The popularity of bodyboarding is on the rise. That’s because people of any age can learn it and enjoy it. You can find a bodyboard without digging deep into your pockets. The learning curve is very simple, but that doesn’t mean there’s no challenge in bodyboarding. You may learn how to ride the face of the wave within the first day, but it would take some practice to do an Invert, Rollo or a Barrel.
Whether you are an experienced rider or someone who’s just starting out, the best way to lift your mood is catching a few waves on your bodyboard. There’s always something to learn and impress the beachgoers. Here are some bodyboarding tips and tricks to smoothen the journey.
1. Work On Your Swimming Skill
It’s true for every water sport out there. You need to be a good swimmer in order to be a good bodyboarder. No, you don’t need to be Michael Phelps, but if you have difficulty performing backstroke, then you’ll find it challenging when you try to get into the ocean. Also, if you lose your bodyboard in the ocean (happens to the bests of us), you have to either find it or make your way back to the shore. So, If you need to work on your swimming skill, head towards the nearest pool first and fine tune your skills. This way, you won’t look like a kid on the beach who’s trying to run before learning walking.
2. Master The Basics
Yes, before heading towards the league of legends, you need to master the basics. Most of the time, the basics are the major game changer. You learn stuff like upright position, pulling up the nose, keeping a higher line than the wave in the beginning, but sometimes forget them along the way. Before learning tricks and technical moves, you need to learn and habituate the fundamentals.
3. Understand The Forecast
This is important for all water activities like windsurfing, snorkeling, surfing, and bodyboarding etc. Riding in a secure environment won’t hurt your enjoyment, while also keeping security unharmed. Before you head towards the sea, learn about the forecast, the current, temperature, low tide/ high tide. Learning it beforehand will save you from disappointment when you go to the beach and help you determine what you do the next day, riding the waves or enjoying a picnic.
4. Get The Right Equipment
There is no such bodyboard as universal bodyboard. The bodyboard the goes well with someone, might not be suitable for another person. It all depends on the physique, height, weight, expertise, riding style and the expected frequency of use. Personalization is the key when it comes to bodyboarding. There is a rule of thumb, not an exact science though, that the right bodyboard should reach your belly button while kept standing on the ground. Most of the bodyboards brand provide a size chart which should come in handy.
Another thing is your riding style and usage frequency. There are bodyboards as cheap as 10 dollars out there. But they won’t last for a long time. Also, not all bodyboards are suitable for standing or drop-knee riding. Keep these in mind and learn what questions to ask when buying a bodyboard.
There are other small things to complete your gear list. Depending on the condition and temperature of the water, you can either wear a Lycra rash vest or neoprene wetsuit. Fins, leash and a touch of sunscreen lotion are also needed if you want to stay on the safe side.
5. Use Your Eyes
For any riding sports, be it cycling or bodyboarding, one principle is common. Your body follows where your eyes go. So instead of looking down at your feet, canvass the area and try to see through. There are many small things in the sea that can influence your riding. Check the condition of the water before jumping in, the temperature, breeze, wave size. Look for any rocks or reef that might hinder your path. See how the waves are moving, are the coming towards the shore, or going left/right. See how other bodyboarders are doing. Use a couple of minutes to observe the water, and it’ll have a huge impact on your riding.
6. Warm Up Before You Start Actual Riding
The sea is an ever-changing entity. Unlike the ground, the surface isn’t still, it’s always moving. Once you get into the sea, you should always expect not everything will go by plans. So, keep your body prepared for any situation. Practice before on how to stay in the right position, how your head should be positioned. Also learn the claw grip, how to hold the nose of the board with your hands, and how to keep the board under your belly. Using the fins isn’t the best practice if you are just starting out, rather try to use your hands and legs to kick the water.
Once you start to get the hang of this thing, start developing your wave knowledge. Try to paddle towards the spot where waves start to break. Most newcomers struggle to anticipate where the wave is going and where it’ll break. But don’t worry, you’ll eventually learn this by spending time in the ocean.
7. Find The Right Wave
When you start your bodyboarding journey, try to keep the safety on top of your priority list. You’ll get your chance later, but before start slow and steady. Don’t try to outperform other bodyboarders around you by hampering your safety. You might get tempted by the waves that are too big, or speedy. But that’s not the way you should start enjoying this wonderful sport.
Start with small and rideable waves that are easy to get into and comes back towards the shore. When you are coming back to the shore simply kick your foot to get ahead of the wave. Try to position you in front of the wave so that it carries you and you get the thrill with minimal effort. Slowly move to ride your way up to the bigger waves.
Always keep the board centered and keep your chest raised. This will help you see what’s ahead and comfortably glide through the wave. Always wear a leash so that your bodyboard don’t escape. Finally, try to ride the wave until the end. This way you’ll learn how a bodyboard responds to different phases of a wave.
Wrapping It Up
Bodyboarding is a game of life. You can start the game as early as a child while being able to enjoy the ride at 70 years old age. Once you learn the basics and some tricks, the only thing you’ll ever need is a good bodyboard. It can also be a great gift for your children. It is always better for them to go out enjoy the nature as well as having some physical activities instead of playing video games for hours.
The real essence of bodyboarding lies not in this article, rather in the sea. The story starts from there. So, you shouldn’t just know it, you should feel it. So, get out there and start enjoying bodyboarding. Hopefully, our tips will help you along the journey.