10 tips to get started with bodyboarding

If you’re dying to get into the water to ride some waves but the thought of standing on a board is out of the question, why not try bodyboarding? 

This family-friendly sport is a great way to get a board out into the waves and experience the ocean in a way that swimming just can’t do, without having to be super-athletic like surfers.

Get clued up 
Before you grab a bodyboard and hurtle into the surf, there are a few things to prepare for. Although bodyboarding is great fun, it’s not necessarily simple or easy (especially at advanced competition levels), although it’s definitely an accessible way for many people to get on a board and boogie their way into the shore without huge skills or fitness.

Here’s the SWABBO starter guide for all ages to get started bodyboarding:

  1. Safety first – wear a leash and use your arms and feet for paddling at first – leave the fins for when you’re a more advanced boarder.
  2. Get the basics right – make sure you’re water wise and that your swimming skills are strong and you feel confident in rough waves.
  3. Get a board that is the right size for your body and weight – you might be able to get one second-hand online if you don’t want to invest in a primo board straight away but a quality board bought from a pro surf shop is always a great place to start.
  4. Learn how to read a wave – there’s nothing worse than catching the wrong wave. Trial and error will teach you most things but get some expert tips here
  5. Position priority – get steady in your posture by making sure you’re stable in the middle of the board with your chest up. The steadier you are the more confident you’ll feel and the better the boogie!
  6. Wax your board – nobody wants to slip off the board after all the effort of getting out to the perfect wave.
  7. See it through – don’t ditch a wave halfway through the journey. Ride the wave through until the very end, even if you end up with a face full of sand! 
  8. Duck it out – if the wave is too big, duck under to avoid wiping out.
  9. Wear a wetsuit – you might not feel cold but even in the height of summer, you can get cold and a suit will also protect you from painful rubbing and chaffing, which will keep you off your board until you heal.
  10. Don’t overestimate your abilities – start with small waves and build up to give you time to hone your boarding skills.

There’s always heaps to learn from the pros and dedicated amateurs, so if you really want to get serious about bodyboarding, join your local NZ Bodyboarding Association to build your skills and confidence and learn everything you need to know about this fabulous sport.

Don’t bring the outdoors in!
Have fun in the waves, stay safe and don’t forget your portable SWABBO foot washer to keep the shore from your door when you get out of the waves.