Bodyboarding is one of Australia’s favourite past times and is a great way to enjoy the surf during the summer months.
However, with so many brands on the market, as well as ever-changing technology, it can be difficult to know which bodyboard is best for you or your family.
To help in your search, we’ve rounded up the best bodyboards on the market and assessed them against a range of important criteria including construction material, key features and the skill level they have been designed for.
This review and comparison can help you find the best bodyboard for your next beach trip.
Best Performance Board: Versus Winny Motion PP Bodyboard
Core: Kinetic PP
Pros: Well crafted, fun for all-around use, light weight, versatile
Cons: More expensive than other options
The Dave Winchester “Winny” bodyboard is a fun, versatile board that is suitable for beginners right through to more experienced riders.
This 42″ board features a single stringer making it strong for all-around use and performance. Although this is still an entry-level bodyboard, it is well-crafted and shaped for speed. This is the kind of board that will last you years as you progress in bodyboarding.
The shape and design make the Winny Motion a suitable option for tackling airs and gaining enough speed for tubes. It also has nose bulbs, a feature that is more often seen on high-end models. This is a high-quality board that offers a stepping stone between beginner and pro bodyboards.
Best for Turns: NMD Bodyboards 360 PE
Pros: PE core, perfect for small to medium surf, crescent tail for control, single stringer for extra strength
Cons: Tail design less suitable for spins (vs a bat tail)
Founded in New Zealand, NMD is one of the most respected names in the Bodyboarding world. With team riders such as 3x IBA World Champion Ben Player, NMD is at the forefront of bodyboard technology.
The 360 is an Extruded Polyethylene bodyboard designed for small to medium-sized waves.
This bodyboard is perfect for beginners and intermediate riders. The 360 allows for smooth turns and provides a nice balance between support and speed. The crescent tail adds versatility and will provide improved control and bite into the wave.
This bodyboard also includes a double stringer for extra strength and pop.
Best Progress Board: Funkshen Dual PE Dual Stringer Bodyboard
Pros: Highly manoeuvrable, great for turns, carbon fibre stringers
Cons: Polyethylene slick isn’t as durable as surlyn
The Funkshen Dual is a great board for carving as it feels responsive and can handle tight turns with ease. The clipped crescent shape, the same as the NMD 360 PE above, is ideal for getting more turns in during a ride.
One of the main differences between the NMD 360 PE and this bodyboard is the channels. The Funkshen Dual uses a single channel to help direct water flow to assist you with turns while the NMD features graduated channels.
This bodyboard also uses dual carbon fibre stringers to prevent over flex so riders can enjoy a responsive ride even at high speed. As with most of the board we’ve reviewed (aside from the Manta Phantom and QCD Drive) this board uses a high-density PE (HDPE) slick.
If you’re looking for a mid-range board for progressing your bodyboarding skills, this is one of the best options.
Great Value: Manta Phantom PE Core Bodyboard
Pros: Great mid-level bodyboard, PE core, double stringer
Cons: More expensive than beginner options, wrist leash not included
Manta was Australia’s first bodyboard brand and remains a popular entry to mid-range option.
The Manta Phantom would suit beginner through to intermediate riders. It features a PE core, providing impressive rigidity and durability while maintaining flex and responsiveness.
A double stringer adds extra strength and pop and allows the rider to place more faith in the flex of the board. This board also features 60/ 40 rails.
Best Budget Option: Morey Mach 11 Tube Rail Bodyboard
Pros: Leash included, low cost, ideal for beginners
Cons: EPS core is less durable than PE or PP core
The Morey Mach 11 is a great budget boogie board for first-timers.
The Morey Mach is one of only two boards on our list that has an EPS core rather than a PE or a PP core. The EPS core is a cheaper option that is suitable for entry-level, beginner bodyboards.
This is one of the best bodyboard options for complete beginners. The Morey Mach 11 is also the only board on the list that comes with a leash included. The coil wrist leash keeps you connected to your board so it doesn’t get away from you.
This boogie board features ergonomic palm locks to help beginners comfortably hold onto the board and be in control when in waves.
Best All-Rounder: Stealth Delta PE Bodyboard
Core: Wavecushion Air PE
Pros: Fun, mesh reinforced, double stringer
Cons: PE is usually best for cooler climates
The Stealth Delta can handle most conditions making it a fun board for any user.
Although the PE core has a softer feel compared to other core materials, this bodyboard uses double stringers which gives it a stiffer feeling compared to the single stringer Winny.
