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Despite being disregarded for years as a cop-out for surfing, bodyboarding is gaining real traction as an adventure sport. When you’re so close to the water, you have the potential to experience a bigger and better thrill from the waves on a bodyboard than you do on a surfboard. Plus, the best bodyboards are generally cheaper than surfboards, require fewer repairs, and are far easier to transport. It’s also an excellent sport for those for whom surfing presents balance or mobility issues, and it offers a much more immediate reward than learning to surf can – mostly because it’s so much easier!

So, sounds like a great new hobby, right? Well, that’s why we at the Adventure Junkies have curated the best of the best for you, so you can find the right bodyboard to suit all your water needs. Whether you’re a beginner looking to add an extra element of fun to your ocean adventures, or a seasoned bodyboarder hoping to improve your performance, we’ve got you covered.

For more of our top surfing gear recommendations, check out the Best Bodyboards for Kids.

 

Quick Answer - The Best Body Boards

  1. BPS Storm Bodyboard
  2. THURSO Surf Duo Slider
  3. Body Glove 16511 Reactor
  4. Bo-Toys Kids
  5. Morey Big Kahuna
  6. California Board Company Baja
  7. NMD Ben Player Kinetic LTD
  8. Mike Stewart Pro Team

 

Comparison Table - Best Body Boards

PictureNameLeash IncludedLengthAgePriceRating
BPS Storm BodyboardYes33”/37”/41”16+$4.3
THURSO Surf Duo SliderYes42”4+$$4.7
Body Glove 16511 ReactorYes37”12+$$4.5
Bo-Toys KidsYes33”4+$4.0
Morey Big KahunaNo44”18+$$$4.6
Morey Mach 7Yes41”/42”18+$$$4.9
California Board Company BajaYes42.5”18+$4.1
NMD Ben Player Kinetic LTDYes42.5”18+$$$4.8
Mike Stewart Pro TeamNo40.25”/41.25”/41.75”16+$$$5.0
PictureNameLeash IncludedLengthAgePriceRating
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Body Board

BPS Storm Bodyboard

Specs
  • Length: 33”/37”/41”
  • Age: 16+
  • Leash Included: Yes
Features
  • Variety of Colors and Size to Choose From
  • Bottom Rear Channels (on the underside [slick] of the board to enhance grip and prevent side-slipping in waves)
  • Fin Tethers Included (to tie your swim fins together)
  • Coiled Leash

BEST FOR: SUMMER VACATION FUN

The Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Core in this bodyboard denotes a high degree of flotation and stability, meaning it’s the perfect board to take to the beach for the occasional shred. If you’re going to be predominantly belly-boarding in the whitewater, and you think you’ll only use it a few times a year, this board ticks the budget box without compromising on function.

THURSO Surf Duo Slider

Specs
  • Length: 42”
  • Age: 4+
  • Leash Included: Yes
Features
  • Ergonomically Contoured Deck (for stable riding)
  • Dual Handles (for extra grip and safety)
  • Double Leash Duo Coiled (to keep parent, child and board together)

BEST FOR: FAMILY FUN

Designed to hold one adult and one junior rider, no piece of outdoor kit has ever promoted parent-child bonding as much as the Thurso Surf Duo Slider. With dual handles and an ergonomically contoured deck, this board is perfect for taking your little one out on the water. The double leash means you won’t have to worry about getting separated from your kid or the board in the water. Plus, the Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) core acts as a buoyancy aid if your child is a little cautious of swimming. So get strapped in, have some fun, and grow your kid’s confidence in the ocean!

Body Glove 16511 Reactor

Specs
  • Length: 37”
  • Age: 12+
  • Leash Included: Yes
Features
  • Roller Print Graphics (not only does the board have a unique design, but it’ll be easy to spot from afar, too)
  • EPS Core for Enhanced Buoyancy (makes it easy for beginners to belly board in whitewater)
  • Crescent Tail (adds stability to the belly and hips)
  • Straight Urethane Leash (stretches under tension)

BEST FOR: BUDGET-FRIENDLY RELIABILITY

Producing boards for over 60 years, Body Glove is a well-established brand and the Body Glove Reactor 16511 is certainly a testament to this. If you’re looking to get more into bodyboarding but are wary of spending over $100 on a sport you don’t 100% know you’re going to love, this board is the answer. Though it has a rigid construction that won’t break at the first sight of a wave, it also has excellent flex properties that will allow for greater control in the water. This is a great board for novices looking to advance to a more intermediate level.

