Wednesday, June 27, 2012

APPLIED SCIENCES: Choosing the Right Bodyboard Equipment

APPLIED SCIENCES: Choosing the Right Bodyboard Equipment

  There is a lot to take into consideration when choosing your bodyboarding equipment.  What size board? What tale shape? Are you going to be riding in warm water or cold water?  Are you going to be riding prone, drop knee, or both?  Taking these questions into consideration can really help narrow down the search.  First and foremost, you are going to want to figure out what size board you want, which will be determined by your height and weight.  This link from Ebodyboarding.com is a great reference point in figuring out what size board you are going to want:

Ebodyboarding Size Chart: http://www.ebodyboarding.com/sizechart

  Once you've figured out what size board you're looking for, how are you planning on riding it?  If you ride prone (laying down), prone boards generally tend to have a wider nose and a higher wide point. Drop knee boards, on the other hand, tend to have a more narrow nose and the wide point is set further back.  There are bodyboards available with what is referred to as a 50/50 template which can be used for both prone and DK, but a majority of boards are style specific these days.  Also, the water temperatures you ride in will affect the core material of your board.  PP (Polypropylene) cores tend to work best in warmer waters, while PE (Polyethylene) cores and the newer EFC/3D cores tend to work well in colder waters.  For some suggestions in helping to pick out your board as well as tips for findng the right leash, and swimfins that fit properly check out this video clip from Inverted Bodyboard Shop in Australia:


  When the time comes to purchase your new bodyboard, try to support your nearest Bodyboard Shop or one of the reputable online bodyboarding retailers.  They support bodyboarding 100%, and should have a solid base of knowledge to help answer your questions.  If you are going to buy a bodyboard at your local surf shop, be sure the person you are dealing with has a good understanding of the sport, and isn't just trying to make a sale.  Having been involved in the surf shop industry in some way, shape or form since I was 13 years old, I have seen and heard some real nightmare stories over the years...leash plugs being installed too close to the nose/rail, hitting the stringer while installing a leash, delaminating the surlyn by improperly plugging a board, etc.  If you're set to throw down your hard earned money on new bodyboarding equipment, the last thing you want is to have someone who is inexperienced with or just doesn't care about bodyboarding messing up your gear before you've even hit the water with it for the first time!  Here's a handful of suggestions for reliable bodyboard retailers to check out:

Alternative Surf: www.alternativesurf.com
Atlantic Bodyboards: www.atlanticbodyboards.com
Bodyboard King: www.bodyboardking.com
Bodyboarders Surf Co.: www.bodyboarders.com.au
Ebodyboarding: www.ebodyboarding.com
The Foam Co.: www.thefoamco.com
Inverted Bodyboard Shop: www.inverted.net.au
662 Bodyboard Shop: www.662bodyboardshop.com

Steve "Action" Jackson, geared up and ready to go for a cold water session in Belmar, New Jersey. Photo: Chris Zeh

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