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Best Balance Boards 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated February 1, 2018
Best Balance Boards of 2018
If you get well acquainted with these basics, you shouldn’t have a problem choosing a balance boards that suits your need. There is a wide range of products available on the market today, and below I have reviewed 3 of the very best options. There’s a product for every kind of user on the list of affordable options below. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your comfort, style, or accessibility, we have picks to fit a variety of needs and budgets.
Test Results and Ratings
Why did this balance boards win the first place?
I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. The rear part fits perfectly! It is mounted really tight and reliable. I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product.
Why did this balance boards come in second place?
This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office. I recommend you to consider buying this model, it definitely worth its money. I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price. Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture.
Why did this balance boards take third place?
I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built. The material is incredibly nice to the touch. It has a great color, which will suit any wallpapers. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time.
Balance Boards Buyer’s Guide
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Revolution FIT 3-in-Balance Board – Top Rated Balance Board
This comes with a board that resembles a skateboard, except there are no wheels. Instead, it comes with a roller, a cushion and a rocker.
For beginners, you can use the most stable option, the rocker to test out new exercises before increasing the difficulty level. The wobble cushion provides a 360 degree motion and it can be easily inflated. It’s difficult level depends on how much air there is in it. The rocker is the most challenging but great for advanced users.
The board is tough and durable, as it’s made from really strong hardwood. The top deck features a “Dura-Soft” grip that comfortably keeps your feet in place, even if you’re barefoot, wearing socks, or wearing shoes.
This one is more expensive than the previous recommendation as it’s made in the US. Besides, it’s made from topnotch premium natural materials as well.
It’s a source of healthy fun
You know that guilty feeling you get after watching more TV than you intended to? Well, you can wave bye bye to that feeling forever.
When you get your first balance board, you’ll quickly discover that life is a lot more fun when you’re wobbling your way to improved balance and coordination…and you’ll want to be on your balance board, like, all the time. Which means you can get a workout whenever you watch TV or an endless supply of YouTube videos.
TheraBand Rocker Board Stability and Balance Trainer, Lateral Balance Board for Physical Therapy, Core Strengthening, Injury Rehabilitation, Agility Improvement, Coordination Exercise, & Surf Training
11/8″ x 14″ with a 30Â° angle of deflection, this stability trainer provides a linear plane for balance training and core stability workouts …
In Wobble Balance Board WITH WORKOUT BANDS by 5280 FITGENX,Fit Board Gets You Simply Fit By Toning Abs Legs Core Arms Total Body, Improves Balance, Fitness With a Twist, As Seen on TV, NEW, Black, â€¢ COMPLETE BODY WORKOUT – Balance board that strengthens legs, arms, upper body, the core, & abdominal that is a must have fitness board for a …
Cool Stuff PERFECT TOOL FOR BALANCE TRAINING
Yes4All Balance Pad is an excellent stability trainer for all fitness levels, especially designed to also cater for …
WODFitters Balance Board – Premium Wooden Wobble Board – 16″ Round Balance Trainer – Fit Board / Exercise Board For Core Training Fitness Workouts, Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation – w/ Carrying Bag Take Your Training to the Next Level with the WODFitter Balance Board / Wobble Board
ENHANCE YOUR BALANCE & STABILITY: Balance boards are a convenient …
Razor Hovertrax 2.0
The Razor Hovertrax 2.0 is apparently UL certified and listed for electrical safety, passing all required EU safety/certification requirements, which should provide peace of mind for prospective buyers.
In terms of functionality, it does everything you’d expect a hoverboard to – it features pressure sensitive plates to control it and a built-in gyroscope to help you stay up-right, rubber tyres, and of course, a few LEDs to make it look cool. It does up to 8mph, and provides a claimed 60 minutes of continuous use on a single charge.
While this isn’t technically a hoverboard, it’s a really cool accessory for those that already own one, or are looking to invest in one.
