by steven watts April 18, 2017

Bodysurfing around the world - A long history

Body surfing has been around for a very long time. Check out our previous article on the history of handboarding   and you get the picture. It is arguably the longest serving ocean / watersport know to mankind.

However bodysurfing has always had to take a back seat in popularity to other boards sports like stand up surfing, but it has always kept it's mantle position as the purest of wave riding sports. 

Due to the fact that bodysurfing has been around for so long in so many different countries around the world the name or word for bodysurfing has different meaning. Wherever you go it even varies from one county or province to the next, from Australia to Hawaii the locals all have their own terms to conjure up the pure beauty and spectacle that is bodysurfing. For the most part these names have stuck.  

Beginners guide to Body surfing around the world australia

Body Surfing in Australia

There is a reason every time you see the winners podium at the swimming at the Olympic games there is at least one Aussie standing there. Australia is a nation that has 30.000km of coastline and of the 30million people that live there, most of them live very close to the beach. If you ever have the luck of making a trip to Australia no matter the season there will always be people in the ocean.

Bodysurfing has been a part of their culture for as long as there have been people on the continent, bodysurfing is also known as 'body bashing.' Body bashing is colloquial for the rough and tumble of the experience of being dumped by badly chosen waves.  

Beginners guide to Body surfing around the world

Bodysurfing in California

If there is one thing the Californians are great at, above all else, it's making stuff famous. Waves and bodysurfing are no exception. The Wedge over the years has become the penultimate test of a body surfers ability and is probably the most photographed wave in the world, for good reason! check out our history guide to bodysurfing to read about the role California has played in raising the awareness of our awesome sport.  

Body "whomping" is a localized Southern California term for bodysurfing at a beach with an extreme beach break. Any failure to pull out of the wave can result in being thrown into less than 2 inches of water, potentially resulting in injury...like a broken collarbone or neck. They may be referred to differently and techniques vary slightly, but they are the essentially the same sport.

Beginners guide to Body surfing around the world hawaii

Bodysurfing in Hawaii

Bodysurfing on the islands is immensely popular and very well respected as the ultimate watermen and woman. Bodysurfing is practiced around the world and is known in Hawaii as he'e umauma (sliding with the chest), while surfing with a board, handboard, handplane is called he'e nalu (literally, wave sliding).  You may be starting to see the correlation with the branding of Slyde! Sliding is what we do, whether it is on a stomach, handboard, handplane, surfboard or a snowboard, it is all about the Slyde.

If you come from somewhere that has an interesting and unique name for bodysurfing then please leave a comment or email us and we will include it in the article
steven watts
steven watts

Growing up in South Africa, Steve spent his youth dreaming of far off places. After spending eight years extensively traveling to many of the great surf destinations of the world getting dengue fever, having a near death experience from a falling coconut in mexico, Surviving a 15 foot drop on a handboard on a Nias bomb, jumping from every rock he could find without adequate health insurance. and comprehensively debunking the myth there are no waves in Thailand, even if they are small. He decided it was time for a a degree. Steve Graduated from Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design in London with a degree in product design. He missed his graduation to go surfing in Californian, found a kindred spirit with Venice and never left


Join the community

Top