Everyone knows what “surfing” is regardless of their geographic location, but how often do you hear the word “bodyboarding” thrown around in conversation? You might have heard of boogie boarding, a term that downplays the abilities of bodyboarders as athletes. It’s viewed as for “little kids” or for “people who can’t surf,” but, now, the sport of bodyboarding is gaining momentum and popularity.
Basics: Surfing vs. Bodyboarding
Surfers ride a variety of board sizes for different wave types or styles of riding whereas bodyboarders predominantly ride waves on a smaller board made from a foam-like material in a prone position (laying on their stomach) and use fins on their feet to assist in kicking into surf. Surfing requires a high level of coordination, balance and wave knowledge while on your feet. Bodyboarders, on the other hand, are required to be just as agile in the water with a keen sense of how to distribute body weight while riding.
All Waves Are Not Created Equal
Waves come in all shapes and forms, which are determined by the swell direction, shape of the sandbars or reef on the bottom, wind direction and other geographical factors. These days, both surfers and bodyboarders are riding unique and challenging waves, however, bodyboarders typically opt for more “ledgy” or steep waves whereas surfers could have some difficulty getting a quality ride. Surfers, however, do have an advantage in longer, faster waves with the ability to gain more speed standing up on a board.
Everyone Can Do It. Not Everyone Can Master It
Any healthy human being can grab a bodyboard and fins and hop in the water, however, there are distinct differences between those who are advanced veterans vs. novices. Experienced bodyboarders have a keen sense for wave knowledge and can make a good prediction on what the wave will do and how the rider must react. Posture and body control is another key component—as simple as laying on the stomach looks, in action there’s a clear difference between a newbie and a vet.
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