The Kickboard. That piece of equipment that swimmers love to hate. It’s still a great training and teaching aid and yields benefits. Benefits range from improving your overall swimming speed and maintaining your technique. We checked in with some experts to find out how they rate them.
Kickboards are however not recommended for swimmers who have neck and shoulder issues as kicking with a board can place additional stress on these areas. The kickboard, like any other piece of swimming equipment, should be used for a purpose and used strategically in your swim training.
Here are some of the best Kickboards out there:
1. Tombstone kickboards
The traditional, the classic, and the one you likely to see filling the equipment bins at your local school pool. The old-school kickboard varies in size, but they all look like ‘tombstones’. The kickboard is buoyant, and its large surface area gives you a high position in the water. Thickness and sturdiness are the two biggies with this kind of kickboard—a flimsy and thin kickboard means you have little buoyancy, with the board dipping below the surface of the water.
- Speedo Team Kickboard (Top Pick)
The Speedo Team Kickboard is simple, and it works. The board is more rigid than most of the kickboards on this list. This rigidity results in a kickboard that lasts longer and is easier to float. The board features grips along the side of the kickboard.
- Kiefer Training Kickboard
The Kiefer Training Kickboard is a good sturdy thickness, providing a good level of buoyancy. It’s made from a moulded EVA foam that makes it easy to hold onto. It provides a comfortable kicking ride.
- The TYR Sport Kickboard
The TYR Sport kickboard is the thickest of the tombstone variety and comes in at a weighty 2 inches thick. It’s also a little longer than the Speedo and Kiefer boards (two inches longer), making it ideal for bigger and taller swimmers.
- Arena Kickboard
Arena’s board is constructed of ethylene vinyl acetate, instead of EVA foam. It features added hand positions and comes in a variety of different colours to ensure that you are kicking along the lane in style.
2. Arrowhead kickboards
Hydrodynamic in design, these boards do have some limitations. These kickboards make you feel like you are on the tip of a fighter jet. Watching the water part at the top of an arrowhead board—especially when you are wearing fins—is a guaranteed good time. The Arrowhead boards are smaller, and as a result, provide less buoyancy in the water while you are kicking. There is a side benefit to this, however, your body position is often flatter, producing a slimmer drag profile in the water.
- Arena Kickboard Pro
Experts say they like the overall shape of this Arena offering, but don’t rate the hand grips at the bottom of the board. The hand grips are basically unusable.
- Water Gear Ergo Kickboard
The same applies to the Water Gear arrowhead kickboard. This board and its bright colour patterns at least get some style points.
- Speedo Elite Kickboard (Top Pick)
Our best pick for the arrowhead kickboard goes to the Speedo Elite. It’s made of a buoyant and thick foam, and it’s a good compromise between the tombstone and the arrowhead designs. The tip of the board is comfortable to wrap your fingers around, and the top of your chest slides nicely into the bottom of the board. There are also no excess hand grips causing extra resistance along the sides and surface of the board.
3. Kick-pull boards
While the premise is sound, in practice they don’t work very well at all. These are hybrid boards that supposedly offer a kick/pull movement and save space in your bag. However, those who’ve experienced it feel that they do both kicking and pulling rather poorly. They are not hydrodynamic whatsoever and tend to snow plough the water.
4. Alignment Kickboard
According to the experts, these are the best overall kickboards and they will supposedly ‘rock your world’. Let’s find out why.
- Best Overall: The FINIS Alignment Kickboard
This kickboard is highly rated as ‘simply awesome’. It may be small, but it kicks butt. If you are serious about wanting to improve your kick and master a deadly body position in the water, this is your go-to board.
And this is why:
• You can kick with one hand on the board quite easily, which means that you can do large amounts of kicking on your side.
• Kicking on your side is a great way to improve both phases of your kick (and not just the downkick).
• It forces you to work on having a straighter line in the water,
• It mimics your natural swimming position, something that is very difficult to do with a kickboard.
• This board’s diminutive size means that it can be slightly submerged when kicking, while still providing buoyancy.
• Using both hands you can kick in a more natural streamline than you could with a regular kickboard.
• You can do flip turns because the hand strap keeps your hand firmly in.
So, this is the kickboard of the year according to those who love to hate them.
Original Article by Olivier Poirier-Leroy appeared on www.yourswimlog.com