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Beginner Edition: Learn How To Handboard with Slyde Handboards

6 min read

Beginner Edition: Learn How To Handboard with Slyde Handboards

Beginner Edition: Learn How To Slyde with Slyde Handboards

Welcome to our beginner's guide on mastering handboarding with Slyde Handboards! Join us as Dalton Smith and Sam Dugen take us through the basics of riding the waves at the picturesque Indian Atlantic Beach. Whether you're a novice eager to catch your first wave or someone looking to refine your skills, this guide is your first step toward an exciting sandboarding adventure.

Meet the Experts: Dalton Smith and Sam Duggan

Dalton Smith and Sam Duggan, our seasoned handboarding enthusiasts, are here to share their expertise. With the beautiful backdrop of Indian Atlantic Beach, they introduce us to two popular Slyde Handboard models: the Bula and the Wedge. This guide covers everything from selecting the right fins to mastering the art of catching waves.

Choosing the Right Fins

The choice of fins is crucial for handboarding success. Dalton and Sam discuss the importance of selecting fins that match your handboard and wave conditions. Sam prefers the Churchill Makapu's for flexibility, while Dalton opts for the stiffer DaFin Pro Models. They also introduce fin savers—a must-have accessory to prevent losing your fins in challenging surf conditions.

Preparing Your Equipment

Before hitting the waves, our experts demonstrate how to properly secure fins and adjust the hand strap on your board for a perfect fit. They emphasize the importance of a snug fit to avoid losing your board and recommend using a leash for added security.

Mastering Wave Riding Techniques

Mastering the art of wave riding with Slyde Handboards requires a blend of skill, practice, and understanding of wave dynamics. Dalton Smith and Sam Dugen share their expertise on harnessing the power of the waves for an exhilarating handboarding experience. Here's how you can elevate your wave-riding techniques:

Propulsion in the Water

  • Efficient Paddling: Your hands are crucial in propelling you into the wave. Keep your fingers closed and paddle with solid and deliberate strokes. This technique increases your speed and helps you match the wave's momentum for an easier take-off.
  • Powerful Kicking: Alongside your hands, your feet are vital in building speed. Wear your fins snugly and kick powerfully to gain the necessary momentum to catch the wave. The combination of paddling and kicking propels you forward and into the wave's path.

Catching Waves

  • Timing and Positioning: Position yourself where the waves break and time your paddle to coincide with the wave's approach. Anticipate the wave's movement and start paddling before it reaches you, ensuring you're at the right speed and position to be picked up by the wave.
  • Wave Selection: Not all waves are ideal for handboarding. Look for waves that offer a smooth, rideable face. As a beginner, start with smaller waves to practice your timing and technique before tackling larger ones.

Riding the Wave

  • Balance and Body Position: Once on the wave, balance your body on the board, keeping your core engaged. Your leading hand (the one on the board) should guide the direction, while your free hand can be used for balance and steering.
  • Changing Directions: To change directions, shift your weight slightly towards the direction you want to turn. Experiment with moving your trailing hand in the water to help steer. Dalton and Sam suggest trying both left-handed and right-handed approaches to find what feels more natural, enhancing your adaptability to different wave conditions.

Advanced Techniques

  • Riding the Barrel: As you become more comfortable with basic wave riding, you can start to approach the wave's barrel. This requires precise timing and positioning as you aim to ride the hollow part of the wave. It's a thrilling aspect of handboarding that comes with practice and experience.
  • Performing Tricks: Once you have mastered catching and riding waves, you can begin to experiment with tricks. Simple maneuvers like 360 spins or hand drags can add excitement to your rides. These tricks require a good understanding of wave dynamics and body control.

Safety and Etiquette

  • Always be aware of your surroundings and other surfers or swimmers in the water. Respect the lineup and take turns catching waves.
  • If you're ever too tired, remember taking a break is okay. Paddle back to the beach, rest, and only return to the water when ready.

By focusing on these techniques and tips shared by Dalton and Sam, you'll find yourself progressing from a beginner to a confident handboarder. Remember, patience and practice are key to mastering the waves. Enjoy the ride, and always prioritize safety and respect for the ocean and fellow surfers.


