Are you new to bodyboarding? Have you been looking for ideas and inspiration for some of the best bodyboards in the UK? Well, look no further because this article is aimed to provide you with all the information you need.
Bodyboarding is a classic and with just over half a million participants in the UK, it’s also one of the most popular watersports because it’s relativity simple to do and cheap to get going.
The problem is:
Buying a new bodyboard is not a super easy experience, and buying the wrong board could mean you have less fun on the water.
You’re always hoping your new bodyboard is going to glide through waves with ease, but this is not always the case.
If you’re looking for the best bodyboard, you need to know what attributes make a decent board. And before I introduce you to some of the best bodyboards in the UK, I’m first going to explain what to look for.
Table of Contents
What to look for in a bodyboard
As I mentioned before, if you don’t know what you’re looking for when purchasing a bodyboard, there’s a good chance you’ll end up with a dud.
I mean, you might get lucky, but you certainly won’t have a bodyboard that glides through the waves.
So, in this section, I want to list some of the key aspects you should be looking out for when choosing the best bodyboards:
One of the most essential elements to look at when you buy a bodyboard is the size. If the bodyboard is too small, you’re going to struggle to catch waves (which IS the primary objective).
If you get a bodyboard that’s too big, you’re going to struggle to control it, which is not something you want when you’re playing around in waves next to other people.
So, what should you be looking for?
Well, below, I’ve compiled a basic guide for you to follow. But one thing I must point out is this guide is based on assuming people are at the average weight to their weight.
But what if you’re heavier than your average height?
If this is the case for you, your best option is to get the bigger board; you’ll need the added buoyancy if you want to get on the wave easily.
Bodyboard size guide
|Riders Height||Board Length|
|4ft to 5ft||36” – 38”|
|5ft to 5’3ft||39”|
|5’4ft to 5’6ft||40”|
|5’7ft to 5’9ft||41”|
|5’10ft to 6ft||42”|
|6ft to 6’2ft||43”|
|6’2ft to 6’5ft||44”|
Before going out and buying any old bodyboard, make sure you check the chart to see which one suits your needs the best.
Another way of figuring out roughly what size bodyboard you need is to measure from the floor to your belly button. The length of the board should be no more than 2 inches above or below that height.
Board for beginners
Starting a new sport is never an easy task, and it’s essential you have the right tools for the job.
But there are two problems I see all of the time:
- Beginners buy the cheapest model they can find because they don’t know if they will enjoy it.
- Or they buy the best one they can find (which is usually suited for intermediates and above) and hope they can ride it.
Both of these techniques won’t help you. If you get a super cheap bodyboard, the chances are it’s not going to do the sport any justice.
And if you go for the most expensive, it’s going to be too advanced for you, and you’re going to struggle to ride.
Both of these options end up with you wasting money and not giving the sport a fair chance. So, if you’re a beginner, I’d watch out for these features to guarantee you have fun:
- EPS – Expanded Polystyrene: These cores are very hardy, lightweight and float exceptionally well, making them perfect for beginners.
- Single Stringer: It will provide you with an excellent balance between rigidity while you paddle and flex on the wave.
- HDPE Slick: It’s the most durable slick, making them perfect for beginners. Not only are they durable, but they offer excellent speed on small or broken waves.
For me, this is the best combination of features a beginner can have on their bodyboard without breaking the bank.
Boards for intermediates +
For those of you who have broken the beginner stage and want to start riding waves over 1 meter, you are going to be looking for a more advanced bodyboard.
If you’re taking bodyboarding more seriously, you’ve probably already purchased a set of fins. If you haven’t, you’re going to need fins attached to your feet for these types of boards.
So, what features are you looking for if you’re breaking into the intermediates + zone of bodyboarding?
Let’s take a look:
- PE – Polyethylene: If you’re bodyboarding in colder waters, then this style of core is recommended. It’s softer and more flexible, which improves the turning ability.
- EPO – Expanded Polyolefin: The high-density form provides rigidity and strength so you can reach maximum speed.
- PP – Polypropylene: This material is usually found in more professional style boards but excels in warmer water. The material is stiffer, lighter and stronger than the counterpart PE.
