Bodyboarding: there is always room for improvement | Photo: Shutterstock

Mike Stewart is the greatest bodyboarder of all time, and he is the best teacher one can have. Learn the fundamentals of bodyboarding with the master.

It doesn't matter if you're starting or simply improving your intermediate and advanced skills. These tips by Mike Stewart will help you become a better bodyboarder.

For instance, weight distribution plays a critical role in the way you ride a wave on a bodyboard. Knowing how to shift the body's weight in the different stages of a ride is paramount.

Understanding how a wave breaks will also help you pulling tricks and completing basic and intermediate maneuvers. Contrary to popular belief, small waves are great training grounds for working on technique and control.

Control and Speed

1. Put your hands on the top corners of the board, with fingers on the front and on the side;
2. Slide your body forward to keep your board flat against the water, and increase speed;
3. Move backward to create turbulence, increase drag and control, and reduce speed;
4. To turn, put your weight from the center to the corner, keeping the elbow on the deck of the board;

Fins

1. If you spread your fins while riding a wave, they will create more resistance, and will slow you down. This technique, in conjunction with sliding back on the board, will allow you to scoop into big barrels, before shooting out of the pit.
2. Get a pair of comfortable fins that have a nice directional flow off the tip, so you can get increased control;

Paddle Out

1. Waves break in shallow waters. Check the surf before paddling out;
2. Make a mental paddle out plan;
3. Check the beach and use landmarks to make triangulations;

Duck Diving

1. Paddle with some speed to add depth to your duck dive;
2. Slide forward, and push down the nose (with or without your knee) before the whitewater hits you;

Bodyboarding: learn how to improve your skills | Photo: APB

Spins, Rolls, and Airs

1. Lay flat and keep the weight evenly distributed on the board;
2. Drag your feet in the water and, if going left, use your left fin for spinning, and cross your legs.
3. For rolls, you just need to follow the flow of the wave. Ride down the line, find a steep section, turn and let the wave do the rest.
4. In the air roll spin (ARS), you slide forward a little bit more than you would on a roll, and keep your weight forward. The rotation will be faster.
5. Speed is key to airs. Get a lot of speed, glide into the section by making an arch into the lip, and kick your feet;

Barrels

1. Push the board further, relax, and let the barrel drive you;
2. To stall, spread your legs;

The history of bodyboarding is full of bizarre inventions. Some of them paved the way for new technologies and designs. Others were simply discontinued and forgotten.

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