If you’ve been to a public pool or swimming camp, you may have noticed the brightly colored, foam equipment piled in numerous stacks on the side of the pool. Kickboards are an essential part of any swimmer’s training, and are utilized to build leg strength. Read more to learn about the different materials, brands, and types of kickboards.
What are kickboards used for?
Whether you’re a beginner or professional swimmer, kickboards can be an integral piece of equipment to use while learning how to swim and during competition training. Since swimming is a sport that exercises almost every muscle in the human body, leg strength and coordination is an essential aspect of the sport.
When swimmers use a kickboard, they hold their arms out in front of them, and propel themselves through the water by only kicking their legs. It is especially important for young swimmers to learn how to kick properly in order to swim safely and effectively. As a result, kickboards are commonly used as a training aid in swimming lessons. Furthermore, kickboards can provide isolated workouts to lower muscle groups of any swimmer.
Kickboards are made with different kinds of foam materials that are designed to be durable and buoyant. There are different shapes and sizes of kickboards that can serve a multitude of functions depending on a swimmer’s goals.
Things To Consider
When looking for a swimming kickboard, you'll want to consider the following:
- How much do you want to spend on a kickboard?
- What will you be using the kickboard for?
- What size kickboard do you need?
- How often will you be using the kickboard?
- Where will you be using the kickboard?
There are a variety of kickboards available for swimmers, and swimmers can choose what kind of kickboard they want to use based on personal preference and their swimming goals.
An ergonomic kickboard shares the same function as a traditional kickboard, however it is shaped like an arrowhead. Ergonomic kickboards were created in order to ease strain off of swimmer’s shoulders, but still allow swimmers to practice their kicks. The triangular shape allows the kickboard to move through the water with less resistance and provides a more comforting grip for adults.
Kickboard-Pull Buoy Combos
Kickboard-pull buoy combos combine two pieces of equipment into one: a kickboard and a pull buoy. These kickboards have a flat middle section, then two panels on the edges that are slightly rounded. Swimmers can either use this piece of equipment by holding it out in front of them and kicking (kickboard), or holding it between their legs and swimming (pull buoy).
Traditional kickboards are the most common form of kickboard, and can often be found at most pools you go to. They vary in size for both children and adults, and have a rounded top with straight edges to hold onto. Traditional kickboards are buoyant and sturdy, which allows swimmers to hold themselves in the water while practicing their kicks.
Foam is the most utilized material for creating kickboards, and there are different kinds of foam products used depending on the product.
- Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate: EVA is the most commonly used material in kickboards. It is a foam, and the company manufacturing it can work with it in different ways to create different densities.
- Expanded Polypropylene: EPP is another kind of foam. It is more versatile compared to EVA, and has a higher buoyancy. Furthermore, it can be recycled.
- Expanded Polystyrene: EPS is a lightweight, plastic material. It is not as durable as other types of foam, however it is buoyant and inexpensive.
A multitude of brands sell kickboards for swimmers. Read below to learn more about some common kickboard brands.
- Finis: Finis is most well-known for their foam, traditional kickboards. They are made out of EVA foam and are available in junior and senior sizes.
- Speedo: Speedo offers a wide variety of durable kickboards. Speedo’s traditional kickboard is lightweight and has finger grooves on the side to create an easier grip.
- TYR: TYR also offers a variety of high-quality kickboards. TYR’s traditional kickboard has a closed cell structure, which means it cannot absorb moisture, making it a durable option.
Before purchasing a kickboard, it is important to consider what you will need for your swimming practice.
It is important to purchase kickboards made from high-quality materials that are durable and can last a long time. EVA foam, the most common material that kickboards are made of, can withstand many hours in the pool. To ensure the kickboard can last a long time, do not store it in direct sunlight.
Depending on the quality and type of the kickboard, kickboards can range from $5 to $25. If you buy an ergonomic or pull-buoy kickboard, they will tend to be more expensive than a traditional kickboard. Finally, if you buy from a name brand the price may also be higher.
Adult kickboards come in one size and are great for everyone. Kickboards are also offered in youth sizes to be used in children’s swimming lessons or practice. Depending on the kickboard company, kickboards will occasionally be available in junior (ideal for smaller swimmers) and senior sizes.
What are the different sizes of kickboards?
Kickboards are typically offered in two sizes. One size is geared towards children or individuals with smaller stature, who may feel less comfortable utilizing a larger kickboard. This smaller size is often labeled as youth, children’s, or junior’s. Smaller sizes are great for kids because they provide better support and comfort due to the shorter length of the board. The other size of kickboards are most commonly labeled adult. Adult kickboards are geared for adult swimmers to use while they practice.
How much does a kickboard cost?
A traditional kickboard can range from $5 to $15, depending on the materials it is made out of and if it has any external designs or decorations. Other types of kickboards, such as the ergonomic or pull-buoy kickboard, may be more expensive. Kickboards that serve multiple functions, are made with durable materials, or are from a name brand can sell upwards of $20.
What are the types of kickboards?
The main three types of kickboards are traditional, ergonomic, and pull-buoy. Traditional kickboards are the most common, and are easy to use no matter the skill level or age of the swimmer. Ergonomic kickboards are often used by adults who want to put less strain on their shoulders. Finally, pull-buoy kickboards can function as both kickboards and pull-buoys, which means the equipment can be utilized to build both arm and leg strength.