It is the thrill and the feeling of joy that
makes people enjoy bodyboarding. Some people say one can’t
spend time or live in Hawai‘i without having tried surfing
at least once. While it takes time and effort to learn the
art of surfing on a surfboard, bodyboarding allows beginners
to enjoy the sport immediately without having to take lessons.
A bodyboard, in surfing slang also known as a sponge, is a
small, rectangular piece of foam and usually between 39 and
long. Most bodyboarders ride the wave lying down, called prone,
but it can also be ridden standing up.
The board’s core is made from polypropylene, dow, or arcel,
which are all types of plastic. Each one of them gives the board
a different amount of flexibility. The core is glued to a thick
plastic bottom, also known as the slick. The top of the board
is made from softer plastic to give the rider a firm grip.
One of the advantages of bodyboards is that they are smaller
and lighter than surfboards, so the risk of injury by the board
is greatly reduced. Furthermore, bodyboards fit easily into a
car and are also allowed on the bus. A backpack-style cover for
the board makes walking and bikeriding convenient. Bodyboards
are also affordable. A medium-priced board for beginners costs
between $20-80. They are available in surf shops and in some
supermarkets and drugstores.
Stand-up surfing began in the early 20th century. Duke Kahanamoku,
the father of surfing, is credited with the rebirth of surfing
in Hawai‘i after it had been banned by the missionaries,
who thought surfing to be “hedonistic acts and a waste
of time,” writes Les Drent on coffeetimes.com. But long
before stand-up surfing began, the Polynesians already rode the
waves in the prone position on boards they called “Paipos,” which
were usually less than four feet in length, according to Jason
Borte on surfline.com.
The modern bodyboard, as we know it today, was invented by
Tom Morey from California in 1971 while he was on the island
Morey trademarked the name Morey Boogie in 1973. According to
Borte, Morey was already producing 80,000 Boogie Boards per year
Bodyboarding doesn’t require a lot of equipment. All one
needs is a board and fins. The size of the board isn’t
crucial. However, smaller boards fit smaller people best and
vice versa. It is optimal if the board stands up to the belly
The fins should have an open heel, because closed heel fins
tend to get pulled off in stronger waves. For people who
blisters on their feet, neoprene foot socks are available.
It is also good to have a wrist leash attached to the board
so that it doesn’t get lost in the water. Some women also
find it more convenient to wear a one-piece swimsuit or a surf
top because a bikini top can slip away.
The basic technique of bodyboarding is easy. While paddling
out, head and chest shouldn’t touch the board. The hips should
touch the back edge of the board. It is most efficient to keep
the fins underwater when kicking. When catching a wave, the elbows
should be kept on the board and not drag in the water.
Beginners often find it exhausting to paddle out when the waves
are big. They get carried back when the waves wash over them.
An effective method of avoiding the thrust of the waves is called
duckdiving, which means diving under the wave. It is best done
when the whitewash of the wave is about six feet away. To execute
this method, one has to grab the board between the nose and the
midpoint and push all the upper-body weight onto the hands until
the nose of the board sinks. Then one has to use one knee to
push the tail of the board under the water. Body and board should
be as much under the water as possible.
These are very basic techniques for beginners. Although some
consider bodyboarding much easier than surfing, it takes about
the same time to become proficient in this sport. According to
information-headquarters.com, “body-boarding is far more
trick oriented than surfing, and there are hundreds of variations
of maneuvers possible.” For experts, it is therefore boring
to ride a wave in a straight line.
Bodyboarding is not only fun, it is also a great exercise.
It strengthens the arms and legs and also works the hips
However, one shouldn’t go between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., as
the sun is most intense during that time, and it is easy to get
sunburned. Also, for beginners, it is best to avoid practicing
too close to surfers, as they might run you over. Be sure you
are familiar with some basic surfing rules. Dropping in on a
wave while another surfer is surfing, for example, can be dangerous,
because you might collide with each other. Generally, the surfer
who is nearest the breaking part or peak of a wave has the right
Waikiki is a good spot for beginners, although it can be quite
crowded on some days. Less crowded is the beach called Kaiser’s,
for example, which is off the Waikiki lagoon and the Ala Wai
Beginners should also pay attention to the tides. During low
tide, bodyboarding can be dangerous because the reef is closer
to the surface and its sharp rocks can cut careless bodyboarders
to pieces. If one gets cut, no matter how small, the first thing
to do is get out of the water before you attract sharks. Then
disinfect the wound because the coral reef is a living animal
andbacteria or coral cells can easily cause an infection. One
bodyboarder surfing Makaha recently had just a minor cut in his
foot. It looked harmless, so he didn’t disinfect it. A
week later, his foot was so swollen, a doctor had to reopen the
cut to clean it out and reduce the swelling.
If you are a cautious beginner, bodyboarding is a fun sport
that can be enjoyed every day when the surf is good. It’s a
great workout, clears the mind of stressful thoughts, and can
be enjoyed by anyone who loves to be in the water.