Common Bodyboarding Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

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As one of the most popular water sports out there, bodyboarding can bring a lot of joy and excitement, but also comes with a risk of injury and frustration. Like any activity, there are common mistakes that beginner and even experienced bodyboarders can make. Here we break down six common bodyboarding mistakes and how to avoid them.


Not Using Proper Equipment

The first step towards having a successful and enjoyable bodyboarding experience is to ensure that you have the proper equipment. Many beginners may make the mistake of purchasing cheap, poorly made boards that do not fit their body type. Using a board that’s too small or too big for your weight, height, and skill level can cause frustration, limited maneuverability, and potentially put you in danger.

To avoid this mistake, invest in a proper bodyboard that fits your needs. Boards come in different lengths, widths, materials, and shapes. For instance, boards made for heavier individuals are typically wider and more buoyant than boards made for lighter individuals. Be sure to also invest in proper fins that fit well and provide adequate propulsion through the water.


Improper Body Positioning

Bodyboarding requires proper body positioning to be successful. Commonly known as “trimming,” positioning can make the difference between gliding effortlessly along a wave or face-planting. Many beginners may make the mistake of leaning too far forward or backward on the board. Leaning too far forward will cause the nose of the board to dive and create unnecessary drag. Leaning too far back will cause the tail of the board to lift and slow you down.

To avoid this mistake, aim for a neutral body position by centering your weight over the board and keeping your chest up. This stance will allow you to maintain speed and control while riding the wave.


Failing to Paddle Effectively

Paddling is an essential aspect of bodyboarding. It allows you to catch a wave, maintain the speed and maneuver around the waves. Many people may make the mistake of using only their arms to paddle, which is not effective, tiring, and potentially harmful to shoulders.

To avoid this mistake, use your entire body to paddle. Use your legs to kick, engage your core and keep your arms straight to maximize power. Apart from this, you can also paddle in the direction that’s perpendicular to the breaking wave, also known as the “peak.” This positioning maximizes lift and speed, making it easier for you to catch the wave.


Ignoring Safety Precautions

Safety should be your number one priority when bodyboarding. Many beginners may make the mistake of ignoring safety precautions like wearing a leash, using the buddy system, and choosing the right wave conditions.

To avoid these mistakes, always wear a leash that connects your bodyboard to your ankle. A leash will prevent you from losing your board in the water, swimming long distances, and facing potential injuries. It’s also essential to bodyboard with a buddy, particularly when surfing in secluded areas. Always remember to check the wave conditions before getting in the water and avoiding dangerous situations such as strong currents, big waves, and shallow reefs.


Poor Timing of Wave Entry and Exit

Timing is everything when it comes to bodyboarding. Many beginners may make the mistake of entering or exiting a wave at the wrong time. Entering a wave too early can cause the wave to lose energy, making it difficult to catch. Entering a wave too late can cause you to lose your balance and be thrown off your board. Similarly, exiting a wave too early can cause you to miss out on potential rides, while exiting a wave too late can be dangerous as waves can break in shallow water.

To avoid these mistakes, practice reading the waves, and timing your entry and exit. Look for the peak of the wave, build up speed, and position yourself accordingly. Once the wave is behind you, you can drop down and begin riding. Similarly, when it’s time to exit the wave, look for a flat section and use a kick to get off the wave safely.


Overestimating Your Ability

Bodyboarding is a fun and challenging sport, but it requires time and practice to master its various aspects. Many beginner bodyboarders may make the mistake of overestimating their ability and attempting to surf waves beyond their level of experience. This can result in injury, loss of board or fear.

To avoid this mistake, always surf in waves that are appropriate for your skill level. Start with small waves and work your way up to bigger and more challenging waves as you improve your skills. Always be honest with yourself and your abilities and avoid taking unnecessary risks, which can damage your confidence and potentially put you in danger.



In conclusion, bodyboarding can be a fun and thrilling experience, but it requires adequate preparation, proper equipment, and technique. By avoiding these six common mistakes, you can enhance your performance, maintain your safety, and have a great ride every time. Remember to always stay vigilant, practice frequently, and enjoy the ride.

Josh Mitchell

Josh Mitchell

"I live and breath boardriding"

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