The HoverKart attaches to the standard 6.5in hoverboard and turns it into a makeshift go-kart, providing extra functionality and a safer way to ride the hoverboard.
The Swegway Pro looks to offer something interesting for prospective hoverboard owners – a 8in hoverboard with built-in Bluetooth connectivity, allowing users to connect their smartphones to the hoverboard and play music as they ride the board, thanks to the built-in speakers.
Unlike other hoverboards, the Swegway Pro also provides two riding modes for practise and pro use, allowing you to get used to the board first before using all its power.
It charges in only 60 minutes, and should provide up to four hours of continuous use on one charge according to the website.
Our runner up is the Ten Toes Weekender iSUP, which is incredibly versatile. Its strength is impressive and the inbuilt yoga mat is comfortable, both of which make it well suited to yoga on flat water. It might the smallest of all our boards, but Ten Toes have made up for this by offering a wide range of stylish color choices to appeal to all tastes.
You’ll see many boards with plastic decks if you go looking. While plastic does have its advantages (low weight, cheap), decks made from it are usually weaker than their wooden counterparts – at least at the edges.
Plastic boards are also easier to slip off from and standing on this type of board barefoot could be an exercise in agony for the soles of your feet, depending on how the board is textured.
Wooden boards, on the other hand, are more expensive. However, they last longer, have higher weight limits, and are extremely durable.
And there you go!
We’ve given you a list of the top five best balance boards on the market right now. You may or may not like any individual piece, but you can rest assured that any board you buy will give you hours and hours of fun and exercise.
While balance training may not be for everyone, we think that it will significantly improve your life. From a stronger core to better balance, you’ll feel the improvements brought about by balance training in almost every physical action you do.
It can support weights up to 400lbs.
While the board weighs only 3lbs, it can carry up to 400lbs. so, you can definitely order it without any tension. The board is suitable for all. If you are a beginner, you can easily manage it. From children to adults, from lazy persons to active people, all can use it quite easily. Storing the board is no problem as you can store it in your cupboard or in the box of your bed or elsewhere.
So, if you are planning to have gym equipment at your house and still don’t want to spend much, the fit board is definitely the answer to your queries.
Fitness Balance Board, Home Exercise Equipment by OUNNE, Wobble Balance Board for Rehab Equipment Legs Balance Fitness Board
This is one of the best therapeutic fit board that is good for increasing your balance and responsiveness. To develop your core muscle and to keep your entire system active, this is really a good option. If you are reluctant to go to the gym and also find it difficult to buy expensive gym equipment, this is the cheaper but better way to trim down your waist fat and strengthen your core.
Being made of durable plastic, the product won’t break, but it will bend and then again pops back to its original shape. The product comes with a DVD which will help you to learn the process of working out with it.
Solofit Balance Board-Fitness Board for Abs, Legs, Core, Back and Shoulders Workout-Yoga Twist Board with Resistance Tubes for Toning, Strengthening, Weight Loss + Instructions–Fit Board for Exercise
The Solofit balance board is made to improve your balance and posture, and it also provides strength to your muscles, ligaments, and joints along with your targeted limbs. This is definitely one of the best of its kinds as it is made of high-quality ABS plastic which has made it more attractive, powerful, break-proof and durable.
But, the uniqueness of this product lies in its package where you will find two special bands in the kit which can be attached to the carabiners and you can easily perform some hand and arm exercises with it. Along with helping you in working out, this fit board can also be used as a surfboard, skateboard, snowboard, etc. You will find a manual inside the box which will guide you to perform exercises.
Standing – To start with you may find that just standing, balanced on the board is a challenge, and this will engage muscles throughout your body to remain in a stable position.
Single Leg Stand – Once you’ve found your balance on two legs, can you stay balanced on the board while standing on one leg?
Push up – This can be done either with a close grip or wide grip to work different parts of your chest. Place your hands an even distance from the middle of the board and complete a standard push up without letting either side of the board touch the floor.
