Whether you are an expert bodyboarder or have never even tried to stand on a board in the water, then you can always refresh your skills or remind yourself of old techniques.
Bodyboarding is one of the hardest things to master, but if you remember just a few simple skills, then you will definitely improve your game.
One thing you should always remember is how adaptable your board is. Knowing the shape of the board, as well as the thickness and the size of the tail is very important for developing a strong symbiosis with your surfboard.
You’ll also need to know how to grip your board properly and which board consistencies will be better suited for harsh waves.
Another thing you’ll need to be familiar with is the different parts of the wave and which parts you’ll be targeting.
Whether it is the lip, the crest of the barrel, you’ll need to be sure that you know the anatomy of the wave so that you don’t wipe out or, even worse, get thrown off your board.
You’ll need to be prepared for getting out on the surf, able to adjust your surfing styles to the various different conditions that you can find out on the water. A great method of getting a great surfing experience is to make sure that your board is properly waxed and ready to hold you while you are on the board.
Another very important part of bodyboarding is knowing what gear you’ll need to have out on the waves.
Having the right clothing and surfing apparel will help you to remain stable, keep you secure and solid on the board and make sure that you keep a sturdy grip on the footplate of your board.
So what are the best tips to have for your bodyboarding? What features and materials make up a really good bodyboard? What parts of the wave should you be aware of and how will that help your surfing technique?
How can you wax your board properly? How best to attach the leash of your bodyboard securely to your wrist?
Well, if you want all this information and a lot more, we would suggest that you keep reading.
We have everything that you’ll need to up your bodyboarding game, including balancing on the board, cresting the right waves and preparing the bodyboard in the right way. After this, you’ll notice a significant improvement in your surfing.
How To Prepare Your Bodyboard
One key thing you’ll need to do before you even step out onto the beach is learning how best to prepare your bodyboard for the waves. What is the slick? What are the differences between the leash plug and the back channels?
Which end is the nose and which is the tail? How does the deck affect your surfing abilities?
If you want to know the answers to all of the above questions, then we would suggest that you keep reading. We’ll give you a whole breakdown of your board and how to use these features to your advantage.
The Different Parts Of Your Bodyboard
The main parts of the bodyboard are as follows:
- Nose – this is the front part of your board, which usually is completely flat with curved edges to allow the water to flow freely over the top and bottom.
- Rails – These are the sides of your board, which are usually curved and hardened so that you can get a proper grip on them when performing certain moves.
- Leash plug – this can usually be found in the center of your board and it is where the leash is connected from you to the board. The leash will stop your board from drifting away if you get separated from it.
- Deck – this is the top surface of your board and will be the part that you’ll be standing or crouching on.
- Stringer – this is a flexible tube or rod that you insert into the core of your bodyboard to give it strength. You can have models of surfboard that accommodate one, two or three stringers.
- Slick – this is the side of the board that comes into contact with the water. You’ll be able to identify this side as it will often come with stripes or other indicators to tell you that this side needs to be facing down.
- Channels – these will help you to control the movement of the board on the waves and they operate in much the same manner as the fins on a surfboard. Most surfboards have a narrow channel at the front to let in as little water as possible and a wider channel at the back to facilitate the exit of a lot of water.
- Tail – this is the back of the bodyboard, which will often be in a forked tail pattern. This will help facilitate the runoff of water from your board.
If you memorize these parts of your bodyboard, then it will be much easier for you to develop your technique when you are out on the waves. If you know which bit of the board to grab during those crucial moments, it will improve your reaction time as well as your stance.
Now that we’ve covered some of the basics of this bodyboard, we’ll be looking at which is the best bodyboard for your height and weight, with a little measuring technique that will give you a better indication of which board will be the best for your surfing style.
What Is The Best Bodyboard For You?
If you have ever looked at a rack of bodyboards at the store and been overwhelmed by the number of shapes and sizes, then don’t worry, there is a handy tip that you can follow to find the most suitable bodyboard for your height and weight.
Here is a very simple calculator that you can use to determine the best shape for your board:
- Take a bodyboard and stand it up on its tail.
- Measure the board against your body.
- The right size board for you is the one that is around half of your height. The nose of the bodyboard should come up to your belly button.
This is one of the easiest and quickest methods of determining which is the right bodyboard for your height. However, if you do want that extra precision, then we would suggest measuring your board with a tape measure.
