How to Body Surf


If you love the ocean and dream of riding big waves onto the shore, body surfing may be a great hobby for you. While some body surfers may use a bodyboard, you really don’t need anything other than yourself and the ocean for this sport. Many people learn to body surf before moving on to using a surfboard, as it helps them become more familiar with the ebb and flow of the ocean, but there’s a huge community of body surfers who are committed to catching waves sans board for life.

[Edit]Steps

[Edit]Choosing Gear

  1. Shop for a wetsuit to keep you warmer for longer while body surfing. While the outside temperature is important, what’s more important to your safety is the water temperature. Depending on the conditions, you can choose between short sleeves and legs, three-quarter length sleeves and legs, and full-length suits.[1]
    Body Surf Step 1 Version 2.jpg
    • Having a wetsuit enables you to continue your body surfing hobby into the colder fall and winter months, too.
    • Wetsuits can also provide some extra buoyancy, helping to make your body surfing experience as safe as possible.
  2. Pick a snug-fitting bathing suit if you aren’t wearing a wetsuit. Not only can a loose-fitting swimsuit be annoying and potentially embarrassing, but it can also be dangerous if it causes you to lose focus on surfing a wave safely! Clothes with minimal drag, like brief-cut swimming trunks, will cut down on the resistance your body has in the water. The less resistance, the faster you’ll cut through the water.[2]
    Body Surf Step 2 Version 2.jpg
    • If you wear a bathing suit with ties, make sure they’re double-knotted so they won’t come undone in the water.
  3. Consider adding a pair of swim fins to help you catch the wave. Just because you’re riding the waves with your body doesn’t mean you have to navigate the water without any assistance. Get fins that strap to your feet to help you cut through the water faster and ride waves more efficiently.[3]
    Body Surf Step 3 Version 2.jpg
    • Take your time and find the right fit. Try on different pairs by different brands to find a pair that isn’t too big or too tight. Try thinking of them as a natural appendage—they should help you swim more fluidly rather than hinder you.
  4. Use a bodyboard if you want to learn to body surf with some assistance. A bodyboard can help you feel more secure in the water by giving you some extra buoyancy while also guiding you through the water with faster, sleeker movements. They’re great for beginners, amateurs, and kids, but professional bodyboarders use them, too.[4]
    Body Surf Step 4 Version 2.jpg
    • A bodyboard is made of hydrodynamic foam and comes in various lengths depending on your height. To test that yours is the right length, hold it out in front of you—it should stretch from your knees to your chin.
    • If you do choose to use a board, you may also want to invest in a leash or cord to keep your board from floating too far away if you lose hold of it.

[Edit]Catching a Wave

  1. Walk out deep enough into the ocean that you’re past the breaking point. To catch a good wave, you need to get on it when it starts to swell and ride it through until it breaks. The water should be between your waist and chest so that you can help launch yourself onto the wave by pushing off with your feet.[5]
    Body Surf Step 5 Version 2.jpg
    • If you have fins, they can help you catch waves if you’re deeper out.
  2. Face the beach and start swimming while the wave is still away. Let waves pass by until you see one that you feel comfortable surfing. Once you see it, turn toward the beach, push off the ocean floor with your feet, and start front crawling and kicking to build up speed.[6]
    Body Surf Step 6 Version 2.jpg
    • If you’re using a bodyboard, you’ll position it under your chest at this point while paddling forward.
  3. Straighten your arms and your body as the wave crests. When you feel the wave beneath you, stop kicking your feet. Point one or both of your arms forward and straighten your torso and legs so your entire body is in line. As the wave carries you, straighten your body in a horizontal line and keep your head and shoulders out of the water in front of the wave. Let your legs tilt up so your body is at a slant—this position will help your body propel forward.[7]
    Body Surf Step 7 Version 2.jpg
    • Try to keep your head and shoulders lower than your legs to get a faster forward momentum.
  4. Ride into shore with both of your arms stretched out in front of you. If you’re a beginner, this is a really good way to get a feel for how to move your body, what the wave feels like, and how to point yourself toward the beach. Do your best to keep your arms straight out in front of you so you can ride the wave for as long as possible.[8]
    Body Surf Step 8 Version 2.jpg
    • Remember, it’s totally okay if it takes a while for you to successfully body surf. It’s a hard sport that requires a lot of endurance and practice.
  5. Aim your body more efficiently by putting one arm out behind you. Once you know a little bit more about the technique behind body surfing, you can try steering your body and hopefully getting a little more speed in each ride. Keep one arm out in front of you to help guide your body, and put the other arm behind you in the water. Use it as a kind of rudder by moving it back and forth to change your direction so your body stays in line with the cresting of the wave.[9]
    Body Surf Step 9 Version 2.jpg
    • Always keep one hand in front of you—it can help protect your head if you head toward rocky land or get pushed underwater toward the seabed.
  6. Exit the wave by pushing a shoulder back through the wave. Anytime you want to leave the wave, whether you’re feeling uncomfortable or see something you want to avoid, try pushing one of your shoulders backward to cut through the wave. This should bring you out the other side without forcing water up your nose.[10]
    Body Surf Step 10 Version 2.jpg
    • Remember, you will only get better with practice! It may be hard at the beginning, but everyone, even the experts, had to start somewhere.

