Bodyboards: the less rocker, the faster you'll ride | Photo: APB

The rocker is the original bottom curve of the bodyboard from nose to tail, as observed from a side angle.

The goal of the rocker is to adapt to the natural curvature of the waves. Traditionally, the nose and tail of both bodyboards and surfboards are slightly angled upward.

But there are limits for the amplitude of the rocker you need. You will never want a banana-shaped profile, so sometimes it's important to fix it, i.e., reduce or simply eliminate the overall curve of the board.

Excessive exposure to the sun or extreme heat sources, and positioning patterns over the board - chest, arms, and shoulder - may increase the natural rocker of a bodyboard.

The rocker has advantages and disadvantages. The main benefits are better bottom-turns, carves and sharp turns; the fundamental weakness is less speed down the line.

Depending on the weight of the rider, the air and water temperatures, and the riding habits, a bodyboard may develop an extra ten millimeters of rocker - or even more - over time.

If you feel that your relatively flat bodyboard morphed into a U-shaped sponge, then you should think about flattening it out.

But remember that the flatter the board, the more chance of nose diving. Here's how to reduce or remove the rocker of a bodyboard:

1. Place a small object on the floor to elevate the nose of the board a few inches up;
2. Turn the bodyboard upside down with the bottom slick facing upward;
3. Use a heat gun to melt the portion of the board that has the rock you don't want;
4. Heat it for between three-to-five minutes - don't get too close or too far;
5. The slick skin will change appearance just slightly;
6. Place a box or a weight over the heated area and press gently for five minutes;
7. Take the weight off the boogie board and flip it to see if the rocker level is okay for you;

The process described above is also valid for bodyboards with an accentuated reverse rocker.