Bodyboards – what to look for if you want a bodyboard to last.
Here at the Rubber Shack, our North Cornwall wetsuit showroom and surf shop we stock Osprey,Typhoon and Surf State bodyboards and a selection of wooden skimboards. In our experience these brands offer decent well made bodyboards that, if treated well, will last years and years. We do not sell cheap throw a away boards that break within a few uses.
That said if you put even a decent board on the sand and let your children jump up and down on them (as we often see) of course it will break, they are not fibreglass after all!
A bit about bodyboard construction
Those cheap throw away boards tend to have no deck or rail covering and are just polystyrene foam with a printed design which is some times on thin mesh cloth. They also have a flat face with no channels (crescent tails) and an irregular surface.
Decent boards will have a deck and rail covering, normally of XPE, and then a rigid EPS foam core. The outer layer of XPE, which is a cross linked polyethylene with a semi smooth finish, helps the board to maintain its density has a shock absorbing feature. XPE has a closed cell structure which means that it as long as it is intact it will keep water out of the EPS foam core. The EPS foam used is made exclusively just for bodyboarding. This not just standard polystyrene and is far more rigid. The ‘face’ of the bodyboard, which is in contact with the water, would be made with a HDPE (high density polyethylene) slick faced material. This enhances the performance characteristics of the board adding strength and giving the bodyboard a resistance free riding surface to increase speed and manoeuvrability on a wave. Again decent bodyboards will always have a HDPE slick face with crescent tails which are ‘channels’ build into the face . These give better holding power on the wave and control in the turns. A cheap body with a flat irregular face surface will slide sideways down the face of a steep wave far to easily and will be difficult to turn under any speed. The crescent tails on a decent board face give you far more control. Further more all the bodyboards we sell also come with either a webbing or coiled wrist leash (depending on price) and have a properly formed leash fixing.
Enjoy your bodyboarding time in the sea and don’t let your excited kids jump up and down on your latest acquisition!