How To Take Off On A Bodyboard

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Bodyboarding is an exciting water sport that involves riding waves on a small board that is designed to be ridden lying down. While it may seem easy at first glance, bodyboarding requires skill, technique, and practice. One of the most crucial aspects of bodyboarding is knowing how to take off on a wave. The takeoff is the first stage of any bodyboarding maneuver and getting it right can make or break your ride. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about taking off on a bodyboard, including techniques, tips, and tricks.


What is a takeoff on a bodyboard?

A takeoff on a bodyboard refers to the act of catching a wave and initiating a ride while lying prone on a bodyboard. It is the starting point of a bodyboarding maneuver or a ride. The takeoff involves positioning oneself in the right spot in the wave’s lineup, paddling with the arms to match the speed of the approaching wave, and then timing the moment to catch the wave.

To perform a takeoff on a bodyboard, you typically follow these steps:

  1. Positioning: You need to be in the right spot to catch the wave. This usually involves being slightly in front of the breaking part of the wave, where it is steepest and starting to curl. The precise positioning depends on the wave and your preference.
  2. Paddling: As the wave approaches, you use your arms to paddle and generate forward momentum. You want to match the speed of the wave to increase your chances of catching it. You can use a combination of paddling techniques such as freestyle arm strokes or using your fins to kick.
  3. Timing: Timing is crucial for a successful takeoff. You need to gauge the wave’s speed and anticipate when it will break. As the wave starts to lift you, you use your arms to push your upper body up while simultaneously positioning the bodyboard beneath you.
  4. Catching the wave: Once you feel the wave lifting you, you transition from paddling to lying prone on the bodyboard. Your chest should be centered on the board, with your head up and looking forward. Your arms can be extended forward for stability, and your legs should be trailing in the water.
  5. Stabilizing and riding: As you catch the wave, you aim to stabilize yourself on the bodyboard and find your balance. You can adjust your body positioning by shifting your weight slightly forward or backward on the board. From there, you can begin maneuvering and riding the wave, performing turns, bottom turns, cutbacks, or other bodyboarding tricks.


What are some techniques for taking off on a bodyboard?

There are several techniques you can use to take off on a bodyboard. The most common techniques are the turtle roll, the duck dive, and the channel takeoff. The turtle roll involves flipping the board over and pushing it underwater as the wave passes over you. The duck dive involves diving under the wave with the board, while the channel takeoff involves positioning yourself in a channel and using the current to propel you onto the wave.


How do you position yourself on the board for takeoff?

Positioning yourself on the board for takeoff is important as it determines how you will ride the wave. Lay on your stomach and make sure your chest is centered on the board. Place your hands on the rails or the top corners and keep your arms straight. Keep your head up and your eyes focused on the wave. Make sure your legs are hanging off the back of the board so that you have control.


What is the difference between a frontside and backside takeoff?

A frontside takeoff is when you ride the wave with your toes pointing toward the wave while a backside takeoff is when your back is facing the wave and you ride with your heel towards the wave. A frontside takeoff is generally easier because you can see where you are going, but a backside takeoff can be more challenging to master.


How do you time your takeoff on a bodyboard?

Timing your takeoff correctly is crucial for a successful ride. Watch the wave as it approaches and start paddling towards it. Anticipate the moment when the wave starts to peak and begins to break. That’s when you know it’s time to take off. Don’t start paddling too early or too late; otherwise, you may miss the wave or get caught in the whitewater.


What are some common mistakes to avoid when taking off on a bodyboard?

Some common mistakes to avoid when taking off on a bodyboard include not positioning yourself correctly on the board, not timing your takeoff correctly, not building enough momentum before the wave, and not committing to the takeoff. It’s also important to remember not to look down at your feet and to keep your head up, looking towards the wave.



Taking off on a bodyboard can be a challenging task, but with practice and patience, it can be mastered. Remember to position yourself correctly on the board, time your takeoff correctly, and commit to the ride. By following these tips and techniques, you’ll be riding waves like a pro in no time. Enjoy the thrill of bodyboarding and stay safe on the water!

Josh Mitchell

Josh Mitchell

"I live and breath boardriding"

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