Bodysurfing is a great way to not only enjoy more ways, but to improve your surfing too.
It’s one of the purest forms of wave riding, that really requires you to develop a good eye and sense for waves if you want to get the most out of it – that’s probably the biggest benefit it will have for your surfing.
How can bodysurfing help your surfing?
Bodysurfing can help improve your surfing in 3 main ways:
- It’s going to build your paddle strength, improve your breathing, and improve how you manage a wipeout.
- It will give you a better eye for waves. Even more so than surfing in many ways, bodysurfing really requires you to be in the most optimal spot of a wave to get the most out of it.
- You’ll be spending more time in the ocean, which goes with point number 2, but stands on its own as you’ll develop your read of conditions, breaks, etc.
How to Bodysurf
Body surfing is one of the simplest ways to enjoy a variety of waves. When the conditions seem unsurfable – either too small, too close to shore, or too heavy of a closeout – bodysurfing is a viable option. It allows you to get barrels you probably couldn’t on a surfboard and gives you a whole new perspective on wave riding.
You can bodysurf with nothing at all, or you can make it a little easier and get yourself a pair of fins and a handplane.
Bodysurfing fins will allow you to catch waves more easily, and a handplane will give you some more lift and control. The combination of fins and a handplane can lengthen your ride significantly.
It doesn’t take much to bodysurf.
Find some waves, spot the peak, and kick and paddle into them as they begin to break. Use your leading hand (and handplane) to guide your line on the face of the wave, and adjust the tension/position of your body to manage speed and position.