Plank – Like the push up and squat exercises above, you can perform a standard plank using a balance board to dramatically increase the difficulty. Grip either side of the board (similar to the push up position, keeping your back really straight) and hold.
Or if you’re really brave you might want to attempt some of these IndoBoard tricks.
You can craft your own balance board workout by using a mix of the exercises outlined above. Remember that different exercise will work different parts of your body, so for best results vary them over the course of the week, rather than simply repeating the same exercises over and over.
Make sure you’ve got something to hold on to when you’re getting started or trying a new exercise, falling off isn’t fun.
You should stop exercising if you find you experience any pain while attempting the positions outlined above. Incorrect form could hold back your recovery or make your injury worse.
As a preventative measure, or to build balance and strength, you could start out doing these exercises for a few minutes each day. As they can be done in the comfort of your own home, even in front of the television, they are a great way to stay active even if you don’t have much time.
Before paddling out
When I learned to surf as a teenager in the mid-1980s, there was no such thing as a “surf instructor.” If you succumbed to the addiction of sliding down waves on a fiberglass spear, you had to endure plenty of pain, or to quote Hawaiians, “Take your lickins.” For me, those lickins’ included a fiberglass surfboard clear through the lip, a lacerated scalp, dislocated knee and shoulder, a stingray barb to the foot, and verbal sticks and stones courtesy of locals from Surfside, South Carolina, to Lake Worth, Florida—where territorial pier rats once hogtied visitors to parking meters with their ankle leashes or dropped the motors in their air-cooled VWs to the pavement.
Complete Surfing and countless YouTube entries cover basics from waxing a board to wipeouts to “the pop up.” As a result, more people are trying surfing out. According to a 201survey by Surfer Magazine and the Surfrider Foundation, surfing’s most influential conservation organization, around million people identify themselves as surfers in the United States alone. A 201story by Bloomberg estimates that surfer numbers are growing by 1.percent a year.
Wirecutter writer Owen James Burke testing out rashguards at Folly Beach, South Carolina. Photo: Chris Dixon
Still, despite so much info becoming available, surfing remains one of the most difficult sports to learn, both in terms of skill and etiquette. Unlike skateboarding or snowboarding, surfing’s medium is constant motion—a baffling and intimidating confluence of wave, wind, and current. And unwritten laws and protocol are still as important as when I was a wave-starved young kook (surfer slang for “clueless beginner”). Just because equipment is safer doesn’t mean you won’t be chewed out, or punched by a pissed-off local, or have your head nearly taken off because you don’t know to look over your shoulder to see if another surfer is coming down the line. In short, you’re still gonna take some lickins’.
To save you from as many of those lickins’ as possible, we talked to a trio of seasoned surf instructors. The first is former world longboard surfing champ Israel “Izzy” Paskowitz. Raised by his father, legendary surf instructor Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz, Izzy was a star of the documentary
Surfwise. Today, he is director of Surfer’s Healing, an organization dedicated to providing immersive surf therapy to children with autism, and San Diego’s Paskowitz Surf Camp. Tim Sherer runs Goofy Foot Surf School in Lahaina, Hawaii. He’s personally instructed more than 30,000 people—from Iowa farmers to LA inner-city kids to movie stars and musicians, including Everclear and Jimmy Buffett. Charleston’s Jenny Brown is a former women’s East Coast surf champ. She runs Folly Beach’s Shaka Surf School with husband Chris, captain of the NOAA research vessel Palmetto.
We asked them about the beginner mistakes they see again and again, and what advice they could offer to help new surfers avoid them.
Take a lesson.
Pull Quote “We look at teaching beginners how to manage risk in the ocean rather than creating risk.” —Tim Sherer, Goofy Foot Surf School
The most important thing everyone agreed on was this: For your first foray into the surf, for God’s sake, take a lesson from a qualified instructor. “One, it’s a safety thing,” Paskowitz said. “If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could die. Two: With surfing you’re doing something with a long lineage of history. There is so much information a good instructor can give you in an hour and a half lesson to make you better—techniques that have been handed down from generation to generation.” “We look at teaching beginners how to manage risk in the ocean rather than creating risk,” Sherer said. “Keeping in mind not just the small, beginner day, but for the strong day when there’s a lot of whitewater, current, or a big crowd. If you just paddle out without any knowledge, the risk is so much greater. There are just so many variables. You could be surfing in the wrong area—the shallow zone where reef and creatures are prolific.”
