Made of lightweight, textured EVA foam. Side finger scallops promote proper hand position. Underside finger grooves for nonslip grip. Choice of colors. Sturdy and buoyant. Back end is curved, so it's comfortable on the chest.
May arrive with a chemical smell. This should dissipate with use in the water.
Side finger scallops promote proper hand position. Underside finger grooves for easy gripping. Textured EVA foam creates a non-slick surface. Good for starting out on the swim team or just learning how to swim. Choice of colors. Measures 14.5 x 10.375 inches. Durable.
Not as stable as larger boards, but that's because of the smaller size.
Provides buoyant support. Made of unbreakable Polyethylene. Two sets of integrated handles for optional body positioning. Choice of small or large size. Recommended for ages 8 and up. More durable and buoyant than a foam board.
Made of hard plastic, so if someone gets hit with the board, it will hurt.
Styrofoam board with colorful polyester casing. Colorfast fabric withstands chlorine and sun exposure. Helps develop gross motor skills and confidence in the water. Measures 17.75 x 13 inches. Lightweight and dries quickly.
Fabric stains and shifts relatively easily.
Styrofoam board with colorful polyester casing. Colorfast fabric withstands chlorine and sun exposure. Helps develop gross motor skills and confidence in the water. Sides are easy to grip. Well made. Measures 17.75 x 13 inches. Lightweight.
Fabric stains and shifts relatively easily.
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You wouldn't think of doing yoga without your favorite accessories — mat, blocks, resistance bands, balance ball — and the same goes for swimming. Whether you’re perfecting your technique or you just want to get a tougher lower body workout, a kickboard is the tool that can help you get the job done.
When searching for the best kickboard, it’s important to choose the type that is designed for your specific needs. If you want a general-purpose adult kickboard, for instance, that is a different model than one that is crafted to help you lower your sprint times. The right kickboard should be comfortable, easy to hold, and durable.
To learn about the different types of kickboards that are available, please continue reading. If you already know what you need, we invite you to check out the options we’ve highlighted in this article.
Believe it or not, all kickboards are not the same. They are manufactured with key differences that make them better suited for different purposes. The following are the four main types of kickboards.
Traditional: A traditional kickboard is what you see at most pools. It is the thick, foam item that resembles a brightly colored tombstone. The shape may vary slightly, but these general-purpose kickboards are designed to be one-size-fits-all items that provide a great deal of buoyancy. The only downside with this type is that some swimmers can develop pain in their shoulders because the kickboard is higher in the water than is natural for their strokes. For most swimmers, however, this is a negligible factor.
Children's: A child's kickboard is smaller, which helps the child achieve a better body position for most strokes (adult-sized kickboards can raise a child's upper body too much for an ideal stroke position). Additionally, these models are brightly colored and designed to be gripped by smaller hands. Many also feature fun designs.
Alignment: This triangular kickboard floats just below the surface of the water, making it the best model for serious swimmers who want to perfect the nuances of their strokes. The streamlined quality lets the kickboard glide effortlessly through the water. It is important to point out that these kickboards are the only ones that may be safely used for the butterfly.
Pull-kick: This kickboard features a two-in-one design: the swimmer can grab the kickboard with their hands or squeeze it between their legs. With this type of kickboard you can focus on either the arms or legs during swimming drills. The main benefit of this type is that it reduces the amount of gear a swimmer needs to carry to and from the pool.
Once you know the type of kickboard you need, there are a few other elements to consider.
Some kickboards are a uniform thickness and have no designated place to position your hands. Others have thinner sections along the sides and/or top to facilitate gripping the board. Still others have cutouts with built-in handles, so you know precisely where to hold the kickboard. The grips do not affect how the kickboard functions, but they do make it much easier to hold.
As previously noted, many kickboards resemble a tombstone with a concave bottom (to accommodate the swimmer's head). However, there are many variations on that design. The important aspect to keep in mind is the more streamlined the kickboard, the better it will function.
