For many people who cannot afford a surfboard, bodyboarding is often the way to go. Bodyboarding is often considered one of the first variants of surfing and some even see it as the earliest version of surfing.
Regardless to what people think about bodyboarding, as a beginner, it is a good way to learn how to ride the waves and eventually, it can be a sport you can do each time you go to the beach.
How do you ride a bodyboard?
Here are some steps to get you started:
- Before you get on your bodyboard, you need to make sure you can swim without holding on to your board if you wipe out. You must also ensure that the sea is safe for you to try bodyboarding and come with a friend or instructor if this is your first time to bodyboard.
- Use a leash that will be connected to your board and attach it tightly, but comfortably, to your upper arm so you do not have to locate your board if you wipe out
- Wear the right gear when bodyboarding because some clothes can create unnecessary drag that can slow you down as you ride. When going bodyboarding in colder temperatures, wear a wet suit or a rash guard as it can protect you as you ride the waves and from the sun. It also prevents chafing. You can also wear fins and fin socks when you go bodyboarding to add extra comfort as you glide along
- Practice on land before you go catch a wave to ensure you know when to paddle and how to adjust your weight accordingly
- Once you have practiced the moves and prepared your gear, walk to the water until you get past knee-depth level. Once there, get on your board by lying on the board and ensure that the tail of the board is located under your lower belly. Start paddling with your hands and kick using both your feet to get more speed. You must also make sure that the nose is 1-2” above the water
- If you are a beginner, do not immediately start with strong or fast waves. Start with waves which won’t make you glide too fast or too high in the wave. When you find your perfect wave, turn towards the beach and kick towards the beach then let the wave carry you.
- Once the wave you intend to ride is less than 5’ behind you, kick and paddle as hard as you can. You can also try to lean forward to get your momentum going and keep you on the wave. It is up to you whether you want to paddle with both your hands or just paddle with one because you will need to be able to control your board as you get on the wave. To control your board, just hold the board’s nose with either your left or right hand, and paddle using your other hand
- If you want to increase your speed, you can push the nose of your board down slightly. However, if it feels too fast for you, raise the nose up to get the drag necessary to slow your board down. You can also kick your feet as you travel down the wave and even lean slightly to adjust your speed. You can also lean to change the direction of your board
- Once you’ve got everything in control and are on the wave itself, ride it until you reach the shore As you ride the wave, it is important your board is flat on the wave’s surface to ride the wave as fast as you can. Practice how you lean and move around your board
When you already face your first wave and got the hang of bodyboarding, you can start testing techniques you can pull off with your board. Here is a list of the tricks you can try out:
- Forward Spin 360—As the name implies, you do a full circle while riding the wave
- Cut-back—This trick helps you get closer to the main core of the wave by arching the board to your right or left
- El Rollo—This technique will require you to travel down the wave and fully flip your board with the help of the wave’s power.