When Sherer started teaching 20 years ago, there were no guru instructors to learn from. So he relied on his training in yoga and martial arts. “Those two systems are built, theoretically, on thousands of years of technical refinement,” he said. “A great surf teacher breaks down the sport and rebuilds it using fundamentals. It’ll take two to six months to a year to develop a consistent form.”
Just because you’re fit, doesn’t mean you can surf. “Don’t assume because you can do one thing, you can do another,” Paskowitz said. “I’m surfing this spot in front of the Cabo Surf Hotel. The waves are pumping; 10, occasional 20-foot sets. I see a group of very fit, very focused surfers. Turns out they’re from Colorado. Hikers, rock climbers, and snowboarders—to percent body fat.”
After checking their surf leashes, Paskowitz watches in disbelief as the group’s surf instructor paddles right out, leaving his students on their own. “He basically leaves them to die,” Paskowitz said. “I asked one of them, ‘It’s gigantic out there, do you have any experience?’ She says, ‘Oh yeah, we spent two full weeks in Costa Rica with a guy who teaches surfing and dehydrates bananas for a living.’ Within five minutes, her leash is broken, she hasn’t made it outside and is lying on the sand like she needs CPR.”
Always take some time before you paddle out to size up your surf spot.
And what about the caliber of other surfers? If you paddle out amid a group of experienced people and don’t have much experience yourself, you’re a potential hazard to everyone. An excellent overview on etiquette can be found at Surfline’s Bill of Lefts and Rights. Study it. There’s also a pretty decent write-up over here from GQ.
The right equipment.
This is where we come in. Over our many years of surfing, we’ve come to know what works and what doesn’t, but just to make sure, we tested our favorites against promising competition to find reliable, affordable, and accessible equipment that will get you paddling out and won’t hold you back as you progress.
The truth is, however, for your first time out, you don’t need any of the stuff we recommend here. All necessary rental equipment is generally included in the cost of a lesson. And once you’re ready to go out on your own, a lot of this stuff can be bought used for cents on the dollar. But if you know surfing is something you’re going to want to do for years to come, having gear that won’t hold you back will make your life much easier down the road. Just remember: The ultimate goal is the surf, not the stuff.
For teens and adults
Regardless of its affordability, our recommendation for the Wavestorm is lukewarm at best. If you want something of higher quality that will last longer and resell for more when you’re ready for a real board, consider Liquid Shredder.
The Liquid Shredder Element looks and performs like a real surfboard but is designed to be beginner friendly and easy to learn on. Photo: Quinn Dixon
The Liquid Shredder Element 9-foot model is an amazing piece of foam. Here, Chris Dixon tests it out. Photo: Quinn Dixon
The Liquid Shredder Element and HD boards are incredibly stiff because they’re embedded with an aluminum stringer not found on any of their competitors. The extruded polyethylene foam in the core is also nearly impermeable to water, and they’re as lightweight as any beginner board you’ll find—the recently redesigned 9-footer weighs just 1pounds—about what my high-performance 9-foot Stewart fiberglass board weighs. To prevent delamination, builder Scott McClain uses a proprietary manufacturing process that basically “shrink wraps” a tough plastic skin to these boards, so there’s no glue to separate. If the board gets very hot, the wrap will expand, but when the board cools—or is taken into the water, the wrap will shrink right back into place. If it gets really hot, a pressure-release valve will let the board off-gas before the skin stretches too much.
