Bodyboard Guide

Since the invention of the "Boogie Board" by Tom Morey July 9, 1971, the types of bodyboard materials and construction have come a long way. Manufacturers are producing bodyboards with major advancements in technology, design, and board performance. The materials used to create bodyboards have been responsible for the most recent advancements in the sport.

Educating our customers is very important to us at ES Water Sports. Regardless of your price range, we want you to be riding the best bodyboard possible with the best materials and specifications. No gimmicky stuff.

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Bodyboards come in many shapes and sizes.  They can be broken down into four basic shapes:

    1. PRONE: This shape generally has its widest point further forward to support the upper body of a rider that mainly lays down while riding.  
    2. DROPKNEE:  The Dropknee riding style is when a rider puts one foot near the front of the board & lets the opposite knee rest on the tail of the board. A Drop knee shape is characterized by a lower wide point halfway down the board and a narrow tapered nose.  Riders with a Drop Knee stance have most of their weight towards the back of the board.
    3. COMBO:  Boards with a combo shape are the most versatile. They can be used for both Drop knee and Prone styles of riding.
    4. STANDUP:  This style of riding is when a rider stands upright while riding a wave. The tricks performed are similar to surfing both on the face of a wave and in the air.





    The Polypropylene (Polypro) is more expensive than the polyethylene cores, but considering the quality of the material it is well worth the price. Polypro is stronger, lighter, very responsive, and offer bodyboarders top performance. Polypropylene comes in two types, Extruded PP and Beaded PP. Beaded PP is a completely closed cell, the boards are more buoyant and sit high in the water. Beaded PP also has a funkier flex, as the bead structure tends to compress at the flexion point and doesn't have a great transfer to the nose and tail (longitudinal flex) like extruded PP possesses Extruded PP boards are fast, rigid and perfect for those who like to bust big airs and pull in barrels.


    Constructed from premium grade 1.9 lb density Arpro Polypropylene resins, Kinetic Core™ delivers amazing projection and response as a result of high pressure cell-fusion created during the blank manufacturing process. Kinetic Core is a warm water core available in various reinforcement configurations, each tuned for specific wave conditions.


    Developed using cutting-edge expansion cell technology, NRG+ Core™ is a cool water core specifically formulated to meet key performance characteristics as demanded by our worldwide team of the sports elite riders. Now with the added strength of a 1/4” Kinetic PP deck underlay, NRG+ Core™ gives you an even better mix of flex, recoil, projection and pop.


    The original core used for the first bodyboards. The PE core gives the bodyboard flex which generates projection and instant response for the rider. PE is also good for colder water conditions, since low water temperatures increase the stiffness of all cores. The flex attributes of Dow™ PE allow the rider to contort and manipulate the board to harness the power of the wave and transfer that power into projection. As the rider drives into a bottom turn, the downward gravitational force of the rider is opposed by the upward draw of the wave


    EPS is primarily an entry level core that typically cost less than $100. EPS has come a long way in the past few years. It isn't the most durable of the cores however, It's very lightweight now is available with high end features like stringers and deck contours.


    The most economical of cores. This material is typically used in cheaper Fiberclad bodyboards. (fabric covered)





    NMD’s 2nd generation Parabolic Flex System™ now features a one piece 1.9 lb Kinetic Core, integrated with Divinycell® vertical foam beams for increased strength while reducing overall board weight. The PFS™ II design enables the outer rail profiles to flex at a different rate to that of the central core, allowing the rails to contort in the wave face for optimum edge control. The increased stiffness of the central core construction maintains a more streamlined profile for unrivaled down the line board speed. NMD Parabolic Flex System™ II – the best of both worlds. Australian Patent No. 2011101093 – other regions Patent Pending.


    Similar to the PFS2 technology but PFS3 high-density aerospace foam beams run in a straight orientation from tail to nose. This gives the board more longitudinal flex right out of the box, without sacrificing the exceptional strength the PFS boards have become renown for.

    PARABOLIC BASE™ (ProRide series)

    Based on our groundbreaking Parabolic Flex System technology, the ProRide™ range of boards feature a Parabolic Base™ for revolutionary strength-to-weight performance allowing you to ride a thinner board without a loss in nose to tail stiffness. Parabolic Airex T90 high-density structural foam beams are embedded vertically into the base of the core for unrivaled flex-to-recoil energy transfer. Scientifically proven Vapor Tracks track water along the length of the beams creating a hydrodynamic effect through the center of the board for electric board speed.





    8 pcf non-crosslink Polyethylene outer skins. The premier skin for high performance bodyboarding.


