Bodyboarding at Pipeline: Tips, Tricks, and Safety Guide

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Pipeline is one of the most renowned surf breaks in the world that offers incredible waves for experienced surfers and bodyboarders. This spot, situated on Oahu’s North Shore, is famous for its powerful barrels that attract surf enthusiasts from different parts of the world. Bodyboarding at Pipeline is a thrilling and challenging experience, but it requires skill, knowledge, and safety measures. In this article, we will talk about how to bodyboard at Pipeline, the equipment you’ll need, the safety measures you should take, and some tricks that may come in handy.


What is Bodyboarding, and How is it Different from Surfing?

Bodyboarding, also known as boogie boarding, is a water sport where you ride waves on a board that resembles a small surfboard. The board is made of foam or other materials, and you use your arms and fins to propel yourself and control the board. Bodyboarding is different from surfing in a few ways. First, bodyboards are smaller, lighter, and more maneuverable than surfboards. Second, bodyboarders usually ride waves closer to the shore and in shallower water than surfers. Finally, bodyboarders often use a different technique to ride waves, which involves lying on the board with their face down and catching the wave with their fins first.


What Equipment Do You Need To Bodyboard at Pipeline?

To bodyboard at Pipeline, you’ll need a few essential pieces of equipment:

– Bodyboard: A high-quality bodyboard that can handle large waves and provide good buoyancy and maneuverability is crucial. Bodyboards come in different sizes, depending on your height and weight, and your skill level. For Pipeline, you’ll need a board that is at least 42 inches long and has a crescent tail design for improved control.
– Fins: Fins are a critical component of bodyboarding gear as they provide propulsion, steering, and stability. You’ll need a pair of fins that fit snugly and comfortably, with a stiff blade that can match the power of the waves. Fins come in different shapes and sizes, but most bodyboarders prefer split fins or asymmetric designs for better maneuverability.
– Leash: A leash attaches your bodyboard to your ankle, keeping you connected to your board in case you lose it. At Pipeline, you need a robust leash that can withstand the powerful waves and the strong currents. The leash should be long enough to allow you to maneuver comfortably but not too loose that you risk tripping over it.
– Wetsuit: Pipeline is located in Hawaii, and the water temperature can drop to around 75 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. A wetsuit can protect you from the cold water and prevent abrasions if you hit the reef. A 4/3mm full-suit wetsuit should suffice for bodyboarding at Pipeline.
– Wax: Waxing your board helps you get better traction and prevent slipping off the board. You should apply a basecoat and a topcoat wax before each session.


How Can You Prepare Physically and Mentally For Bodyboarding at Pipeline?

Bodyboarding at Pipeline is not for the faint-hearted, and it requires a high degree of physical and mental preparation. Here are a few things you can do to get ready for the challenge:

– Build Your Cardiovascular Endurance: You’ll need a lot of stamina to paddle out to the lineup and to catch waves. Incorporate swimming, running, and biking into your training routine to improve your cardiovascular endurance.
– Strengthen Your Core and Upper Body: Bodyboarding involves a lot of paddling, so you need to have a strong upper body and core to paddle efficiently. Doing exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, and planks can help improve your core and upper body strength.
– Practice Deep Breathing: When you’re out in the water, the waves can be intimidating and cause anxiety. Practicing deep breathing and relaxation techniques can help you stay calm and focused.
– Visualize Riding the Waves: Visualization is a powerful tool that can help you improve your skills and confidence. Before going out, spend a few minutes visualizing yourself riding the waves at Pipeline, imagine the surroundings, the sounds, and your movements.


What Are the Safety Measures You Should Take When Bodyboarding at Pipeline?

Bodyboarding at Pipeline can be dangerous, and you need to take some safety measures to avoid injuries and accidents. Here are some things you should keep in mind:

– Know Your Limits: Pipeline is a wave that can reach over 20ft, and it’s not a spot for beginners. If you’re not experienced enough, don’t attempt to ride the waves at Pipeline, as it can lead to serious injuries or death.
– Check the Surf Report: Before going out, check the latest surf report, including the wave size, swell direction, and tide. This information can help you gauge the conditions and plan accordingly.
– Respect the Locals: Pipeline is a highly competitive spot, and the locals can be territorial. Show respect to the locals, and don’t drop-in or cut anyone off.
– Wear a Helmet: Pipeline can have a shallow and rocky reef, and hitting your head on the reef can cause a concussion or worse. Wearing a helmet can provide extra protection and prevent head injuries.
– Stay Hydrated: Spending hours in the water can dehydrate you quickly. Bring enough water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized throughout the session.


What Are Some Tricks and Tips for Bodyboarding at Pipeline?

Bodyboarding at Pipeline is not just about survival; it’s also about having fun and improving your skills. Here are some tricks and tips that can help you get the most out of your bodyboarding experience:

– Wait for the Right Wave: Pipeline is a wave that demands patience and timing. Wait for the right wave to come, and don’t rush into catching the first one that appears. Look for the ones that look steep and hollow, as these are the ones that can provide the most exciting ride.
– Use Your Fins: Fins are not just for propulsion; they also help you steer and control the board. Use them to adjust your positioning on the wave, to pivot, and to slow down.
– Lean Forward: To ride the waves at Pipeline, you need to keep your weight forward and your body low to the board. This position helps you navigate through the barrel and follow the curve of the wave.
– Keep Your Eyes on the Prize: When you’re riding a wave, keep your eyes focused on where you want to go, not where you’ve been. By doing this, you can anticipate the next move and make adjustments accordingly.
– Have Fun: Remember, bodyboarding at Pipeline is a thrilling experience that can bring a lot of joy and satisfaction. Don’t take it too seriously, and enjoy the ride.



Bodyboarding at Pipeline is a dream come true for many bodyboarders, but it’s also a challenging and risky venture. By following the tips and tricks we’ve shared in this article, you can increase your chances of having a safe and enjoyable experience while improving your skills and confidence. Remember, preparation, knowledge, and safety should be your top priorities when bodyboarding at Pipeline. Stay safe, have fun, and ride the waves like a pro!

Josh Mitchell

Josh Mitchell

"I live and breath boardriding"

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