It has also been reinforced with slick mesh to ensure it can hold up against more powerful waves.
For improved performance, the Stealth Delta includes nose bulbs as well as deck contours.
Premium Option: QCD Drive – Kinetic Bodyboard
Core: Kinetic PP
Pros: Durable materials, surlyn slick, built for speed and control
Cons: More expensive than other options
Australian brand QCD makes some of the best bodyboard on the market.
The QCD Drive stands out from the other models on this list as it uses a Kinetic PP core and a surlyn slick. Both are features found exclusively on high-end boards.
The majority of the bodyboard options we have discussed use a high-density polyethylene slick, a material that is more prone to creasing than surlyn. This makes the QCD Drive a reliable option for frequent use.
The QCD Drive bodyboard is available in 39.5″ or 41.5″, with both options having 55/45 rails.
The design of this bodyboard makes it fast and easy to control. The combination of the straighter curve, crescent shape and thumb grooves ensure you can keep your position as you move down the line quickly.
The QCD Drive is a suitable option for intermediate and advanced riders who want a lightweight bodyboard that offers a blend between control, speed and comfort.
High Performance: Found Mitch Rawlins ULTRA PP Crescent Tail
Core: Freedom 6 PP
Slick: Woven HPDE
Pros: PP core, unique round stringer, best for carving, 4 size options
Cons: High price
This is a high-performance bodyboard, similar to the QCD Drive discussed above. The Mitch Rawlins ULTRA also uses a strong PP core to handle advanced riders who want speed and performance.
A unique feature of this bodyboard is the round stringer configuration. This carbon fibre stringer is positioned so the core can twist and flex during high-performance rides. The ULTRA also has the signature curve of Mitch Rawlins boards and a clipped crescent shape that is great for carving.
This is a high-quality bodyboard that is perfectly suited to high-performance riders.
Great for Smaller Surf: NMD Bodyboards Storm EPS
Slick: Crosslinked PE
Pros: Light, stiff, great beginner option
Cons: Won’t perform as well in bigger waves and heavy manoeuvres
The Storm is an entry-level option from experienced bodyboard manufacturers NMD.
This bodyboard is lightweight and is designed with both volume and shape to provide the best possible experience for beginners.
The Storm has an EPS core which is a common material for beginner boards as it offers a blend of flex, strength and floatation. The single stringer makes this great for riding in small waves and for practising bodyboarding as a beginner.
At an affordable price point and from a respected brand, the Storm is a great option for the family beach kit.
Bodyboard Comparison Table
|Bodyboard||Our Verdict||Core Material||Slick Material||Stringer||Channels||Tail||Other|
|Vs Winny Motion||Best Performance Board||Kinetic PP||HDPE||EXT||Venturi||Crescent||Nose bulbs|
|Stealth Delta||Best All-Rounder||Wavecushion Air PE||HD||2 x S5||Graduated||Crescent||Slick mesh reinforcement|
|NMD 360Pe||Best for Turns||PE||HDPE||2 x EXT||Graduated||Clipped crescent||IXLPE Crosslink deck|
|Funkshen Dual||Best Progress Board||PE||HDPE||2 x Carbon Fibre||Single||Clipped crescent||4 colour options|
|Manta Phantom||Great Value||PE||XPS||Twin||Yes||Crescent||60/ 40 double rails|
|Morey Mach||Best Budget Option||EPS||HDPE||/||2 full channels||Crescent||Coli leash included|
|QCD Drive||Premium Option||Kinetic PP||Surlyn||CFT||AKU CNC||Crescent||Nose bulbs|
|Mitch Rawlins||High Performance||Freedom 6 PP||Woven HPDE||Found full torsion||Graduated||Clipped crescent||Aeromesh construction|
|NMD Storm||Great for Smaller Surf||EPS||Crosslinked PE||Single||Graduated||Rolled crescent||50/50 double rail|
Bodyboard Buying Guide
With so many factors to consider and with the majority of bodyboard models looking the same at first glance, choosing a new bodyboard can be a challenge.
Below we break down the key features you should keep an eye out for during your search and how each one can impact your ride. Use this guide to narrow down your favourites and find the best bodyboard for you.
Before we get into the finer details of stringers, channels and tail shapes let’s take a look at the basics:
The most important thing to consider when choosing your bodyboard is the size. A smaller board is generally more maneuverable but is slower, while bigger boards reduce drag from the rider’s body and provide stability at high speeds.
Bodyboard sizes are stated in inches, which represents the length of the board. The key factor influencing board size selection is your height and weight.