- Double Stringer: This helps keep the rigidity and recoil of the bodyboard. Drop knee riders also favour it because of the flex it receives when bottom turning can recoil more energy.
- Surlyn Slick: It makes the board more responsive and flexible than your average slick. You’ll also notice an increase in speed and can flex easily to the shape of the wave.
These are the features you should be looking for if you’re planning to take your bodyboarding game to the next level.
Get something that will last…
One of the biggest problems in the UK is people buying cheap bodyboards that don’t last much longer than a day. Unfortunately on a summer day in Cornwall, you find 100’s of cheap bodyboards dumped at the beach after they’ve been used for a single session. Now, this won’t turn into an eco lecture, but we all know single-use plastic is not a good idea…
If you’re planning on buying your first bodyboard, try and find one that’s going to last a while, so you’re not polluting the beaches and landfills with bodyboards.
Or, if you’re just looking to use one for the weekend, you can consider renting a wooden board instead of buying one.
Best bodyboards for beginners and intermediates
Decathlon – Bodyatu Kids Bodyboard
Decathlon is a French sporting goods retailer which is known around the globe for providing economic high-quality equipment. And today, I want to introduce you to the Bodyatu bodyboard for children.
From £24.99 – View on Decathlon
The bodyboard is made with a polystyrene core and fabric outside and is not suitable for broken waves over 50 cm.
The bodyboard is designed for 4 to 8-year old’s that are looking forward to catching their first wave out on the open ocean. Thanks to the handles at the front of the bodyboard, it’s an excellent choice for a child with less confidence.
The cheaper materials used on this bodyboard means you only have to pay £24.99. So, it’s the perfect choice for people that will only be using it every once in a while.
ACS – Salt Water Seeker SWS01
ACS is the own brand of Ann’s Cottage, which is born and bred in Cornwall and is one of the biggest surf retailers in the UK.
From £39.99 – View all ACS kids bodyboards on Ann’s Cottage
Ann’s Cottage have produced a very popular bodyboard range for kids and adults, called Salt Water Seeker. The bodyboard is built with a buoyant, durable high compression core and a PCX slick.
I’d recommend this bodyboard for the 8–12 year old kids who are starting to progress in the sport. Ann’s Cottage says the board is suited to both prone and drop-knee styles, so it’s perfect for a child that’s trying to push their boundaries to the next level.
The bodyboard uses a more complex set of materials, which will set you back £39.99. But for this price, you’ll get a quality board that doesn’t break the bank.
Hydro – Zapper
Hydro bodyboards offer a great combination of fun, performance and quality at a budget to beginner bodyboarders. And the Hydro Zapper bodyboard is one of the standout boards in their product line.
From £39.95 – View on Surfdome
The Zapper is built with an EPS core that is flexible which is great from control, plus it’s pretty durable. They also added an HDPE slick to the bodyboard, which is perfect for beginners. This durable HDPE slick offers good speed on smaller and broken waves.
Although this bodyboard is durable with its EPS core and HDPE slick, it’s only got a single stringer, suggesting that it’s still really for those who don’t plan on tackling big waves.
The Hydro Zapper bodyboard is going to set you back between £39.95 – £41.95, depending on what size you need to go for.
Gul – Response
Gul has been at the forefront of water sports for a good 50 years now and helped to increase technical development for water sports apparel in the UK. Their Response range is one of the most popular in the UK, perfect for those who want to try bodyboarding with a decent started board.
They used an EPO core on the bodyboard, which adds a lot of strength and stiffness to the board. Add this with the HDPE slick, and you have a bodyboard that can cut through the waves and hold a good amount of speed.
As with all the boards in the first section of this list, these are not super high performance but it’ll be a lot of fun for those who just want to play in the waves and get a feel for bodyboarding.
Decathlon – Radbug 500
Decathlon do some watersports really well, their paddleboard, kayak and bodyboard range is seriously up there in terms of value. Among some of their better products is the Radbug 500.
