A bodyboard is a short, tombstone-shaped board designed for surfing whilst laying flat on your chest, or for the skilful, whilst kneeling on one knee. Like inline skate is to rollerblade, bodyboard is the generic term, where boogie board is a brand.
A variety of design factors change the performance of the bodyboard. The taller the bodyboarder, the longer the board should be. Ideally when standing upright, the board should come up to your belly button. If you tend to ride smaller waves then the board can be a little longer while if you ride bigger waves the board can afford to be shorter. Longer boards with more buoyancy tend to suit heavier riders though they can not manoeuvre as tightly.
A narrower nose on the board creates more straight line speed whilst a wider nose creates better manoeuvrability and a larger pivot area for tricks.
A Guide to Lengths
This is a simple table to give you an idea of what length board you need according to your weight and height. It was taped to the bottom of one of my boards. Caveat emptor, my friend.
Board Length | Body Weight | Height
38.0" | Up to 55kg (121lbs) | Up to 5'6" (168cm)
39.0" | Up to 60kg (132lbs) | Up to 5'8" (173cm)
40.0" | 30-65kg (66-143lbs) | Up to 5'10" (178cm)
41.0" | 30-70kg (66-154lbs) | Up to 6'0" (183cm)
41.5" | 30-75kg (66-165lbs) | Up to 6'2" (188cm)
42.0" | 35-80kg (77-176lbs) | Up to 6'2" (188cm)
42.5" | 40-85kg (88-187lbs) | Up to 6'2" (188cm)
42.0" | 45-95kg (99-209lbs) | Up to 6'6" (198cm)
44.0" | 50-100kg (110-220lbs) | Up to 6'10" (208cm)
46.0" | 50-127kg (110-279lbs) | Up to 7'0" (213cm)
see also: Bodyboarding