To body surf is the most exciting sport that I ever practiced! That may seem like an exaggeration to you but, far from that. Here I will give you the top 5 reasons why the sport must be practiced by everyone who has access to the sea.
1. Body surf mood and mindset
If you have ever been surfing or watched surfers from the beach, you may know the surfing culture. Competitive, attitude, and sometimes even aggressive. Of course, it has not always been like that. We all have the image of the cool surfer dudes that just want to enjoy life. Well, that’s where the bodysurfing mindset comes in.
Bodysurfing has remained a ‘cool’ sport with a chilled-back attitude. What surfing has lost over the years, bodysurfers augmented at that same time. Bodysurfing is about friendliness, community, and enjoying the Ocean. Bodysurfers catch waves together and the only rule is to have fun.
That means that the mood in the water when body surfing is really amazing; something that is becoming less and less in the air nowadays!
2. Body surfing is actually a sport
Again, let us have a small yet essential comparison with surfing. As a surfer, you mainly do 2 things during a session: paddle and wait. We can wait about 30 to 45 minutes at our local surf spot to catch our first. So, that’s pretty much 4 waves in 3 hours! And that is a lot of sitting around on your surfboard!
On the other hand, when body surfing, in a 30 minutes session you can easily catch 30 waves! OK, that’s a wave a minute which is a lot but nonetheless possible if you have gargantuan stamina! Therefore, to body surf is to do a sport! It is so intensive between swimming out, to burst kicks to catch waves.
In my opinion, bodysurfing is one of the most intensive training that exists in the water. Not only are you working out stamina and burst power, but you are also really working hard on your breathwork. For your surfing, it can be a great addition to some specific surf training.
Of course, this really depends on your style and how many waves you want to catch in the water. I personally take it as a hybrid fun and functional activity. Work the hell out of myself and have the blast of my life!
3. You don’t need gear to body surf!
While surfing and many other ocean activities are a big business, you don’t need much to body surf. You don’t actually need anything, depending on which type of beach; if you know what I mean!
I personally body surf with two essential gear, my fins and my swimming goggles. And that is for two good reasons. First of all, I am still suffering from neck pain due to my surf accident a few years ago. For that, I use my mighty bodysurfing swim fins. As such, I do not strain my upper body muscles too much. I also use my swimming goggles so that I don’t use my contact lenses every time I wipe out in a barrel.
Apart from that, I don’t actually need anything to body surf, and sometimes when going for a length or two at sea, I bodysurf just by swimming into the waves without my bodysurfing fins!
Some people do enjoy the use of hand planes and wompers. They are amazing pieces of equipment to make sections and fly through long barreling waves. When it comes to my personal preference, I do stay away from those, again due to the pain in my neck; which, as you realize, is a real pain in the neck! Pun intended!
4. A real connection with the Ocean
I remember clearly my freediving instructor asking me when I was struggling with my course ‘do you do activities in the ocean?’. I obviously answered ‘YES!’ and went on with a list such as surfing, scuba diving, kayaking, and so on. He then pointed out that all those activities include some kind of safety apparatus. The diving BCD, the surfboard, etc. are all things that are between me and the ocean.
Bodysurfing is free of all that. As simple as this sport is, it provides a real connection with the Ocean. From the raw feeling of a wave’s power wrapping around your body to the simple enjoyment of floating in the Ocean waiting for a wave, it is a skin-to-skin relationship.
That real connection is especially priceless when you have the chance to see a pod of dolphins or sea turtles while you wait in the water!
In my opinion, body surfing is key to becoming a well-rounded waterman.
Whoever spends enough time in the Ocean has to develop watermanship skills. Being in the Ocean rarely is a solitary passion, whether you like it or not. In that sense, all of us in the water have the responsibility of the others while we are in the water.
Bodysurfing will not only sharpen your swimming skills, but it will also forge into you an essential understanding of waves, tides, currents, and all other aspects of the Ocean that makes it somehow dangerous.