Mike Stewart: picking the right bodyboards since 1963

Mike Stewart, multiple world bodyboarding champion and founder of Science Bodyboards, has come up with a few relevant ideas on how to pick the right bodyboard.

"The first thing to consider is what you're going to ride. Is it hollow, small or big, a reef or shore break? All those things get you in the direction of what to buy," says Mike Stewart.

The nine-time world bodyboarding champion suggests that the length of the board is the main priority. The next thing to consider is the template.

Bigger boards are better for generating speed, as long as waves are not too hollow. For more control in steeper waves, you'll need a smaller board.

Speed and redirection of energy are the two main variables at stake, when riding a wave. Both work in opposite ways, so it's important to adjust the right board features to what you're looking for.

What about the cores? "Generally, there are two main cores that have been used in bodyboarding. One is polypropylene, and the other one is polyethylene. They both have different characteristics."

Polyethylene is going to be a little bit softer and has a different flex effect and memory. Polyethylene is softer than polypropylene.

"I like boards that are flexible and that I can control. These new softer cores have the best of both worlds. Polyethylene is better for colder waters and polypropylene is better for warmer waters and are more durable."

The bodyboard industry has evolved around the plastics industry. Stringers have come along to work with the core and skins, as a structural flex system. It is important that the board you're riding takes advantage of that.

Bat tail or crescent tail? Crescent tails are more "forgiving," more sticky in the wave face and good for hollow rides. Bat tails are easier for rail-to-rail turns and get more projection in these turns, like in roundhouse cutbacks. Crescent tails can turn harder and make you lose speed.

"Treat bodyboards like you treat a pet." Fresh water and shade are good to bodyboards and temperature affects them.

Pick the right board for your weight with a bodyboard size chart.
Learn more about the best bodyboard core types and materials.
Take an in-depth look at how to choose the best bodyboard.
Discover the bodyboard stringer revolution.