Liquid Shredders come with a detailed instruction manual and care kit and a one-year warranty, which you probably won’t need it. I’ve owned a 10-foot Liquid Shredder HD model since 2006, and though the technology has improved, the board’s still going strong. They’re very tough, but if you use an Element or HD in places where the bottom is sharp, or where you think its skin might get scraped and punctured, you should have a repair kit on hand.
The Browns, Josh Wilson, and Quinn and I are all parents of small rippers who started surfing before first grade. We first launched them in on 8-footers, but really, they could have started on something smaller. For kindergartners and first- and even second-grade kids who are agile—and maybe already know how to skateboard—we suggest an alternate board like the yellow-decked 6-foot Liquid Shredder FSE. They’ll get several years of use out of it, and as they improve, will be able to actually catch their own waves, turn, and surf—very well.
Our pick for women
The women’s version is also great, though with shorter legs.
With that in mind, Chris Dixon and I—Kate Barattini a lifelong wave slider, swimmer, and kayak and standup paddle guide—spent a combined 1hours in 201researching the best brands around, trying on a dozen candidates, and extensively testing seven top-rated spring suits for both men and women off the shores of Charleston, South Carolina. In the end, we determined that Patagonia’s Rline of wetsuits (for men and women) is the best for most surfers, regardless of gender. A year later, with many more waves under our belts in these suits, we stand by our picks.
Kate Barattini heading to the beach to test the R1. Photo: Quinn Dixon
Throughout the past year, Chris and I wore our Patagonia suits in 6to 70˚F water temps in chilly and warm air, through clouds, sunshine, and torrential tropical storm rains. Until the water temps dropped into the lower sixties, the Patagonias kept us toasty. That’s because while most spring suits are 2-mm thick throughout, Patagonia uses 2.5-mm material in the torso, with mm in the arms to maintain flexibility. This kept my core noticeably warmer and more protected from the wind compared with the 2-mm-thick Xcel and the Body Glove suits we also tested.
The Patagonia suit uses an across-the-chest zipper that allows surprisingly easy entry—this came as a surprise because many suits with chest zips we’ve used in the past were difficult to get on. It offered unrestricted arm movement, stayed in place even after big wipeouts, and didn’t bunch at the neck. Most important, there wasn’t any Velcro in the back to snag long hair. This can be a nuisance with most back-zip suits, including the Xcel and Body Glove models we tested.
Patagonia’s build and material quality are legendary among the surfing community. Wirecutter founder Brian Lam has owned suits made by Xcel, Rip Curl, Patagonia, and O’Neill, and the Patagonia has lasted three times as long as the next best one. The Rspring suits are no exception. Patagonia uses top-tier neoprene on the exterior for warmth and flexibility, and lines the interior with 100 percent recycled polyester jersey material. The inside is soft and feels like a hug, while the exterior neoprene is snug and water-resistant. Each seam is triple glued, blindstitched, and internally taped for additional strength—as Chris noted, the solid construction simply kept out the water and the cold a little better than any other suit. And like the rest of the suits we tested, there’s a sturdy, hidden key loop built into the inside of the chest.
Last—but certainly not least—this spring suit is absolutely beautiful, with a fit that flatters many body types. I tested it on my roommates who range from tall and slender to voluptuous, and we all looked great. Of the men’s suit, Chris simply said, “The damn thing fits like a second skin.”
Upgrade pick for men
This has a hood with a visor for protecting your neck and head. Unlike similar models, it has a pocket on the back and thumb loops to keep it securely in place.
Chris Dixon drops in with the Patagonia RØ hood in effect. Photo: Owen James Burke
The hood has a stiff visor built in, which offers enough shade to give your eyes an appreciable break from the sun’s glare, holds steady during “duck dives” (that is when you’re diving underneath a breaking wave with your surfboard), and stays out of your way, even when you have it pushed back around your neck (at which point it offers excellent sun protection for your neck). There’s also a zippered pouch on the back, which is sizable enough to store wax, sunscreen, reef booties, or even a small hydration pack—perfect for surf spots that require long paddles. Even with all these bells and whistles, the RØ is skintight and fits snuggly, with a board short connector that loops into the tie string on your board shorts and thumb loops to keep your shirttail and sleeves from riding up. It’s little touches like this that set it apart from O’Neill’s similar model (although we do very much like the waist-level drawstring on the O’Neill model, too). —OJB and CD
Upgrade pick for women
This will stay in place no matter what and has a flattering fit that made testers feel feminine and protected.
