02.What to look for
When you go looking for a bodyboard, speak with a salesperson who is familiar with them. They can run you through their range and help you choose the right board for your level of proficiency, budget and expectations.
Here are a few tips to help you find the right board:
Size is important
The board should reach your navel when stood on its end, give or take a few centimetres. Too small and it’ll sink. Too big and you’ll struggle to control and manoeuvre it. It should also feel comfortable to carry under your arm. If the potential rider’s still growing rapidly, buy a board a few centimetres longer, so there’s a bit of room to grow.
Lie the board flat on the floor. Although the nose will be slightly curved, the board should be reasonably flat at the tail end and should only rock a little. Excessive rocking may indicate warp from being stored in hot conditions.
Check the flex
Stand the board up, with the tail on the floor. Flex the board very gently — you want it to spring back easily.
Look at the bottom surface
It should be slick and smooth. Don’t buy it if it has any creases or cracks.
Children or teens who are learning don’t need an expensive board, and a cheaper board without a slick bottom and with minimal features is adequate. Buy them a hard-bottom board once they’re adept at catching waves and are ready to progress and refine their skills.
For older teens and adults, features such as stringers and channels might seem a bit much while they’re still learning, but they’ll appreciate them as their ability increases.
Don’t buy with your eyes
You’re much better off spending money on good construction and features, rather than fancy artwork or a pro signature.
Factor these into your budget. They’re invaluable for paddling out long distances to waves. Open-heeled fins are better for bodyboarding. Swim-fin tethers will keep your fins from floating away.