How to Body Surf

Body surfing is an incredible and exhilarating way to ride waves. A great alternative to riding them on a surfboard, body surfing can be enjoyed by everyone!

First step to body surfing success is finding the appropriate spot. A beach or reef break with gentle-sloping sandbanks that allow for swimming into waves would be ideal.


Body surfing has a rich and lengthy history dating back to 2000BC when Pontic Greeks practiced viya (wave in Greek). While surfboards may have dampened interest for this sport initially, body surfing has found renewed appeal among younger surfers today.

Malibu Beach in Los Angeles is one of the premier places for bodyboarding, offering various surf spots with waves to satisfy every level of bodyboarder.

Piers can provide the ideal environment to practice body surfing, providing structure that adds shape and form to waves. Other bodyboard-friendly spots in Ocean Beach include Oceanside Pier, Scripps Pier and Avalanche Jetty.

Selecting the ideal body surfing location requires finding an optimal combination of surf conditions and weather conditions that ensure the greatest experience on the boards. In terms of waves, look for small waves averaging at least five feet high as these will offer the optimal experience when body surfing; larger waves require additional skill and fins for successful navigation.

At its core, body surfing is an exciting form of surf that should only be enjoyed by experienced swimmers who understand its inherent risks. If this is your first time diving in to bodysurf, seek guidance from an expert or qualified coach before jumping into the sea – particularly as this sport is considered highly dangerous and shouldn’t be taken on alone.


Body surfers use fins to improve speed and control in the water. Furthermore, these fins help enhance balance while protecting them against sinking when riding larger waves.

Fins can be purchased either locally at your surf shop or online from various brands. When selecting a pair, the most important factor should be choosing something that fits well and provides maximum comfort – some fins may work better with specific foot types so take note of any sizing charts when looking for your perfect fins!

Fins come equipped with blades of different materials for maximum propulsion and performance, from stiffer ones for more power and acceleration, to softer ones that allow greater control when pushing harder.

An excellent pair of fins should feature an ergonomic foot pocket to reduce blisters and cramps, and select models with adjustable straps for the optimal fit.

Another key consideration when purchasing bodyboard fins is material. Natural rubber may provide more comfort and is lighter. This will also lessen any chance of blisters occurring while providing greater maneuverability when riding.

Additionally, it’s advisable to invest in fin savers – small velcro devices which attach securely around ankles and fin straps in order to prevent your fins from being lost in the water.

Before selecting the fin that best meets your needs, experiment with various fin options. Borrow from local professionals or friends a pair so you can experience how they operate first-hand.

Once you have decided which fins you wish to purchase, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and storing them. They should be regularly brushed to avoid build-up of dirt, while being stored in an area without direct sunlight may help preserve them longer and protect from potential damage.


Body surfing is an accessible and enjoyable way to ride waves that are too small or close to shore for surfing boards to safely tackle. Plus, body surfing allows you to discover new places without risking injury or death from falling waves!

When starting to body surf, the ideal place to begin your practice should be on a beach that features long sloping sandy shores with ample room to practice. It may also be beneficial to bring someone along as it can be hard navigating by yourself in the ocean.

Beginners should initially focus on waves with 1 to 3 foot waves, avoiding those which crash too close to shore or shallow sandbanks. Once you develop an understanding of body surfing, larger waves can be approached more safely.

There are various techniques you can employ when body surfing, including spinning and underwater takeoffs and rides (known as porpoising). One of the more popular ones is known as the dolphin pop technique – using wave energy like dolphins and seals do to propel through the water.

To perform the ‘dolphin pop’ technique, first float out on the open face of a wave further from shore than you would typically for body surfing. Once onboard, maintain complete stillness without kicking or using arms in order to reduce drag and protect hydrodynamic forces that propel you from breaking down and losing their ability to propel.

Experienced body surfers may want to consider using fins and handplanes for added speed and control – making catching waves easier while lengthening their ride.

Body surfing can be an exhilarating and easy hobby to master, however proper gear should always be worn to ensure safety. Also important when body surfing in bad weather such as rain or snow – stay out of the water and wait until the sun comes back out before getting in!


Body surfing can be an exciting and exhilarating way to develop your swimming abilities and refine your breathing technique while building a more intimate connection to the ocean.

Safety is of utmost importance when body surfing, and these basic tips will help ensure an enjoyable experience. Swim near lifeguards and stay close to shorelines; learn proper body surfing technique by watching videos or reading instructions from reliable sources before venturing out in the water.

Prior to heading out, learn more about your local beach’s normal wave break and practice riding waves at least once before going solo. This will give you a better sense of what types of waves break there regularly and how best to ride them safely.

Under no circumstance should you attempt to ride waves that are forming right at the shoreline, as these could slam into you and cause serious injuries. Low tides pose particular danger in this regard and it should only be undertaken if you have experience body boarding.

As you ride waves, be sure to keep your arms extended to protect your head from being hit by other parts of the wave and wear a swimming cap or hat to reduce sunburn risk.

Body surfing requires awareness of rip currents and knowing how to escape them safely. Lifeguards generally mark sections of beach with flags when there are rip currents present, informing surfers how best to proceed.

If you plan to body surf in an area where sharks exist, be aware of potential attacks by wearing protective clothing and staying hydrated during your time out in the water. Be prepared by keeping yourself hydrated.

Body surfing requires concentration and proper judgment; excessive drinking or taking drugs could impair both, increasing your chances of injury.

Make sure to choose a day with favorable weather forecasts when body surfing for maximum safety and enjoyment, but if any threat of rain develops it’s advisable to return to shore and take shelter immediately.

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