Bodyboarding for Fitness

Bodyboarding is a water-based athletic pursuit wherein the participant rides a specialized bodyboard atop the crest, face, and curl of an advancing wave, which carries them shoreward. This thrilling activity is sometimes colloquially known as “Boogieboarding,” a term stemming from the invention of the “Boogie Board” by Tom Morey in 1971. (1) Additionally, bodyboarding is an oceanic pursuit where individuals ride waves while lying prone; it hails from a rich heritage tracing back to the Pacific Islands. (2) Evidently, the Polynesian culture pioneered this exhilarating water sport, maneuvering across ocean swells atop paipo boards.

The typical bodyboard is constructed from a compact, rectangular piece of hydrodynamic foam. Bodyboarders commonly employ swim fins to enhance their experience and maintain control while riding a breaking wave, providing them with added propulsion and maneuverability. (2) This traditional wave-catching method, executed while lying face down, eventually progressed into the upright practice of wave riding, suggesting that the roots of bodyboarding might predate those of conventional surfing. (1) 

Benefits of Bodyboarding

Bodyboarding is a well-liked aquatic activity characterized by riding waves using a compact, lightweight board. (3) However, despite its reputation as a delightful beach pastime, bodyboarding provides numerous health advantages, rendering it an excellent pursuit for individuals spanning various age groups. (4) 

Here are a few of the avenues through which bodyboarding can enhance both your physical and mental well-being: (5) 

1. Bodyboarding Is A Fun Way To Stay Healthy

Bodyboarding offers a delightful and engaging form of exercise, with its inherent enjoyment making it easy to forget you’re even working out. Typically ranging from half an hour to three hours per session, bodyboarding significantly enhances your cardiovascular fitness. This occurs as your heart and lungs labor diligently to circulate blood to your active muscles during the ride. Moreover, as your proficiency in bodyboarding grows, you’ll come to appreciate that paddling to catch waves demands a considerable amount of physical strength. Beyond the cardio benefits, this sport also contributes to increased arm strength. Moreover, the continuous act of balancing on the board engages your chest and core muscles. Even more, kicking your legs to gain extra speed for wave-catching serves as an effective workout for your leg muscles. In essence, bodyboarding provides a comprehensive physical workout while you revel in the waves.

two girls, two boys, and one which I hope not drowning

2. Bodyboarding Is Inclusive For All Ages

One of the most appealing aspects of bodyboarding is its accessibility to individuals of any age group. Similar to surfing, as long as you possess basic swimming skills, you’re well-prepared to embark on a bodyboarding adventure. What adds to its universal appeal is that bodyboarding is more cost-effective than traditional surfing and notably more manageable to transport, making it an ideal choice for children and their families. Hence, if you’re in search of a physical activity that can bring the entire family together, bodyboarding provides an excellent avenue to escape the confines of home and relish some quality time together by the water.

3. Bodyboarding Is Beneficial For Mental Well-Being

Engaging with the great outdoors is universally recognized as a tonic for both the body and the soul. Bodyboarding, in particular, presents a captivating opportunity to connect with the sea during some of the most mesmerizing times of the day. Few experiences can rival the serenity of a sunrise on the ocean or the dramatic beauty of a fiery sunset while riding the waves. Indeed, starting your day with a “dawny” session can profoundly affect your mental outlook. The refreshing sensation of cold seawater enveloping your body further amplifies the ability to clear your mind. Additionally, bodyboarding is a unique avenue for releasing those delightful “happy hormones” in the brain, including serotonin. These hormones play a pivotal role in regulating mood and overall mental well-being. Bodyboarding, encompassing paddling for waves, maintaining balance on the board, and riding the waves, contributes to releasing these mood-enhancing chemicals. If you haven’t experienced the therapeutic effects of hitting the waves recently, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the positive impact it can have on your overall mood, both during and after your session.

a man in a black-printed bikini on a bodyboard 

4. Bodyboarding Offers A Varying Degree Of Competitiveness

While bodyboarding is often seen as an excellent entry point into watersports, it should be considered as a sport solely for those seeking a leisurely exercise. For those who crave a challenge, bodyboarding can be elevated to an intense pursuit by tackling larger waves and executing awe-inspiring tricks. The realm of bodyboarding boasts an extensive repertoire of skills and techniques, providing enthusiasts with a deep pool of knowledge to master and explore. Whether you’re in it for the thrill of competition or the satisfaction of personal advancement, bodyboarding can be as competitive and demanding as you desire it to be.

5. Bodyboarding Offers Flexibility In Timing And Transportation

Unlike surfers who often keep a vigilant eye on the surf forecast, sometimes enduring weeks of waiting for optimal surf conditions, bodyboarders enjoy a more accessible experience. While there are certainly preferable times for bodyboarding, the sport lends itself to a wider range of conditions, making it easier to catch waves even when the water is less predictable. Additionally, the versatility of bodyboarding extends to the seasons. With the assistance of a high-quality wetsuit, you can derive just as much enjoyment from bodyboarding during the winter months, as the sport remains accessible and enjoyable regardless of the temperature. Furthermore, the convenience of transporting bodyboarding equipment is a major advantage. Bodyboards, notably smaller in size compared to traditional surfboards, can be effortlessly stowed in a bag, allowing you to easily carry them to any beach of your choice. This portability eliminates the need to pack and transport a surfboard, potentially making impromptu beach trips more appealing and hassle-free.

a man paddling on his bodyboard with black wetsuit

6. Exploring The World Through Bodyboarding

Traveling represents an invaluable opportunity for many individuals to reap numerous mental and emotional rewards. Experiencing different parts of the world often leads to a broader perspective on our lives, fostering emotional stability and enhancing empathy toward others. In a manner reminiscent of surfing, bodyboarding embarks you on an adventurous journey in pursuit of the perfect wave. As your passion for bodyboarding grows, you’ll develop an insatiable desire to seek out those pristine breaks, which, in turn, fuels your enthusiasm for traveling to various coastal destinations. With all these compelling reasons, it becomes clear that bodyboarding isn’t just a sport; it’s a lifestyle that encourages spending more time immersed in the outdoors and riding the waves. 


When we think of watersports, we often envision surfing, swimming, or paddleboarding activities. Hence, bodyboarding is sometimes dismissed as a pastime for children and other family members on vacation. However, this perception couldn’t be further from the truth. While bodyboarding, also known as boogie boarding, is undoubtedly one of the most affordable and accessible watersports, making it a favorite among youngsters and adults, it boasts hidden depths of enjoyment and benefits. In the grand scheme of things, bodyboarding is a genuinely enjoyable activity with the potential for numerous health advantages. Whether you’re interested in enhancing your cardiovascular fitness, building strength, or simply unwinding and having a great time, bodyboarding stands as an appealing and versatile choice. So, the next time you’re at the beach, consider trying bodyboarding; you might just discover a newfound passion for this exhilarating and accessible water sport.