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Here's a question I get a lot: "How long will this bodyboard last if I buy it from you?". Unfortunately, there's no simple answer. The longevity of a bodyboard is determined by many factors:
1. How well you take care of it. 2. How you ride. 3. What you ride.
4. Where you ride. 5. What type of construction the board has.
Let me explain each point:
1. If you take one thing away from this blog, it should be that HEAT is the enemy. Bodyboards are made from plastic and they are heat-laminated (in most cases) together, so when you expose them to heat (ie. laying in the sun on the beach, in the back of your hot car or in the attic of your garage), it weakens that bond. Also, the open cells in the foam have air in them which expands when it heats up causing bubbles to form and when they expand enough, that will cause the deck skin to delaminate from the core.
(A heavily bubbled bodyboard)
Additionally, the deck foam will expand, causing the board to warp (reverse rocker) which will make you nose dive every time you get going on a wave.
(Reverse rocker is nosedive city! Photo: Bobbie Campbell)
So, I stress again, do NOT leave the board in direct sunlight or anywhere hot! FYI, the cheaper EPS boards are particularly susceptible to this.
Bring an umbrella to the beach if you plan to spend the day there and keep the board in the shade when you're not in the water! And no, putting a towel over the board or keeping it in the board bag won't keep it cool enough to avoid damage!
Continuing the theme of caring for your board, rinse with fresh water after you surf and do NOT drop the board on the nose or tail. That will cause the foam that protects these areas to dent in to the point that the edge of the slick will start to peel up. Lay the board on rail or store flat.
(Don't drop your board on the nose or tail, or it might end up like this!
Photo: Bobbie Campbell)
I don't really think this needs to be said, but I'm going to say it anyway...don't drag the board across the sand or pavement by it's leash. I cringe when I see that! Also, be sure to avoid riding your board up onto rocks or sharp shells that can puncture the bottom of the board.
2. How you ride means, are you an aggressive rider that does aerial maneuvers and lands hard?
(Bust airs like this? Don't expect your board to last forever! Pic: Jordan Anast)
Do you pull into heavy barrels or ride pounding shorebreak?
(A dredging, sandsucker. Pic: Tony Prince)
This type of riding will drastically reduce the lifespan of your board. Doesn't mean you shouldn't ride this way...just don't expect your board to last for your entire adult life.
3. What you ride refers to the type of waves. Big waves? Hollow waves? That puts a lot more stress on the board.
4. Where you ride can have a big effect on your board's well-being. Are you in a warm-water location with big, powerful surf? The warm water will soften the foam and the big, heavy waves will do their best to buckle your sled. Cold water and small waves? Your board can last for years.
(Cold water=longer life for your board. Pic: Jordan Anast)
5. As far as board construction goes, read more in our blog post about this or our Board Anatomy page, but generally speaking, if you buy a cheap EPS core board, don't expect your board to last long, particularly if you subject it to heavy conditions. Those boards will snap like a twig if enough stress is applied to them. A PE core board will last long in cool to cold conditions but is quite temperature-sensitive, so might not last too long in warm water. PP core boards with mesh/stringers tend to last the longest for the most part, but you will pay more for this type of board.
In conclusion, bodyboards are not indestructible, so even if you pay top dollar, don't expect them to withstand anything you throw at them, but take care of your board and make sure to get the right board for your type of riding and location and you can make your new ride last for years.
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