7 Lessons I’ve Learnt from Bodysurfing

Bodysurfing first caught my eye on a rainy day in Newquay with some chunky winter surf coming into the bay. Flying along the face of the wave was a bodysurfer – no board, just fins and a huge grin. It was from then that I saw how much fun bodysurfing could be regardless of the conditions.

So, what is bodysurfing?

Bodysurfing is the art of riding a wave without using any buoyant device or surf craft – it’s all in the name, surfing with only your body. 

Bodysurfers will also often use a pair of swim fins to add forward momentum into the wave. In addition, some wave riders will also use a hand plane. Handplaning is a tangent from bodysurfing, but still in the same fun family! 

It’s often thought of as an activity done only in the shallows and on broken waves (which can also be lots of fun), but the sport of bodysurfing has been taken to a whole new level!

“To me, bodysurfing is the best interaction between man and nature that exists.” 

Mike Stewart – multiple World Bodysurfing Champion


Here are 7 lessons I learnt and the reasons you should give bodysurfing a go too:

1. Your confidence will soar

Being out in the waves and getting used to being tumbled, especially without the added fear of your surfboard, is great for your confidence. The more time you spend in the ocean, the more you’ll be learning about how the water moves and how waves break, plus the enjoyment of it will make you feel way more comfortable.

2. It’s great exercise 

Bodysurfing is an excellent all-arounder as you’ll get an aerobic and anaerobic workout. You’ll be strengthening your core, targeting your glutes by using fins to kick into waves, plus using all your muscles to stay balanced. But at the same time, it’s great for anyone at any age as it’s low impact. Win-win!

3. You’ll improve your wave-reading skills 

There is no magic trick to being able to read waves, you just have to get amongst them! You’ll be improving your knowledge by catching, watching (and missing) waves. In turn, this will also help with your surfing.

4. There’s more to learn than you think

There are so many skills to learn and tricks to try – barrels, rolls and even front flips!!

5. You can be part of a growing community

With bodysurfing being a fun, accessible activity the community is constantly growing. You can find new friends, join bodysurfing clubs and even compete.

6. No equipment is necessary

Although we previously mentioned that you could use fins or a handplane, you can also do it without equipment. That means, you don’t need to buy anything, no packing the car up or carrying anything to the beach. Just rock up and enjoy – bliss!

7. It’s no-pressure fun!

What more could you ask for?

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