No matter where you stand in surf experience, the part rashguard, part one-piece Seea Suit is a surfing accessory that will make your life in the water much easier. Where a separate rashguard/bikini bottom combo might come apart or ride up uncomfortably in rough conditions, the Seea stays put. This one-piece rashguard/bikini bottom combo is made of polyester/spandex fabric that moves with you, protecting you from chafe and sun no matter what your position is. While I was paddling out to overhead beachbreak waves wearing Seea’s Zuma surf suit, I never had to stop for a suit adjustment. I could duck dive uninhibited, which created an even greater surf experience.
These suits come in many styles, and depending on your body type you should be able to find one that fits you. There is no better way to boost your confidence in and out of the water than to wear something that makes you feel feminine and, above all, protected. —KB
These shorts are built tougher than any of the others I tried and are the perfect length for protecting your thighs from chafe and sun without being baggy. A touch of stretch makes them super comfortable, too.
To find the best board shorts for men, we spent hours last year researching the latest and greatest shorts around, considered the labor practices of the major brands here and here (PDF), tried on more than 30 pairs at local surf shops, and broke down the basics of what makes great shorts with Bates Hagood, general manager of Folly Beach, South Carolina’s Ocean Surf Shop. After that, my neighbors and I spent the ensuing year torture testing the shorts we had obtained for the review and about four more hours making sure we weren’t overlooking anything new and vital. After all was said and done, we’re recommending Patagonia’s Wavefarer series for the second year running.
The Wavefarer board shorts are cut to a perfect length, ending right above the knee. Photo: Quinn Dixon
Specifically, the Wavefarer Stretch Board Shorts are for the surfer who wants more protection from the sun and the chafing that a longer short made from slightly thicker fabric provides, while the more tailored Stretch
Planing Short is for those who want a shorter, lighter design. They’re pricey, but nothing cheaper performed better, and anything comparable cost more. We also have a pick for “hybrid” shorts that can go straight from the beach to the bar with no change in between. This is a relatively new category that’s still evolving quickly, but for now, O’Neill Men’s Heather Hybrid Freak Short is tops.
We’ve torture tested a lot of board shorts over the course of a year. Photo: Quinn Dixon
I fell in love with Patagonia’s 21” Stretch Wavefarer Board Shorts because they fit me perfectly, and they arguably have the best overall set of qualities for most surfers. The Wavefarers hang just above the knee. As a surfer of 30 years, I feel this outseam length—between 20 and 2inches—is perfect for most wave riders, an opinion echoed by Hagood, who has bought and sold thousands of pairs of board shorts. At this length, they provide good coverage from the sun—important because lying and sitting on a surfboard quickly rubs sunscreen off your thighs—and keep your thighs from chafing against your board or picking up wax (think 40-Year-Old Virgin ). But they’re not so long that they’ll hang up on your knees when you stand up. While the seams on the Stretch Wavefarers aren’t welded—as is the trend among high-end board shorts these days—they are super soft and low profile. I felt no chafing, even when they were wet—and this hasn’t been an issue in the year I’ve been testing these shorts. The percent spandex, 9percent nylon blend fabric has just enough stretch to keep everything comfortable without becoming a distraction—like the overly engineered Volcom apex Mod Tech Pros. The added flexibility makes it a better short than the non-stretch “classic” Wavefarers we also tested.
Patagonia’s Stretch Wavefarer shorts. Photo: Quinn Dixon / Art: Jenny Brown
Lighter and slimmer
These shorts are ultra lightweight and have a slimmer, slightly shorter cut. They’re very comfortable, but shorter shorts means less protection.
