Learning to boogie board is some of the most fun that you can have out on the ocean waves! While this activity is designed for fun, some find it intimidating at first. Fortunately, boogie boarding is something that anyone can do with a little bit of practice and patience; this article will show you some of the core concepts needed to get started.
The Basics of Boogie Boarding:
Chances are if you are reading this, you have a vague idea of what boogie boarding entails. However, if not, rest assured as the topic is not too complicated! A boogie board is, simply put, a wave-riding mechanism.
Although the boogie board is similar in appearance to the standard surfboard or skimboard, it is quite a bit shorter and has a larger width than these options, which provides a sturdy base for riders. Due to these different dimensions, boogie boarding is a great choice for those first trying out their skills on the waves.
Additionally, boogie boards are utilized differently than surfboards. While surfers commonly paddle up and then stand up on their surfboards, boogie boarding requires the rider to lay flaw on their chest while gripping the board throughout their wave-riding experience.
Choose your Location
Before you can successfully boogie board, it is essential that you select a body of water that is suitable for the activity. Some specific criteria must be met for boogie boarding to be safe and for you to catch any waves:
- Make sure the water has moderate to small waves—no more than 2 ft in height.
- Ensure there is no boat traffic in the surrounding water
- Check that boogie boarding is permitted in the area
- Avoid areas with large rocks or other potentially dangerous elements
Select the Right Boogie Board for You
Boogie boards, much like other water sports, do not utilize the one-size-fits-all mindset. In fact, finding a boogie board that is appropriate for your size is a must if you want to enjoy your time on the water!
While it is up to you to decide what is comfortable, there are several sizing suggestions that can help you make sure the board is a good fit based on your height and weight. You are welcome to use a sizing guide if you have one available, but if not try to find a boogie board that comes up to your navel.
Preparing to Hit the Waves
Now that you know how to select your boogie board and where to take it, it’s time to learn a bit about the activity of boogie boarding itself. Although boogie boarding is not particularly difficult, it can be unfamiliar so lean on these tips if you are feeling uncertain your first few times.
The first steps to being successful at boogie boarding actually come before you even step foot in the water. Increasing your flexibility through at-home workouts or even at the beach before your ride can put you in a good position to excel at boogie boarding. This practice sets you up for success and strengthens your abdominal and arm muscles, which are the two main groups used when boogie boarding.
On the Water
Now that you are finally ready to go on the water, practice your form by laying down with your chest flat on the boogie board. Take the wrist-strap that is attached to the board, and carefully fasten it to whichever wrist is most comfortable for you, though many prefer to attach it to their dominant hand.
While you may choose to have additional gear, such as scuba or snorkeling fins, they are not required. They may, however, help you feel more natural as you kick your legs one you get moving on the waves.
As you wade into the water, gently lean forward on your boogie board as you watch for waves and observe their size and speed. Ideally, you will be standing at least a few feet behind where you can see the waves breaking on the water. By standing at this vantage point, you can effectively lean forward and ease into the wave as excels forward.
While it may take a few attempts, once you have successfully allowed a wave to carry you a bit, try to focus on practicing incorporating your hands and feet for more balance and control. It’s totally fine to simply let the waves carry you, but get the hang of kicking your feet and propelling yourself with your hands so that if you want to learn more complicated techniques over time you have the option to do so.
Boogie Boarding Tricks
After several rounds of practice and catching a few waves, you may be ready to step up your game a bit and learn a few tricks. Although boogie boards have their limitations in comparison to surfboards, there are still a few tricks that can be mastered by almost anyone.
While we couldn’t possibly list every trick, here are a few of the ones to begin with as you work your way up:
- Bottom Turning: lean over the front of the board and shift your body weight to one arm as you gently lift the board. The board will begin to turn and alter your direction. This skill is a great prerequisite to the others listed below.
- Cut Backs: Similar to a bottom turn, a cut back involves shifting weight to one arm, but this time do it away from the direction of the wave. As you do this turn you will specifically decide where you would like the turn to stop within the wave. To end the trick, simply reposition yourself to normal and ride the wave to shore.
- 360 Degree Turn: A 360-degree turn involves a full circle, which requires you to have mastered the bottom turn. To do this trick, turn to face the direction of the wave while sliding all the way to the front of the board. Lift all parts of your body up (face, neck, legs) so they do not drag in the water. Remain lifted until you have completed a full circle turn and continue enjoying the wave s you reposition yourself.
More advanced tricks like flips will take longer to learn, but these tricks can provide great foundations for other skills. These core concepts will enable you to be more comfortable on the water, so this is where we recommend beginning.
No matter how you choose to do it, boogie boarding is an extremely enjoyable way to get out on the water and enjoy the waves. By following the basics to prepare and getting more comfortable on the water, you are sure to be a master in no time!