The materials used to create bodyboards have been responsible for the most recent advancements in bodyboard building. Manufacturers are producing bodyboards with many different materials, here are some of the more common materials used for:
For bodyboard sizing and design information click here.
The Polypropylene (Polypro) is more expensive than the polyethylene cores, but considering the quality of the material it is well worth the price. Polypro is stronger, lighter, very responsive and offer bodyboarders top performance.
Polypropylene comes in two types, Extruded PP and Beaded PP. – Beaded PP is a completely closed cell, the boards are more buoyant and sit high in the water. Beaded PP also has a funkier flex, as the bead structure tends to compress at the flexion point and doesn't have a great transfer to the nose and tail (longitudinal flex) like extruded PP possesses. Beaded PP fine for mid end boards as good as Extruded PP. Extruded PP boards are fast, rigid and perfect for those who like to bust big airs and pull in barrels.
When the mad scientists at VS/NMD started the development phase of the NRG™ core, they identified several key performance targets. "We wanted a material that possessed the same compression rebound qualities as found in our Kinetic Core™, but with a softer flex for cooler water conditions. We also wanted a lighter material that would help counterbalance board displacement issues caused by the extra weight of the rider when wearing a wetsuit." Numerous hours went into the formulation of the NRG™ core, both in terms of engineering and in water testing. "We took things a step further by incorporating ESP™ Engineered Springer Placement. ESP™ features a high-density Airex® structural foam beam heat-welded into the core, just below the plane of the deck, creating a slightly stiffer longitudinal flex and enhancing the boards recoil properties, enabling more projection out of turns. By integrating the latest advancements in calibrated cell-fusion with the spring-like rebound of ESP™, NMD introduces the next evolution in engineered core technology."
3D Core created by legend shaper VS/NMD’s Nick Mesritz
“Both team riders and the general public have been complaining for years that PP is too stiff and PE is too soft, so the aim was to find or develop a core that was somewhere in the middle.
It became obvious that to find the perfect compromise between stiffness and flex, I had to somehow combine the PP and PE cores we had available to us. It didn't make sense to vertically bond the PE to the PP, as there would be an unnatural nose to tail flex, depending on where you placed the PE. Horizontally layered sandwich construction made much more sense to me. It had been used in snowboards for years and by layering the various foams, it was possible to achieve specific flex properties with natural, undistorted nose to tail flex. With our current 3D core layered construction, we have a flexural stiffness that's pretty much in middle between PE and PP. Testing has shown it to work well in both warm and cool water temperatures. It also has a nice weight, similar to that of PE, which tends to ride better in the water compared to lightweight cores like beaded PP.”
Arcel is a mix of polyethylene and polystyrene. Developed for bodyboards in the mid-80's, this is a light, strong foam used for bodyboard cores. It is a tough, flexible, durable foam that is stronger and more water resistant than polyethylene. Arcel will maintain it’s rocker and stiffness giving you about twice the performance life compared to “PE” especially in warm water.
Polyethylene core (Dow)
The original cores used for the first bodyboards. The core gives the bodyboard flex which generates projection and instant response for the rider. PE is also good for colder water conditions, since low water temperatures increase the stiffness of all cores. The flex attributes of Dow™ PE allow the rider to contort and manipulate the board to harness the power of the wave and transfer that power into projection. As the rider drives into a bottom turn, the downward gravitational force of the rider is opposed by the upward draw of the wave
EPS - Expanded polystyrene foam
EPS is primarily for starter boards that cost $90 and less. EPS has come a long way in the past few years EPS is very lightweight, but does not perform as fast and durable as the other cores, but the price is right!
- TOP DECKS
- 8lb Polyethylene
(Wave Cushion) 8lb polyethylene is a high performance cushioning foam that is the deck of choice for today’s elite riders. The combination of 8lb PE decks and outer rails, Dow or PP cores and Surlkyn slicks are the ultimate trinities of progressive riding.
Crosslink is a super fine cell structure made for the outer skin of a bodyboards normally at 6lb. Wave Deck is NMD/VS/Empire's version of crosslink and it uses 8 pounds per cubic foot (pcf) density compared to the standard 6 pcf that most companies use. Crosslink deck is mainly for boards at $80 and under unless you are looking to get a Polypro core board at a lower price of $160 or less.
- SLICK BOTTOMS
Surlyn is a unique, rubber like combination of ethylene resins and other copolymers invented and manufactured by the chemical geniuses at Dupont. Unlike rigid plastics, Surlyn has amazing flexural stiffness that allows a board to conform and contort to the curve of the wave when controlled by applied pressure from the rider. When the tourque is released, the dynamic memory properties of the Surlyn deliver instant recoil, projecting the board onto the next section. Surlyn is so strong that it is used as the cover for golf balls due to its unique abilities to resist cutting and abrasions from golf club impact. Surlyn is the slick of choice for high end bodyboards.
HDPE Slick (high density polyethylene)
The cheaper alternative is a HDPE slick. In terms of look and feel there’s little to separate it from Surlyn. However, HDPE slicks tend to appear on entry-level or beginners boards so unless you’re just starting out it’s usually worth paying that little extra for a Surlyn. Saying that, smaller and lighter riders tend to get away with HDPE slicks as they exert less pressure on the board. This means longevity isn’t affected. The HDPE skin is less performance-based to give great value for money while you increase your skill level.
- Stringers are rods used to add strength, increase stiffness and to help maintain good rocker. Stringers lengthen the life of a bodyboard. Stringers are generally inserted into the center of the core. They normally start at the tail and end 6" from nder the nose of the bodyboard. Stringers are made of many different designs and materials. Bodyboards can have anywhere from 1 to 3 stringers.
- Mesh is a wire-like plastic material that sits between the slick and the Core. It enhances projection and makes boards more durable. It also cushions the stress boards receive when landing aerial moves. Good to know, next time you get some air time.
THE FINAL STEP TO MAKE A PURCHASE
OK, now you know all there is to know about bodyboards! Kind of. Ready to start choosing the perfect model for you? Don’t worry. If you’re still unclear about anything or need more information about bodyboard features then give us a call. We’re ready and waiting to find the perfect match for you.