If you are lucky enough to find yourself in a surfing store, we would also recommend that you ask an assistant for advice, as they will most likely know the type of board that you need that will complement your height and weight.
You can also find plenty of bodyboard calculators online that will automatically find the right board for you after you’ve put in your weight and height measurements.
Now that we’ve had a look at the right boards for your height and weight, now we’ll be looking at how best to prepare your board before you get out on the waves. Our first port of call: wax!
Waxing: The Do’s And Don’ts
Now, with a bodyboard, waxing isn’t always 100% necessary. These boards come with a textured surface that will allow you to have a much firmer grip on the deck of your bodyboard. However, if you want that improved and secure feel, then you’ll definitely want to invest in some wax.
Increasing the tackiness of your board will be a great way of remaining sturdy on your board as you practice more complicated moves. This will help you to focus more on maneuvering and less on your balance.
We would certainly recommend that you put some wax on the outside of your board as well as on the nose. These will be the areas that you’ll want to grip if the surf gets too choppy. Lifting up the nose will also be very important when you are negotiating to try to push through some of the more choppy waves.
The front and nose-facing sides of the board will be the areas that you’ll want to make sure are well waxed, giving you everything that you’ll need for a sturdy grip on the bottom of your board. You might also want to apply some wax on the underside of the board at the corners, as these will be the places that you’ll want to grab hold of.
If you are a more experienced surfer, then the places you wax will already be a matter of personal preference. If you know that you grab one part of your board over another, then we would suggest that you apply a generous amount of wax in those areas.
Now that we’ve covered waxing, it’s time to move on to the gear. Wearing the right gear is important for so many reasons: reducing chafing, keeping your skin dry, reducing the risk of injury, helping you stick firmer to your board.
If you want to have that premium surfing experience, then we would definitely recommend that you get yourself a wetsuit.
Even though you might have seen images of surfers in just a pair of swim shorts out on the waves, if you are going out on the waves for multiple sessions, then you’ll definitely want a wetsuit to protect you.
Here is a list of just a few accessories that you must have to keep you out on the waves for hours at a time:
- Wetsuit – this will protect from prolonged exposure to the water and the sun. Do not forget that just because you are in the water that you’ll still be exposed to the sunlight for a long period of time.
- Rash guard – this unique piece of clothing will really help you when you are out cutting through the surf, helping you to reduce chafing, which can often happen in the water. A rash guard also covers the entire area of the body, so it will stop you from suffering exposure to UV rays.
- Swim fins – these are helpful fins that you can attach to your ankles. These are more for when you are off your board and you won’t have to kick away from your board with that much effort. They will give you some great control over the direction of your board too.
- Leash – this stretchy length of chord will keep you attached to your board, which is very useful for when you get thrown off into the drink. This will stop you from losing your board no matter what conditions you are surfing in.
- Surfing bags – these watertight, waterproof zip bags are very important when you are out on the waves, allowing you to store your personal belongings without having to leave them on the shore where they could potentially get stolen.
Those are just some of the best accessories that you can get for your bodyboard. If you are serious about getting really good out on the surf, then all of these things are a must-have. They keep you out on the waves for longer, with more protection against the elements, less distraction from wind, sun and rain, allowing you more practice time.
Now that we’ve covered the accessories, we’ll be having a look at number 4 of that list: the leash. This is one that will guarantee you and your board will stay firmly together, no matter how bad the wipeout is!
How To Attach Your Bodyboard Leash
You’ll need to make sure that your leash is secured tightly around you before you take your board out on the water. The waves can often get choppy and if you are a newbie boarder, then the chances are that you’ll end up in the water more often than not.
Most leashes come with a velcro strap that you can use to either attach to your wrist or even around your bicep. If you want to keep your hands free for complicated trick moves, then we would suggest putting it around your bicep or around your ankle.
You’ll also want to make sure that the other end of your leash is attached firmly to your leash plug on the other end. The quick method of ensuring that this is plugged into your board is by firmly securing it to the base of the bodyboard itself and making sure that it pokes through to the other end of your board.
How To Find The Right Waves
Before you rush out into the water, you’ll want to check the water first to make sure it is at the right level of calm.
If you are a newbie swimmer, then making sure that the surface of the water is nice and relaxed is very important if you are thinking about practicing something very basic like having a perfect balance.
