Surfboard, Boogie board, Handboard, Bodysurf it's all awesome. Ultimately, it's not about how you enjoy mother ocean, it's just about getting salty.
Thomas Ekman shares with us 20 reason to choose Bodysurfing over Surfing.
It’s easier to take off on anything, at a moment’s notice. You don’t have to eggbeater your stick around, and you can quickly poach any wave lost by a surfer.
It’s so damn easy to punch through waves that you can afford to sit inside in the impact zone, in places you wouldn’t go if you had to duck-dive a board.
You don’t make a lot of sections, which means you’re more willing to just jump on anything. No need to wait for the perfect set. Quantity over quality. You never know which wave you might connect to the inside.
If you add up 40-50+ shorter rides, that might be the same riding time as 10-20+ longer rides.
You don’t sit around when you’re bodysurfing. You’re not locked into an ad hoc position in the pack like you are on a surfboard. You can be constantly moving around the lineup without really agitating any one (on a surfboard, you’d be really pissing people off). Surfboards only have two modes in the lineup: paddling, and sitting. Bodysurfing gives you 360 degree movement at any speed you want. You’re always moving.
You jump on waves that you encounter as you’re paddling back out. On a surfboard, you’re often bee-lining for the pack to avoid getting caught inside.
You take off on closeouts, quasi-closeouts and possible closeouts – few of which you would try on a surfboard. It’s simply easier to dive through the back of the wave without a board.
You can dive under guys taking off, which means you can sit in perfect position to poach waves lost on takeoff.
You’ve got arms, legs, and multiple strokes to choose from, so you don’t get as fatigued paddling out as you do on a surfboard (though overall, it’s much more of a workout).
You don’t end up with only your thruster at a longboard break, or vice-versa.
You don’t have to deal with racking and packing your sticks (or flying with them, which bites), which gives you a little more time to surf AND makes it more likely that you’ll paddle out in the first place.
You can often get away with less neoprene, which makes you more likely to be willing to go through the hassle of suiting up.
You may paddle out into a pack that would intimidate you on a surfboard because its too thick, knowing that you’ll be getting many waves inside of the pack.
Handboarding is a new sport for many of us, so there’s a lot of extra stoke behind us.
You get so many barrels that its addictive. Each successive barrel demands another.
You can make a sesh out of close-outs if that’s all that’s available.
You’re more likely to get in the water “just to get some exercise”, because swimming is satisfying in a way that paddling a surfboard is definitely not.
You can ride shorebreak like Sandys.
You don’t have to stay out of the water because you dinged your stick.
BONUS: there’s no such thing as goofyfoot in bodysurfing!
Tom Ekman, J.D., M.Ed is a published author, environmental science teacher, and candidate for a PhD in Education. He claims to have been a bodysurfer all his life, which is odd because he only started the sport in 2015. Ekman competed in Itacoa Legends in Rio in 2016 and 2017. He has initiated a "no winter" campaign and resides n Honolulu and Los Cabos. Ekman wears two handplanes because he believes it makes for more fluid swimming out to the lineup.
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