The Ultimate Guide to Bodyboards

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Do you have dreams of riding the ocean waves but don’t know where to start? Since 1971 with the invention of the modern bodyboard we know today, people have been gliding across the waves. The best part is, you may find that getting started bodyboarding is easier compared with surfing. With this in mind, read on to learn everything you need to know about using bodyboards! 

What is Bodyboarding? 

Bodyboarding is similar to surfing, but instead of standing on top of the board as you ride the waves, you’ll be in a prone position. The bodyboard itself was invented by Tom Morey in 1971. Also known as a boogie board or belly board, these flexible boards range in size from 33 inches to 46 inches depending on the size of the rider. 

Bodyboarding vs Surfing 

Now that you know a little about bodyboarding, you may be wondering why people would choose bodyboarding over surfing. Here are a few reasons why this is such an enjoyable hobby: 


You’ll be able to catch bigger waves compared to surfing. This is because you’re in a much more stable position on top of the board compared with standing upright on a surfboard. Bodyboarders can also ride more difficult waves. 


Transporting your bodyboard is always easier than a surfboard. They’re smaller and also weigh less, so you won’t have trouble carrying it to your local beach or traveling farther distances with it.  


Not only are bodyboards more affordable than surfboards, but they’re also more durable. You typically don’t need to do ding repairs as much compared to surfboards. The best bodyboards come with polypropylene cores.

How to Bodyboard

Are you interested in bodyboarding and ready to get started? The best part is that the equipment you need is relatively affordable compared to surfing. You’ll also have an easier time getting started since you’re in a prone position on the board instead of needing to learn how to balance on two feet. 


It’s important that you invest in the right equipment. One of the best parts about bodyboarding is that all of your equipment should be able to fit comfortably in the trunk of your car. You’ll need:

  • Bodyboard
  • Leash
  • Bodyboard fins
  • Rashguard or wetsuit depending on temperature
  • Wax

Wax is especially important for new bodyboarders because the wax will help your hands and torso grip onto the board better. New bodyboards tend to be slicker than older ones, so waxing the deck before you head out will reduce the chances of wipe-outs if you encounter larger waves. 

Checking the Water

It’s important that you’re knowledgable of the conditions before you head out. It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially if you’re a beginner. Look out for any rip currents and ask a lifeguard if you’re not sure if it’s safe. 

It’s also recommended to survey the water for a few minutes before you head out–apply sunscreen, wax your board, and do some stretches as you get a feel for the water. 


Paddling out to the waves is probably the most energy taxing part of bodyboarding. However, there are a few techniques that will help you conserve energy. Paddle with your arms and legs interchangeably; only use both at the same time if you need a burst of speed.

When you’re paddling with your legs, make sure that both legs are fully immersed in the water. As your legs are moving, your hands should be holding the front of the board to keep it level.

When you’re paddling with your arms, you can think of it as a front crawl. You should shift your body up so that nose is only a few inches from the top of your board. Your legs need to be out of the water so they’re not causing drag. Cup your hands so that you’re catching the water as you paddle. 

Duck Diving

Duck diving is another way to quickly navigate the water without using up too much energy. As a wave approaches, you’ll want to dive beneath it instead of trying to paddle through it on top. About three feet away from the white water with your hands holding onto each side of the front of the board, dip the nose down beneath the water. 

You can also use your knee to force the board down. Once you’re underwater, you’ll continue moving forward in a concave motion and pull the board back up once the wave has passed. 

The First Wave

Catching your first wave requires practice and being in the right position at the right time. As you see a large wave approaching, turn around to face the shore and paddle with both your arms and your legs to pick up as much speed as possible. 

Once you feel the wave propelling you forward, stop paddling and instead move your weight near the front of the board. Make sure the front lip of the board is still slightly raised so you can continue picking up speed. Focus on riding the wave all the way to the shore. 

The Best Bodyboards for a Good Time

As a beginner to bodyboarding, when it comes to finding the best bodyboards you’ll want to find a size that suits your height and weight. You’ll find that bodyboards with a larger width are easier to stay balanced on versus narrower boards. 

Some boards already come with a coiled leash for convenience and have channels at the bottom that will improve your speed in the water. The shape of the tail of the board also matters. For instance, a crescent tail will help your carve through the water easier. 

Ready to get started? Read some of the best tips that will take your boarding to the next level. Check out our best bodyboards to buy today! 

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