Riding big waves on a bodyboard is one of the coolest things you’ll ever do.
It’s like being stuck in the middle of an earthquake and you’ll realize how massively powerful Mother Nature truly is.
But beginners need to be careful because you could run into lots of problems. Learn how to ride them properly before going in the water.
How To Boogie Board Big Waves
Even if you have the knowledge that will enable you to bodyboard big waves you need the right equipment before doing anything. Let’s quickly break down everything you should have in your arsenal before getting started:
- Good bodyboard
- Bodyboarding fins
Good bodyboard – You don’t need the best bodyboard in the world to ride big waves, but one of the best beginner bodyboards is definitely recommended. Basic flimsy boards won’t have the features you need, plus they will snap in half when a wave breaks on top of you.
Quality boogie boards include features like:
- Core strong enough to withstand constant pounding.
- Channels to give you extra grip when you’re on the face of waves.
- Rail ratio that has a noticeable impact on control and speed.
- Stringers to provide you with extra strength and stiffness.
- Tail design engineered to help with control and speed.
- Slick that greatly reduces drag when in contact with water.
If you don’t want to waste time looking for the best board the Custom X Titan will satisfy all your needs and more.
Bodyboarding fins – Don’t attempt to ride big waves unless you have the best bodyboard fins on your feet. It’s not just because they might save your life when something goes wrong. Here are a few big reasons why they’re considered essential:
- Maneuverability – you’ll be able to twist and turn much quicker.
- Stability – you’re less likely to lose your balance and go under.
- Acceleration – it’s much easier to catch big waves in the first place.
If you want a good recommendation you can’t go wrong with the Churchill Makapuu Pro bodyboarding fins.
Leash – A bodyboard leash is pretty essential when you’re riding big waves too. It’s something you don’t necessarily need when you’re messing around on small waves close to shore, but you don’t want to risk losing your board when conditions are more extreme.
Please Note: You might want to think about bodyboard wax and a rash guard too.
3 Basic Steps Of Bodyboarding Big Waves
There are lots of things you’ll need to master before you feel comfortable riding big waves. We’ll discuss everything you need to know in a while. But don’t let your head start spinning out of control because there are only three basic things you’ll need to get right:
- Catching a wave
- Staying on a wave
- Exiting a wave
Do those basic steps sound familiar? It’s the exact same steps you’ll need to go through when riding any wave. Even really small ones. But there are some tips that will definitely help out so let’s get into the nitty gritty details you’ll need to know about.
5 Tips For Boogie Boarding Big Waves
- Build up gradually
- Master your technique
- Work on weaknesses
- Stretch regularly
1 – Build up gradually – Bodyboarding is a little like bodybuilding. If you walk into a gym and attempt to bench press 300 pounds you’ll be squashed like a bug. Start at 100 pounds and work your way up. When you eventually reach your goal you’ll forget what all the fuss is about.
The same kind of thing applies when you’re bodyboarding. If you build up gradually from small waves to large ones it will feel like a seamless transition. You’ll have acquired all the skills necessary to enter barrels and come out the other side in one piece.
2 – Master your technique – Although we’ve essentially broken down how to bodyboard big waves without breaking a sweat it’s not that easy. You have to make sure you’re using good technique from the start. It’s easy to get away with using bad technique on small waves.
Big ones definitely aren’t as forgiving. Basics like knowing how to turn won’t help if you can’t use your fins effectively. Knowing which part of the wave to sit on matters when it’s enormous.
3 – Work on weaknesses – Wait until you’ve ironed out your weaknesses before tackling waves you’d consider scary. The same kind of thing we just talked about applies to your weaknesses too. A weakness won’t make a really big difference on smaller waves.
On large ones you’ll be found out. You might begin to lose focus causing you to do something poorly and… BANG!
4 – Stretch regularly – Professional bodyboarders who ride big waves on a regular basis stretch daily. Key areas include your shoulders, quads, hamstrings, calves, and lower back. Stretching will improve your performances in the water and it will help you avoid nasty injuries.
Do some kind of strength training routine too, even if it’s only bodyweight exercises. Big waves have so much power it doesn’t hurt to be strong.
5 – Visualization – I know visualization might sound like hocus pocus to some people, but it’s popular these days for a reason. Professionals in every sport don’t sit around wasting their time for nothing. There is actual research using brain imagery that tells us it works.
Imagine you’re riding a big wave and something goes wrong. What are you going to do? If you’ve never experienced it before your reaction time will be slow. Maybe too slow. But if you’ve visualized it a hundred times in your head you’ll react quicker.
Safety Tips When Bodyboarding Huge Waves
Mastering your technique and eradicating weaknesses is good, but you’ll still need to learn how to stay as safe as possible. Even though there will always be risks that come from riding large waves here are a few ways to ensure you survive to fight another day:
- You should be a good swimmer
- Holding your breath underwater
- Watch out for other bodyboarders
- Always bodyboard with a buddy
You should be a good swimmer – Only attempt to boogie board large waves if you’re a strong swimmer. Even though it sounds like common sense a lot of poor swimmers end up in trouble every day. Yes, the best bodyboards are good floatation devices.
But when you crash into the water you might not be able to reach your bodyboard for a while. In some cases, waves might be so strong your leash snaps. Don’t get into a situation where you’re unable to swim back to shore unaided.
Holding your breath underwater – Sometimes you spend a while underwater before you’re able to come up for air. When you finally reach the surface another wave might come crashing down on you. So being able to hold your breath for a long time is a good thing.
Before attempting to ride big waves you should work on increasing the length of time you can hold your breath. It’s guaranteed you won’t regret it. Whenever you find yourself in a tricky situation it’s nice to stay focused instead of beginning to panic.
Watch out for other bodyboarders – After a while you’ll learn about surf etiquette even if it’s the hard way. That doesn’t mean everyone will follow those same unwritten rules. Bodyboarding is like crossing the road. Always check to see if it’s safe before catching a wave.
Banging into another bodyboarder is sore, but it’s nothing compared to a surfboard crashing into you. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Always bodyboard with a buddy – Waves are unpredictable at the best of times. When you’re bodyboarding on large ones anything could happen no matter how good you are. It’s why you should only attempt riding challenging waves when a buddy is around.
Boogie Boarding Big Waves Is Amazing
Once you finally step up to the big time you’ll really understand why bodyboarding is one of the most exciting sports in the world. Just make sure you remember everything we’ve talked about today. If you’re not really to tackle huge waves at the minute start preparing right now.