Bodyboarding is a fun and beginner-friendly sport for everyone that’s sure to offer you hours of sea-based thrills, provided you follow a few basic rules. Whether you’re a seasoned sea veteran, a lover of the ocean of a complete beginner, grabbing a few waves on a bodyboard is a guaranteed recipe for happiness. So, if you’re feeling ready to go and face the waves, here are some tips to give you head start out in the line-up and ensure you feel safe and look like a pro out there.
Work on your swimming technique
To have the best success at bodyboarding properly you’ll want to be a good swimmer. We aren’t talking about needing to be the grandson of Mark Spitz, Michael Phelps’s cousin or Laure Manaudou, but if you find breaststroke difficult then it’ll most likely end up holding you back when you try to get into waves out in the ocean. Furthermore, if your board ever ends up escaping, then you want to know before going out that you’ll feel at ease either swimming to retrieve it or finding your way back to shore. So, sign up to your nearest local pool and start practicing or book in a few lessons to fine tune your swimming technique, this way you can enter the water with your body board in complete confidence and style!
Understand the forecast
When you start bodyboarding, the equation is the same as surfing, kitesurfing or windsurfing. To know: timing + knowledge = security. Learning about weather forecasts and weather conditions is an essential ritual for any session, just as weather is checked to see if it’s going to rain this weekend, if your local break announces a swell worthy of Nazaré, then you know that you have to wait a day more! Riding in manageable conditions will bring you an even more intense happiness, you can believe us … Starting your bodyboard practice with a friend or instructor is also advisable.
Have the right equipment
This is not a scoop, your bodyboard will not be the same depending on whether you have slender or muscular physique, whether you have the size of no offense or that of an NBA basketball player. The frequency of use of your board and the conditions related to your home spot will also play on the model to buy. In terms of bodyboarding, as in the case of running shoes, nothing beats personalisation! As a brief guide to choosing the right size for you, when the bodyboard is placed on the ground it should reach to about the height of your belly button. Furthermore, the board isn’t the only thing that matters, depending on the temperatures we advise you to wear a good quality neoprene wetsuit or a Lycra rash vest to avoid any irritations, while at the same time adding a bit of buoyancy and sun protection. To finish off on the equipment front, you’ll need a leash, which attaches to your bicep, to stop the board being washed away, a pair of fins and fin socks to avoid any discomfort.
Warm-up before you go
Make sure you’re prepared and warmed up before jumping right in to a wave, because once you get in the sea you should always expect the unexpected, in an ever-changing playground you want to make sure your body is ready for anything. To do this simply practice how to get into the right position: lie on the bodyboard with your hands on the front of the board and position the back of the board under your lower belly, from here you can then practice paddling, and try to kick your legs under water for better acceleration into the oncoming waves.
Find the right wave
As a beginner, choose safety over trying to out-perform those around you: we advise you to try and resist being tempted by waves that are too big or too fast, and get accustomed to “rideable” waves first that run straight to the beach. When you’re ready to go back in towards shore simply beat your feet in that direction while paddling hard and try to position yourself so you can cruise in on the front of a wave and let the power of it carry you in with minimum effort and maximum joy.
Top picture : Matt Blakers