Those who are new to bodyboarding would do a lot better in
the sport with some guidance on the performance components of the board.
Here is a complete list of the main components of the board:
Bodyboard width effects performance, weight & buoyancy. The wider
the board, the more buoyant it is and therefore would be better for slower
speeds and smaller waves. It will also be less maneuverable. Most of the later
models, however, are narrower which in our opinion is preferable unless you’re
going to be dealing with small waves all the time.
The thickness of the board effects performance and buoyancy in the same
manner that width does. The thicker the board, the heavier, more buoyant, and
less maneuverable it will be.
The length of the board should be determined by your height, weight,
and experience. Longer boards are heavier and more difficult to maneuver but
hey if your 6.5’ 220lbs, you won’t be able to catch a wave on a 33” bodyboard!
Stringers / Leash Plug
A stringer is a misleading name, it is not a string. At least not when
talking about bodyboarding. A stringer provides strength to the bodyboard and
is a long fiberglass rod (it can also be carbon fiber) that runs from nose to
tail in the center of the bodyboard. If there are 2 stringers (as opposed to 1)
the stringers will run parallel from nose to tail, near the center of the
board. They will usually be about 3 inches apart. This is important to know
installing the bodyboard’s plug.
The core of the board is made of foam. There are 2 main types of foam
that are used, (PE) Polyethylene & (PP) Polypropylene. PE foam is known to
be more forgiving in the water but, it’s also heavier. This would be better for
smaller waves. PP foam is lighter but also harder therefor allowing you to go
faster and should be used for larger waves.
Bodyboard Core Glossary
3D - Dual Core (Made up of a sandwich of PE and PP)
EPS - Epanded Polystyrene Core
Freedom 6 PP - Beaded Polypropylene
Loaded - Low Density PP
NRG - Low Density PP
PC - Paradox Core (Low Denisity PP)
PE - Polyethylene
PFS - Parabolic Flex System ( Central Section of board is thicker PP
with a thinner band of PP on the rails.
PP - Polypropylene
PX - Low Densisty PP
Slicks and skins are different names for the same thing, which is the
bottom of the board that is in contact with the wave and sand. The two
materials the slick is made of are Surlyn and HDPE (high density polyethylene).
-Surlyn Slicks: This plastic is the same type that golf balls are
covered in. It is also the most common material used for bodyboard slicks due
to its responsiveness and flexibility. This type of plastic is made of ethylene
resins and copolymers which are responsible for its elastic properties. Thanks
to this blend of plastics, the board also glides on waves much more quickly
than other slicks.
However, due to the superior qualities of this material, it is also
more expensive than HDPE, but it is preferred by professionals.
-HDPE Slicks: This material is generally used on less expensive boards,
and is a cheaper plastic than surlyn. However, if you were to take a look at
it, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. The difference happens over
time with wear and tear on the board. HDPE won’t last as long, but if you’re a
smaller rider, you won’t have much of an effect on the material and would
probably be better off with a cheaper slick.
Bodyboard rails are just a cool name for the sides of the board. There
are 2 types, 50/50 and 60/40 rails. To keep things simple, we have a pic that
will explain the difference. The advantage of using a 60/40 rail is that it allows
better control as you will ride slightly lower in the water, but it
unfortunately also makes you slightly slower.
Channels are long dips on the bottom of the board, which direct water
to flow through them while you’re speeding down a wave. They are very helpful
with controlling the direction of your board on big waves. However, too deep a
channel will slow you down AND channels won’t do anything if you’re not going
all that fast. So for small waves, they aren’t really needed. One design is called
a Concave, which is a large channel running half way down the bodyboard
starting at the tail.
The tails of the bodyboard come in 2 different styles. These are the
“Bat Tail” & the “Crescent Tail”. Hubboards makes an excellent bat tail
bodyboard, the Bat Fly. Most bodyboards like Morey & BZ however will have
the crescent tail. So what’s the difference? The bat tails allow your board to
be turned more easily, but don’t allow you to have greater traction. The
crescent tails are more difficult to turn, but when you do turn the board you
will immediately go in that direction. So bat tails give less traction, and
crescent tails give better traction.