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For water sports fans, one of the most enjoyable and popular ways to enjoy the waves is bodyboarding. Bodyboarding, also known as boogie boarding, is a type of water sport that is very similar to surfing but instead using a surfboard, the bodyboarder uses a bodyboard or boogie board. A bodyboard is a floating device made of hydrodynamic foam that is substantially shorter than a surfboard but is similarly used to ride the curl, crest, or face of the wave. Not sure which size of bodyboard you? In this article, we will answer the question ‘What size of bodyboard do I need?’ as well as other factors you should look into before you get one.
Also See : How to wax a bodyboard
For beginners, choosing the right type and right size of a boogie board can oftentimes be confusing. It all depends on several factors, namely the surfer’s height, weight, body type, and personal preferences. In this section, we will discuss these factors in relation to the size of bodyboard or boogie board that you should get.
A bodyboard’s length should be proportional to your height. Although there are other factors that come into play such as weight and body type, the length of your bodyboard will heavily depend on how tall you are.
Generally, a heavier and taller surfer would require a longer bodyboard to support his weight and height. Inversely, shorter and lighter surfers would want to get a shorter board. Getting a bodyboard that is too short or too long can result in more topples and less control while surfing over a wave.
Some bodyboarders would say that when choosing a body board, get one that comes up to your belly button when measured against you.
This is not entirely true and doing this method when choosing a bodyboard can be inaccurate. To illustrate, when a skinny person measures a bodyboard up to his belly button, this doesn’t take into account his weight which is also an important variable when choosing a body board size.
Thus, do not believe everything that other surfers say no matter how experienced they are, especially when it comes to choosing your bodyboard.
Aside from height, another important factor in choosing a bodyboard is weight. You would need to get a bodyboard that can support your weight and still stay afloat, and that will directly relate to the board’s length as well. Just like for height, the greater your weight is, then the longer your board should be.
Some bodyboarders would say that your board should fit perfectly under your arm. Sure, this makes sure that you can carry your board around easily while on the beach, but this also dictates the width of your board.
Weight is a very important factor to look into when choosing the correct size of your bodyboard. In this case, the weight of the surfer would need to be proportional to the width of the board since a wider board would provide greater buoyancy.
This is important for heavier riders who exert more force onto the water. A boogie board that is too thin can make it harder for them to stay afloat as well as to control the board while surfing.
The length of your bodyboard will also depend on your body type, and not just height and weight because these factors can be highly relative.
If you are tall and light, a tall and narrow or thin board can offer you the best floatation and control. On the other hand, if you are of average or heavier weight and taller height, a tall but wider bodyboard is recommended.
For surfers with shorter height and thin body types, a shorter and narrow bodyboard is the best for better control and flotation.
Moreover, if you have a short height but heavyweight, a short bodyboard with a wider body can be the perfect match to your body type.
Boogie board sizing will also depend on the type of waves you would want to catch while surfing. If you are a beginner and want to surf small waves at first, taller or bigger bodyboards are recommended so you can stay afloat better.
For big waves, shorter or thinner bodyboards can offer you more control, thus helping you stay afloat on top of big waves.
In general, a shorter bodyboard will give you more control over the wave but will also give you less float.
In contrast, a longer bodyboard is a bit slower and has less control, but can help you stay afloat better. It’s important to look into these factors as well so you can get the most out of your first board.
Also See : Bodyboard Fins You Should Check Out
If you are still unsure of the correct bodyboards sizes that are proportional to your height, weight, and general body type, here is a boogie board size chart that can help you get a better idea on what size of bodyboard you should get:
|33-35 in||2-4’||0-65 lbs|
|36-38 in||4-5’||65-85 lbs|
|39 in||4’6”-5’2”||85-115 lbs|
|40 in||5’3”-5’6”||115-130 lbs|
|41-41.75 in||5’7”-5’9”||125-170 lbs|
|42 in||5’9”-6’0”||145-180 lbs|
|42.5 in||5’10”-6’2”||160-190 lbs|
|43 in||6’1”-6’3”||170-210 lbs|
|44 in||6’2”-6’4”||180-270 lbs|
|45 in||6’3”-6’6”||195-255 lbs|
|46 in||6’4” and above||200 lbs and above|
To get the best bodyboard that is perfect for you, we recommend getting accurate measurements of your height and weight before going to the store or ordering online.