However, if you have more resilient and sun-hardy skin and shorter thighs that don’t have as much hair to get waxy, Patagonia’s Stretch Planing Shorts are your call. Instead of the Wavefarers’ nylon-spandex blend, they’re made of an ultralight and comparably stretchy 100 percent recycled polyester fabric. This means they dry faster and are 3percent lighter at any given size. And while the Wavefarers have low-profile seams, the Stretch Planing shorts forgo the inseam altogether. The shorts were too wispy for my taste, but they definitely feel like you’re wearing nothing at all. I should warn that the claimed 20-inch outseam seemed to run a bit short—they fit more like 19-inchers (but measured out at 19¾). Regardless, they have the qualities that Wirecutter founder Brian Lam swears by. In the past, he wrote that he was concerned about long-term durability due to the material’s stretchiness and lightness, but that fear proved unfounded. They’re still going strong. He said, “I’ve never had a better-fitting pair of board shorts, or a pair that I’ve liked so much. They’ve faded a bit in the sun over the course of a few months, but that’s normal for the amount of sun I’ve been exposing them to.”
Both Patagonia shorts feature class-leading build quality and carry Patagonia’s lifetime warranty, which means they’ll last far longer than a season or two. They also both have DWR coating to help them dry more quickly—that can mean less chafing. They each have a pocket on the side that’s big enough to hold your keys while surfing or a small wallet on land, and is sealed by a corrosion-proof plastic side zipper.
There were, of course, many shorts we didn’t test. Most were excluded because no one in our wide circle of surfers recommended them in particular, or they were too darn flashy and trendy looking. But we also passed on Quiksilver, Billabong, and subsidiaries like RVCA. Quik got a miserable D+ overall grade in the Australian Fashion Report’s labor practices inquiry (PDF), while Billabong only scored an overall C, with a D- for workers rights. —CD
The Hurley Phantom Beachrider has a secure drawstring and a nice stretchiness. Photo: Nicole Grodesky
The downside to the Phantom Beachrider shorts is that Hurley left out a zippered back pocket for storing car keys. The otherwise comfy Body Glove Akela Pulse shorts also lack this feature. This is especially frustrating because both of last year’s picks (which are no longer available) had this feature and none of the men’s shorts my colleagues tested overlooked this crucial detail. This puts a damper on otherwise great shorts. Hurley does offer these shorts with a drawstring front and a zippered pocket in the 9-inch length, but while the 5-inch version comes in many colors, the 9-inch version comes only in black and is not as flattering of a length. But they do work well for surfing.
The Patagonia Wavefarer shorts have a zippered back pocket, which is lacking from the Hurley shorts. Photo: Nicole Grodesky
Organic without compromise
This organic wax went on just as easily and was just as grippy as its petroleum counterparts. It smells nicer and is just as cheap, too. (5-pack)
If you want a good starting point, after testing three popular brands, our favorite surf wax is Matunas Organic Surf Wax. It’s among both the cheapest and most environmentally friendly waxes available in the US, made from jasmine and leftover plant-based material from the company’s farm in Santa Cruz, California. A handful of us—including Charleston Women’s Longboard Champion Kate Barattini, Chris Dixon, his son Fritz, and I—tried Matunas’s tropical wax while surfing juicy waves at Folly Beach in South Carolina. We all agreed that it applied just as evenly and solidly as artificial waxes we’ve used in the past and smelled great. And none of us had any trouble staying atop our boards (at least—speaking for myself—no more than usual).
As much as we like Matunas, it unfortunately isn’t yet widely distributed at local shops nationwide. So if you find yourself in a surf shop looking for wax, reach for Sticky Bumps’s Original Wax, which I found to be the most temperature-stable and the easiest to apply, but still uses petroleum-based paraffin and costs just as much as the Matunas.
Most surflike simulator
It’s longer and taller than most boards and has better side-to-side training ability, which makes it the most surflike experience.
If you’re looking to train your balance specifically for surfing, buy a GoofBoard Classic. Unlike other balance boards, the GoofBoard is a long 4inches and sits perpendicularly atop a 4-inch-high roller that concentrates your balance between your toes and your heels as opposed to your right foot and your left. It actually feels like you’re riding a surfboard, and using and controlling the same muscles you use when you’re surfing.
It came recommended by legendary California longboard wizard and
Endless Summer II star Robert “Wingnut” Weaver, and we were sold. The oblong shape of the board and the 4-inch-tall roller, which lies parallel to the length of the board, allow you to focus on getting your feet in the right place and fine-tune your side-to-side balance and your stepping, which is something essential to surfing that most balance boards don’t offer. While both the Rolo Board (which has gone in and out of stock) and the Revolution Swell also lie parallel atop their rollers and simulate the same toe-to-heel exercises, they were considerably shorter and less accommodating to the surfer—and specifically the longboarder—practicing both their stepping and stance.
Another great advantage to the GoofBoard for novice and experienced surfers alike is the function of its “pop-up” exercise, which simulates standing up on a surfboard as well as anything out of the water could. This simple motion is one of the hardest surfing skills to master.
Read the instructions and watch the tutorial videos above for general instructions on use, but be sure to consider the surface you place the GoofBoard on before you get going. “Start with it on carpet,” said Wingnut, “and then get it on a harder surface—start on a shag carpet, even.”
I tried the GoofBoard on a number of different surfaces including a thin carpet, a thicker carpet (though not shag), a yoga mat, a wooden floor and cardboard. The latter two surfaces were terrible; the roller spun out underneath the board and me, sending us both flying. I found the carpets and the yoga mat to be the safest and most forgiving, but the roller was extremely grippy on the poured concrete, which helped keep it from spinning out underneath the board; it was also fast and responsive, demanding more acute balance. Listen to Wingnut and stay on the carpet, at first.
The Indo Board is wonderful for your general balance and fitness—I’ve owned one for a over decade—but its front-to-back rocking doesn’t exactly build up the balance that’s involved with riding—let alone catching—a wave. What we do like about the Indo Board is that it’s wider, and perhaps more forgiving of beginners. That said, it bears its own perils. Because the Indo Board rolls front to back, losing your balance and sliding out can send you flying one way and the board the other, maybe through the television set. (Tip: Whether you decide to purchase an Indo Board or a GoofBoard, make sure to calculate for such risks by giving yourself plenty of leeway in all directions—and as with the GoofBoard, start out atop carpet.)
If you decide to buy the Indo Board and want to train for surfing, be sure to buy the package with both the roller and the IndoFLO Balance Stimulator. It’s an inflatable rubber cushion that offsets your balance just enough to keep you on your toes, which helps fine-tune your muscles similarly to the way the GoofBoard does. —OJB
Cheap waterproof watch
Most of us don’t need a watch except for fashion purposes on land, but in the ocean, a cheap waterproof watch is a must-have. They’re useful for knowing how much time you have before your next rendezvous on land, whether for social or safety reasons (“if we get separated, meet me at the lifeguard station at pm”). I’ve used them living in Hawaii like this for years.
Why did I choose those over the other watches? The Casio W213, W96H, and W20(all around the same price as our pick) are only rated to 50 meters, which doesn’t really matter, but you’re always better off having something more waterproof than less. The F-Eand F105-1A are only rated for “water resistance” without a depth rating; the same goes for the cult classic Casio F91, which has hundreds of reviews. The Timex T5K08(currently unavailable) is kind of overbuilt and is only resistant to 50 meters as well.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Balance Boards wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Balance Boards
- №1 — Revolution FIT 3-in-1 Exercise Balance Board Training System
- №2 — Solofit Balance Board-Fitness Board for Abs
- №3 — Yes4All Wooden Wobble Balance Board Exercise Balance Stability Trainer 15.75 inch Diameter