With Dalton Smith and Sam Duggen's guidance, beginners can confidently embark on their handboarding journey. By selecting the right equipment and mastering basic techniques, you're well on your way to enjoying the thrill of riding waves with your Slyde Handboard. Remember, practice is critical to becoming proficient in handboarding, so grab your board, hit the beach, and start slyding!

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions that will enhance your understanding of handboarding with Slyde Handboards, incorporating unique and technical terms relevant to this exhilarating water sport.

What is handboarding?

Handboarding, also known as bodysurfing with a handplane or handboard, involves riding waves using a small surfboard-like device strapped to one hand. This sport amplifies the bodysurfing experience by providing more lift, speed, and control as you glide across the wave's surface.

How do I choose the right handboard?

When selecting a handboard, consider the wave conditions you'll be surfing in, your skill level, and your personal preferences for board size and material. The Bula and the Wedge, as mentioned by Dalton and Sam, cater to different surfing styles and wave sizes, making them great options for beginners and experienced surfers alike.

What are the best fins for handboarding?

The choice of fins can significantly impact your handboarding experience. Look for fins that offer a balance between comfort, power, and flexibility. Models like the Churchill Makapoos and DaFin Pro Models are popular among handboarders for their performance in various wave conditions.

How do I attach fin savers?

Fin savers, also known as fin tethers, are essential for keeping your fins attached to your feet, especially in rough conditions. To attach fin savers, loop them around the heel of your fin and secure the other end to your ankle using the provided strap or a comfortable yet secure method.

How do I adjust the hand strap on my handboard?

Adjusting the hand strap ensures a snug fit, which is crucial for controlling your handboard. Loosen the strap before inserting your hand, then tighten it until the fit is firm but not restrictive. This adjustment prevents the board from slipping while allowing for proper blood circulation.

What's the proper technique for paddling out?

Paddling out with a handboard involves using a combination of arm strokes and leg kicks. Keep your handboard in front of you, and use your free arm to paddle. Simultaneously, kick your legs for additional propulsion. Navigating through breaking waves may require duck diving or using the handboard to push under the wave.

How do I catch a wave with a handboard?

To catch a wave, position yourself where the waves are breaking and paddle vigorously as the wave approaches. The timing of your paddle is crucial; begin just before the wave reaches you to ensure you're moving at a speed that matches the wave's. Once the wave lifts you, use the handboard to steer and maintain balance.

How can I safely change directions while riding a wave?

Changing directions safely involves subtle weight shifts and using your free hand for balance and steering. Practice shifting your weight towards the direction you wish to turn, and experiment with using your trailing hand in the water to help maneuver.

Can I handboard in any type of wave?

While you can handboard in various wave types, beginners should start with smaller, less powerful waves to build confidence and technique. As your skills improve, you can venture into larger and more challenging waves.

What are some basic handboarding tricks I can learn?

Start with simple maneuvers like 360 spins or hand drags. These tricks require a good understanding of timing and wave dynamics. As you progress, you can explore more complex tricks, always prioritizing safety and control.

How do I maintain my handboard and fins?

Rinse your handboard and fins with fresh water after each use to remove salt and sand. Inspect them regularly for damage and store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to prevent warping or fading.

Is handboarding safe for children?

Handboarding can be a fun and safe activity for children under proper supervision. Ensure they use equipment suited to their size and skill level, and always prioritize safety by teaching them about ocean awareness and surfing etiquette.

Do I need a wetsuit for handboarding?

The need for a wetsuit depends on the water temperature. In colder conditions, a wetsuit can provide warmth and protection. In warmer climates, a rash guard or swimwear may be sufficient.

How can I improve my handboarding skills?

Improvement comes with practice and patience. Spend as much time in the water as possible, observe and learn from experienced handboarders, and don't be afraid to ask for tips or feedback. Consider filming your sessions to analyze and refine your technique.

Where can I find a community of handboarders?

Look for local surf clubs, online forums, and social media groups dedicated to handboarding. These communities can be great resources for learning, sharing experiences, and connecting with fellow enthusiasts. Participating in handboarding events or competitions can also be a fun way to engage with the community.



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