Why Body Board Instead Of Surfing?

Surfing the waves

Surfing the Waves! License: Creative Commons

History Of Riding The Waves

Surfing has often been called the sport of kings. That’s because the king of Hawaii would surf, and the other royals, too. And, surfing is not just for everybody, simply because it can be a lot of work. You have to develop quite a few skills to really stand on a board and ride the waves.

At the same time the kings of Hawaii were surfing, other Hawaiians were bodyboarding. They used what they called paipo boards they carved by hand to ride the waves in a prone position. This may also be because in most royal cultures, the common man was not allowed to have his head higher than that of the ruler.

However, that symbol of class seems to continue to this day. Surfers – real surfers who have done this for their entire lives – get really mad, sometimes, at bodyboarders for usurping the waves.

But, besides breaking a cultural stigma, are there any other reasons to bodyboard rather than surf? Those who have taken up the sport of bodyboarding answer with a resounding “Yes!”


Bodyboarding does not require as much skill as surfing. This means that you can get on the waves faster. It is also safer. Since you are prone on a boogie board, you don’t stand the chance of falling – often at high speeds – that surfers face. Boogie boarding was invented by Ton Morey who enjoyed surfing so much that he wanted to share it with more people. All of a sudden, you could ride the waves and stay safe, too. It was also easier, since the board does the balancing for you, rather you standing on the board. You also didn’t have to have as much skill as surfers.

The biggest problem is that surfers find the mystique being shattered. Surfing is still a highly skilled sport, with an element of danger, but now grandmas and their grandkids are getting out on the waves in record numbers.

Body Surfing the Waves! License: Creative Commons

That, alone, is the reason boogie boarding, or bodyboarding is so popular. Regardless of the history of either sport, or the skills required for each different performance, bodyboarding is simply an easier way for people to enjoy the ocean. This sport can turn death-defying surfing spots into a water park. This can threaten the elitism of surfing, which still responds well to those with immense skill. Surfing is sort of like learning to drive – you can drive a four cylinder knock-about, or a Ferrari, but you have to earn the Ferrari. They don’t want someone on roller skates in the way.

But, those on bodyboards, when they follow the rules of sportsmanship on the surf, are not in the way, and they are not in danger. Just like anyone else, they have to take their turn. And, if they get a Ferrari charge out of a 4 cylinder, who’s to fault them?

Professional snow skiers had the same problem with snow boarders, but those are now allowed in the Olympics. So, go out and enjoy the bodyboard. You may make the Olympics some day!

About the Guest Author:

Ed Brooke loves to write about sports and travel, combining the two Edwards travels all over the place trying his new surfboards from Zumajay.

Filed Under: Blog

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