From £59.99 – View on Decathlon
The bodyboard is made with an EPO core to provide strength and speed to the board. And they also added double stringers to further add to the rigidity, which is quite amazing for this price. These two features alone make it perfect for waves under 1.5 metres.
I’d recommend this bodyboard for people that have been bodyboarding a few times before.
Another thing to note is it’s a little bit more expensive than some beginner boards at £59.99, but that’s because it’s pushing intermediate status.
Dick Pearce – Surf Club Slider
If you’re looking for something a bit different, the Dick Pearce Surf Club is an excellent option. They aimed to build products with long-lasting sustainability and to support British manufacturers.
From £55 – View on Dick Pearce
So, welcome to the Surfer Club Slider. It’s made with high-quality and sustainable 9mm birch plywood. This is excellent for people that want to help protect our oceans by reducing the use of chemicals.
The Surfer Club Slider was aimed at the beginner bodyboarder that likes to keep the sustainability of the planet in mind. The materials are entirely recyclable and non-toxic, so there’s nothing to worry about.
When it comes to cost, it’s not cheap, but this is due to the manufacturing process the bodyboard goes through. You can expect to pay £55 for this stunning bodyboard, but this is a low cost for sustainability.
Two Bare Feet – 44″ Bodyboard
The Two Bare Feet company was founded back in 1994, with the original store opening in Torquay, on the South Devon coast.
The Two Bare Feet bodyboard has an EPS core that is super durable, lightweight, and has good buoyancy, which makes it perfect for beginners. And to improve the elasticity, they used an HDPE slick bottom.
Both of these features make this bodyboard perfect for a beginner that’s looking to pick up some speed on the water. They also come in varying colours, so you can match them to your style when you make the purchase.
This entry-level board is one of the most popular online.
NMD – Evo
Nick Mesritz is the shaper behind NMD boards and is widely regarded as one of the best in the world. They have produced some of the best bodyboards over the past 10 years and always focus on high-end quality. NMD boards are for those who want to take their bodyboarding seriously.
From £139.99 – View on Shore Watersports
This board has an Ethafoam™ PE core and PE deck, which if you remember from our buyer’s guide above Polyethylene offers far better performance and is more durable than EPS core boards.
The premium-grade WaveSlick bottom, XFL nose and tail armour, and double plastic and carbon composite stringers will give the board much more strength and ensure it will last for years and years.
I love the additional features such as the channels on the deck that helps with your hands gripping the board for superior control.
At £139.99 this board is not for beginners, but for those who want a premium board that performs well in all conditions.
Alder – Apex AX04
Apex is known for making some of the best bodyboards you can buy. The world’s best bodyboard designers manufacture them. And there’s no better option to introduce you to than the Apex AX04.
From £109 – View on Bodyboard HQ
They designed the board with a polypro/EPS blend called Sper, making the core more robust than ever while providing plenty of spring and recoil. And for its size, it’s one of the most buoyant bodyboards in the world.
If you keep up to date with bodyboarding events, you’ll know the Apex AX04 is used by the five times British Champion. So, I’d recommend this board for a rider looking to push the boundaries of their ability.
Having such an excellent board does come at a cost (as I’m sure you can imagine); it will set you back £109.95. But what I can say is it’s totally worth it if you’re trying to push to the next level.
Decathlon – Weezmi Tandem
For something different that the family can enjoy in the summer months, you should consider Decathlons’ tandem bodyboard. It’s a great idea for getting the little ones on the water but you can stay in total control.
From £39.99 – View on Decathlon
The bodyboard features three handles at the front of the board, making it easier for you and your child to hang on to. They also used a high-density plastic glide slick to provide durability and speed.
One thing to note is that the board shouldn’t be used in waves or foam more than 1 metre tall.
If you’re looking to spend some time with your kid and get them into bodyboarding, then this is the board for you. To make things better, it will only set you back £39.99, which is a small price to pay for happy memories.
About the author
Watersports Pro is managed by Ollie, who has been in the industry since 2007. A paddleboard and advanced windsurfing instructor, Ollie has travelled the world teaching these sports.
Now based on the South Coast of England, he shares his experience and knowledge on watersportspro.co.uk.