[Edit]Staying Safe

  1. Make sure you’re in good shape and know how to swim well. Body surfing requires a lot of physical endurance. Exercise your arms, shoulders, and legs to build up those important muscles, and do regular cardio activities to get your body used to longer bouts of movement.[11]
    Body Surf Step 11.jpg
    • If you don’t know how to swim, you need to learn before trying to body surf.
    • Swim as much as you can and add squats, push-ups, and planks to your workout regimen.
    • Not only will being in good shape help you enjoy body surfing more, but it will also help keep you safe while you’re in the water.
  2. Learn how to breathe while you swim to reserve your energy. If you’re getting out of breath or worried about breathing while coasting on a wave, you’ll have less energy for the task at hand. Go swimming a few times before body surfing and practice exhaling while your head is underwater and inhaling through your mouth when your head is above water.[12]
    Body Surf Step 12.jpg
    • Breathing well while surfing will give your body extra energy.
  3. Choose a sandy, well-populated beach with gentler waves. If you’re a beginner, choose a beach with waves that are less than high, and look for a location with a gentle slope. If a beach is deserted, take that as a warning that there is something dangerous about the conditions or landscape.[13]
    Body Surf Step 13.jpg
    • Ask other surfers or look on surfing forums to get a feel for the normal wave break at various beaches in your area.
  4. Read surf reports and pick a safe time to head out in the water. These reports, which are easily found online, can tell you vital information, such as wave heights and weather forecasts. You may also want to learn about rip tides and how to escape if you get caught in one.[14]
    Body Surf Step 14.jpg
    • Picking the right time to body surf can make a huge difference in how enjoyable your experience will be. Don’t rush if the weather forecast is bad; always put your safety first.
  5. Avoid big waves while you’re just learning how to body surf. Keep in mind that whatever you see from a standing position will look twice as tall once you’re swimming forward. Stick to waves that are between . Also, steer clear of waves that crash close to the shore—these could throw you against the seabed and potentially hurt you.[15]
    Body Surf Step 16.jpg
    • Before you get in the water, study the waves for a little while before walking in. Even once you’ve entered the ocean, stand still for a few minutes until the right wave comes along. There’s no rush!
  6. Study the conditions of the ocean before heading out into the water. If there is increased shark activity at a certain beach, you’ll want to know about it in advance. Likewise, if a storm has brought in new hazardous wood or rocks, that could make for a dangerous situation.[16]
    Body Surf Step 15.jpg
    • If you’re unsure whether it’s safe to surf and the surf reports aren’t up to date, call the lifeguard association in your area. They’ll know which beaches are currently hazardous and may be able to recommend a safer alternative.

[Edit]Video

[Edit]Tips

  • Ask for advice from other body surfing enthusiasts. There’s a huge community of people you can connect with to gets tips and pointers.
  • Body surfing burns nearly 200 calories an hour, making it a great way to exercise and get some endorphins pumping through your body.[17]

[Edit]Warnings

  • Always put safety first. If a wave is too big, don’t try to ride it. If you aren’t dressed for the water temperature, don’t risk surfing without a wetsuit.
  • Don’t body surf if sharks have been spotted in that area.[18]
  • Never surf alone. If a beach is deserted, it might be empty for a reason. Always bring a friend, and never surf at an unpopulated beach.[19]

[Edit]Things You’ll Need

  • Wetsuit or bathing suit
  • Swim fins (optional)
  • Bodyboard (optional)

[Edit]References

  1. https://beachbaby.net/the-human-surfboard-how-to-body-surf/
  2. https://www.mauiinformationguide.com/blog/what-to-wear-while-surfing/
  3. https://www.surfertoday.com/surfing/the-best-swim-fins-for-bodysurfing
  4. https://beachbaby.net/the-human-surfboard-how-to-body-surf/
  5. https://youtu.be/mBf4fduUUjg?t=34
  6. https://youtu.be/irLJhwihA1s?t=55
  7. https://youtu.be/mBf4fduUUjg?t=44
  8. https://beachbaby.net/the-human-surfboard-how-to-body-surf/
  9. https://beachbaby.net/the-human-surfboard-how-to-body-surf/
  10. https://youtu.be/mBf4fduUUjg?t=78
  11. https://beachbaby.net/the-human-surfboard-how-to-body-surf/
  12. https://www.enjoy-swimming.com/breathing-while-swimming.html
  13. https://beachbaby.net/the-human-surfboard-how-to-body-surf/
  14. http://www.oclg.org/safety/popup/shore.asp
  15. https://beachbaby.net/the-human-surfboard-how-to-body-surf/
  16. https://beachbaby.net/the-human-surfboard-how-to-body-surf/
  17. https://youtu.be/mBf4fduUUjg?t=82
  18. https://beachbaby.net/the-human-surfboard-how-to-body-surf/
  19. https://youtu.be/mBf4fduUUjg?t=9