When it comes to watersports, many people get confused between bodyboarding and surfing. The biggest question about this topic seems to be is bodyboarding easier than surfing?
Surfing seems to be a more popular sport, but bodyboarding is easier than surfing for several reasons. Many beginners start out learning to bodysurf before moving on to attempt a surfboard. Bodyboards do not require you to stand up, which is the main reason it’s easier than surfing. However, advanced bodysurfing is as challenging or harder than attempting to surf.
Is Bodyboarding Easier than Surfing?
Most users say that bodysurfing is an easier task to learn than attempting to surf. There are multiple reasons why this is the case.
First, bodyboards are shorter than surfboards, making them easier to paddle. Hitting a wave also feels more natural when using a bodyboard over a surfboard.
When you’re on a surfboard, your goal is to stand up as you ride the wave. With a bodyboard, you’re lying down as you surf waves.
Let’s look a bit harder at some of the benefits of bodyboards and why these features make them easier to use than surfboards.
Paddling – Bodyboard vs. Surfboard
The biggest benefit of bodyboards to surfboards is the ease of paddling. Because bodyboards are shorter than surfboards, they are easier to maneuver unless you’re going into deep surf.
With a bodyboard, only the upper half of your body rests on the board. Your lower half stays in the water. When you lay on a surfboard, only your arms go in the water when you hold them off the side of the board. The long length accommodates your entire body, which can make balancing more difficult.
Paddling a bodyboard in shallow water is an easy technique to learn in just a few weeks. But when surfing in deeper water, your bodyboard will need fins or flipper attachments. With these, you’ll need to learn how to kick your feet like a frog while paddling with your arms, which usually takes a lot longer to master.
Trying to paddle a surfboard becomes more challenging, as you’re trying to keep your body balanced, so you stay on the board while paddling with only the strength of your arms.
Take-Off – Bodyboard vs. Surfing
How you manage the take-off is the most significant difference between surfing with a bodyboard vs. a surfboard. The take-off happens as you feel the wave lift you up and then push you towards the face.
If you were using a surfboard, the take-off would be the time for you to stand up and get your balance so you can ride the wave. However, with bodyboards, you’ll catch the wave in a prone position, laying on your stomach.
Since you’re not attempting to stand up, your take-off will be easier to master. The main issue beginners experience is nose-diving. To correct a nose-dive, sit further back on the board and pull up once you’re at the bottom of the wave.
Riding – Bodyboarding vs. Surfing
As we just mentioned, when you ride a wave on a bodyboard, you’re doing so while laying down. You would be standing up on a surfboard, which can be more challenging to master and risky for injuries.
As you hit a wave on a boogie board, you can control the direction you’re going with your arms, hands, legs, and torso. Deepwater bodyboards give the advantage of using the fins and your feet for better control.
When surfing on a longboard or surfboard, you have minimal control of your direction by shifting your body weight. But, since you’re standing up, you have to keep your balance while moving. To turn, you’d have to bend your knees, shift with your weight, and lean with your torso.
Most beginners get the hang of bodyboarding faster than surfing, primarily because you stay in the same position – laying down. Most people can master bodyboarding with a few weeks of practice compared to a few months for surfing.
It’s best to start in white water, shallow areas with foaming water formed by the waves breaking. These waves have enough power to push you along, letting you get used to the sensation.
Once you’re ready to move out to the breakers – where the waves break – add fins to your board and a pair of flippers for yourself to help with speed.
While paddling out, alternate between paddling with your arms and legs, so you don’t wear yourself out. Use both for short bursts of speed but limit the amount to reserve energy.
Advanced bodyboarding is more challenging to learn, although many are still easier than surfing. Consider these moves if you want to advance your skills:
- Bottom turn
- Cut back
- Drop knee riding – DK, ack Stand, Hawaiian Stand
- 360 Turn
- 360 Reverse
- El Rollo
As we’ve demonstrated, bodyboarding is easier than surfing. The primary reason it’s easier to master bodyboarding vs. surfing is that you’re catching a wave while laying in a prone position rather than standing up. You also have the advantage of paddling and controlling your direction using your arms and legs rather than just your arms. Bodyboarding is for new or advanced riders.