Boogie Boarding Tips
So, you want to learn to boogie board. Good for you since boogie boarding is both fun and easy to learn.
The only essential equipment is the board itself, outfitted with a “leash”. The leash is a strap attached to the front end of the boogie board with a Velcro band on the other end. The Velcro band is attached around your wrist or upper arm before entering the water so the board doesn’t float away or accidentally fly through the air and hurt other people if you lose hold of it. Most boards are sold with leashes.
When renting or buying a boogie board, size matters. A simple rule of thumb is that the board should stretch from just above your knees to the top of your head. A board this size makes it easiest to catch a wave, however, if you plan to do turns and tricks smaller boards are more maneuverable.
Other non-essential, but helpful, equipment includes a set of swim fins to propel yourself through the water faster when catching a wave, fin socks to keep your feet warm, a wetsuit to keep your body warm, and tethers for your swim fins to keep them from slipping off in a wave.
While you’re learning it’s best to stick to small waves. The trickiest part of boogie boarding is learning to “catch” a wave. This is a hard concept to explain, but easy to identify when it actually happens. To catch a wave, swim out to the area just past where the waves are breaking. Watch the incoming waves for an appropriate sized one and then turn to face the shore. Just before the crest of the wave reaches you, lay on the board with your legs hanging off the end and start kicking! Stop kicking when the wave breaks. If you don’t go anywhere, or don’t go far, you didn’t catch the wave. If you feel a rush of adrenaline and the wave takes over taking you all the way to shore, you’ve caught the wave!
If a wave breaks over you and you lose control, relax! Try to dive under the wave where its power is less. If you can’t do that, hold your breath and wait for it to pass or wash you to shore. If you stay relaxed and don’t attempt waves beyond your ability you won’t find yourself in a situation you can’t manage.
The accompanying video provides a great example of how simple, but fun, boogie boarding is and how anyone can do it. You can also see the difference between missing and catching a wave.
To many joyful beach experiences!
— Lisa Dworkin