Bodyboarding is a beginner-friendly and fun sport that is sure to offer hours of sea-based thrills, provided you follow a few basic rules. Whether you are a seasoned sea veteran or you are a complete beginner, grabbing a few waves on your bodyboard will be a guaranteed happiness recipe.
In this article, we will focus on showing you how to bodyboard. If you are feeling ready to face some waves, the bodyboarding tips in this guide should help you use each wave as a ramp for pulling special tricks.
How to Bodyboard – Step by Step Guide
1. Get the Necessary Gear
If this is your first time learning how to bodyboard, chances are that you do not have the necessary gear. In addition to the bodyboard, you will need the following gear:
You will attach the bodyboarding leash to the upper arm. This should prevent you from losing your board when you wipe out. When attached correctly, the leash will help keep both the arm and the board secured together.
Wetsuit and Rash Guard
If you will be swimming in cold water, you will need a wetsuit to stay warm. A rash guard will offer sun protection and also ensure your body does not get irritated while bodyboarding. You can wear the rash guard under the wetsuit to keep rubbing and chafing to a minimum.
Fins and Fin Socks
Get bodyboard fins with tethers and attach the tethers to the ankles firmly. The fins will help you kick at a higher speed, making it much easier to catch the wave. Also, get some fin socks to wear under your chosen fins – this should add a layer of warmth and comfort to the feet.
2. Practice the Correct Position
One of the best bodyboarding tips we can offer is that you need to have a strong sense of how your body should be positioned on your board before you catch the wave. Get in the sand, lie on your bodyboard with the hands at the board’s nose (top), and the board’s back (tail) under the lower belly. Keep the weight centered on the board.
Once in this position, start practicing paddling your board. Paddle the hands at the board’s side, like you are trying to scoop water towards you, or as if you are using the free stroke in swimming. Kick both feet in the water for better propulsion and higher speed.
3. Walk into the Water
After getting the position right, walk into the water with the board until the water is knee-deep. Start looking for white water waves that come straight to the beach.
4. Catch the Wave
After getting knee-deep into the water, get on your board in the right position, and start paddling out, towards the waves. Be sure to keep the board’s nose approximately 2.5-5 inches above the water.
If you are learning bodyboarding tips because you are a complete beginner, avoid waves that are too high and fast. Once you find a wave that isn’t out of your comfort zone, turn toward the beach and start kicking toward it while waiting for the current to bring you forward.
5. Riding the Wave
Once the wave is approximately 5 feet behind you, start kicking and paddling hard. Lean forward to gain some additional speed and to ensure that you have caught the wave.
Note: You can paddle with one hand while using the other for control. For example, to move to the right, hold the board’s nose with the right hand and use your left for paddling. To move to the left, do the opposite.
As the wave approaches, you should feel yourself traveling faster. To increase speed, consider pushing the board’s nose down. If the wave is already too fast for your comfort, push the nose up 1 or 2 inches to slow yourself down. Continue kicking your feet while moving down the wave’s face.
Note: To go left when riding the wave, lean the hips to the left side and also place the left elbow on the upper left side deck of your board, while you hold onto the upper-right edge of the board with the freehand. To go right, do the opposite.
Ride the wave until you reach the shallow part of the ocean. Once you reach an area featuring below knee-deep water, you can step out of the ocean and take a break. Alternatively, you can go back in and catch another wave.
Important Tricks You May Want to Know
When learning how to bodyboard, practicing the following tricks should make you a better bodyboarder:
1. Forward Spin 360 Degrees
This trick allows you to make a full circle on your wave in a smooth motion. To do the forward spin 360 degrees, you will need to follow the steps below:
Focus on the direction you would like to turn and turn back up the face of the wave in that direction.
When turning, release the inside rail by sliding your bodyweight forward toward the nose of the board.
Keep the board flat on the surface of the wave to ensure drag stays at the minimum. Keep the legs raised and crossed while turning.
After turning a full circle, slide back on the board and center your weight before continuing to ride.
2. The Cut Back
The cut back allows you to set up the board closer to the wave’s power zone. It is also an extremely important trick for people learning beginner bodyboarding tips.
Move faster to the part just outside the wave face breaking section (shoulder section of the wave), picking a point that gives you enough time to start the rounded slow turn.
Start the rounded slow turn while you lean on the board and shift your body weight to the board’s inside rail. Start cutting a path with the board’s edge.
Ensure both hands stay near the board’s nose, on either rail.
Use the arms to pull to create a smooth arch.
Push down the hips and extend the legs to maintain balance.
Once your wave catches up to you, center the bodyweight again and continue riding the wave.
3. Duck Diving
With this trick, you should be able to get the board under breaking waves that you do not want to catch. You can get through the whitewash towards the waves you wish to catch.
Pick up additional speed by paddling toward the wave.
When the wave is 1 to 2 meters away, slide forward and grab the board’s rails about 30 cm from the nose.
Push the board’s nose under the surface by arching your back and using your hands to push the nose. Get as deep under the water as possible.
Use the knees on the deck, close to the tail, to keep moving forward.
Dive underneath the wave while pulling your body closer to the board.
As the wave passes over you, move the weight back toward the knees, lifting the board’s nose up and out the back of the wave.
This trick will help you with braking. To stall, you will need to either:
- Drag the legs in the water to slow down.
- Pull up the board’s nose while applying downward pressure on the tail with your hips. Keep holding the board at a 30- to 45-degree downward angle to reach the speed you want.
When you finish stalling, slide up on your board to pick up speed and set the rail to keep moving forward.
Tip: Put Safety First
To stay safe when bodyboarding, you will need to be a good swimmer. You will need to use the swimming technics to propel the board forward. In addition to this, swimming should help you get out of the water safely if you happen to wipe out.
Before trying bodyboarding for the first time, ensure that the sea conditions are safe. Also, ensure that there is a lifeguard on duty. If possible, get an instructor or an experienced friend to help you with the training.
Q: Is Bodyboarding Easier Than Surfing?
While both bodyboarding and surfing do have their own levels of hardness, bodyboarding is easier. Using swim fins and legs for propulsion (bodyboarding) is easier for most people than using the arms for paddling (surfing). Also, catching the waves and paddling back out is generally easier on the bodyboard than when using a surfboard.
Q: How Do You Catch A Wave Bodyboard?
To catch a wave, use your arms and legs to paddle toward the wave with the board’s nose 1 to 2 inches above the water. Once you find the right wave, turn toward the beach and start kicking toward it, while waiting to be brought forward by the wave’s current.
Q: Can You Surf on A Body Board?
No, you can’t. Surfing and bodyboarding require 2 different types of boards. Hence, it is impossible to surf on a board built specifically for bodyboarding.
Q: Do I Need Fins to Bodyboard?
Fins are an important tool when it comes to bodyboarding. They help you kick at a higher speed, making it much easier for you to catch the wave.
Q: How Many Calories Do You Burn Bodyboarding?
Depending on current strength, speed & size of the wave, and time of the day, bodyboarding intensity can vary. In general, however, the activity burns up to 400 calories/hour for someone weighing 145 pounds.
Q: How to Bodyboard Without Fins?
To bodyboard without fins, you will need more effort to gain enough speed to catch the wave. This means that you will have to work your arms and legs harder. Kicking faster could help you compensate slightly for the speed usually offered by the fins.
Globo Surf Overview
Bodyboarding is one of the best pastimes for people who enjoy waves. However, if you do not know how to bodyboard, the activity could appear too complicated. With the bodyboarding tips in this article, getting started with boarding should be much easier for you.