You’ll want to be sure that the waves that you are riding are not so aggressive. If they are, then you might find yourself in a dangerous situation.
Make sure that you are honest with yourself about your level of skill when it comes to balancing on your board. If you tackle more than you can handle, then you might lose your board or even end up drowning.
There are flags that you’ll see on every beach that will indicate what the conditions of the water and the wind are. You can quickly Google the different meanings of the different flags before going to the beach with your board.
If you’ve seen that the waters are relatively calm, then you can position your board in the water and adopt the correct position on top of it to start paddling out.
Touching The Water
Take your bodyboard out into the water, so that it gets up to knee-height. Once you are in the water, then place the board down flat on the water.
Once the board is still, then lie on top of it. In terms of the correct position, your hips should be in contact with the tail of your bodyboard.
When you are flat on the board, then make sure the position of your arms is roughly around 10 and 2 o’clock.
This way you’ll be able to paddle out evenly without your board drifting to one side or the other. Once you have your hands in this position, you should be ready to get out into deeper waters.
How To Paddle
Once you are in this position on your board, you can start to paddle out, using your arms as paddles.
Your feet will be in the water, so make sure you are kicking them evenly in time with the movement of your arms. You can put fins on for this part of the journey, you will certainly notice that the journey is a lot easier with fins.
To properly paddle, you’ll need to make sure that your arms are moving in an even motion, one arm paddling out of sync with the other, but in a regular motion. You should also push your knees down as you are kicking your feet.
Make sure you are looking ahead as you paddle, so you can be sure you’re going in the right direction.
You’ll need to keep an eye on the water in front of you, as the waves can very often change quite quickly. If you notice that the waves are getting too high, then we would suggest that you turn around or head towards calmer waters.
If you notice that a wave is changing texture at the top, then this means that it is about to crest and you might want to change your form, either standing or kneeling on the board. This way you can be sure that you won’t wipe out too early.
Getting That Perfect Wave
If you are a newbie to the sport of bodyboarding, the last thing you’ll want to do is head for a colossal wave. The best method of getting better is to start small and slowly work your way up. If you can balance on the smaller waves, then you’ll be able to slowly work your way up to the larger waves.
The speed at which you’ll be traveling will all depend on which wave you’ll be riding.
Make sure that the waves are low at first. The higher the waves are, the harder you’ll fall when you wipe out. Just because you’ll be hitting the water, then doesn’t mean that you won’t acquire cuts and bruises from hitting the surface from a particularly high place.
Grabbing That Perfect Wave
This is the part that will be the most exciting for you, but you’ll have to remember to stay calm, this is where the situation can get very out-of-hand if you aren’t focussed.
Once you see a large wave that you want to ride, turn your board around so that you are facing the beach.
As the wave is coming in, keep one eye on it. As it rises up, then this means that it’s on the verge of breaking. Once it is in this position, arch your back and keep your eyes on the beach.
You’ll always want to be ahead of the wave, so keep paddling as fast as you can so that you’re ahead of it. If you get enough momentum, then this will be all you need to cruise the barrel of the wave.
How To Ride Out
When you are riding out, one of the most important things to remember is to keep it in parallel with the wave. If you are a newbie, then you won’t have to do anything. Just remember that the wave is the driving force and you are the passenger.
The Anatomy Of A Wave
If you are reading more guides like this, then you might come across some more intricate terminology, especially when it comes to waves. Here is a quick glossary of terms that will help you understand what the pros are talking about:
- Flat – this is the first part of the wave, named obviously for its flatness!
- Face – this will be the ‘front’ of the wave when it is at its tallest and hasn’t broken yet.
- Tube – this is the circle that is created between the very end of the wave and the trunk.
- Shoulder – this is the part of the wave before it breaks. It’s at the peak of the wave but at the top of the face.
- Lip – this is the very tip of the wave that falls downwards and will eventually envelope the surfer.
- White water – this is the foam and spray that comes off the wave.
These are just some of the basic terms, we would recommend that all new surfers memorize these.
Our Final Say
We hope that our simple steps to getting on your bodyboard and mastering your waves have helped you understand a little behind the science of this amazing sport. Remember, if you are new to bodyboarding, don’t try and bite off more than you can chew regarding waves.