Moreover, take a look at this bodyboard size chart beforehand, so you get a better grasp of what size you need. Keep in mind though that there are other features of a board that you need to consider as well, like width, material, and design.
Aside from the length of the bodyboard, which is perhaps the first thing you look at when choosing a new one, here are the other dimensions of the board that should be considered:
The nose width pertains to the tip of the board including the rail skins. For surfers who want a large planing area in the front of the board, a wider nose width will do. For drop-knee surfers, a narrower nose width will allow more balance since the weight is concentrated on the tail.
The board width is measured from the widest point of the board. Generally, the board width will depend on what type of waves you will be surfing, as mentioned in an earlier section of this article.
Bodyboards with bigger widths are best suited for small and weak waves (for better floatation), while narrower boards are meant to surf bigger and stronger waves. If you are a beginner, consider getting a wider board at first before you move to narrower ones.
Another part of the boogie board that would affect your surfing experience is the width of the board’s tail.
A board with a narrow tail can allow for more spins and quick turns but is not recommended for beginner or less experienced surfers since it has less control. A wider tail, on the other hand, picks up speed faster but is not easy to turn.
This refers to the wide-point distance from the nose of the board. For drop-knee surfers or more versatile surfers who would like to ride more waves, wide points further back of the board are recommended.
Aside from looking at the boogie board size chart, it’s also recommended that you go over the different types of bodyboard that would affect your surf as well.
The bodyboard size for a beginner bodyboarder or a child would slightly differ from bodyboards of more experienced surfers.
Generally, a beginner to the water sport would have a bit of trouble riding the waves if he or she cannot stay afloat for a long while out in the water.
If you are a beginner or would like to choose a boogie board for your child, make sure that the length of the board is proportional to height and weight according to our boogie board sizing chart.
Otherwise, a board that is too short or too long will make it more difficult to stay on top of the waves.
For a beginner’s bodyboard, we also recommend getting one that is made of an EPS (expanded polystyrene) core.
A board with an EPS core allows for more buoyancy, strength, and cushioning, which is very important for bodyboarders who are learning how to surf. In terms of other parts of the bodyboard, HPDE decks have a low resistance which can translate to more speed even on smaller waves.
XPE or IXPE decks, on the other hand, offer greater resistance and high rigidity meaning higher durability. Lastly, a board with a crescent tail or a bat tail will make it easier for the beginner surfer to position himself on the board.
A bodyboarder with intermediate bodyboarding experience can choose a board that would better fit his or her riding style, rather than strictly the height, weight, and body type only.
Again, the size of the bodyboard that you should get would highly depend on these important factors, but you can vary the width and type of your board for a more diverse surfing experience.
For starters, choosing the ideal type of core for your bodyboard is significant in order to maximize the number of maneuvers that you can do while out in the water. Bodyboards made out of PE (polyethylene) and PP (polypropylene) cores are great for experienced surfers who can do more tricks while surfing.
PE cores are less expensive and are recommended for surfers who ride in the cold water, while PP cores stiffer than PEs but tend to resist choppy waves and work well in hot water climates.
Furthermore, in terms of the slick and deck, a Surlyn slick and PE deck are highly recommended by experienced surfers. These will offer the surfer more control over the wave as well as greater flexibility.
Bodyboarding is one of the most popular water sports that is being enjoyed by people of all ages and sizes. Unlike more extreme sports, bodyboarding is relatively easy to learn and master. However, choosing the right size, type, style, and design of bodyboard is not an easy task, especially for beginners getting their first board.
Hopefully, this article answered the common question of ‘ do I need?’ as well as provided you all the necessary knowledge that you need to have when choosing your first or your next boogie board.
About the Author Chet Thornberry
My name is Chet and I'm a surfer living in Brevard County. I created this blog to put my experience with surfing, skimboarding, bodyboarding, and paddleboarding to good use (pretty much all things water sports).
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