Bodysurfing is a lot like doing a single arm plank. Inside the wave. In the middle of the ocean. You definitely need some support for your leading arm for such an exercise. Luckily, there is a special device for that: a handboard. Compare the top five models and choose the suitable one for your waves and skill level.
|Slyde Wedge||Hydro Pro||Go Floats Handplane||Slyde Grom||Salt Creek Palmboard|
|Board material||High-density polyurethane||Polypropylene||Composite plastic||High-density polyethylene (bottom), foam (top)||Plastic|
|Shape||Pointed fore part, reinforced palm area, curved side edges||Pointed fore, grooves on the bottom||Pointed fore, flat bottom||Rounded fore, reinforced bottom rails||Pointed fore, ribbed palm area|
|Hand strap||Adjustable Velcro, padded, held by screws||Adjustable Velcro, padded||Adjustable Velcro||Adjustable Velcro||2 replaceable rubber bands|
|Float in salt water||+||−||+||+||+|
|Recommended wave height||1-7 feet||7+ feet||1-4 feet||1-4 feet||4+ feet|
Slyde Wedge – A speedy and durable board for any conditions
A durable handboard with a textured top for greater attachment. Its buoyant material and reinforced palm area enhance lifting power and aid in steering. It works well in mild and medium waves, but is also effective in large swells. You can attach a GoPro to its fore part to capture your emotions during epic rides!
- Lifetime guarantee
- Comfortable strap
- Easily portable in a standard backpack
- The most expensive of all five
- Requires intermediate to pro skills
Hydro Pro – A slim board for speed and maneuverability
A thin and relatively small board for serious waves. The grooves on the bottom stabilize the hand during the ride and ensure confident maneuvers. The board does not float, which makes it easy to paddle with your arms while chasing the wave.
- Stiff but comfortable material
- No more arm twisting on the wave
- Cannot be used as a flotation device during rest
- Greater risk of losing the board
Go Floats Handplane – A comfortable speed booster for beginners
The GoFloats handboard allows beginner bodysurfers slide longer and faster in mild waves. It elevates your body and helps you float. The flexible hand strap fits any hand – left or right, large or small.
- Totally waterproof and resistant to corrosion
- The colorful packaging makes it an attractive gift
- No wrist leash
- The holes that hold the hand strap may reduce sliding efficiency
Slyde Grom Handboard – Safe for kids, enjoyable for adults
Positioned as the beginner’s board, Grom is a nice option for kids and first-time bodysurfers. It has a textured top covering for a firm grip, and a smooth bottom that doubles the sliding distance. Its weight (only 255 g!) is a relief for the parents who carry all their kids’ gear to the shore. Surfing schools have also endorsed this safe but speedy board.
- No injuries in case of a bump
- Soft but durable
- A wide selection of bright colors
- Rounded shape and buoyancy make it difficult to paddle
- No wrist leash
Salt Creek Palmboards – Bright, light and maneuverable
The smallest board of all five. It has a classic design appreciated by pro bodysurfers. The two replaceable hand straps, held by stainless steel screws, are made of rubber. The bottom side has a “keel” for effortless and precise steering.
- Buoyant and conspicuous in case it slips off in the water
- Durable UV- and salt-protected materals
- Only two sizes of hand straps
- The thin wrist leash may be uncomfortable
The very first thing to know about handboards: you don’t need two of them! They are specifically designed for bodysurfing and used to steer and slide on your leading hand while on the wave. A board on the other arm, which is held along the body, will only drag you back. The buoyant models also add some lift, but you cannot rest your whole body on them.
Also, you might want to consider your skill level before buying a handboard. Buoyancy, safety and weight are more important for beginner bodysurfers. Experienced waterpeople usually choose more maneuverable and durable boards with secure wrist attachment. Knowing the typical wave height in your area is also important: choose larger boards for smaller waves and thinner, more durable boards for larger swells.
If you are just beginning to learn bodysurfing, consider Slyde Grom and GoFloats. Slyde Wedge will suit entry-level and skilled surfers, especially if the waves don’t exceed 7 feet. Professionals who surf in rough conditions will love Salt Creek Palmboard and Hydro Pro for the features that improve steering and stability. GoPro owners will appreciate the secure camera mount in the Grom and Wedge models.