What Is Bodyboarding: Get to Know this New Sports Craze!

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There is this new watersport that is intriguingly exciting and fun. At first, you would probably think that it is surfing because it makes use of a surfboard to ride the waves. This sport is called bodyboarding. But what is bodyboarding really? In this article, you will learn about bodyboarding including its origin, its different riding forms, the many health benefits it offers, and more.

What Is Bodyboarding?

Bodyboarding is a watersport that is performed with the use of a bodyboard. The board is carried by the waves towards the shore. A typical bodyboard is basically a petite, rectangular piece of hydrodynamic foam. Swim fins are sometimes used to add control and propulsion while riding bigger waves. Bodyboarding is also called the Boogieboarding because of the so-called Boogie board that was invented by Tom Morey. You will learn more about the origin of bodyboarding below.

The History of Bodyboarding

Bodyboarding has been around since the early times, probably during the 1700s even. It comes from the primeval technique of riding waves on one’s belly. It was recorded that around 1778, Hawaiian inhabitants used to ride boards called Alaia boards.

Alaia boards were made of Acacia Koa wood and came in various shapes and length. These boards are different from the new stand-up surfboards because they had no ventral fins. Polynesians also rode Alaia boards on their knees, belly, or feet.

The kind of Alaia boards that were ridden by the Hawaiians on their belly or knees during the 1770s were three to six feet in length. As the years passed by, these Alaia boards evolved into paipo. Paipo boards were either made from fiberglass or wood.

Who Can Perform Bodyboarding?

Now that you know what is bodyboarding, do you think you can do it? Bodyboarding can be done by anyone, kids and adults alike. However, it is important to consider that you know how to swim, and you are physically fit and strong.

Being in the deep part of the sea is fairly easy when you have the board with you. If you know how to swim and you lose grip of your board, then you will be confident that you can get to shore unaided.

For beginners, playing in the shallow part of the beach is a good practice ground. The whitewater, the area where the broken waves form foaming water, has sufficient power to drive you. It also orients you and helps you get used to the perception of catching a wave.

Some experienced boarders use a pair of swim fins to increase their swimming speed. The fins will ease the swimming back to the shore when the board gets separated from you.

The Riding Forms of Bodyboarding

Bodyboarding can be done in three basic forms: drop-knee, prone, and stand-up. The bodyboards come in different shapes and sizes in order to suit particular requisites and the preferences of the rider, which include the weight, height, and riding form.

Here are the different riding forms that are practiced in bodyboarding:

  • Drop-knee

Drop-knee is performed when the rider places his desired fin forward in front of the deck with the opposite knee on the edge of the board and with his fin dragging in the water. Keeping a line on the wave on a drop-knee position is an art.

Unlike stand-up surfboards, the bodyboards used when performing the drop-knee form do not have fins underneath to keep a line on the face of the wave or prevent the rider from sliding out. Drop-knee is difficult because the riders depend on the balance and transition of weight from rail to rail to grasp a line on the wave.

One advantage of the absence of fins underneath the board is that it enables the rider to do a 360-spin. This move is very technical and appears to be very impressive particularly on the pocket of the wave. When performed during competitions, this 360-spin will definitely link up to a high score.

  • Prone

The prone riding form is done when the rider drives the wave on his belly. When the rider goes right, he puts his right hand on the upper right of the nose of the board and puts his left arm down the left side. This is opposite when the rider aims to go right.

The standards and development of the prone form are made by Mike Stewart. He is also responsible for the basic maneuvers that relate to this particular form.

  • Stand-up

The stand-up riding form is not as popular as the other two riding forms. It is performed by standing upright on the board and doing tricks on the face and in the air. It is popularized by Chris Won Taloa, Danny Kim, and Cavin Yap.

Benefits of Practicing Bodyboarding

Aside from being a fun and challenging water activity, bodyboarding has a lot of health benefits. Let us take a look at some of them below.

  • With the leg propelling the board in the water, bodyboarding improves the strength and structure of leg muscles.
  • With the fresh sea air and natural motion of waves, bodyboarding refreshes the mind.
  • Bodyboarding improves arm strength because of the intense paddling that is sometimes necessary.
  • It also enhances coordination skills, balance, and concentration that are all required so that you can stay on board.
  • Bodyboarding, in the long run, improves cardiovascular health. The lungs and heart do a lot of work and coordination to perform bodyboarding. Hence, it also improves blood circulation and oxygen flow.


Bodyboarding is a difficult sport to practice, but it definitely is a lot of fun and gives a sense of achievement. What makes bodyboarding special is the fact that it is difficult to do but amazing to watch.

For this reason, more and more people are beginning to take on this new water sport. Some even go the extra mile and join bodyboarding competitions to show off their skills and challenge themselves.

And it is a good activity to practice too! This water sport makes use of many body parts and organs such as the legs, arms, heart, and lungs. It improves a lot of body functions particularly coordination, balance, strength, and blood circulation.

So, the next summer when you come to the beach, try bodyboarding. It can be very challenging at first, but you will eventually get used to the waves and learn the techniques.

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