We love bodyboarding. You don’t need big waves, you can do it in shallow water, and the kids pick it up really quickly.
So we asked bodyboarding expert Camille for some tips to help us parents introduce our kids to this fun activity.
Next to surfing, bodyboarding is one of the most popular sea sports around. The beauty of bodyboarding is it is an inexpensive sport, and you can be old, young, big, or small. Anyone can bodyboard as long as they have patience and are willing to get out in the waves.
Summer to late Autumn is the best time to bodyboard in the UK, and there are plenty of great beginner spots to start your bodyboarding journey. To help your children get started, we’ve come up with our seven beginner bodyboarding tips!
Be Comfortable in the Sea
There’s no point in trying to add insult to injury. If your little one isn’t comfortable in the sea, they’re probably not going to have a good time bodyboarding.
It’ll be scary and take them forever to learn.
Instead, we recommend taking some time getting them acquainted to the waves first. Whether that means getting them some lessons or swimming around with them a bit before you whip the bodyboard out, they need to feel confident so that they can have fun!
Get The Right Bodyboard
You don’t need to buy a pro bodyboard when starting out.
You can pick up a decent bodyboard for £7 pounds at your local sports shop.
The most important thing is tto get the right size. If you get a board that is too big, your child could have a hard time carrying it around and manoeuvring in the water. If it’s too small, they might have trouble finding their balance or paddling around with it. If you’re unsure about sizing, check out Fin Bin’s bodyboard sizes article.
You also might want to consider getting a board with a leash too, as you don’t want it to get swept out to sea after a wipeout.
Pick the Right Beach
While there are many great beaches in the UK, the important thing is to pick the best one for beginners. One of our favourite beginner beaches in the UK is Watergate Bay. There are two miles of coastline and tons of low tide spots to bodyboard with ease.
There are plenty of surf camps that post up down here too, as the waves are perfect for teaching.
Another excellent beginner spot is Saltburn in Cleveland. The waves are much busier here, though you can find beginner-friendly waves right next to the pier.
[Gav: We also like Sandymouth in Cornwall, and just discovered surf at Compton Bay in the Isle of Wight, but there’s no lifeguard at that beach]
Get a Wetsuit
There’s no question that the waters are near freezing in the UK, depending on the time of year. It’s pretty much always necessary to be wearing a wetsuit when out in the water.
Not only is wearing a wetsuit great for protection from hypothermia, but it can also inspire a bit of confidence in your little one. If all they can think about while they are bodyboarding is how cold they are, they won’t be able to focus on technique.
Check out this wetsuit guide to find out more about wetsuit types, thicknesses, materials, etc.
Stay in Shallow Water
Before your little one gets comfortable being out on the waves with his or her bodyboard, you’ll want to make sure that they are staying near the shallow part of the shores.
Besides it being safer to have access to them in case anything were to go wrong, it’s much easier to practice in the whitewater than out in the larger waves.
On another note, be sure to watch out for rip currents and rocks!
Learn the Basics of Paddling Out and Catching a Wave
Here are a few essential tips for paddling out and catching waves:
- Paddle straight into the whitewater. Paddling parallel to the waves gives pummeling waves more surface area to throw you back to shore. Cut through the waves like a knife, and you’ll be golden.
- Know how to read a wave. Not every ripple of water that you see is good for bodyboarding. Help your little ones by helping them to understand which waves can be ridden and which cannot.
- Stay centred and ride to shore. Your chest must be raised, and your body must be centred on the board to take full advantage of wave riding.
Don’t force anything on your child! Some kids don’t find their appreciation for the sea right away, and that’s okay. It’s essential that you have fun and let them learn at their own speed for natural flow and progression. Bodyboarding isn’t cool if you’re not having fun!
Bodyboarding is one of the best ways to spend time in the water! We hope that our little bodyboarding guide for kids was helpful in your little one’s learning process. Have fun and stay warm out there.
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