Bodyboarding probably sounds new to you, but you are intrigued about this kind of water sport, so you have landed on this page. You probably saw some people performing incredible spins in the waves, and you now wish to learn how to bodyboard.
In this article, you will learn the basic guidelines in bodyboarding. Additionally, you will also know about the cautions to observe as well as some techniques for beginners like you. Before that though, allow us first to answer the question, “What is bodyboarding?”
What Is Bodyboarding?
Bodyboarding is a water sport in which the surfer rides the wave either on his knees, belly, or feet. Unlike surfing, the bodyboard does not come with a fin underneath, which make it difficult to maneuver. However, it comes in the shape that is specific to the rider’s preferences and needs.
How to Bodyboard
There are three basic forms of riding a bodyboard: prone, stand-up, and drop-knee. Each riding form consists of different techniques on how to maneuver the board against or along the waves.
When you learn the basic methods on how to ride a wave with your bodyboard, you can learn these various riding forms to challenge yourself more. Here are the steps that you can follow so you can begin practicing this awesome water sport:
Step 1 – First Things First!
- Learn how to swim
Before bodyboarding, you should be a good swimmer. Although you will be required to perform skills for swimming to drive the board, you should also be able to swim without it. There will be times that you will be wiped out. Hence, you should be able to swim unaided.
- Check the weather
It is also important to check the weather and condition of the sea before bodyboarding. Especially when you are a beginner, you should practice bodyboarding with an instructor or with a friend. When you get comfortable and learn the basics, only then you could do it alone.
- Acquire a leash
Unlike the leash for surfing, in bodyboarding, you bestow the leash to your upper arm. Attach it securely but loosely enough so that you can comfortably move your arm. The leash keeps your arm secured to the board and prevents it from detaching when you get wiped out.
- Wear a rash guard or wetsuit
The rash guard will prevent your skin to get in direct contact with the board. It keeps your body safe from irritation while bodyboarding and protects your skin from the sun. A wetsuit is recommended when bodyboarding during the cold season.
- Invest in fins and fin socks
Fins help you swim at greater speed. When you swim fast, you will be able to catch the wave and ride on it. You should also consider buying fin socks to add comfort to your feet while you are in action.
- Rehearse the correct position
Before you get in the water, practice the correct posture for the bodyboard. Make sure that you position yourself correctly in the center of the board.
While the board is on the sand, lie on it with your hands on the nose of the board and your belly on its tail. Make sure that your weight is rested on the middle of the board.
While you are in the correct position, you can practice paddling as well. Paddle at the sides of the board as if you are scooping water towards you or performing the free stroke swimming. For greater speed, kick your feet under the water while you paddle.
- Go into the water while holding the board
While carrying the board, walk into the water until it is approximately knee-deep. Prevent your feet from getting stuck by lifting them up with every step. Learn to find the whitewater that goes toward the shore.
Step 2 – Catch the Waves!
- Paddle towards the waves
When you are past knee-deep in the water, position yourself on the board and start paddling towards the waves. Kick your feet for faster speed and stronger propulsion. The nose of the board must be one to two inches above the water.
- Search for a wave
If you are new to bodyboarding, learn to paddle and avoid the waves that you think you can’t handle. Search for the kind of wave that is not too high or too fast, and moves towards the shore. When you have found this wave, turn towards the shore and start paddling towards the wave.
- Move towards the wave
When you get near the wave, approximately five feet behind you, paddle and kick as fast as you can. Make sure that you get hold of the wave, and it should help you move forward. To keep your control of the board, paddle with one hand while keeping your other hand on the board.
To move in the right direction, hold the nose of the board with your right hand and paddle with your left hand. The opposite is true when you want to move in the left direction.
- Move with the wave
When the wave approaches you, you should feel that you are moving forward faster. You can increase your speed when you slightly lean into the wave.
- Ride the wave
Now that you have caught the wave, ride on it until you reach the shallow part of the sea, specifically the shore. When you’ve reached the shore, you can take a break or immediately return to the ocean and wait for another wave.
Tips to Remember
There will be instances when a huge wave crashes on you. Do not panic. Relax. Let the wave crush on you. Close your eyes, and let yourself tumble around a bit. Do not try to swim on top of the water. Swim back to the top when you feel it’s safe.
Always maintain normal breathing patterns and try to stay relaxed as much as possible. Focus on your position and on the waves. This is why it is important to orient yourself and get used to the ocean and waves.
The Final Say
It takes a lot of patience and practice to learn how to bodyboard. As a beginner, you need to practice proper posture on the board, and practice paddling with your arms and kicking with your feet.
When you get used to the ocean and waves, you will be able to catch the waves more easily. It takes time to ride a wave successfully, but it is much worth it. Always remember to put safety first before bodyboarding. Enjoy!