    Irradiated crosslinked Polyethylene outer skins feature a super-fine cell structure with less than 1% water absorption.





    Surlyn is a unique, rubber like combination of ethylene resins and other copolymers invented and manufactured by the chemical geniuses at DuPont. Unlike rigid plastics, Surlyn has amazing flexural stiffness that allows a board to conform and contort to the curve of the wave when controlled by applied pressure from the rider. When the torque is released, the dynamic memory properties of the Surlyn deliver instant recoil, projecting the board onto the next section. Surlyn is so strong that it is used as the cover for golf balls due to its unique abilities to resist cutting and abrasions from golf club impact. Surlyn is the slick of choice for high end bodyboards.


    The cheaper alternative is a HDPE slick. In terms of look and feel there’s little to separate it from Surlyn. However, HDPE slicks tend to appear on entry-level or beginners boards so unless you’re just starting out it’s usually worth paying that little extra for a Surlyn. Saying that, smaller and lighter riders tend to get away with HDPE slicks as they exert less pressure on the board. This means longevity isn’t affected. The HDPE skin is less performance-based to give great value for money while you increase your skill level.





    Tension Tech™ takes advanced sandwich composite principles and applies them to Kinetic™ and NRG™ cores for next level recoil and projection. A bi-axial Mesh layer is thermo-fused between 2 cross linked polypropylene skins. The resulting Mesh Fusion Layer is then laminated directly to the core, under the deck, greatly increasing the board's tensile and compressive strength. The dynamic properties of Tension Tech™ allow us to build a board that’s thinner, stronger and stiff, but at the same time, possesses incredible elastic flex for instant recoil and spring-like projection.


    Mesh is a wire-like plastic material that sits between the slick and the Core. It enhances projection and makes boards more durable. It also cushions the stress boards receive when landing aerial moves. Good to know, next time you get some air time.


    Diamond shaped mesh weave fused between the boards core and slick bottom skin for enhanced stiffness and recoil.


    Dual layers of React Mesh, fused under the deck and slick, create an all-over tension balance between the top and bottom surfaces. Pull up on the nose as you drive through the bottom turn and you load up the slick, the moment you transition out of the turn the board instantly snaps back for incredible projection.


    Specially engineered core with two layers of mesh suspension fused with Polypro, dramatically increasing the board's speed, projection, and durability



    Stringers are rods used to add strength, increase stiffness and to help maintain good rocker. Stringers lengthen the life of a bodyboard. Stringers are generally inserted into the center of the core. They normally start at the tail and end 6" from under the nose of the bodyboard. Stringers are made of many different designs and materials. Bodyboards can have anywhere from 1 to 3 stringers. (Note: Stringers do not prevent creasing – please check for stringer placement when drilling leash plug)


    High-grade filament wound composite-fiber tube for increased board strength and spring-like recoil.


    High-strength, epoxy fiber tubes for increased stiffness and board life.


    Prone Setup: 1 x full-length central CFT stringer, combined with 2 x shorter stabilizing stringers positioned 5″ either side of centre and 12″ down from the nose. The stabilizing stringers enable us to increase the strength of the board through its midsection, without making the overall flex too rigid.

    DK Setup: 1 x full-length central CFT stringer, combined with 2 x shorter stabilizing stringers positioned 5″ either side of centre and 22″ down from the nose. The low positioning of the stabilizing stringers enable us to increase the strength of the board through its tail section, perfect for DK carves and for driving off the bottom


    The ISS® – Interchangeable Stringer System™ revolutionizes bodyboarding by giving the rider the freedom to fine tune the flex of their board to better suit the wave and water conditions. Using patented ‘load and lock’ technology, ISS® stringers are inserted and removed with the turn of a key. The ISS® range of stringers utilize the latest in composite construction and manufacturing technology to create a quiver of shafts that covers virtually the full spectrum of a riders flex requirement.  


    Medium (for board lengths 39.5"- 41.25")

    Large (for board lengths 41.5"- 43.25")


    Soft Flex-20% Fibreglass spiral weave integrated with 80% unidirectional Fibreglass strands to deliver a stringer with a softer flex action. DRC designed for cold climates and riders who like a more flexible board.

    Mid Flex- 20% Carbon with 80% Fibreglass spiral weave resulting in a stringer with exceptional feel and a smooth flex action. The workhorse of the ISS range, the MidFlex stringer is designed to perform in mild water temps and is an essential component of any serious ISS quiver.

