One can choose a handplane based on 1) overall size of the plane, 2) the weight of and skill level of the bodysurfer and 3) the type of waves to be ridden.
1) As a general rule the more surface area of the planing surface (overall handplane size) the greater the lift generated. Keep in mind though that the larger the surface area the more resistance there will be in swimming. A larger handplane is more difficult to swim with.
2) A heavier bodysurfer will require more planing surface, i.e., more lift than a lighter bodysurfer. A more experienced body surfer will generally require less lift than a beginner due to greater understanding of wave behavior.
3) Smaller waves usually require more lift (larger planing surface) than larger waves. Larger and steeper waves generate more speed than smaller gradual waves, so a smaller handplane can be used in larger more powerful surf. That being said, extra large surf requires extra effort (user generated speed) to be able to mach the speed of a large wave prior to take-off. Some bodysurfers thus prefer using a plane with a larger planing surface.
Handplanes do not provide the rider buoyancy, instead they utilize the principle of hydrodynamic lift to support the weight of the bodysurfer. For a quick study of hydrodynamic lift refer to this wiki entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planing_(boat)
DESIGNED FOR SWIMMING We intended our bodysurfing handboards to be natural and comfortable to swim with. The convex side of the curve gives you an ergonomic and natural-feeling grip, reducing hand fatigue and leads to a more natural shoulder rotation when swimming. Sole handplanes are lightweight, have a super thin profile, and a buoyancy that’s just above neutral.
LIFT & CONTROL The concavity of a Sole handplane generates lift by capturing and re-directing water flow up the face of a wave. Concavity also provides bite, giving you maneuverability and prevents slide-out in the flats.
A SUPERIOR STRAP The connection to your handplane is extremely important for control and support -just as with a ski or snowboard binding. A solid connection keeps the opposing wave torque from controlling the plane -you maintain control, not the wave. Our 2” wide bindings are fully padded and adjustable and are as comfortable as they are reliable. The materials are polypropylene and neoprene with a Velcro closure. We offer the most comfortable binding in the industry. There are no binding mounts to fail.
INNOVATIVE CONSTRUCTION Sole simply takes hand plane construction to the next level by sandwiching core layers of renewable cork between surface layers of impact and scratch resistant HDL. The Whomper utilizes a tough bamboo core between two layers of infused cork. Our planes will take a licking and keep on ticking and are manufactured with pride in San Diego by veteran companies in the surf and skate industry.