range of a well-stocked bodyboard gear store.
Obviously, size is not the only thing that matters. The template (or the general outline of the board) is important as well. There are two options to choose from – prone and dropknee. The prone template of a bodyboard means that the widest point on the board is forward. So, if you want to predominantly lay down while bodyboarding, you will find this template more suitable.
The dropknee has its widest point somewhere in the middle of the board. As the name suggests, this is appreciated by riders that prefer the dropknee stance, since it provides better balance when the bulk of their body weight is near the halfway point of the board.
Some bodyboard gear retailers may also offer a third variety that falls somewhere between the other two. It’s called combo and is a blend of both drop knee and prone bodyboards. This may allow you to try a greater variety of bodyboard techniques.
Another thing to pay attention to is the rails on a bodyboard. A beginner might not care much about the ratio between the top and the bottom chine on the deck. These things are not apparent when your feet are firmly in the sand. But as soon as you head straight for the waves, you will find out that the bottom rail creates friction.
If this section is larger, you will have more friction which translates into a bodyboard that grips the wave and turns with greater ease. Less friction will allow you to reach a higher speed, however, don’t expect to have the same kind of control over the board. The ratio is expressed numerically 50/50, 55/45, 60/40 or similar. The first value is the bottom rail, the second is the part that belongs to the top rail.
The tail on these things affects the way you can turn. If the tail is narrow, then the board is looser and you can easily turn. If the tail is wider, you will reach greater speed, but once you pick it up, it will be harder to turn. There are several tail configurations. The most popular tail shapes are called crescent and bat. Other varieties are possible as well (gull wing, v shaped tail, flat).
The foam used to make the internal skeleton of the board is known as the core. You want to know what it’s made of because it’s an important factor in the flex of the board. And, in case you were wondering, it greatly affects the price of the end product. This is one of the most inventive segments in bodyboard design.
Just take notice of the extensive list with the type of cores: PP (Polypropylene), 3D (Dual-Core), EPS (Epanded Polystyrene Core), Loaded, PC, PX and NRG (Low-Density PP), PE (Polyethylene), M Core and many others. Take some time and do more extensive research to pick a type of foam that will suit your needs.
You may use regular fins for bodyboarding, but don’t expect to achieve great success in them. During this kind of surfing, you need to be able to rapid kick in a burst. So, you want to look for short bladed fins with an open heel. If your first thought was: ‘What about chaff?’ then you will be glad to know that there are socks and booties made from Neoprene and Lycra that will improve your comfort and prevent sores and blisters.
Many Australians discard the wetsuits believing they don’t need them under the hot sun. There is some truth in that, but a wetsuit is the kind of bodyboard gear that has more than one purpose. For starters, it will make you more buoyant. Then, there’s also the fact that having your body covered will help protect you from the ultraviolet rays.
When choosing a wetsuit, you should avoid any issues with restricted movement. If you invest in a wetsuit from high-quality material and the fit is spot on, you can perform your bodyboard tricks with greater ease.