Body boarding is a type of water surfing that involves high-speed movement and as well as aerial tricks. Unlike the conventional surfboard, the board used in body boarding has a compact length and extended width. Body boarders use these boards in utilizing unique stance in different positions such as laying on their chest across the top of the deck.
This watersport is not restricted by age. However, if you want to try it, you should have a good swimming ability, strength, and as well as fitness. It’s because being confident in the water is important to stay safe even without any help. Bodyboarding is an easy watersport to learn, but it also takes some effort. If you will be trying out bodyboarding for the first time and you need some help on how to start, here are some tips as well as guidelines that you may find helpful.
The first thing you need to know about bodyboarding is of course how it works or how it is done. To make it easier for you, here is a step by step beginner guide on how to bodyboard.
- Step 1: Place the underside of your bodyboard onto the beach. Then, wear a pair of scuba fins. After that, fasten the strap of the bodyboard’s leash around your dominant hand’s wrist.
- Step 2: Go towards the ocean while holding the base of your bodyboard parallel to the sand. Then, extend your legs to jump forward once the water reaches your waist. When the base of your bodyboard gets in contact with water, align your chest over its top.
- Step 3: While inserting your fins into the water, grip the nose of the bodyboard. Start kicking your feet to propel the bodyboard past the breaking waves, and revolve your shoulders to point the nose of your bodyboard to the beach.
- Step 4: Push your fins through the water and paddle towards a breaking wave. Then lean forward as your bodyboard drops into the wave. To increase the speed of the board, lift your fins out of the water.
- Step 5: To carve across the face of the breaking wave, lean onto the edges of the bodyboard. Then plant your feet in the sand as the bodyboard slips into shallow water.
You can practice these beginner techniques by paddling out past the breaking waves.
Tips for Beginners
Now that you know how body boarding is done, here are some tips and tricks to make your experience great and more enjoyable.
Be Sure to Check the Waters
Safety should always come first in any activity and since you’re new to bodyboarding, you have to make sure that the water is safe. Try to look out for rip currents, and if you’re in doubt, you can always ask the lifeguard about the surf’s condition. If you’re not sure whether you can handle the conditions, then it’s better to not get in the water.
In bodyboarding, the trickiest and most exhausting part is paddling out through the white water to the breaking waves. The strategy here is to get the weight of your body in the right position. But first, you have to learn how to paddle out without using a lot of energy.
One of the best ways to get the hand of the movement of the waves is to watch them first for about 10 minutes. This way, you can get an idea of the rhythm of the waves which will make it easy for you to paddle out.
- Paddling Out to Bodyboard
In paddling out, you can use both of your arms and legs, but it’s better to alternate them for you to save some of your energy. To paddle using your legs, your hips should be over the tail of the board and your hands should be holding the front of the board to keep it flat in the water. You can arch your back to prevent the board from dipping forward, then kick using your whole leg under water.
- Arm Paddling
You will need a good balance when it comes to arm paddling. To do this, move up on the board, where your nose should be a few inches from the top. Then place your legs out of the water to minimize drag. You can arch your back again to keep the board flat in the water. After that, expand your arm out and cup your hands to catch the water. This move is like an exaggerated front crawl.
- Duck Diving
This is another aspect of paddling out of the water. This move will help you avoid being caught by approaching waves. To do this, you need to aim to get both you and your board under the turbulence of a breaking wave. As the white water approaches, grab each end of the front of your board with your hands in a tight grip. When the wave is about a meter, push the nose of the board beneath the surface, then use one knee to help guide the board under the wave by pushing down with it.
Once you’re under the water, push forward in a scooping motion. When the wave has passed over you, pull the nose of the board going to the surface while using your knee again to guide it. You will certainly need a lot of practice to master this move.
- Pick the Right Wave
You will start to have fun bodyboarding once you catch your first wave, but this may take some time to master. One of the best trick is to choose the right wave and get yourself in the right position in the water for take-off.
If you feel like you will be able to catch the wave, face the shore and start paddling as hard as you can to pick up speed. When you begin to feel the wave propelling you, stop paddling and put your weight to the front of the board. Then use your weight and arms to steer the board.
Since you’re a beginner, the best way is to master riding the wave in a straight line to the shore. The first few waves that you will catch will get you used to the feel of the wave, board, and as well as speed.
Bodyboarding does not end in mastering how to ride waves. You should also learn how to turn in the waves. You will be able to learn how to turn when bodyboarding once your balance and control improves.
It’s because once you have good balance and control, you will be able to steer the bodyboard down the wave as it breaks. You can do this by putting pressure to one side of the bodyboard, keeping it in the face of the wave. You can also try to team up with other bodyboarders to learn this move.
Body boarding Guidelines
Bodyboarding will be more enjoyable for beginners and for everyone as well when there is no harm and accidents that will happen. Unexpected things may happen during bodyboarding, especially for first timers, therefore, to avoid or prevent accidents, here are some guidelines that you should follow.
- As much as possible, do not go bodyboarding alone. Try to go in groups or find a buddy who is knowledgeable and more experienced in bodyboarding. This way, there would be someone or some people that will help you in case of accidents.
- Do not go bodyboarding right after eating and when you’re drunk.
- Make sure to check the surf’s condition before heading out to the water.
- Keep an eye on other people who are swimming or doing other activities in the water. It’s because you may hit them with the surfboard which is painful and dangerous.
- Avoid bodyboarding near rocks and in waters beyond your skill level.
- As a beginner, you should choose to bodyboard in beaches where there are lifeguards.
These are some of the tips we can give for beginners in body boarding. Remember that it takes time to learn the best tricks in this watersport, so you have to be patient enough to try and try again until you master it. And above all, you should always stay safe and calm in the water. We hope the tips we shared will help you learn how to body board.