Many manufacturers only make one size kickboard. Though children can use an adult kickboard, it isn’t the best situation. Ideally, when holding a kickboard from the top, a swimmer's elbows should rest on the kickboard, leaving adequate room for the head to be in the water if desired. Also, a kickboard should be no wider than the swimmer's shoulders.
Your kickboard needs to be thick enough or strong enough so it won't easily break. And you want a kickboard that won't fade due pool chemicals or sunlight. The best kickboards are waterproof and nonabsorbent so they dry off as soon as they’re removed from the pool.
If you're serious about your swim training, you want to be sure you have all the gear you need. Here are a few other items you might want to consider.
Swim goggles: Aqua Sphere Kayenne Swim Goggles
Goggles protect your eyes and let you see underwater. Though somewhat pricey, we like this pair from Aqua Sphere for kids in particular, as they fit the face with little to no discomfort.
Earplugs: Speedo Ergo Earplugs
Earplugs keep water from entering your ears and can help prevent ear infections. This comfortable pair from Speedo come with a special case. We like them because they fit comfortably and don’t cost a fortune.
Swim cap: The Friendly Swede Silicone Swim Caps
A swim cap protects your hair from the damaging effects of chlorine and keeps hair out of your eyes while you’re swimming. Additionally, a swim cap can help keep water out of your ears. This two-pack of caps from The Friendly Swede can be used for children or adults. Choose from a wide variety of colors and designs.
Swimming gloves: TAGVO Aquatic Gloves
The webbing between the fingers of swimming gloves makes your workouts tougher. If you’re looking to maximize resistance while exercising in the water, check out this pair from TAGVO. The gloves are available in two color choices and three sizes, so kids and adults can use them.
Kickboards are not high-end products. For the most part, they’re all made from roughly the same materials, although some are definitely higher quality and more durable.
Inexpensive: You can find a bargain model for just $5 or $6, but these kickboards might not hold up as well as you’d like.
Mid-range: The $8 to $15 range is where you strike gold. Just about anything you can imagine is available in this price bracket.
Expensive: If you'd like a kickboard with an advanced hydrodynamic design to reduce drag or a pull-kick or alignment kickboard, you can expect to pay between $15 to $25, but these items are often more than the average swimmer needs.
A kickboard is a fairly basic item; it’s essentially a flat board that floats. The versatility and effectiveness of a kickboard ultimately depend on how you hold it. The following are a few different ways to grip your kickboard.
If you'd like something markedly different, here are a few more kickboards to consider. The Speedo All-Age Elite Pull-Kick Swim Training Aid is two training aids in one. You can either hold it with your hands so it functions like a regular kickboard or squeeze it between your legs so it functions like a pull buoy.
The FINIS Alignment Kickboard is a high-quality kickboard that’s designed to float below the surface of the water to reduce the stress on your shoulders. This is the only kickboard that works with the butterfly stroke.
Last but not least, the Core Swim Training Swimming Pool Kit includes a kickboard, pull buoy, swim cap, and mesh carrying bag. All you need to supply is a bathing suit and goggles to start your training.
Q. Aren't kickboards just for little kids who don’t know how to swim?
A. No, not at all. Anyone can benefit from using a kickboard no matter their skill level. A beginner can use a kickboard to gain confidence, while a competitive swimmer can use a kickboard for training. Anyone who is interested in improving can benefit from adding a kickboard to their swim accessories.
Q. How can a kickboard help lower my race time?
A. If you’re a competitive swimmer, a kickboard allows you to fine-tune your stroke and build muscle in areas you might be inadvertently neglecting. Many swimmers focus on arms and body position, but the kick is what can help you shave off that time so you can advance to the next level.
Q. I'm not a competitive swimmer. Is a kickboard of any value to me?
A. Definitely. Swimming is a low-impact aerobic activity that allows you to elevate your heart rate without putting any strain or pressure on your joints. Using a kickboard helps you to learn body position and balance while in the water even if you’re doing leisurely laps.
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