Updated: Oct 13, 2016
Boogie Board Reviews:
- Choosing a boogie board - size
- Boogie board materials and design
- How much do boogie boards cost?
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced boogie boarder (the term body board is used as well..), choosing the right board can be a challenge.
I recently got back from a week long trip in Hawaii (Maui actually) and had a blast boogie boarding in the ocean. The sport of bodyboarding has been around for decades and it's a fun way to enjoy being in the ocean. The boogie boards I owned 20 years ago were flimsy, not that maneuverable, and definitely thicker than the ones you see today. The design of a bodyboard can really effect the way you ride the waves.
The thicker a boogie board the more stability you will get and these are best for beginner riders. As you gain experience, consider the thinner bodyboards which allow you superior performance with a much lighter design. The board also has a natural curve, or rocker, to it. This means that the nose of the board will be higher up than the tail of the boogie board when you are in the water. More curve means better maneuverability while flatter boards provide more speed. Since boogie boards are fairly cheap, it's not a bad idea to buy a few for different riding experiences in the ocean.
The short video below outlines what to look for when buying a body board - size, core material, nose, tails, etc.
Boogie Board Buying Guide
Just what is a boogie board made out of? Manufacturers have been messing around with the interior cores for years. The bodyboards I had years ago were all made with a polyethylene core. They gave the board great "flex" but lacked in other areas. You will still find some bodyboards made with polyethylene cores but at least the modern ones are responsive and way more durable. Many of the locals in Hawaii ride boards made of polypropylene. This new core technology is the way to go if you want performance and responsiveness on the waves. Polypropylene is also referred to as polypro and it's both lighter and stronger than the original polyethylene cores.
Lastly, you have the Arcel foam cores which are great for using in warmer waters but owners say they get dinged up to easily. The bottom of the bodyboards take a beating as they are constantly pounded by the surf onto the sand and even small rocks. I rode a few waves that literally take you off the top of the wave and drop you down 4 feet to the hard sand below and you can feel it on your body. I can only imagine the stress put on a board when this occurs over and over again. The hard bottoms of the boogie boards need to hold up to the abuse that riders give them. Slick bottoms are the best and Surlyn is the material of choice for bodyboarders.
Surlyn is practically synonymous with durability as well as the fact that it's flexible and hard. It adds a level of speed and projection that will make boogie boarding fun for anyone. The other popular bottom material is made of high density polyethylene (HDPE) - you get a better performance due to the softness it provides but durability is sacrificed. The rails on the outside of the board come in 2 types - 60/40 and 50/50. For control and performance go with the 60/40 design, but if you are a speed demon consider the 50/50. Wrist ropes or leashes are mandatory for most of us. They keep the board from washing all the way into shore after you crash. I did see many of the Hawaiian locals without a wrist leash, but they rarely wipeout. The average cost of a recreational board is roughly $30 and the high end performance bodyboards can cost up to $200. Some of the major brands of boogie boards include BZ Boards, Manta, Morey, Wave Rebel, NMD, and Local Motion. You can browse the top selling boogie boards online here.
Body Boarding Instructional VideosCheck out our resource page for more info on caring for your board, reading waves, and body boarding basics - click the image below to go to video.
Boogie Board Sizes:
When you do go to buy a boogie board consider your riding style and skill set before plunking down $100. Sizing guidelines are: if you are 6 feet tall and about 195 pounds go with a 42 inch length board. I am slightly smaller at 5'10" and 170 pounds so I ride a 40 inch board. In terms of shopping online, we prefer Amazon.com for their wide selection and variety of recreation bodyboards ranging in price from $25 to $75. Choose from the Morey Cruiser or the Wham-O Battle Boogie Board. One of our favorites is the Wave Rebel Hawaii Bodyboard which sells for a reasonable $35 and provides all the qualities that a beginner or intermediate bodyboarder needs.
Looking for a performance bodyboard that the pros ride, go to 662mob.com and check out their selection of Empire, NMD, and VS boards. Many of the elite bodyboards are $170 to $200 but you get the highest quality in board design and features including double rails, crescent tails, dual stringer, nose bulbs, channels, and Surlyn slick bottoms. General retailers also carry boogie boards during the peak summer months - go to Target, Walmart or even sporting good stores to see their selection. If you are buying in the off-season, then you'll probably be forced to shop online where bodyboard shops carry their inventory year round. I also suggest that you buy a rash guard shirt to help protect your upper body from the constant rubbing and irritation that develops from smashing into the sand and salty water. Check out the most popular body boards at Amazon here.
The one caution we put out to you if you are in the market to buy a new boogie board - make sure the weight limits on the board match your weight. All too often adults get on boards designed for kids and "snap" them in half on the first ride. Each board has a weight capacity and the majority of boards we found under the $50 price were for kids and many boards said "60 to 80 pound limit". A good starter board for teenagers or adults is the Morey Cruiser 42.5" Body Board which sells for $80 on Amazon. Perfect for beginner to intermediate riders, it features 8 lb IXL top skin and IXL rails. The 25 millimeter HDPE bottom skin has channels and the crescent tail and wrist leash are nice additions. It even comes with a DVD on "How to Bodyboard" which guides you on how to catch and ride the best waves. The board itself is meant for those that are 160 to 185 lbs. Morey has an excellent name in the industry and the board gets excellent reviews from experts and owners alike.
Our Boogie Board Resource Page 2 has additional information and instructional videos about selecting a body board, caring for your boogie board, and learning how to be a better rider.