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June 08, 2017 4 min read

One of the most common questions we get at Slyde Handboards is “What’s the best board for me? I’ve been looking at all of them." 

There are 2 ways that we have simplified it down….choosing a board for your ability or choosing a handboard based on wave type.  If you have been surfing already, you'll probably choose a board based on the type of wave you’re going to ride.

For everyone else you will choose a handboard based on your skillset. Essentially you’re either a complete novice, beginner, intermediate, or advanced handboarder.

Defining Your Personal Skill Set & Ability Level

  • We'll define the novice as someone who hasn't spent much time in the ocean.
  • The beginner as someone who has been in the water for a little bit, you are capable in water but you still learning. 
  • The intermediate is someone who has been doing it for lets say 5-6yrs, starting to really feel comfortable going out in some bigger stuff. 
  • While advanced would like a Kaha NaLu Hawaii  team dropping in on Pipeline

Be honest with yourself about where you are skill wise, the ocean can change really quickly, and you get taught a lesson really quickly.

Breaking Down Slyde Handboards Based on Ability

All these boards exist for a reason, every single one of them is designed specifically for a certain skill set, and a particular situation. That being said you can still use any of these handboards in pretty much all conditions.   

The Slyde Handboards Line Up:  From Starter to Advanced

The Grom - The Soft Top Handboard
Starter to Beginner Bodysurfer

Soft Top Beginner Slyde Handboard

The Grom is a great starter board, it was designed very much with the beginner in mind. It’s so great is because it’s soft, with a slick bottom, a bit of concave, but nothing to hectic.

What’s so great about this board is the size, you can really get high up on the board, and it has a lot of buoyancy, it’s amazing for that. The shape has a stubby nose with fish type tail. It’s also bump friendly, made for mistakes in the waves with out worry of injury.  The Grom is easy to use, and fun for everyone.

The Wedge Handboard: The Everyday Board
Beginner to Intermediate Bodysurfer

Slyde Handboard Hard Top Beginner

We consider The Wedge a beginner board, but even advanced bodysurfers love to take it out.

The reason why this board is for beginner to intermediate skill-set, is the width.
This is a lot bigger than any type of regular handplane on the market.  We often get “OMG they’re really big."

Here's why, imagine the difference between a short & a long surfboard, just like when you’re trying to learn to surf,  being on a bigger board makes it a lot easy to stand up.  

With the Wedge Handboard when you get on the wave, you have so much more surface area. The bigger surface area on these allows you to ride a wave for a good long time. While also 
allowing you to do turns and sprays and other tricks

"When i first designed this handboard it was a lot shorter, and I literally started adding cementers to it. When I was testing it in Durban summer and it was pretty flat. What was happening when I trying to catch waves it just didn’t have enough momentum. So I started to shape a bit bigger. The bigger and bigger I went the more distance I could get on the wave." Slyde Steve

The Phish Handboard: The Classic Speed Board
Intermediate to Advanced Bodysurfer

Slyde Handboards Phish Board Intermediate

The shape of The Phish, it is one of the most beautiful shapes, it's an absolute head turner. I would almost air on the side of advanced for this one. The board is similar to the classic phish surfboard and is designed to pick a line and hold to the line.

This is a great board for a wave that’s gong to take you, great for barrels and staying in the pocket, getting pitted over and over.

"This board is amazing for speed. it’s incredible how fast this goes. I took this out to test during the Hurricane Marie swell and I pulled in on a monster 8 foot+ swell, I pulled in on a wave and I could literally feel my fins slowing me down.  I’ve been barreled on this so many times because it just has that speed." Slyde Steve

The Hawaiian Bula Handboard: The Specialist Board
Advanced Bodysurfer

Bula Board Advanced Handboard

The Bula board is a little bit bigger than your actual hand, and is the size most people think a handplane should look like. Thanks to Hawaiian bodysurfing legend Sean Enoka, who spent most his life coming up with this awesome shape, it specializes in shorebreak.

Notice how the concave the bottom of the handboard is, the biggest difference between this and any other board is the concave.  It literally is like having a fin on your hand. Just like a blade it sticks right into the side of the wave. 

If you feel comfortable taking off on some really steep shore break this board will keep you high on the face of the wave, and excels in steep whomp drops. 


Michelle Michalak
Michelle Michalak

Michelle's diploma reads BA Psychology with a minor in English, and her license plate reads #CaliforniaDreaming4Life. She begin her career in the NYC fashion industry working with fashion and internet pioneer, Bluefly.com However, due the constant "nagging" of her entrepreneurial spirit, her crush on surfing, and hardcore love for the ocean, she chosen to call San Diego home for the past 10 years. On the west coast she 's chased waves & enlightenment working alongside "Gurus" in the online marketing & personal development industries. It in May 2012 she found her true Zen & Stoke, and joined the Slyde Handboards Team.

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See the Stoke

684 reviews
Not sold on it

I had really high hopes. I have been able to use the Bula on a couple good days. I'm liking my old board better so far. But will try it a couple more times before I return it just to be sure. I have none of the below issues with my Enjoy planer, and thinking of going back.
1. The dam thing is not secure on my hand. No mater how tight I make it. It litterally pops off my hand while on a wave. Its getting really anoying having to constantly pay attention to it.
2. I switch my hand depending on the wave direction. It's tough for me to get a grip on the nose, pull it off then pull tightly on other hand in time. I've missed a couple good ones because of this.
3. The pad that goes accross the top of my hand doesnt cover my whole hand and the seam starts to rub on my hand and is uncomfortable.
4. Not a huge deal but wasnt happy that there were some small cosmetc defects on the board. Eslescially for the price
5. The board bag is kind of ridiculous. Its huge and picture on website isnt to scale, but I probably just wont use it. It was basically free.

I think the only thing I can say positive is I think it has good control... after getting used to the angle I need, and may be a bit more bouyant to pull me out of water for speed. But i need to try it a few times more and figure out how to keep the dam thing on!

I am giving these to my grandsons at the end of the month. I am sure they will love them.

Hand slyde

The leash works amazing i won't go out without my leash on....

Bula hand board

This handboard is exactly what I was looking for. The size and craftsmanship is fantastic! I have gotten some great rides with this board. Super fun.

Ready for the Senior Tour

I received my Slyde Phish just before 2 weeks of gloomy weather. Now that I’ve had a chance to road test it, I can’t wait to get back in the water.

Growing up in Long Island NY, body surfing was my first wave gliding experience. Typically we would drive straight to shore so surfing the diagonal has been a learning curve.

I look forward to many great sets this summer.

Matthew Papish (59)
Laguna Beach