Bo-Toys Kids

Specs
  • Length: 33”
  • Age: 4+
  • Leash Included: Yes
Features
  • Lightweight
  • Variety of Colors and Size to Choose From
  • Bottom Rear Channels (on the underside [slick] of the board to enhance grip and prevent side-slipping in waves)
  • Straight Cord Leash Included

BEST FOR: WATER BABIES

For the parents out there with kids that are constantly dragging you into the water for ball games, handstands and ‘let’s-hold-our-breath!’ competitions, this board might just answer all your (and your child’s) prayers. Lightweight, buoyant, and budget-friendly, this board will keep your little ones entertained for hours, as well as helping to improve coordination, balance and strength.

Morey Big Kahuna

Specs
  • Length: 44”
  • Age: 18+
  • Leash Included: No
Features
  • Polyethylene (PE) Core (allows lots of flex in cooler, choppier waters)
  • Can Carry Riders up to 180-200lbs
  • Wide Template for Increased Buoyancy and Stability

BEST FOR: BIGGER RIDERS

This is a fantastic entry-level board for riders over 6 feet tall. Though a little more expensive, you can be sure you’re buying a high-quality product in a Morey board. It’s wider template offers extra stability and can carry riders up to 180-200lbs. It’s Polyethylene (PE) core is strong and flexible and offers excellent control, especially in cooler waters.

Morey Mach 7

Specs
  • Length: 41”/42”
  • Age: 18+
  • Leash Included: Yes
Features
  • Single Power Rod Stringer (this is a rod that runs through the middle inside of the board for increased durability and performance)
  • Polyethylene (PE) Core (allows lots of flex in cooler, choppier waters)
  • Classic Style
  • Straight Leash Included

BEST FOR: ALL-ROUND PERFORMANCE

The Morey Mach 7 is arguably the most iconic board around. If you’re a bodyboarder with some experience and want to take it up a notch, this board offers some excellent features. The single power rod stringer that runs through the middle of the board provides stability and durability. Combine this with the PE core, classic shape, and crescent tail and you end up with a board that is flexible, controllable in choppier waters, and geared towards great performance.

California Board Company Baja

Specs
  • Length: 42.5”
  • Age: 18+
  • Leash Included: Yes
Features
  • Bat Tail (enables increased stability for prone riders/those who ride solely on their belly)
  • Ergonomically Contoured Deck with Arm Wells (allows you to position and center yourself easily on the board and adds comfort)
  • EPS Core (best for buoyancy)
  • Coiled Leash Included

BEST FOR: PRONE RIDERS

Prone riding (as opposed to drop-knee riding) is a term used to describe riders who ride solely on their belly. This California Board Company bodyboard features a bat tail which offers a larger surface area and more overall stability for riders whose weight is distributed flat across the board. As a beginner you won’t tend to notice the effects of different tail shapes however, so this board is also a great budget-friendly option.

NMD Ben Player Kinetic LTD

Specs
  • Length: 42.5”
  • Age: 18+
  • Leash Included: Yes
Features
  • Carbon Fibre Rod Stringer (this is a rod that runs through the middle inside of the board for increased durability and performance)
  • Ergonomically Contoured Deck with Arm Wells (allows you to position and center yourself easily on the board)
  • Strong and Lightweight Polypro (PP) Core for Elite Performance
  • Coiled Leash Included

BEST FOR: TROPICAL RIDERS

3x World Champion Ben Player is at the forefront of the design of this board. It’s Kinetic Polypro (PP) core is geared towards elite performance in warmer waters. This material is extremely strong, durable, and lightweight, and this holy trinity together creates a board that is fast and easily maneuverable. If you’re an experienced rider looking to step things up, and you tend to ride in warmer waters, this could be the board for you. It’s price is matched by it’s Surlyn slick (board bottom), an expensive material that is extremely shock absorbent and has great recoil properties. This means your board won’t have any difficulty returning to its original shape even when it gets beaten and battered by waves.

Mike Stewart Pro Team

Specs
  • Length: 40.25”/41.25”/41.75”
  • Age: 16+
  • Leash Included: No
Features
  • Contoured Deck for Increased Control, Grip and Response
  • Nose Bulbs (raised areas of foam added to the bottom corner of the deck to enable further grip, comfort, and control)
  • Iconic Design

BEST FOR: PRO-PERFORMANCE

Nine-time world champion Mike Stewart’s range of boards are essentially unrivalled in terms of bodyboarding performance. The Pro Team PP is no exception. “Designed to ride amazingly in any condition”, this board is the ‘crème de la crème’ when it comes to performance riding. The curve of the board allows for extreme control and the shape boasts a fast ride.

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A BODYBOARD

SIZE

This is a simple one really- don’t just buy the first bodyboard you see because you like the color. When placed on the floor upright in front of your toes, the top of the board should be at your belly button. Too big and you’ll struggle to gain any speed through the water. Too small and you’ll have difficulty staying on and gaining any real control.

 

USE AND BUDGET

When and where you’re planning to use your bodyboard goes hand in hand with how much you should look to spend. For example, if bodyboarding to you is a bit of fun on vacation when you’re at the beach, look for a board in the $30-$60 range. These tend to be made up of an Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) core and a High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) slick (bottom).

There’s no point in paying over $200 for an elite board with the highest spec materials if you’re just going to be bellyboarding in the whitewater as you wouldn’t necessarily notice the difference. If, however, you’re a semi-experienced rider looking to step up your game, it might be useful to bear in mind the following things in order to narrow down what you’re looking for.

 

CLIMATE

The water you’ll be riding in does make a difference to the type of board you go for, believe it or not. There are 3 main types of bodyboard core material; Expanded Polystyrene (EPS), Polyethylene (PE) and Polypro (PP). The first (EPS), as mentioned above, is often found in beginner boards and has flotation and stability as its main property. Climate won’t affect its performance.

Between PE and PP however, there is some discrepancy. PE is generally regarded as being the better choice for riding in cooler waters, as it provides a higher degree of flex and control that is resistant to lower temperatures. PP cores are geared more toward warmer waters and are lighter than their PE counterparts. This allows for efficient maneuverability out of turns and increased speed.

 

STYLE & THE SHAPE OF THE BOARD

Everyone enjoys bodyboarding their own way. Some like to ride drop-knee style (where one foot is planted flat on the board with the knee bent and the other knee is planted on the board), some like to ride prone (on the belly), some prefer control, and others favor speed.

Shape is the main thing that drives the difference between these styles, so it’s useful to work out what kind of riding style you’re into, and which shape of board you should look for.

 

TAIL

The tail is the back end of the board. There are two main types of tail; crescent and bat (the former being a smooth curve in the shape of a crescent, the latter looking like the silhouette of a bat). If you’re a beginner and you’ll be staying mostly in the whitewater, it doesn’t really matter which you go for, though you’ll find most beginner boards have a crescent tail.

Go for a board with a bat tail if you’re an experienced rider who likes to ride prone, and you favor stability and control over agility and speed. Though you’ll still be whizzing through the waves on a bat tail, the wider surface area allows for increased stability.

A crescent tail is suited to riders who like to try a bit of drop-knee and like to move fast and stealth-like through the water. The streamlined shape offers increased speed and maneuverability.

Check out this article for a more in-depth review of different board shapes and features.

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

PRONE RIDING

Catching and riding waves lying on your belly.

DROP-KNEE RIDING

Riding waves in a proposal position – one knee on the board and one bent with the foot on the board.

CONTOURS

Molded indents on the deck of the board for enhanced grip, positioning, and comfort.

NOSE BULBS

Raised areas of foam on the bottom of the deck to add grip (used on intermediate and advanced boards only).

SLICK

The bottom on the board.

CORE

The inside of the board.

DECK

The topside of the board (the bit you lie on).

PP

Stands for Polypro; a material used for the core of the board. Favorable in warmer waters as it is lightweight and strong.

PE

Stands for Polyethylene; a material used for the core of the board. Favorable in colder waters due to its rigid and flexible properties.

EPS

Stands for Expanded Polystyrene; a material used in the core of the board. Often found in cheaper and beginner boards. Very buoyant.

LEASH

A cord that attaches (usually by velcro) around the rider’s foot and the tail end of the board. This prevents losing the board to the waves.

HDPE

Stands for High Density Polyethylene. The most common material for bodyboard slicks. It is an effective, but cheaper option often found on beginner boards.

SURLYN

A more effective and expensive slick material. It is a rubber composition of resins and copolymers which have elastic and shock-absorbent properties.

READ MORE

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About The Author

Part Golden Retriever, part 5-year-old, Emily lives to play outdoors. Home is the English Lake District, which she sees as her own adventure playground with endless opportunities for adventure. If she’s not racing her dog up the hills, jumping into lakes, or bounding down hills on her mountain bike, she’ll probably be on a plane heading for tropical waves and saltwater adrenaline.

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