Requiring no board and utilizing the most basic of swimming gears, bodysurfing is regarded by many as one of the purest forms of wave riding. The sport has an enchanting appeal and the absence of a board enhances that feeling of “being one with the water”. This is probably why more and more people are getting in on the sport. If you identify with that group, below is a step-by-step guide on learning how to bodysurf as well as somebody surfing techniques to get you started.
8 Steps on How to Bodysurf
Compared to learning how to bodyboard or how to windsurf, learning how to bodysurf is a little bit easier since you don’t have to worry about surfboards and other surfing equipment. With minimal gear, you should be able to start bodysurfing in a matter of hours. If you’re ready to give bodysurfing a try, follow the steps below.
1. Look for a Bodysurfing Destination
One of the best things about bodysurfing is that it can be done on just about every beach. You don’t have to go looking for the best kiteboarding spots or surfing paradise since a typical beach will do. Nonetheless, there are a few things that make up an ideal bodysurfing destination.
- Minimal Crowd. You’re going to need some space to learn how to bodysurf properly and practice different body surfing techniques. This way you don’t have to worry about knocking a fellow surfer or swimmer if things go awry.
- Sandy Bottoms. Always look for beaches with soft, sandy bottoms. They are cushiony and less painful than a rocky reef in case the wave throws you face-first into the seafloor.
- Gradual Slope. A slight slope allows you to wade slowly out to the sea, which is much easier than having to swim towards the horizon.
- Very Few Obstacles. Always avoid beaches with jagged rocks or swaths of seaweeds for obvious reasons. It would be best if you could find a beach with almost non-existent obstacles.
- Substantial Wave Height. Wave heights of about 3 feet are enough to give you a fun ride back to the shore.
- Long Break. Look for beaches with a long break so you can spend more time riding the waves.
2. Grab Your Gear
Compared to other types of surfing sports, you don’t need a lot of gear to get into bodyboarding. You’ll only need three items, one of which is even optional.
- Bathing Suit or Wetsuit. A bathing suit that creates less drag is ideal for bodysurfing. If you’re bodysurfing in cold waters, then you should consider wearing a surfing wetsuit.
- Swim Fins. A good pair of swim fins will allow you to kick harder and improve your ability to catch and ride waves.
- Handplane. This equipment is optional, but it can be very helpful in trimming the face of the wave and holding a line. It also helps you to catch the wave earlier and ride it longer.
3. Do Some Warm Up and Stretching Exercises
As with any other type of sports, you’ll want to warm up and do some stretching exercises before you get into the water. By preparing your body for the activity ahead, you can minimize cramping, pulled muscles, and other similar injuries.
4. Get in the Water
Once you’re all warmed-up, wade out into the water and get into position. You will be facing away from the shore and watching the swells. Find a spot where the water is just above your waist or hallway to your chest.
5. Wait for the Perfect Wave
Many of the waves that will be coming your way will not be ideal for body surfing, so patience is key here. Until the perfect wave comes along, simply dive under the incoming waves or float over them. You can also let them knock you around and have some fun to make the waiting less irksome.
6. Catch that Wave
When the wave you’re been waiting for finally arrives, go for it will all the courage you can muster.
When the wave is at least 10 feet away, turn around and start swimming towards the shore to gain some momentum. One of the body surfing techniques you can apply is to kick off from the sand and use a freestyle or crawl stroke to generate the best speeds (yes, you have to know how to swim freestyle effectively before attempting body surfing).
You will feel the wave start pulling you back out to sea once it catches you. Don’t panic when this happens and continue paddling and kicking. Eventually, the wave will pick you up and start carrying you towards the shore.
7. Ride the Wave
Once you’re on the wave, continue paddling and kicking hard to maintain your momentum. You can then start employing basic body surfing techniques to steer yourself towards the direction you want to go. For instance, if you want to go left then you’ll want to lean on your left side with your left arm extended. The same thing if you want to go right.
It can be a challenge to get a real lift out of the water, and this is where using a hand plane comes in handy.
8. Pull Out of the Wave
Pulling out simply means terminating your ride, which is what you want to do when the wave is coming to a break or when there’s an obstacle or another person in your way.
To pull out, punch through the face of the wave with the shoulder facing the face of the wave. Give a few strong kicks and you should pop out of the back of the wave.
Q: Is body surfing dangerous?
Like other extreme water sports, body surfing can also be dangerous and has its own set of risks and hazards. Common injuries related to body surfing includes scrapes and bruises, shoulder dislocation, ankle sprain and others. There’s also the risk of being stung by a jellyfish and attacked by other sea creatures.
Q: Is bodyboarding easier than surfing?
Yes, bodyboarding is easier than surfing. This is because bodyboarders are lying on their stomachs on their board while riding a wave, which means that they don’t need to worry about popping up on their surfboards and maintaining their balance. Being in prone position also reduces the chances of the bodyboarder falling off the board.
Q: How do you pump a wave?
Pumping a wave requires gliding through certain parts of a wave and employing the right techniques while doing so. It involves learning when to compress (or be “heavy” in surf speak) and when to decompress (or be “light”). It also requires knowing how and when to transfer your weight along the rails, front and rear sections of the board.
Q: Is body surfing good exercise?
Yes, bodysurfing is one of the best exercises for developing your cardiovascular fitness and toning your muscles. Simply wading or swimming out into the water already burns calories, and surfing all the way back requires the use of various muscle groups like your arms, core, and legs.
Globo Surf Overview
If you’re looking for a surfing adventure that doesn’t require the use of a board, then bodysurfing is something worth trying. Sure, learning how to bodysurf and executing body surfing techniques properly takes some practice to get right, but once you nail them down you’re bound to have one of the best times of your life.