Bodyboards buying guide

Bodyboards are more affordable, less tiring, safer and easier to transport than surfboards.
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  • Updated:29 Oct 2007

04.Safety and maintenance

Staying safe on a bodyboard

  • You should be a reasonably strong swimmer and your level of fitness needs to be appropriate to the surf conditions.
  • If you’re a beginner, only surf on beaches where lifeguards are on duty. Don’t go in the water at all if you think you might not be able to handle the conditions.
  • Before going into the water, check the surf patterns and look for rips for a good 10 minutes while doing a few recommended warm-up stretches to limber you up.
  • Parents need to watch small children very carefully. Getting in the water with them is the only really safe option. Lifeguards have the whole beach to watch and conditions can change in the blink of an eye.
  • If your board doesn’t come with one (and most medium to high-end boards don’t), buy a leash with a strong wrist, ankle or bicep attachment, so you don’t lose your board. Always check the leash is secure before entering the water.
  • Be aware of others and give other surfers and swimmers a wide berth. Dive if you see a surfboard coming towards you.
  • Stay calm and wave an arm overhead if you get into trouble. Thrashing around just means you’ll use up valuable energy. If you get into trouble, the board will also provide some flotation.
  • Always use a good waterproof sunblock. Put plenty on and renew it often. It’s easy to towel it off when drying yourself.

Caring for your board

  • Rinse your board with fresh water after use.
  • Boards shouldn’t be left in direct sun for long periods or in hot conditions with no ventilation, as this can cause them to blister, bubble or bend out of shape. Most boards are laminated and heat or sun may damage the laminate.
  • A bag will protect your board from the elements and any accidental damage. Beware of dark-coloured bags, though, which will create more heat.
  • Waxing the nose area, edges and centre of your board with surf wax will help you grip and stop you sliding off.

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