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Buying a Bodyboard - size & construction, what do I need?

Often we are asked what the differences are between cheaper and more expensive bodyboards (also commonly known as boogie boards)?  Here I've written a guide of the different types of bodyboards and some advice on picking the right size.  So you can make sure you get the right board with the features you need.



The size you pick is important because it relates to flotation and ultimately your ability to catch & ride waves. Too small and you'll struggle to both catch waves & continue to glide once on a wave.  Smaller boards (relative to your size) have less flotation. You'll need a bigger, more powerful wave to push you along on a smaller board.

Choose a board that is too large and you'll be fighting for authority over it. It will be harder for you to get out through broken waves.  For more advanced riders you'll also find that the board is too big, bulky and hard to manoeuvre.



Children 42"
Teens 42"
Small / Short / Lighter Adult 42"
Average Weight Adults 42"
Heavier / Taller (80kgs +) Adults 44" - 46"

One way of measuring the ideal size for a bodyboard is to hold out in front of you.  Your ideal bodyboard size should reach from the ground up to your belly button. Others use the distance between your knees & your chin. Keep in mind that heavier riders (or those that are riding smaller & weaker waves) should choose a larger size, with more surface area to spread their weight over, with more flotation and buoyancy. 

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It's ok to choose significantly larger sizes for kids as they are usually riding smaller weaker waves and it will allow for some growing room.

Buying a Nomad Bodyboard Boogie Board



The main contributor to the price of a bodyboard is it's construction.  The more expensive the board – the more robust it will be. A lot of this comes down to the materials it is made from (particularly the core) and the way it is put together.

It's also worth noting that the more expensive constructions are often built to withstand some pretty large surf. The recreational bodyboarder won't need a board that will take the same amount of punishment as those designed for more committed riders. The lower to mid range, well constructed options generally suit the majority of our customers and make up a large volume of the boards we sell in store.

Here is an outline of the different cores and construction features that you can find in the shop.

EPS core

These are cheaper, more buoyant and lighter. EPS cores aren't as strong as PE or PP cored boards & are generally suited to beginner or intermediate riders. They require a bit more care too. If you pierce through the outer EVA skin, you will expose the EPS core. You then will need to seal the damage on the board as the core will absorb water.  EPS cores are also more prone to heat damage. 

- NOTE -

Having said that, we stock mid range boards and up in store. So even our cheaper EPS boards are still quite good quality in the scheme of things. They are significantly stronger and better constructed compared to cheaper offering you find at sporting stores. If you take care of them you should get a good lifespan out of them).

PE Core

These are a type of closed cell foam. They are far less prone to heat damage and won’t take on water if exposed (punctured/ dinged through the outer EVA skin). PE cores will take more flex before they buckle, but tend to be a bit heavier than EPS cored boards.  Their denser core also makes them a little less buoyant and more suitable for use in colder/cool water rather than hotter warm/ tropical water.

Buying a Bodyboard - PE Core Boards Collage

PP Core

This is another variety of closed cell foam.  Also significantly less prone to heat damage and like PE, they won’t take on water if exposed (punctured/ dinged through the EVA skin). PP will take even more flex before it buckles (more than both EPS and PE cores) . PP is also significantly lighter than PE cored boards and is suitable for use in all water temperatures.

- NOTE -

Buying a PE or PP cored board will last you significantly longer than cheaper EPS boards.  If you want to buy a board that will last you a decade or more, then it's worth spending a little more on one of these.

Buying a Nomad Bodyboard - Boogie Boards getting a ride at the wave pool



Stringers (like on a surfboard) are rigid pieces of material that provide structural integrity to a bodyboard.  Most bodyboards have at least a center stringer running the length of the board. Stringers add strength and rigidity to the board (some boards have multiple).


The slick is the firmer, plastic looking material on the underside of your  bodyboard. The surface that is in direct contact with the water whilst you are riding waves. There are two types of slick material commonly used : HDPE (high density polyethylene) and Surlyn.

HDPE Slicks

The majority of lower to mid range bodyboards that we stock have HDPE slicks. It is a more rigid material than Surlyn but offers more than enough performance and robustness for beginner to advanced riders.

Surlyn Slicks

Surlyn is a rubber composite of ethylene resin and copolymers. I has greater flex properties to HDPE. Using Surlyn as a slick effects the flex and response of a bodyboard.  Increasing a boards ability to bend and recover to it's original shape. For advanced riders this makes a board significantly faster & livelier. Providing superior projection and maneuverability on rail. 

The Surlyn slick layer also increases a boards longevity - helping to prevent creases. It is the more expensive option out of the two slick materials which is reflected in the overall price of the boards that it is built with.  Surlyn is the slick of choice with regular, advanced to expert riders.


Mesh is crisscrossed a plastic material that some boards have between the slick and the core. It adds further structural integrity when the board is flexed (in all directions). Mesh further enhances a boards projection when flexed and makes boards even more durable.  Generally a desirable feature for advanced or expert riders.



Bodyboards (like surfboards) don't really require much care. There is no need to rinse them in fresh water after use or anything like that.  Just keep an eye out for any cuts / holes or slices that may expose EPS cored boards to water.

One thing that most surfcraft don't like is prolonged exposure to heat.  On warmer days it's important not to leave your bodyboard or surfboard for long periods of time out in the sun in the back yard or in a hot car (where temperatures reach 50+degrees).  Nearly all surfcraft have some sort of foam core. Foam contains air, and air will expand with prolonged heat.  This can cause warping, bubbling or other damage.  A good rule of thumb is - if it's too hot for a human, then it's probably too hot for your board.

Hopefully this has made your purchase decision a little easier – if there’s anything else you would like to know about any of the bodyboards we stock feel free to get in touch with one of our staff members.