Bodyboarding is a type of surfing that is easier and safer to learn. The bodyboard’s design includes a snub nose, rails, and a crescent-shaped tail. It was developed by Tom Morey in 1971 and is inspired by Hawaiian and Polynesian wave playing. Bodyboarding is similar to surfing and can be dangerous for the inexperienced. The equipment needed is simple, and bodyboarders can perform challenging stunts. However, bodyboarding carries a stigma in surf culture, and weather conditions should always be checked before heading out.
A bodyboard is a type of short, snub-nosed surfboard. The modern incarnation of the bodyboard was developed by Tom Morey in 1971, although the roots of the bodyboard are much older. Bodyboarding is probably the oldest form of surfing, with evidence suggesting that bodyboards have been used extensively in Hawaii and Polynesia for playing on the waves for centuries. Basic bodyboarding is easier and safer to learn than basic surfing, so many beginners and travelers start out bodyboarding, either transitioning to surfing if they feel so inclined, or honing their bodyboarding skills.
The basic design of a bodyboard includes a snub nose with tapered sides called rails and a crescent-shaped tail. A typical board is lightweight and made of resilient plastic or foam. Some bodyboards are protected with a layer of resin, like surfboards, but cheap bodyboards with a thin layer of protective plastic are much more common and easily found in tourist areas with good surf. Some craftsmen also carve the wooden body and planks for an unusual look.
According to Morey, the design for the bodyboard was inspired by an encounter with a young surfer who had cobbled together a shorter surfboard out of assorted materials. The board seemed like a good idea, if it could be perfected, and Morey produced several prototypes to experiment with before settling on one final design and calling it the boogie board, in a nod to his love of music. The modified boards took off quickly, and by the 1990s a bodyboarding subculture had emerged that rivaled surfing.
The equipment needed for bodyboarding is quite simple, starting with the bodyboard itself, which is approximately 40-42 inches (101-107 centimeters) long for tall men and women, and 38-40 inches (97-101 centimeters) long for women. and low men. Many bodyboarders also wear a leash to attach to the board and fins to aid in paddling. In cold water, a wetsuit should also be worn. All gear, including body shells, can be thrown into a duffel bag that fits into a car, making body boarding a little more practical than surfing for those with compact vehicles.
Most people bodyboard by lying chest down on the bodyboard and paddling to position themselves for the waves. Some bodyboarders adopt a squat position known as a drop knee, while more adventurous bodyboarders stand fully upright on the bodyboard. Bodyboarding is very similar to surfing: you paddle behind the break and try to catch a good wave, riding it for as long as possible. Experienced bodyboarders can pull off challenging stunts, just like surfers.
Like any water sport, bodyboarding can be dangerous for people who are inexperienced. Taking several lessons will teach you to read the waves and respond to emergency situations, and it’s always good to follow the advice of more experienced bodyboarders. Always check the weather before heading out and cancel your adventure if conditions seem unsafe. Bodyboarders should also be aware that their sport carries with it a stigma in surf culture and that if they go to popular surf spots, they may feel hostility.