Each bodyboard has its own weight capacity based on its size and volume. If you’re not sure what size bodyboard is best for you, the table below provides a rough guide based on these factors.
|Rider Height (cm)||Rider Weight (kg)||Bodyboard Length (inches)|
The size of the wave you will be riding can also be a factor in determining which size is best. If you stick to smaller waves you may want to opt for a slightly larger board to reduce drag and maximise speed, while big wave riders will be able to get away with a smaller board.
The most common materials used in the core of bodyboards are listed below. Choosing a board made from one of these materials is a safe bet and as you become more advanced you will start to notice the differences between these options.
- Polypropylene foam (PP) – Stiff, fast and lightweight, this material is common on more high-end bodyboards. Polypropylene foam handles choppy waters with ease and is great for high speed, high-performance manoeuvres.
- Extruded Polyethylene foam (PE) – This is more flexible than polypropylene and is a very popular material for beginner boards. PE is also known as Dow. An extruded polyethylene core gives users a bit more flex and is a popular material choice for use in colder waters.
- Extruded Polystyrene (EPS) – This is the cheapest material and is often used in beginner boards. An EPS foam core is light in weight but is not as durable or strong as other options.
In addition to the core material, it is also important to consider the slick material that is being used. This is what covers the underside of the bodyboard. The slick bottom of the bodyboard is the part that is going to be in contact with the wave. Common slick materials include:
- High-density polyethylene (HDPE) – this is the material most commonly used on entry-level bodyboard models. It looks and feels similar to the more expensive surlyn but is more prone to creasing.
- Surlyn – this is a resilient, high-performance slick that is more durable and less prone to creasing than high-density polyethylene.
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As you begin to look at the finer details of the bodyboard, you’ll notice there are a few performance options. These will impact how much control you have and how the board is going to feel when in waves.
The stringer is a power rod that prevents the board from overflexing when riding. The stringer adds weight to the board and is found in most bodyboards. The positioning of the stringer varies depending on the bodyboard:
- Standard: This is the basic central stringer that is best suited to all-around use.
- Flex Tip: This stringer gives a bit more flex at the nose of the bodyboard. This eliminates that stiff, unused feeling that some bodyboards have. The flex tip stringer is great for lighter riders and works well when bodyboarding in cooler waters.
- Double: Double standard stringers give the bodyboard a stiff, rigid feel. They are a popular option for people who want a stronger board and they work well in warmer water.
- Double Halves: This is a blend of the single and double setup. You get the standard middle stringer with 2 half stringers on either side (on the bottom half of the board). This set-up keeps the back of the board strong while giving you flex in the nose when you need it.
- Drop Knee: If you are a drop knee rider then you may prefer this stringer as it ensures the board is supported in the impact areas.
The width of the bodyboard’s tail will impact the performance of the board, a thinner style makes it easier to do quick turns and spins while a wider option is harder to turn but will pick up speed quickly. The tail needs to be able to support the weight of your legs and hips too.
There are also different shapes to consider, the most common options being:
A crescent tail or clipped crescent tail is great for use in any surf, it is a comfortable shape that doesn’t restrict your legs or hips. This shape is user-friendly for both prone and drop knee riding while the bat shape below is not recommended for the drop knee bodyboarding stance.
The clipped crescent provides pivot points perfect for carves and bottom turns but the blocks need to be the right size to do this effectively.
This shape is the most popular as it is versatile and can perform well in all conditions.
A bat tail is a better choice for weak or unpredictable waves. It gives a looser feeling that is great for performing turns and manoeuvres. If you are going to be bodyboarding in mostly small waves then you may find the bat style to be the better option for you.
The slick bottom of a bodyboard may have channels to maximise contact with the wave. A bottom with channels can make it easier to hold a high position on the wave, allowing for more power and faster turns.
The channels act similar to a fin but if the depth of the rear channels are too deep or wide then the bodyboard won’t feel good to ride. The most common channels for small surf are graduated, these are smooth, shallow and have a wide profile.
The rails (the edge of the bodyboard) are separated into two sections: the rail and the chine. The rail is the lower part while the chine is the part that wraps around to the deck.
The configuration of the rails is displayed as two numbers e.g. 60/ 40, 50/50, 55/45. The first number is the rail and the second is the chine.
A 60/40 rail configuration gives you plenty of hold but not as much speed.
A 50/50 configuration would give you less grip but is faster.
Many bodyboard brands use a 55/45 rail configuration as this suits most riders. A 55/45 rail is great for the majority of situations and suits almost all waves and riding styles.