Bodysurfing is one of the best ways to punch through the walls of my comfort zone and expand my boundaries of getting into bigger waves. Swim fins and a chunk of wood to glide on make up the cheapest, easiest, and I will argue one of the most fun ways to get that view we’re all constantly striving to get a glimpse of.
When a friend introduced me to bodysurfing, I was a little skeptical. But I also knew it was something I had to experience for myself to see what was behind that strange but stoked look he had in his eye.
Fins, a handplane and you do the rest. There’s a unique beauty in just grabbing fins, a handplane, kicking into anything that comes your way, and watching the show. We all love to use the hot-button words like soul, connection, and rhythm to describe surfing a wave. But bodysurfing is bright-eyed, unbridled adrenaline and should be part of any surf trip, surf session or day at the beach (ocean or lake).
Here my 3 reasons you should kick into a few, sans board:
1. Raise Your Comfort level
I’m grateful to my friend Joey for introducing me to bodysurfing. It was hard to embrace his stories at first but that changed one day he handed me his spare handplane and we swam out together. That day happened to be overhead and punchy at North Jaco Beach. If I were surfing that day, I would have danced back and forth over which wave to paddle into. There was bliss in the absence of hesitation when bodysurfing. After my first proper set wave, Joey saw the look on my face and with a crooked smile said, “Yeah, you get it now.”
Hooked. I was absolutely hooked. Comfortably stroking into waves with the handplane that day taught me how to manage a hold down and how to stay calm. Bobbing around the line up that day gave me a massive amount of confidence that I still carry.
2. All Those Barrels
Maybe you do, but I def don’t casually slide into throaty barrels breaking over live coral. Sure, I pull in to get the view on any surf trip but coming out clean is a different story. Kicking into a hollow wave of any size while body surfing is immeasurably as euphoric as it gets. Handplanes are pleasurecraft on every level. In William Finnegan’s Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life, the author describes first visions of the barrel as “[looking into the eye of God]”. Tell me he’s wrong.
3. Wave Count
Bodysurfing can get you more waves than anyone. Whether it’s the inside warbly ones nobody else wanted, close out sets, or the ones that somehow roll through the crowd untouched, you can stealthily cruise around the lineup and pick off what others consider scraps.