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The above physics and graphics of a human hydrofoil or a body surfer.

What is the correct size bodysurfing handboard that will best suit the individual?

I have had many questioning this theory; there isn't a right size handboard?

Well, my answer, in short, this is incorrect, why you may ask?

Bodyboarders and Surfers Know What's Best

Surfers choose a surfboard length, and volume based on their height and weight. Fundamentally it's no different for a bodyboarder who knows precisely what length, width, rails, thickness and materials to provide the best performance.

As a Result, It's No Different for a Bodysurfer!

With 30 years of handboard manufacturing and bodysurfing experience, I checked out this calculation, to investigate the best size handboard surface area and best shapes for handboarding.

The right size handboard to suit a body surfer's height and weight should be just over the size of your hand or up to maximum two-half times the length of your hand and up to one-and-half times the width of your hand.

For example, my height is 170cm, and weight of 70kgs, plus bodysurfing friends who are 180cm and between 80 - 90kgs, ride bodysurfing handboards twice the length and width of their hand, this size provides excellent lifting force, speed and control in the right surf and wave conditions, with only their handboard and from the lower part of their legs and bodysurfing fins gliding across the wave.

Convex Deck and Concave Bottom Handboard

Before buying the right size handboard, it essential to have a convex deck and concave bottom for the following reasons.

  • Convex equals Comfort in the palm of your hand.
  • Concave equals Optimum Lift, Speed, and Control in the surf.

Neutral Buoyancy Handboard

Next Important Consideration is Neutral Buoyancy Body Surfing Handboard. They are natural to swim with, much more comfortable and effortless when cutting through the water with no extra load to your shoulder.

Handboards that are over buoyant make it challenging to even cut into the surface of the water while swimming, it also adds extra load to your hand, wrist, arm and shoulder, furthermore twisting your body to one side.

Smaller the handboard lesser the lift, bigger the handboard surface area the greater the lift, resulting in less drag and more speed, but what is feasible and functional in every-way when swimming in the ocean is very important thought?

Therefore, you need to carefully consider if the bodysurfing handboard size suits your height and weight first and foremost to achieve the best performance.

To small surface area, you won't get the lift and speed required to have the best bodysurfing performance, to large will make it difficult to swim and catch waves.

Which then lead me to the next question, how does anyone bodysurf with a handboard larger than three times his or her hand length and width, or thickness of over 40mm to 50mm?

These boards are more significant than swim kickboard or training board, and some are as big as a skimboard or a kid's small bodyboard.

Even if you are a beginner body surfer, consider how you would swim natural freestyle and try an cut through the water paddling with an apparatus of this size especially when they are so massive and over buoyant?

The simple answer, it's not practical swimming whatsoever. Otherwise, you will find it very difficult and quickly lose interest, even if your experienced swimmer you will find it arduousness.

Alternatively, you could use these oversize boards the same way one would use a swim kickboard or training board by kicking, however, this would only suit very small surf conditions and remember you are limited using your legs to swim back to the breaking waves.

Never alone the public liability concerns from sprain wrist, damaging shoulder blade or muscles, being hit in the face, broken nose, split lips, chipping teeth or even getting knocked out.

Without Prejudice, this is irresponsible manufacturing when you consider the damage this could cause anyone using oversized boards or anyone close by in the surf.

No wonder they need to sell a bodyboard leash, to prevent any carnage.

It's not only irresponsible manufacturing, but it's also not innovative, nor functional, nor practical merchandise for the bodysurfer.

Before You Buy a Bodysurfing Handboard

As a result, before you decide to purchase a handboard, take the time and research the vast array of handboards brands currently available.

Also, find the size that best suits you, your height and body weight, so you can first and foremost swim naturally to the break and secondly catch waves with ease.

Remember, the surface area, convex and concave of a handboard is your number one priority to provide you with optimum, Comfort, Lift, Speed and Control.

Another worthwhile read, “Choosing the right pair of bodysurfing swim fins”.