Boogie boarding is a water activity suitable for people of all ages and ability levels. Sometimes referred to as bodyboarding, boogie boarding is a form of wave riding that does not require much skill to master.
If you don't have the time to become an Olympic-level surfer but still want to get out and ride the waves, boogie boarding might be a great activity for you. But before you hit the water, you'll need to choose the right board and learn the correct technique to boogie board like a pro.
Boogie boarding is a water sport that involves lying stomach-down on a short, hydrodynamic foam board in the water and riding either the curl, crest or face of a wave toward the shore.
The components of a boogie board include:
The best way to tell if a boogie board is the right size for you is to stand it up on its tail. If the top of the board reaches your belly button, it's the correct size. The board doesn't have to reach the exact height of your belly button, but anywhere around this area ensures the boogie board is comfortable and a good fit for your size.
You can also test if the boogie board is the correct width for your dimensions. Hold the board horizontally against your side so that one edge sits under your armpit. The board is the correct width if you can grip the other edge in your hand without straining or too much slack.
As a beginner, there isn't much need to wax your board. However, waxing your board increases your grip on the nose and rails of the board. This improves maneuverability and speed across the water.
Apply your boogie board wax around the nose and side rails of the board.
The best outfit to wear while boogie boarding depends on the climate. A wetsuit is ideal for colder temperatures. They provide insulation and protection against the cold.
You can wear a swimsuit or shorts and a rash vest for warm, dry weather. The rash vest (or rash guard) protects your body against the UV rays from the sun. It also protects against skin chafing by reducing friction with the bodyboard.
While they are not necessary for boogie boarding, wearing swim fins on your feet makes it easier to paddle out to the waves. Fins increase your speed in the water and enable you to use less energy while paddling, which allows you to catch more waves and enjoy your boogie boarding session for longer.
It's easy to lose your board if a large wave hits or you fall off in the water. That's why most boogie boards come with a leash.
The leash protrudes from the board with a strap at the end. The strap is typically a velcro loop that the rider attaches to the bicep or the wrist.
Make sure the leash is securely attached before you get in the water so you can always keep your board close.
Any swimming beach that has moderate wave activity is ideal for boogie boarding. Preferably, it would be best if you opted for a beach with a lifeguard and waves less than 2 feet high.
Make sure there are no fishing boats or lines and that the surf area is free from rocks and fast-moving boats.
Step into the water and walk until the level is knee-deep. Next, lie down on your board so that your hips sit at the board's tail.
Place your hands on the nose or rails to keep your balance. Once you're in the correct position, use your feet and hands to paddle out to the waves. The best position is just past the point where the waves are breaking.
Point the board's nose toward the beach and watch for the next wave. Look out for a bulge at the highest point of an incoming wave. This indicates that the wave is about to break. The bulge is known as the crest of the wave.
While you keep your back arched and your head up, paddle quickly toward the beach when you see a wave about to break. You need to be in front of the wave as it breaks to catch it.
As the wave strikes the board and begins to push it forward, you will paddle quickly with your feet and hands. Keep your legs straight and your feet under the water.
Once you've caught the wave and no longer need to paddle to gain speed, place your elbows on the board and grip the rails. The wave will now do all the work to push you toward the shore.
When you've mastered catching a wave, you can step up your boogie boarding game and learn new skills and tricks.
For example, you can use your boogie board to weave as you ride a wave. By leaning to the right and left as the wave carries the board, you can change directions and start to build up your bodyboarding skills in the water.
This dense but lightweight board provides buoyancy and durability. It's ideal for beginner boogie boards who need stability in the water.
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This narrow board is suitable for experienced bodyboarders who want increased speed and control in the water.
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Lauren Farrell writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.