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This is a review of the Zoggs kickboard (not the mini nor the kick-buoy).
~~~ The back story ~~~
My love of swimming stemmed from regular lessons from the age of four and water activities I experienced growing up in Australia. I have always swam whenever possible, have a pool at home, and have a three year old daughter who has been having lessons since she was five months old.
Our daughter is turning into a fish, and also loves to be in the pool day and night. Hence we have needed to find a wide variety of pool toys, floats and accoutrements to keep her and us amused.
Zoggs is an Australian company that produces swimming accessories. We have a number of items manufactured or distributed by them. Most of them are clearly and obviously branded Zoggs.
This blue kickboard float is designed for training. Ie hours on end of plowing up and down the pool in order to strengthen the swimmer's legs and stamina. The company website states that it is of "Durable high density construction", but doesn't explain the composition. The size is considered standard at 43.5cm x 29.5cm
~~~ My experience and thoughts ~~~
We use this kickboard for fun rather than training. Of course it would be nice if it lasts long enough to be used for training once Millie is much older....
The size and floatation ability of this kickboard means that Millie can support her torso on it so that her upper body is out of the water. She essentially rests most of her body except for her legs. She can then laugh and talk while she is powering her way across and around the pool. Sometimes she does this for 20 minutes! We have two kickboards, and it's really lovely to watch her and her five year old friend do this together.
I have only used this particular kickboard at home so any laps I have done with it have been fairly short. That said, the board floats well and feels very durable. It's nothing like the flimsy one I had in childhood!
This kickboard was a present from my Mum a little over a year ago. It has had two summers' use and is still in very good condition. We store it in a dry, shady place.
I see that it is available from zoggs.com for £12, with free postage on orders more than £30. (July 2013)
This is an excellent kickboard that I highly recommend.
Earlier today I reviewed the Zoggs hand paddles that I have been using in the pool a lot more, these give a great work out to your shoulders and upper arms over and above what you would normally get with normal swimming, well in order to ensure that my legs also get a good workout I use this Zoggs Kickboard which cost me £9.99.
It is a high density construction which provides excellent buoyancy and is also nice and stream lined in the water as well so it does not provide too much in the way of resistance while you are using it. The dimensions are 43.5cm by 29.5cm and the compact nature of the board makes it very easy to grip even if you have quite small hands.
I find that it is equally comfortable to hold the back end and fully extend your arms out while kicking either on your front or back, this is appropriate when you want your face to be in the water for front crawl. It is also comfortable when you grip the front end, this means that your lower arms are fully supported making it easier to kick while in a head up position. I have also used it on my back with it resting across my stomach while on a swim down and only kicking lightly.
This is more of a swimming aid for those training rather than learning, there are kickboards with actual handles which are easier to use as a teaching aid for young children and the size of this one means it is suitable for adults.
It is a good solid kickboard which after three months of use still looks like the first day that I bought it. Certainly a good product from a reliable manufacturer of swimming kit.
****WHAT IS A ZOGG KICKBOARD****
The Zoggs kickboard is basically an updated version of the old swimming float, designed to give new swimmers some buoyancy when learning to swim to ensure that as you learn to kick enough to stay afloat your head and upper half of your body don't sink. It can also be used to develop your kicking speed at more advanced levels and really does make a huge difference to your speed in the water.
****WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE/WHY BUY IT?****
Made from polystyrene foam, and blue with a Zoggs symbol, I bought one of these as I want to teach my newborn how to swim and wanted the equipment to show them as well as swim with them once they get to a sensible age, but this has added benefits for me as somebody who swam 3 times a day in my youth, but haven't swum much in the last few years, it allowed me to get my technique back and trust in my kicking whilst then having the basis to develop the rest of my stroke again.
The board is just under 4cm deep and 43cm long and 30cm wide meaning it can be held easily by adults or kids, it is fairly large and sturdy for a float, which would be reassuring for new swimmers, but is lightweight which means that it is also easy to put in a bag before a swimming lesson or evening of lengths, I have no issues at all with the design, its easy to hold on to, looks pretty professional and it does its job. I think this could easily be used by kids or adults and the size gives real reassurance that what your holding onto won't sink or break easily.
****WHEN YOU MIGHT USE IT****
The idea of the Zoggs kickboard is to look after your top half, allowing you just to hold it, while you develop explosive leg speed to kick quickly, or simply develop your breast stroke or butterfly kick. Through explosive leg speed, you will swim more confidently, more quickly and will burn more calories, so while this might seem like a step backwards, through consistent use you can really develop your kicking to a point where your swimming technique will improve dramatically.
As a plus it can also be used once your confident in your ability in the water to dramatically improve your stroke, this technique is only for advanced swimmers, but by placing the kickboard between your ankles and pressing them together, you then have to swim using only your upper body, at first you should only try this with back crawl or breast stroke, but as you develop you'll be able to do it with all four strokes, the point of this is once you can swim using only your upper body, with your lower body simply floating held by the kick board, you really are on top of your swimming game, as a strong upper body stroke ensures that were you to have difficulties with cramp or injury in deep water, you could still move to safety quickly and easily.
The kickboard is good quality, it looks really professional, is solid and won't break or snap through repeated uses, it also appears to be well designed ergonomically to streamline your movements in the water as much as possible, rather than holding you back like old floating aids used to.
****WHERE CAN YOU BUY IT****
I do think the price is ever so slightly excessive at £9.99, I have found some in my local swimming baths for £8.99 but the £9.99 on Amazon is the cheapest I have seen nationally, it is also available via Wiggle and Tesco. The price isn't too high as it does a good job, but I do feel that it is nothing more than a foam float and is perhaps overpriced due to the name or reputation. But nonetheless it is serving me well and I'm enjoying using it to vary my swimming strokes, so I shouldn't complain too much.
One point I would make though before recommending you buy one of these, is that many decent swimming baths will be only too happy to lend you something similar if you either need a buoyancy aid or want to practice your kicking or arm strokes further, so it is perhaps worth speaking with the attending lifeguard to see what you might be able to use to help improve your swimming techniques.
For a swimmer, a kick board is very useful in building strength and technique in your legs by doing kicking drills. I bought myself a kick board a few years ago as my pool wouldn't let me borrow them if you needed one, so I took my own.
This kickboard is made by the swimming company "Zoggs" who are quite well known for there goggles. It is blue all over with the Zoggs logo in white on the front and then on the rear, safety information can be found. It is made of a hard foam material, similar to the material that made my Pull Buoy (see review). This makes it very durable and very buoyant in the water. It measures 43cm x 30cm x 3.5cm, so it is big enough for adults and children to use.
I usually use it when doing kick drills on my front and rest my arms on it as I kick. I feel it holds me up in the water well and allows me to kick efficiently. One problem I do have with it is that it has no hand holes in it. Others I have seen have hand holes in it which give you something to hold onto whilst kicking, whereas with this kickboard you can only put your hands over then end.
I paid £10 for this from my local sports shop and looking online it is still the same price. For the quality and durability of the product, I think this is a very good price. They also sell this kick board in a junior version, which is smaller in length and width to suit the smaller arms of juniors. You can buy these from any good sports shop now and they are also available from many internet shops.
If you are a swimmer and want to build a stronger kick then this is a worthwhile investment for you, however if you want to have the hand holds, then don't buy this one. If hand holds don't bother you, then I would recommend this one as it is very good value for money and it will last you ages! 4/5 rating due to the lack of hand holes.
Thanks for reading my review!
This review may also appear on my blog and on Ciao under the same username.