Bodyboarding is a sport which consists of riding a bodyboard on waves. Therefore, it’s a water sport. It originates from Polynesian natives, who used different styles to ride waves, but rarely on feet. The first boards were called alaia. They evolved to “paipo”, made of fiberglass or wood. From here said, you might be wandering how is it any different from surfing? There’s an ongoing discussion between bodyboarders and surfers which one is better. And while there are cons and pros for both of these, many people consider bodyboarding something like a preparation for surfing, training wheels of a sort. So, how do you bodyboard?
The basic forms of bodyboard riding are stand-up, drop knee and prone. If you want to bodyboard, the first thing you should do is learn how to swim. Ok, you know how to swim, what now? Get the equipment. You might need a wet suit, and don’t forget fins for propelling you and making the board control easier. You have the equipment, how do you bodyboard?
First, get the hang of being on the bodyboard, keeping your balance in the water. While still learning, it’s better to use the prone form. Paddle to the waves and start learning. The goal should be to feel the water and the waves beneath you, to be able to adjust your weight on the board. The beginners should choose smaller and slower waves. With the wave just behind you, start paddling. The wave should carry you all the way to the shallows.
But, I already know all this beginner stuff, how do you bodyboard for real?
There is no “bodyboarding for real”, but there are some advanced techniques you can learn. Some of them are the Forward Spin 360°, the Cut-Back, the “El Rollo”, and if you don’t want to catch a wave, learn how to duck dive.
Finally, you should learn the bodyboarding terminology. Learn the parts of the wave: the face, as the name implies, is the front part of the wave; the shoulder, the top of the wave; the lip, the braking part of the wave; tube, the hole made by the wave. While you are at it, learn parts of the bodyboard, learn what the deck is, what’s the difference between the tail and the nose, what the bumpers and what the channels are. Now you are ready to bodyboard like a pro.