So you have fallen in love with bodyboarding and the feeling of surfing a wave and are now ready to invest in your new hobby.
One piece of bodyboarding equipment you can’t go without is a bodyboard, but they don’t come all that cheap, so you are probably wondering how long your board will last before you need to pull out your wallet again.
How Long Does a Bodyboard Last?
A good quality bodyboard should last between 2 – 5 years if it is properly cared for.
This will depend on the quality of the bodyboard, the material used, the types of breaks you surf, and how frequently your bodyboard.
Let’s take a more detailed look at how long a bodyboard should last and how to care for your board.
What Determines a Bodyboard’s Lifespan?
There are many factors that play a role in how long your bodyboard could last, but some of the most common include:
- How you care for your bodyboard
- The materials used in the board
- The construction of the bodyboard
- The types of waves you surf
- The frequency that you use your board
- What you use the board for
How You Care For Your Bodyboard
How you care for your board will be one of the biggest factors that affect its lifespan.
If you are reckless with your board, don’t use a cover, simply throw it into the car, leave it in the sun, and never rinse it, you can expect it not to last very long.
If you are rough with your board (although it won’t crack like a surfboard), it will form dents, similar to pressure dings on a surfboard, creases, and eventually bend or snap under pressure.
The material used to construct your board will make a huge difference when it comes to the board’s durability.
There are multiple different bodyboard cores, and more are constantly being innovated, but the 4 main materials you will see a bodyboard being made from are, in descending order of durability:
- Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)
- Polyethylene (PE)
- Polypropylene (PP)
Naturally, you can expect that higher-quality bodyboards cost more.
For example, a polystyrene board won’t last you a year if you use it constantly and, in most cases, will break after only a few uses but can be picked up for under USD 50.
On the other hand, PP boards are the most durable and outperform the rest, but will cost you USD 200 or more.
Although this is significantly more expensive, if you consider the board lasting you 5 years, the investment makes sense.
Not only is the material used for your bodyboard important, but the construction process and design will make or break your board.
Although you can pick up a good quality PP or PE board from just about anywhere, not all bodyboarding companies are good.
A PE board constructed by Charlie’s back-yard bodyboard hustle (yes, this is a made-up name) might not measure up to the same standards of industry legends such as Morey, Custom X, and NMD.
The company you get your bodyboard from matters just as much as what the board is made from.
The Types of Waves and Breaks
If you are a big wave charger or love bodyboarding on shallow reefs and surfing point breaks, you should expect your bodyboard to last shorter than it would with you casually surfing gentle beach breaks.
With large waves comes more power, and with more power comes a bigger chance of your board snapping, or at the least getting some dings and creases.
On the other hand, if you are a casual bodyboarder and just enjoy catching smaller waves close to shore, then a PE bodyboard could last you a lifetime (providing you don’t use it every day).
When you think of how long a bodyboard should last, it might make sense to think of it as a number of rides, as opposed to a number of years.
The reason for this is simply that if you only bodyboard once a month, your board could easily last you 5 – 10 years, depending on the waves.
On the other hand, if you bodyboard almost every day, you’ll be lucky to get 2 years from your board.
The more you use your board, the shorter it will last. It sucks, but that’s just the nature of life.
What You Use Your Bodyboard for
It may seem like a strange statement to make, as when asked what you use your bodyboard for, your answer is probably something like, “Uhm, to ride ocean waves, duh!” but not everyone uses their bodyboard for this case.
Although most bodyboards are used to ride waves in the ocean, some people use bodyboards for alternative activities such as sliding down ski slopes, sandboarding, or bodyboarding behind a boat.
If you use your board for anything other than its purpose, you should expect a shorter lifespan.
How to Care For Your Bodyboard
It’s one thing to buy a high-quality, durable bodyboard from a reputable company, but if you don’t take proper care of your board, the quality won’t make much difference.
Avoid Direct Sunlight
Just as the sun affects our skin, so does it damage our bodyboards.
If you leave your board unprotected in the sun, the heat will form bubbles on the board as the plastic and core expand.
Always cover your board or put it in the shade while you are waiting to use it.
Store in Cool Dry Place
Just as direct sunlight can damage your board, so can heat.
When you store your bodyboard, make sure that it’s not only out of direct sunlight but stored in a cool room.
Furthermore, ensure that the room and your board are dry before you store it to prevent mold from forming along the foam.
When you pack your bodyboard up for the day, make sure that you lay it flat.
Although the tail and nose of your bodyboard are not as sensitive as those on a surfboard, you can still cause damage through pressure.
Bodyboards are small and pack easily, so there is no need to have your board standing up.
Instead, leave it lying flat under your bed, on top of a cupboard, or on a shelf.
The last thing you want is to pull your board out of its bag to find that you have squashed the tail.
Use a Bodyboard Bag
Bodyboard bags aren’t only good for moving all your gear to and from the beach, but they will help keep your board safe from dings, creases, and the sun.
The most common time to damage your board is during transport and taking it in and out of the car.
Using a bodyboarding bag will add extra protection in case you bang your board on a wall or car seat as you move it around.
Rinse With Fresh Water
You should always rinse your board with fresh water after leaving the ocean.
The bacteria in the ocean will leave your bodyboard stinking (think about those times you forget to clean your wetsuit), but this is the least of the problems.
Salt attracts water from its surroundings
If left on your board, the salt will begin to draw moisture from the plastic on your board.
This, over time, will make your bodyboard brittle and cause the foam and plastic to crack.
Simply take a freshwater shower with your bodyboard after your surf to ensure all the seawater has been removed, and don’t forget to dry it before packing it in its bag.
Clean off the Wax Before Long Storage
If you don’t plan on using your board for a while, whether it’s because it’s the off-season, you’re going traveling, or you are just giving bodyboarding a break, you should remove the wax from your board before storing it.
Although it’s important to wax our bodyboards, storing your board with wax will become a mess.
If you store your bodyboard with wax still on it, the chances of it melting all over the bag and your board are extremely high.
Furthermore, the petroleum in most common surf waxes will make your board brittle if left on during long storage.
Before storing your board, loosen the wax, scrape it off, wipe your board, and pack it away for the next time you’ll need it.
Don’t Overflex Your Board
We all like to check the flex of our boards, both when they are new and throughout time to ensure they are still sturdy.
Although this is a good practice, it’s important not to over-flex your board when testing it.
If you put too much pressure on your board while testing the flex, you could cause creases.
Be gentle with your bodyboard.
Only Use It for Catching Waves
Although you can use your bodyboard for things like being towed behind a board, sandboarding, and skimboarding, you should avoid doing anything that isn’t riding ocean waves.
Bodyboards are created with a purpose, and when we use them for other things, we affect their durability.
Using your bodyboard for its designed purpose will help it last longer and perform better.
Like everything in life, quality products last longer than their cheap counterparts.
Furthermore, when we give proper care to the things we love, they last and provide us with endless entertainment.
Bodyboards are no different. Although different cores and constructions play a huge role in how living your bodyboard could last, it’s how we care for our boards that make the biggest difference.
Our bodyboards bring us endless joy, so there’s no reason not to give them the best care possible.