The first time you attempt to ride a big wave you’re only thinking about how far you can go.
Over time you’ll begin to crave more excitement when hitting the water, which is easy when you’re into bodyboarding.
You’ll eventually have to begin attempting tricks to keep your adrenaline pumping at full blast.
Bodyboarding Tricks For Beginners And Intermediate Riders
When you’re first starting out there are a number of tricks you’ll need to focus on first. Some will take skill and others will take guts. Luckily you’ll be landing in water and it’s unlikely you’ll get hurt unless you’re bodyboarding in the wrong places.
Eventually you can start working on difficult tricks as you progress, but in the beginning you’ll need to focus on beginner and intermediate bodyboard tricks. Today we’re going to look at a few you should target in the upcoming months and years:
- Bottom Turn
- Forward 360 (Reverse 360)
- Air Forward
- El Rollo
1 – Bottom Turn
The bottom turn is the most important skill you have to master in bodyboarding because it’s used to set up for bigger tricks. In an ideal world, you’ll be able to turn into a wave without losing any speed. Although it’s one of the easiest things you can do keep working on it.
Mastering the basics is always a good thing. Once you start paddling and catch the wave you’ll need to move forward into the trim position. It’s a good idea to go down the wave at an angle, which should be around 45 degrees if you’re doing it right.
Here are a few steps you should keep in mind:
- Shift your weight to the inside of your board and dig into the rail with your elbow.
- Lift the other rail up with your opposite hand and lift your inside leg up too.
- Look towards your destination which should be your optimal surf line.
- Center your body on the board and arch your back to gain speed.
That should set you up nicely for your next maneuver. Don’t end up too far into the flats. Even if you have the best beginner bodyboard you’ll stall once you begin to turn and the wave will throw your off your board. You will eventually become an expert and your turns will look natural.
2 – Cutback
When performing a bottom turn we’ve mentioned how to increase your speed. That is so you’ll be able to launch into your next move as fast as possible. But you might not find a good throwing lip and you’ll be quite far away from the most powerful part of the wave at this point.
In order to control your speed effectively and wait for a better throwing lip you can cutback into the area of the wave where all the energy is. Here are a few helpful tips that will let you get back into the action as easily as possible:
- Aim for the top of the shoulder before cutting back so you’ll have more space to perform the move.
- Shift the weight from the inside of your board to the outside of your board.
- Grab the nose and force the turn while looking directly in the direction you want to go.
- Once you start turning shift your weight back onto the inside rail.
Although it sounds difficult it should be easy to learn if you have one of the best bodyboards in the world with quality features. You’ll end up back where all the power is and you can resume the ride while aiming to perform your next trick.
Please Note: We’ve counted the last two maneuvers as tricks because they are exciting when you’re a beginner. But they’re really just the basics you need at the very least to set yourself up for bigger tricks. Now we’ll move onto some that will leave you with a smile on your face.
3 – Forward 360 (Reverse 360)
Control is the key when it comes to mastering the forward 360, so I hope you’re wearing the best bodyboard flippers on your feet. It’s going to make the move a lot easier. You need to adjust your speed and ensure you’re in the right section of the wave before getting started.
Here are a couple of good pointers to help you out:
- You shouldn’t be too close to the barrel nor too close to the flats (middle of the wave is ideal).
- Low center of gravity is crucial so lift your legs up and cross them behind you.
- Arch your back to focus the majority of your weight to the center of the bodyboard.
- Shift your weight to the inside rail while throwing your head over your shoulder in the direction you’re about to spin.
- Bring your chest and legs down to get your bodyboard fins into the water to regain control.
I’d also like to point out a couple of important things:
- The forward 360 spin isn’t a finishing move
- The reverse 360
The forward 360 spin isn’t a finishing move – Once you perform a forward 360 the trick is to keep riding the wave. It’s not designed to be a finishing move unlike more difficult ones. There are still plenty more things you’ll be able to do afterwards.
The reverse 360 – A reverse 360 is obviously more difficult, but let’s not class it as a different trick. It’s essentially the same one except you’ll be spinning in the opposite direction. It’s either a forward or reverse 360 depending on whether the wave is a left or right hander.
4 – Air Forward
Now we’re moving onto tricks where you’ll need to launch yourself into the sky. It’s easy to fly through the air even if you’re a heavy rider. Just make sure you have a good bodyboard for big guys and the right fins. Hit the wave at a fast enough speed and you’ll be airborne.
An air forward is technically only a 180 degree spin, so it’s not the most difficult aerial move by any means. But if you want to land back on the wave timing is absolutely paramount. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you’re attempting it for the first time:
- Build up as much speed as possible as you’re riding down the line.
- Climb the wave and hit the lip as it pitches right outside the barrel.
- Arch your back and lift your legs into the air in a crossed position.
- Turn your head over your shoulder and look exactly where you want to land.
- Don’t forget to kick your legs out to control your landing as you begin to drop.
Once you turn your head the bodyboard should start to turn about 180 degrees and you’ll land back on the wave. But it’s crucial you hit the lip just outside the barrel or you won’t spin. Hit the lip too soon and you’ll be tossed into the sea. Hit it too far down and you’ll end up at the back of the wave.
5 – El Rollo
The El Rollo is one of those moves that will impress anyone who doesn’t bodyboard. It’s an easy aerial move that’s very similar to the last trick we touched on, but instead of spinning you’ll be rolling. You should approach it in the same way although there are a few big differences.
Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind:
- Once you bottom turn continue to build up speed down the line.
- Keep an eye on the lip of the wave and hit it fast as it’s pitching over.
- When you hit the lip grab your board tight and throw your head back over your shoulder.
- Keep an eye on your landing zone as soon as possible.
- Let the wave’s power spin your body and board, but don’t be afraid to pull on your rail.
Point your bodyboard towards the shore and make sure you land flat. If you manage to stay balanced you’ll be able to get ready for your next move. There is one big mistake people often make when they’re trying to land an air roll for the first time.
Don’t break through the lip or you’ll end up on the other side of the wave. In the long run you’ll find the El Rollo easy, but getting used to rolling in mid-air can be intimidating. So keep practicing it until you’re able to land the trick repeatedly with ease.
The Best Bodyboard Tricks For Beginners And Intermediates
There are a lot more moves we could have talked about today, but I’m sure you’ll have a great time learning how to master these ones first. Although they’re not too hard it’s not like you’ll be able to master them as soon as you begin bodyboarding decent-sized waves.
If you want to make life easier on yourself I would recommend using good equipment, especially a leash when you’re learning tricks. Here are a few recommendations those without adequate equipment might appreciate:
- Bodyboard – Custom X Titan (excellent beginner board)
- Fins – Churchill Makapuu Pro (amazing features)
- Leash – Bully’s Code Red (wraps around bicep)