What Size Bodyboard Should I Get?

To maximize your enjoyment in the water the bodyboard you use should be the right size.

If you’ve never bodyboarded before you might be a little intimidated when trying to choose your first one.

We’ll have a look at some things you should know about before pulling the trigger, so you won’t have to waste time messing around with the wrong board.

What Size Bodyboard Should I Get?

You should choose your bodyboard size based primarily on your height and weight. The style you’re interested in and the waves you’ll be riding play a part too. Everyone should examine a basic bodyboard size chart and use it as a rough guide to help them choose their first board.

Bodyboard Size Chart

Before going any further we’ll take a look at a basic size chart that will help you decide which bodyboard size you need. But please don’t skip everything once you’ve looked at the chart. There are other factors involved that you’ll definitely need to know about.

Bodyboard Size Weight Height
33-35 0-65 lbs 2′-4′
36-38 65-85 lbs 4′-5′
39 85-115 lbs 4'6-5'2
40 115-130 lbs 5'3-5'6
41 125-170 lbs 5'7-5'9
42 145-180 lbs 5'9-6'0
43 170-210 lbs 6'1-6'3
44 180-270 lbs 6'2-6'4
45 200 lbs + 6'3-6'6
46 200 lbs + 6'4″ +

How Reliable Is The Bodyboarding Size Chart

If you follow the bodyboard size chart we’ve just mentioned you will probably end up with the exact board you want, but there are other factors you’ve got to consider too. So don’t be afraid if you have to go up or down a size depending on your individual needs.

Here are a few reasons why you might want to opt for a slightly different bodyboard size:

  • Riding large waves
  • Riding small waves
  • Drop knee bodyboarding

Riding large waves – If you plan on riding bigger waves you can easily get away with using a smaller board, which includes height and width. The waves will be so powerful you’ll be propelled forward at great speed on small boards (not too small) even though you’re big and heavy.

You’ll actually gain an advantage in the water because smaller boards will offer you much more control. When combined with the best bodyboarding flippers you’ll be able to twist and turn easily. You’ll be able to zig and zag much quicker too, which makes complete sense.

Larger boards won’t turn as quick and will add drag. So err on the side of caution when it comes to larger boards if you plan on riding primarily on big waves.

Riding small waves – The exact opposite is true when you’re going to be riding smaller waves close to the shore. A larger and thicker board with more volume will help you become more buoyant. The waves will be so small you won’t sink into the sea even if you’re heavier.

Be careful because I don’t know anyone who will be satisfied riding small waves forever. I know the size of waves will sometimes depend on where you live, but even if you plan to ride small waves there is no reason to choose a board that is far too big.

Drop knee bodyboarding – Using a larger board is helpful when your preferred style is drop knee bodyboarding, even if you’re riding bigger waves. It always helps when the length of the board is a little longer. I guess you could say the same when it comes to stand up bodyboarding too.

If you want to focus on drop knee and stand up bodyboarding there are other things to think about. When choosing the best beginner bodyboard you’ll want one designed to handle these riding styles. But you should always focus on drop knee bodyboarding.

Anyone who wants to stand up on a bodyboard non-stop should just use a surfboard. Standing up on a bodyboard designed for drop knee riding is hard which is half the fun. The Custom X Titan bodyboard is one of the best around for prone and drop knee riding.

Custom X Beast Big Guy Bodyboard | Larger Riders | Big Bodyboard for The Biggest Riders | 42 Inch | Black Deck, Navy Rails, White Bottom

3 Measurements That Might Help You Out

There are a few measurements you can take that can help when trying to choose the right size bodyboard. Please don’t take them too seriously because they’re only designed to guide you in the right direction. Everyone has a body shape unique to them alone.

Here are the 3 measurements you can test out:

  1. Chin to knees
  2. Belly button to floor
  3. Armpit to palm

1 – Chin to knees – Measure the distance in inches from your chin to your knees. It will give you a rough idea where you’ll be positioned on the board when lying in the prone position.

2 – Belly button to floor – This one is basically the same except you’ll measure the distance in inches from your belly button to the floor. It’s less effective because some people have long legs.

3 – Armpit to palm – If you measure the distance from your armpit to your palm it will help you decide what width your board should be. You want to be able to hold the board under your arm when walking around.

The Ratio Of Your Bodyboard Rails

The combined thickness of your rails will depend on the thickness of your bodyboard, but they come in two main ratios these days:

  • 60:40 ratio
  • 50:50 ratio

60:40 ratio – The bottom part of your rail will be 60 percent of the total size and the top part will be much smaller. You’ll be able to see this straight away by looking at a board from a side angle. This ratio is designed to give you more control when riding bigger waves.

50:50 ratio – Obviously this means each half of your rail will be the exact same size. It basically looks like a < except it’s not as pointy. This ratio will give you a bit more speed when you’re on the waves. It will come in handy on smaller ones where you want all the speed you can muster.

The Core Material Inside Your Bodyboard

I know the core doesn’t have anything to do with bodyboard size, but I’m going to presume you’ll use the advice to choose a board. Therefore, it’s important you know about the materials used in the core thanks to the way they react in different water temperatures:

  • Warm waters
  • Cold waters

Warm waters – Polypropylene (PP) is good in warm waters because it’s stiff and fast. Even though it’s a bit stiffer the warmer water will help it become more flexible.

Cold waters – Polyethylene (PE) is good in cold waters because it’s already quite flexible. It can be slower in warmer waters because boards need a certain stiffness to them.

We haven’t talked about features like power rod stringers. It’s a solid tube (sometimes more than one) they insert into the best bodyboards to increase the stiffness and overall strength of your board. It stops before reaching the top of your board so you can still turn easily.

The reason I’m mentioning this is because it doesn’t really matter if you have a polypropylene or polyethylene core. It doesn’t make a big difference thanks to modern bodyboard features. Stringers obviously help heavier riders on smaller boards too.

The Size Of Your Bodyboard Fins

While we’re talking about size it’s worth mentioning bodyboard fins size too. After all, they’re almost essential when bodyboarding if you plan on doing anything exciting in the water. Fins aren’t created equal and you’ll need a shorter/wider pair when bodyboarding.

You can read more about why the best bodyboarding fins are short and fat, or if you’d rather a good recommendation the Churchill Makapuu Pro fins are amazing.

Churchill Makapuu Pro Swimfins -Black/Orange - M/L

What Size Bodyboard Do I Need?

Nobody will ever find the ultimate board that suits them perfectly in every department. But you should be able to use the guidelines (bodyboard size chart + extra information) we’ve talked about today to find a board good enough to get started straight away.

If you fall in love with bodyboarding and live close to the beach you’ll probably end up with more than one in your collection anyway. As long as you don’t go too crazy you’ll have tons of fun no matter what boogie board size you choose.