A bodyboard is a short, lightweight variation on a surfboard, ridden in a prone position rather than standing up. It is usually made of polyethylene or polypropylene, is roughly rectangular and is approximately 42 inches long. Bodyboarding is a recognised and popular sport for people of all ages.
Features and Materials
Most bodyboards consist of a firm foam core, a moulded plastic bottom, a softer foam top known as the deck and softer foam sides known as rails. Many also contain 1-3 rods made of graphite or carbon, which give the board additional strength and resistance. These are referred to as stringers.
The shape, or curve, of the board affects how it rides. A bodyboard with a wide nose is more suited to riding only in the prone position, whilst models that are straight or narrow nosed will also allow for the rider to use drop-knee or even standing positions (standing on a bodyboard remains a rare form of the sport).
Other features such as channels, crescent tails and bat tails are designed to increase control over the waves, reducing slipping and giving greater manoeuvrability.
When buying a bodyboard, you should consider your size, weight and the type of waves you will be riding. A board that is too long for the rider will push the water and will be more difficult to control, whilst a board that is too short will float less well and you will find it harder to catch the wave.
Leashes are used to secure the bodyboard to the wrist of the rider, preventing loss or separation if the rider comes off. This safety feature also prevents the bodyboard from hitting other riders and causing an accident.
Fins, or flippers, are worn to increase the riders manoeuvrability in the water, allowing for faster paddling and more power when catching a wave. Purchasing a bag helps to protect your bodyboard against bumps and scratches, which will weaken the construction and make it more liable to break under wave pressure.