    Stiff Flex-The stiffest stringer in the ISS range.  Advanced composite construction featuring 60% Carbon interwoven with 40% Fibreglass to create a high strength DRC flex profile with outstanding torsional shaft stiffness. The 'go to' stringer for the tropics and riders who like to surf on rail.

    Carbon Fiber Flex- 100% aerospace grade 3K Carbon Fibre biaxial weave meets DRC integration to create a lightweight stringer with incredible high tensile strength. Precision calibrated for warm water temps and for riders with a need for speed.





    Classic 45 degree angle on a 385 degree radius cut. Lose and responsive, Crescent Tails are the preferred tail shape of the Pro Team's. CNC cut for maximum precision.


    The protruding bulb increases the boards planning surface at the tail area for down the line speed with wings that lock the tail in throughout the turn. Machine rounded for rider comfort. Bat Tails are looser which provides you less control, but makes it easier to do 360 spinners.





    Based on proven scientific principles, Vapor Tracks™ are minute raised ribs running along the length of the hull on the ProRide series, forming a tunnel hull through the center of the board. Water entering the tunnel is channeled through to the tail, creating a hydrodynamic flow for electric board speed.


    The Quad Concave is precision shaped on a custom built AKU CNC shaping machine. The AKU gives the ability to design progressive channel and concave set-ups with incredible accuracy and consistency previously not possible by hand shaping. The Quad Concave can be broken down into two parts.

    - Central Double Concave - Tracks streamline water flow through the center of the board keeping you higher on the wave face, which allows you to generate more speed into your bottom turns.

    - Outer Channels - Draws the streamline water flow from a wider entry point into a narrow exit through the tail. The streamline flow increases in speed as it progresses through the channel, giving you more drive.  





    Ergonomic deck contouring is designed to lock the body into position and improve hand grip.


    Dual purpose deck contouring. Specifically designed to create dedicated flex zones for torsional and nose-to-tail response and integrated with functional grip enhancement.


    Graduated Channels increase the surface area of the boards slick bottom and channels that laminar flow along the rail/ hull for positive edge control.


    Die-cut foam bulbs are positioned at each corner of the nose to enhance finger grip. Now with a new, curved contour for an even better handle.




    The rails are the side edges of the board. There are two parts, the rail which is the lower proportion of the edge and the chine which is the part that wraps around onto the deck. The rail, chine proportions are often referred in percentages like 60/40 or 50/50 with the first number being the lower half of the edge. Nowadays most of the better companies use a 55/45 rail configuration. This means 55% rail to 45%.

    A great all round design for the most type of waves and riding styles.

    60/40 rails will give more hold but a tad less speed.

    50/50 is a little faster but with less grip in the face.

    Remember that there is a fine line between speed and hold. Without control you will lose speed so it is always to consider a design has good balance of both.




    Single and Double rails mean that there are either one or two layers of foam running down the edge of each side of the board. By adding an extra layer the rail can be stiffened up which helps to give extra strength to the boards edge, This helps to give the board durability and a bit more speed. If you are looking for a better board always make sure it has double rails




    What size board should I buy?

    The most important part of bodyboard shape is the length.  If it’s too large you won’t be able to control the board or paddle out very efficiently. Your knees will hit the tail while pumping with your fins. A board that is too small in size simply won’t offer enough flotation. This will slow up your riding, cause a dragging/sinking affect, and make it very difficult to catch waves.

    There are many factors to consider when choosing the right size board for you.  Both height and weight should be considered when deciding your size. The size chart below is a great starting point in the process of choosing the correct size. While these charts and sizing methods can be helpful tools they are not always completely accurate. Please remember what works for one may not work for someone else. Some riders try a couple different sizes before finding the perfect fit, especially when boards come in size options broken down as little as ¼ inch differences.  

    The type of wave also plays a big part of choosing your size:

        • For bigger barreling waves some guys prefer small boards as it is easier to turn (scoop) into the pit,
        • For smaller, mushier waves a longer board is preferred
        • A slightly longer board is best for Drop Knee and Stand up riding is preferred, It is all a matter of preference.



    Board Length (inches)

    Rider Weight (lbs)

    Rider Height (ft.' & in.")



    Under 4'
































    Still not sure? Below are some additional methods used in the industry to help you choose your size.

    METHOD 1

    Measure from the floor to your belly button. Typically you want the nose of the board to come to your belly button.

    METHOD 2

    Hold your board vertically in front of you, the bodyboard should reach from your knees up to your chin.

    PLEASE NOTE: Heavier riders may require a wider, thicker, or larger board.for extra flotation and buoyancy.