Bodyboarding is a watersport similar to surfing, but bodyboarders don’t stand up. We’re not sure why bodyboarding isn’t more popular, it’s a blast. Bodyboarding is easier to learn than surfing, has less expensive gear, and best of all, lets you use your feet to propel yourself. Bodyboarders use a short foam board and never pop up. They stay low on the board after catching a wave. Bodyboarding is a fun, lifelong sport. In this article, we’ll cover the gear and clothing you need to bodyboard. Afterward, we’ll let you know how to get a kid outfitted for catching waves.
To see if you like bodyboarding enough to invest in more serious gear like wetsuits and board bags, you first need a board to try it out on. Bodyboards are of higher quality than boogie boards. Many kids and some adults use boogie boards for basically the same purpose. However, bodyboards are better contoured for controlling your ride as you move diagonally across bigger waves. Many boogie boarders just ride small waves straight toward shore. The foam is also finished off, so it’s slick and won’t scrape against your skin or peel.
Bodyboards should have a leash attached in case you wipe out or lose control of the board. If you want to test a board before getting a leash, make sure the waves aren’t too big. A board can travel far when taken by a wave. The leash attaches to the board with a plug. It’s a plastic fastener that goes through the board once, in a specific spot. If you need to attach one yourself, pull up specific instructions so you do place it correctly the first time.
The last piece you need to start catching waves is a set of rubber fins. They are similar to scuba diving or snorkel fins, however, they’re shaped differently. They are shorter and have specially patterned holes in the feet. A final piece of gear you’ll need to be familiar with if you stick with bodyboarding is a stringer. They’re rods that can be stuck through the center of a nice bodyboard to make them firmer. Sometimes multiple stringers are used. Stringers prevent the board from losing its shape due to high impact, traveling or just a kid jumping on it when you’re not paying attention. It can happen!
Clothing for Bodyboarding
To bodyboard, you’ll start with your basic, sport-friendly swimsuit and add a rash guard (“rash vest” in the UK) or a wetsuit. You can bodyboard in just a swimsuit for short periods. Guys should wear comfortable board shorts. Girls should wear a sporty swimsuit that covers well since a string bikini will shift around. To protect your skin from being scraped up by the bodyboard and sand, you should wear a rash guard. Most people want a rash guard eventually. Even after you get good enough to stop wiping out often and find the best position on the board for your size, you’ll change your speed by shifting backward and forward on the board while riding waves. It can cause your stomach to chafe.
Wetsuits are the final piece of clothing for bodyboarding unless you live in the tropics. If you’ll board in an area with cold water, a wetsuit enables you to stay in longer than the average Polar Bear Plunge. To deal with the cold, or extend your watersport season into the winter months, check tables to see what shape(s) of wetsuits you need. The thickness is the important factor for full wetsuits. A local surf shop can certainly help. With a wetsuit on, you won’t need to worry about rashes. . . at least from the bodyboard. If it’s your first time investing in one, be sure to read a neoprene care guide for wetsuits. Quality wetsuits can last many years, but only if you take prompt and thorough care of them.
Getting Kids Started with Bodyboarding
Bodyboarding is a lifelong sport, is great exercise and can be a great segue if they want to try surfing later. If your child wants to start bodyboarding and you’re in charge of buying the gear, we can give you the lowdown. Your child’s age, how close to an ocean (with reliable waves) you live and their persistence with new hobbies will factor into gear and clothing decisions. We’ll start off by saying that bodyboarding isn’t particularly dangerous if the waves aren’t over an average man’s head and your child is a decent swimmer. However, it is not for the faint of heart or those who aren’t very coordinated. Hopefully, they’ve already tried boogie boarding and are ready to get serious.
Children can get started with a boogie board to see if they like catching waves. If you’re going on vacation, you might be able to rent one, or a decent bodyboard and fins for a teenager. Children should have a leash attached. It will save them, and potentially you, a lot of hassle swimming and wading after a lost board. As they progress and still like it, you may as well outfit them according to the adult recommendations for gear in the above sections.
Kids’ Swimwear for Bodyboarding
As your child is trying out bodyboarding, if they get a rash, they could wear a synthetic shirt to minimize it. However, board rashes can be painful and only accumulate day after day. A rash guard quickly and simply prevents them. Best of all, decent rash guards offer sun protection in amounts up to UPF 50+. They can save the expense and hassle of reapplying sunscreen all over. Rash guards are more effective at blocking the sun. They can wear them swimming or on a boat as well.
Bodyboarding Swimwear for girls should be a sporty swimsuit. If they’ll wear a one-piece, that can alleviate the need to buy a separate rash guard. Boys should wear comfortable boardshorts. Many rash guards come with a boardshorts fastener. They can hook the rash guard in to prevent it from riding up. When they’re learning, they’ll probably catch small waves close to shore. So a sturdy rash guard setup can be crucial because their wipeouts can get sandy. Other rash guards, and those for girls, have an abrasive strip at the bottom to keep them from riding up. You should be able to find a girls’ rash guard they like online. The selection of watersports swimwear for girls is getting better all the time.
Finally, if you live near cold water or they love bodyboarding enough to do it year-round (kids often have less of a problem with the cold than adults), then a wetsuit is in order. Kids under fourteen will probably need help getting into them the first few times. Boys’ wetsuits are similar to adults’. If you can’t locate a girl’s wetsuit locally, try looking online. Girls might be able to wear a boy’s wetsuit, but that really depends on their current and future shape. With wetsuits for girls, (or for boys with long hair) you want to ensure their hair is out of the way when zipping the zipper and fastening any Velcro latches. Dads, you got this!g
Bodyboarding is a blast, great exercise and fun to watch too, so enjoy the show!