Improve your bodyboarding skills with a collection of techniques, tips and advice given by a professional bodyboard. Remember, it's never too late to learn, and to get from good to great.
The devil is in the detail. Everything counts when you're riding a wave, in prone or drop-knee mode. Body and board will interact with the water wall, resulting in a unique result.
There are two important stages for bodyboarders. Getting from a beginner stage (where you can hardly complete an entire ride) to an intermediate level (where you can read a wave and complete a roll or 360).
Then again, taking your intermediate bodyboarding to the advanced arena, that's another story. If you want, you'll get it right. It's only a matter of training.
Heydon Bunting, also known as "da Boogie man." is a professional bodyboard coach, with more than 25 years of experience. He has taught beginners and professionals. He knows what improvement means.
The legendary rider has shared a few important ideas if you really want to take your bodyboarding skills to the next level.
"Good bodyboarding comes down to good technique, flow, surfing as much as you can, staying fit and healthy, a correct-sized board and stretching every day, especially your lower back, your hamstrings, quads, calves and shoulders," says Bunting.
He also believes bodyboarders should develop a "creative visualization," because "if you can't see yourself in your mind's eye surfing good, you won't be able to in the real world.
Heydon Bunting proposes the concept of "mind surfing", as much as you can, tapping into as many senses as you can. A good exercise could be imagining the wave of your dreams, when you're already in bed, just before falling asleep.
Technique is critical. The Australian bodyboard coach says you can't get to the level of elite rider without a proper technique. For example, a correctly placed front hand right on the corner for both lefts and rights is very important. Also, get fingers spread slightly for control.
Bunting suggests your outside rail hand should be about halfway down your board with your elbow nice and close to your body, (no chicken wings or back elbow on the deck).
"Chin up and chest up with arched back, although still relaxed. Legs slightly apart for control. Silent efficient kicking just under the water surface, no wasted energy," underlines "da Boogie man".
At the same time, try to stay loose, relaxed and flow with the wave. Work hard on your weaknesses, perfecting your forward spins, both on lefts and rights.
"Work hardest on your unfavoured side, whether it be lefts or rights. Keep on working on your weaknesses, till they become your strengths."
Finally, Heydon Bunting tells us to go a little longer and wider with your next board. "Most guys that we have been working with are riding boards way to short and narrow for their weight and height. A board with a little more length and width will smoothen out your riding and help you with flow, holding speed in trim, and completing maneuvers."
Get filmed or photographed as much as you can. Once you have footage or images of yourself, compare your riding to your favorite bodyboarders.
Study all your favorite riders techniques, break down every part of their surfing, how they hold the board, where they are holding the board, body placement on the board, legs in trim, legs taking off, etc.
You'll become a better bodyboarder. No doubt about that.