How to Choose the Best Beater Board
The Beater Board, founded by Catch Surf, is truly an impressive innovation. Combining the abilities of a bodyboard, surfboard, and even occasionally skimboard, the beater board is an amazing one-size-fits-all board that you can use for anything you feel like.
THE HISTORY OF THE BEATER BOARD
Before we dive into what type of beater board is best for you, it's important to go over some history.
In the 1970s, Tom Morey invented the bodyboard as we know it today. Back then, he called it a boogie board based on his love of music, but that innovation has stood the test of time, creating an entire watersport and industry around it.
There has been a lot of innovation in the bodyboarding industry, mostly in terms of performance enhancements and several board features. However, the invention of the beater board is a pretty big change - in some sense, a fusing of surfing and bodyboarding. And the way this innovation came about is pretty funny, actually.
WHY IS IT CALLED THE BEATER BOARD?
At several beaches, mainly in California, you may see a lifeguard flag that's yellow with a black dot in it (learn more about the different lifeguard flag types here). This flag is also referred to as the blackball.
The blackball signifies no watercraft allowed at this location. Most notably, this restriction applies to stand-up surfboards.
Where the beater board name comes in is it's able to 'beat' this restriction.
HOW DOES THE BEATER BOARD RIDE?
Check out a video of a Beater Board in use below:
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF BEATER BOARDS?
Catch Surf makes several types and designs of beater boards, with multiple fin types.
BEATER BOARD DESIGNS
As for designs, you're likely to find a pretty sick one that fits your preferences. Catch Surf has made a bunch of retro-themed neon designs, along with image and pattern-based designs. They've partnered up with a bunch of brands and pros including ...Lost, Johnny Redmond, Kalani Robb, Jamie O'Brien, Tyler Stanaland, and Julian Wilson, just to name a few.
BEATER BOARD FEATURES
All Beater Boards feature the following:
- A strong and lightweight dual-composite core with double stringers (made of maple)
- 8LB PE Deck with an HDPE Slick
- A Pop-Thru Leash Plug
- Tapered D-Rails
- Twin-Channel Crescent Tail
BEATER BOARD FIN TYPES
To add to all those designs, you can choose a board fin type.
If you're completely sure you won't use fins, and you want to save a few dollars, pick out an Original Finless model. The Original Beater Board Finless is going to give you all the features of a Beater Board, just without the fins!
All these features make it a pretty durable board. The maple stringers will help you with board flex, while giving the board some solid strength. Similar to a bodyboard, an 8LB PE Deck and HDPE slick will keep this board gliding on the water and add some durability. The leash plug, placed at the bottom of the board, is a nice bonus.
The crescent tail and d-rails will give this board some extra control and add some performance.
Finless Original models are offered in 48" and 54" long, with a 20" width and 2.5" height. You can also upgrade to a Finless Original PRO and simply remove the fins - this will give you the ability to quick-swap fins later and not lock you in to living a finless lifestyle.
Additionally, the Single-Fin and Twin-Fin Original models have removable fins. This may be a good option as well if you'd like to try fins in the future, as they're only a few dollars extra.
SINGLE-FINThe Single-Fin model is only available as a standard model. If you're a beginner, or if you like riding barrels with a bit of hold and a bit of looseness, this is the best model for you.
Much like the Original Finless, you're getting the features outlined above. If you're getting an original or twin-fin model, you'll be able to remove the fins as well, adding onto the perks over a finless model.
The Twin-Fin model is excellent for those that like dual-fin boards - i.e. a good amount of hold.
Like the Single-Fin model, you can remove the fins at any time, dropping the fins for a finless setup.
BEATER BOARD PRO VS STANDARD
If you're serious about swapping fin types on the fly, you may want to consider an upgrade to a Beater Board PRO. They're a bit more expensive, but for the price you'll get Catch Surf's removable fin system and high-performance PRO model fins. It's a worthy upgrade, especially if you're looking to swap your fins frequently and want to try out multiple ride styles.
CHANGING FIN TYPES
Here's where it gets even cooler. If you ever decide a certain fin type isn't right for you, or maybe you just want to change them daily (or hourly, you do you!), Catch Surf offers fin conversion kits. Essentially, all you need is a screwdriver and you can swap these fins out in minutes. Even better, the conversion kits are only about $10-15 each. Each kit includes a thermo-plastic conversion plate and some plastic screws.
BEATER BOARD SIZES
Beater Boards come in two sizes, 48" length and 54" length.
For reference, 48" is about 4" longer than a pretty large bodyboard. But remember, this is a bodyboard/surfboard mix.
A 48" Beater Board is best for kids, groms, or smaller adults.
A 54" Beater Board is good for adults or teens.
BEATER BOARD ACCESSORIES
If you decide a Beater Board is worth picking up, you might as well accessorize!
Luckily, Catch Surf has a bunch of accessories to protect and enhance your Beater Board.
