Talk with someone at your local shop and follow these steps to score the perfect bodyboard.
1. Borrow and try out a few bodyboards, if you can. Some shops rent them, although the models tend to be very low-end.
2. Find an attendant at a surf shop who body boards. Ask him or her to explain the differences in the bodyboards the shop carries.
3. Look closely at the bodyboard. Cheaper boards have a porous-looking surface. These tend to waterlog quickly and get heavy in the water. Find a board with a smooth, slick surface.
4. Look at the bottom of the board. Opt for a slick, hard, plastic bottom.
5. Check out the tail of the board. A beginner should look for a tail that curves inward and slopes downward. This is generally the most practical and functional. Ask the attendant about the different tails. The technology changes all the time.
6. Lay the board flat on the ground. It should sit flat, not rock back and forth or wobble. Boards that do this are usually warped from sitting in the sun or from improper shipping.
7. Place the rear of the board against your belly and grab the nose. Feel the board for flex. The more flex a board has, the higher performance the board will offer. However, more flexible boards also have a shorter life span.
8. Make sure the board you choose has no creases or cracks or gouges in the foam. Keep your receipt and ask about a return policy in case you find something wrong when you get home.