Body Surfing: How to Ride the Waves with Your Own Body

Body Surfing

While surfing is commonly accepted as among the world’s most exhilarating and enjoyable extreme water sports, many argue it cannot compete with body surfing. The thrill of catching a wave without using buoyant devices such as bodyboards or surfboards remains unmatched. After some practice, body surfing is relatively easy for anyone to master, as this article will demonstrate.

To bodysurf, find an optimal wave, usually breaking near the shore. Once you have identified an appropriate wave, wait for it to approach before swimming toward it. Allow the wave to lift your body slightly while kicking your legs to maintain balance and extending your arms to direct yourself. 

Over the previous few decades, body surfing has continued to distinguish itself from traditional surfing, developing into a highly competitive global sport. To the inexperienced individual, body surfing can seem intimidating; however, rapidly progressing is not uncommon with the correct understanding, timing, technique, and confidence. However, a few vital factors all beginners must keep in mind.

Body Surfing For Beginners

Body surfing is the same as traditional surfing, except for a surfboard. If you have ever caught and ridden a wave without using a surfboard, you have unknowingly body-surfed.

Despite body surfing being easier to learn than traditional surfing, obtaining the optimal technique, timing, and skills requires several hours of practice. The best waves for bodysurfing are usually between one and three feet high, allowing surfers to ride the wave directly toward the beach.

It is worthwhile noting that most experienced surfers agree that body surfing is easier to learn, advance, and master as it requires no equipment or powerful waves. Instead, body surfing will require you to position your body in front of the wave before it breaks.

Your body position and momentum before the wave reaches you are vital. An incorrect body position will likely result in you missing the wave or being harshly dumped by it. The best way to body surf is to align yourself with an appropriate oncoming wave before gently swimming toward it.

Once your chosen wave gains momentum, you can catch it by pushing off the seabed’s surface and lurching your body in the same direction the wave travels. For inexperienced body surfers, it is recommended to hone the correct technique in shallower waters where you comfortably stand before progressing to deeper waters with significantly more powerful waves.

Body Surfing

How Difficult Is Body Surfing?

Body surfing is considered by many to be easier to learn than traditional surfing, longboarding, or kayaking, as it does not necessitate any equipment.

However, body surfing can be incredibly challenging and frustrating for people without sufficient swimming skills or the ability to accurately read oncoming waves. Yet, with several hours of dedicated practice, body surfing can be easy, enjoyable, and satisfying.

An often-overlooked benefit of learning how to body surf is how it permanently enhances surfing and swimming skills while simultaneously allowing you to thoroughly understand how waves function, build up, and break.

Anyone can learn how to body surf within an hour or two. Once you have mastered catching a wave without using a surfboard or accompanying flotation device, you will rapidly progress due to improved confidence, enhanced ability to read waves accurately, and overall swimming skills.

Health Benefits Associated With Body Surfing

Body surfing is closely associated with numerous health benefits as the water sport is among the best workouts imaginable.

While you may not notice how hard your body is working during your body surfing sessions, the extreme water sport is known to significantly benefit muscular endurance, strength, and cardiovascular fitness.

Furthermore, how the body moves while body surfing will indirectly benefit your overall balance and flexibility, balance and flexibility are crucial to body surfing as the extreme water sports necessitate a specific body position to successfully catch smaller, less powerful waves.

At the same time, if you do not have any of the required physical characteristics associated with body surfing, you will obtain them within the first few hours of practice. Once you can repeatedly catch waves without a flotation device, you will inadvertently and permanently enhance physical and cardiovascular fitness while benefitting your general balance and flexibility.

Body Surfing Vs. Surfing: Similarities And Differences

While there are many similarities between body surfing and traditional surfing, they are considered two separate extreme water sports.

The main and obvious difference between body surfing and traditional surfing is the requirement of a flotation device. Purchasing, maintaining, and utilizing a modern surfboard can be expensive; however, you can body surf without any accompanying equipment, making it appealing to millions of people globally.

Moreover, body surfing usually occurs in shallower waters closer to the shore. This allows extreme water sports to be additionally accessible for anyone, as various forms of surfing equipment are not readily accessible to most beachgoers.

In addition to a pricy surfboard, surfers must buy other equipment such as wax, a wetsuit, and a vehicle big enough to comfortably carry the costly extreme water sports gear. Body surfing can offer a similar experience and thrill to traditional surfing, yet it is usually significantly cheaper for most beginners.

Body Surfing

Body Surfing Tips And Tricks: How To Advance Your Skills

Despite many inexperienced body surfers experiencing some form of frustration during the learning phase, most will rapidly progress once they have the hang of it.

If you are comfortable regularly catching waves without using a flotation device, there are numerous tricks to learn, which will unquestionably make the entire experience more enjoyable. After learning the basics, the best skills to master are known as the dolphin dive, the turtle roll, and the spin.

The best and most advanced body surfing tips and skills to try are:

  • Learn how to bodysurf and navigate bigger beach breaks.
  • Attempt to navigate powerful shore and reef break waves.
  • Learn to let powerful waves dump you while holding your breath and submitting to the water’s movements.
  • Utilize forceful rip currents.
  • Master the duck dive timing technique.
  • Identify, catch, and ride massive beach breakers.
  • For the best and most confident body surfers globally, master the art of riding under the barrel of an enormous wave.

While the mentioned advanced body surfing moves may seem daunting to inexperienced individuals, they are straightforward to master if you put in the required effort. At the same time, body surfing is an incredibly enjoyable water sport, making the learning phase enjoyable.

While you enjoy your time in the water, you will indirectly advance your skills to the point where you can comfortably catch bigger, steeper, and more powerful waves. The bigger, more powerful waves will dramatically enhance your body’s surfing experience, making the process incredibly enjoyable, thrilling, and exhilarating for millions globally.

There is always more to learn regarding body surfing, as those people with creative and adventurous minds will find countless ways to advance their skills, cultivate new tricks, and continuously improve their enjoyment levels while in the water.


Body surfing is among the world’s most popular extreme water sports due to the undoubted thrill, enjoyment, and exhilaration it has always been associated with. Learning how to body surf can be challenging, although it is straightforward to master after practicing for a few hours. If you have never body surfed, take this as a sign to get into the water and experience one of life’s greatest experiences.