BEATER BOARD BAGS
You can pick up a Catch Surf Beater Board Bag for around $65. These bags are made of Cordura®, a durable and water resistant material. Your Beater Board will be protected with double zippers in the main compartment.
Need to store a leash? No problem, as the bag has a single-zipper front compartment as well.
The bag will help keep your board safe in the heat as well and dry it out. It has a few air vents in both the main board compartment and the front pocket.
If you're getting a Beater Board, we'd definitely recommend picking up a Beater Board Bag as well - if not an official one, a normal board bag will work. Like a bodyboard or surfboard, you'll want to keep your Beater Board out of the sun or excessive heat.
BEATER BOARD FIN CONVERSION KITS
As mentioned earlier, with a PRO model Beater Board, you can change your board's fin type on the fly. This is amazing if you're swapping ride style. If you want a looser or tighter ride, you can change it up whenever you feel like it.
Pop-Thru Fin Conversion Kits are also available for non-PRO level boards. The perk to the PRO model is that you're not going to have to drill holes through your board for multiple fin types. Definitely worth the upgrade if you plan on switching fins.
BEATER BOARD FINS
There's a couple types of fins available for the Beater Board: Pop-Thru fins (available in Pop-Thru fin kits), and Safety-Edge Fins.
The Pop-Thru Fins are the cheapest option of the three, made for Standard model Beater Boards. These are safer and more durable than average fins, and are made of engineered thermo-plastic. They're installed as a pop-thru system (much like a bodyboard leash plug).
Made for the PRO model, and the higher-priced of the two, the Safety-Edge fins offer some serious performance and a safer option than the standard fins. This is because they have an outer rubber ring, allowing them to be quickly changed without having to worry about how sharp your fins are. Each fin measures in at 3.5".
With each Safety-Edge fin kit, you're going to get your 2 Safety-Edge keel fins, a fin key, and a Catch Surf sticker.
BEATER BOARD LEASHES
If you're getting a Beater Board, you're going to want a leash to match. You can opt for a standard leash or a Catch Surf leash - the only difference is theming.
If you want a leash to match your Beater Board, Catch Surf offers leashes in 5-foot, 6-foot, and 8-foot lengths. Each comes standard with a Beater Board logo, a PU (or polyurethane) cord, stainless steel double-swivels to help prevent leash tangling, a key pocket (which is super helpful!) and a triple-wrap rail saver.
When it's time to head back, the leash features a quick release cuff.
The Catch Surf leash features all the things you'd want in a high-performance leash, as outlined in our leash guide here. That said, if you've already got a high-performance leash on hand, you won't need a special one for your Beater Board. The leash plug installation is standard.
WHICH BEATER BOARD IS BEST FOR ME?
Deciding which Beater Board is best for you is all going to come down to personal preference. Generally speaking, however:
If you're an adult, go with a 54" Beater Board.
If you're a kid, a grom, or a small adult, go with a 48" Beater Board.
If you're a newer rider, or are just starting out with Beater Boards, and want to have some control over fins, choose a single-fin model.
If you want some extra grip, go with a twin-fin model.
If you're an experienced surfer already, or don't want too much grip, go with a finless model.
If you want to be able to interchange fins and/or change ride styles frequently, go with the PRO model.
If changing fins doesn't matter much to you, go with a Standard model.
We recommend opting for the Standard Single-Fin model at the minimum, since you can at least remove and add a single fin without much legwork.
DO I NEED TO USE SURF WAX ON MY BEATER BOARD?
Yes. We'd recommend using surf wax on your Beater Board to enhance your grip. When you're riding standing up, this is extremely important. Catch Surf advises to do so as well.
SHOULD I BUY A BEATER BOARD?
That depends on several factors, most notably:
- Are you looking for a mix between a bodyboard and a surfboard? If so, yes. The Beater Board is perfect for you.
- Do you know how to surf? If not, it may be worth it to stick with a bodyboard to learn the basics.
- Are you looking for a surfboard? If you're trying to buy a surfboard on a budget, a Beater Board may not be an excellent choice - it rides a lot like a mix between the two. It may not be the perfect ride for someone in the market for a surfboard.
DOES THE BEATER BOARD REALLY ALLOW ME TO GO IN WITH A BLACKBALL FLAG?
Yep! As long as your lifeguards are cool with it, which it seems is true for the most part. Just be sure to practice rider safety and be careful around other beachgoers.
SHOULD I GET A BEATER BOARD OR A BODYBOARD?
If you're a bodyboarder looking for a sweet mix of a surfboard and a bodyboard, but you don't want to fully commit to a surfboard yet, a Beater Board makes a nice choice.
If however, you prefer a surfboard, or prefer a bodyboard only, a Beater Board may not be the right choice.
HOW MUCH DO BEATER BOARDS COST?
Standard Beater Boards cost around $150-200 depending on fin type, color and special edition.
PRO Beater Boards cost around $250-300 depending on fin type, color and special edition.
ⓘ Want more info? Check out the following links:
ⓘ New to bodyboarding? These boards are great for beginners: